Sep 5, 2005

Ladders of my life

A ladder helps you to climb up a certain height. To climb up a particular stage of life, God has made the divine teacher. A teacher helps a young toddler to move to an achiever stage while he/she stands there and observe the results of their noble profession. On this very special day, Dr. Radhakrishnan's birthday, Teachers day, I would like to thank all my ladders for what they have given to me.

I still remember how Mrs.Ruby used to teach me the alphabets in my English classes with so much of enthusiasm in my L.K.G and U.K.G and how Mrs.Hemalatha used to narrate the rhymes full of action. I can never forget this particular rhyme "One Two, Buckle my shoe......" when all of us, hardly 2 feet in height would dance to the tunes and express the words.

The headmistress of the school, popularly called as "Madam" had the looks of strict and punishing teacher, yet you could feel her kindness once you become her favourite student. Yes, I was one of her favourite students from 3rd std to 5th std. My primary school was not one of the best in my neighbourhood. So my mother wanted to put me in a best school from class 6 onwards. I didn't have even the slightest inkling that the next 3 years were going to be the best in my school days.

St.Marys Girls Hr.Sec School, Chengalpattu. I met some very good teachers and sisters in this school. This wonderful environment instilled in me the competitive spirit. Every teacher I met in this school was very unique, be it Mrs.Sonia ,my Science teacher who taught me a bit of ballet for our annual day , Mrs.Jacintha ,my English teacher whose classes were always full of fun, Mrs.Vijayalakshmi ,my Tamil Teacher , a very soft person by nature. My sixth class teacher was also a nice person (forgot her name :( , though). She inculcated the importance of savings. I can still recollect the Sanjayika scheme(a post office scheme for encouraging school kids to save) when I used to collect 2 Rs every Monday from Amma and put it in my account.

I can't miss out on a very important person in St.Marys. Our headmistress sister. A very disciplined, kind-hearted person. I remember once giving a Christmas card to her where I had written "Sister, I love you". She asked me how much I love her. I stretched my hands to the fullest and said "This much, sister". She replied calmly, "My love for you is as big as the sky, my child". I was taken aback by her words. Kids of my age always perceive headmistress as one who punishes , one who never smiles etc etc. But there she was, giving so much of love and affection for the kids, at the same time, making sure they do well in their studies. From this point onwards, I always had the urge (call it a "veri" in Tamil) to come first in my exams.

Next came an important phase in my life. I had to move out of St.Marys because we had shifted our house to Tambaram. All my relatives tried to convince me to move to a school in Tambaram. But I was adamant and decided to travel everyday to Chengalpattu. My class 8 ranks went down - 2nd, 3rd and once , I got a 4th rank. Travel was taking its toil on me. With no other choice, I reluctantly moved to Jaigopal Garodia National Hr.Sec School, Tambaram. Although I felt the pinch initially, soon I got adjusted to new place, new teachers and new classmates.

Mrs.Wergin, Social Sciences teacher in 9th and 10th std was an inspiration to me. She handled her class with a well planned approach. Her meticulous way of revision had ensured that I was thorough in all the chapters of History and Geography. World maps and India maps were my dearest stationary those days. Can you believe that my past-time activity was looking over the Atlas during those days? Such was the influence Mrs.Wergin had on me.

You might be wondering why Anu hasn't mentioned any male teacher so far. Wait a min....there were a couple (or should I say three?) of male teachers who were my favourites in 11th and 12th std. Mr.Lakshminarayanan, my Biology teacher in 11th std and Mr.Sambandan, my Physics teacher in 12th std. I'll mention the third name (very important person) in a little while. Biology was always my favourite subject. It made more sense to me. Bio sir had handled the subject so interestingly that I felt I should be doing medicine after 12th.

What can I say about my Physics sir? A man of values. He is an M.Phil in Physics, M.C.A and an NCC head. During my 12th std, I had joined Maths, Chemistry and Biology private tuitions. I was a bit hesitant about joining classes for Physics. I wasn't sure how it would fit in my schedule. Thanks to Subha, my best friend who had joined Sambandan sir's tuitions for Physics. She attended the first class and was very impressed with the way sir takes the classes. I had joined the classes from next day. The classes for girls are from 6 am to 7.30 am. Such a late riser, I was. I still am. I would get up at 5.45, brush my teeth, wash my face and rush to the class. Thank God, his house was just a 2-min walk. Most of the days, I would be the last entry to the class. Rarely, I used to go at 5.50-5.55 am. The chantings of Om Nama Shivaya being played from his room, a perfect way to begin a day. Our sir would come at sharp 6, perfectly dressed. Sometimes I would feel like saluting him. Apart from teaching Physics, he also used to give us tips on tackling exam pressures, writing answers in such a way that we get full marks etc. One such tip that is permanently fixed in my mind is whenever you feel depressed and unable to do something, just say these 4 lines to yourself "I'm a confident person. I'm an achiever. I can do it. I will do it".

The third and a very important person, Mr.Raman , a Ph.D in Maths. So far, you have read how teachers have made a positive impact on me. Mr. Raman indirectly made that impact. Fortunately or unfortunately he was my Maths teacher in the crucial years of 11th and 12th std. Just after a week of our 11th std classes, he gave us a surprise test on Vector Algebra. I failed miserably. I had never failed in any of the tests so far. Out of a class of 75, only 5 students had managed to pass the test. Those 5 having private tuitions with Mr.Raman is a different story. The 70 odd students including me were asked to stand. "No hope for you people. Go and join some art classes. Professional courses are not for you fools", these were his words. I came home that evening and cried so much. Appa tried to console me but he couldn't. I decided to join Maths tuitions from 11th std instead of 12th std. Mrs.Rajeswari (we call her mami) came to my rescue. A nice person, very knowledgeable in Maths, most importantly, a very patient lady. She was one of the most important factors due to which I was able to score a centum in Maths. My brother also took tuitions from her and he scored a centum as well.

I might have missed many teachers in this list. But all my teachers had made some difference or the other to me. I thank everyone of you. My ambition is to make a difference to atleast a few children and be a ladder to them.....

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