Down Memory Lane -How I Became A School Teacher .

I entered Triloki Naths office .He had a organized mind –his table was neat ,and he found things easily on them .  “Come sit down”,he said while he picked up a pen , signed on some papers , stapled  them, and put a paperweight on them.He did these things effortlessly .He then rang the bell.Kathuria( his PA ), came in ,he gave some instructions to him ,and then told him that he should not allow anyone to enter as  long as I was with him.

He looked me straight in the eye. He was a good looking man , fair ,with a  chiseled nose ,and a face that shone as if it had been polished .He was a bachelor and had a degree from a American University .He always wore a white shirt , white trousers – cotton !

I waited for him to speak first . 

“Why don’t the boys attend your classes ? There are 47 on the roll – yet there were only 13 present today when i walked in .Why is there such a thin attendance ?After all you have knowledge ,you can speak well,-what then is the problem.When I chose you I thought you would revive the subject , but then that hasnt happened ?”.

His voice was undulating,soft, and he choose his words in a measured quantity ,as if he cursed himself to part with them .I haven’t met anyone else in my life who spoke so less ,so softly ,so precisely, and  yet with so much of passion. There was something about him that attracted one to him.Maybe the mystique as why a successful man with such nice looks did not marry.Maybe ,because he spoke so little that you wanted to hear him . Something i cant define -maybe in English we have a word for it -aura .!! Yes , he had a aura !

I kept quiet and waited for him to answer the questions that he had posed to me.In any case , i was too stunned to speak.

“Have you seen Jindals classes ?Have you seen how boys run to his class to get the front seats ?Have you seen how some stand near the windows to listen to his lectures ?”,he asked .I continued to look at him .

Then ,(this is something that I remember so well) the fighter in me  took over .David took on the Goliath.

I was sitting slightly hunched ,with my hands folded with arms resting on his table .I now sat up straight and rested my back on the chair on which I was sitting !!.I put my hands on the arms of my chair –I had shed dependency on him and his table.

It was a defining moment of my life.I could have pussy footed my way out of the whole mess and taken the simple and easy way out and said “sorry sir”,.In which case I  would still be lecturing in the college ,or perhaps risen to become a Principal .But I have never believed in simple solutions ,because they only temporarily solve ones problems .Life had taught me swimming , by throwing me into the deepest part of the pool .Even at just 22 years of age ,I had undergone many upheavals that could have broken my spirit –loss of parents ,battling addiction,broken relationships,unemployment,being dependent on my brother  –everything .This meeting with Triloki Nath was like a storm in a teacup .The fighter in me had to win against the pacifist in me . I spoke .I began slowly

“Yes Sir, the attendance in my classes is thin.But so are the applications for the course .How many people apply for a course in History ?Who are the boys who don’t attend my classes ?These are boys who come to college on tractors sometimes .These are boys who threaten me to give them attendance or else face the consequences .These are boys who don’t understand my English ,what to talk of the History I teach .”My voice had now picked up and risen to a a crescendo.

“Please don’t compare me to Mr Jindal .Only compare me to him if you gave me children who are as serious and as meritorious as the ones who attend Jindal Sirs classes .Compare me with him if all the children of my class are as obsessed to get into the I.A.S, as they are (by they I meant the children in Jindals section),in getting into IIT .Otherwise you are comparing oranges with apples .”

My ego took over now “And Sir ,I can teach better than Mr Jindal .!!” ( Sorry Jindal Sir – you were and will remain a institution.)

I was not sure whether I was speaking the truth –but that is something I wanted to believe .!!

Triloki Nath was a experienced man –he did not get ruffled ,by what had been a passionate self defense of my credentials .He told me to sip water which was in a glass which was lying in front of me .I took a few sips and then told him .

“Sir ,I am leaving the job .I wont be coming from tomorrow because you have been able to convince me that I am getting a unemployment dole”.

His reaction was sharp “What nonsense are you talking .I am like your father .Cant I instruct you ,cant I scold you?. I did not mean it that way”,he said .

But I would have none of that .My pony tail once again slapped me on  one side and then  the other as i shook my head No,No,No,.!!

“No ,no my father would never have said something like  that to me .YOU ARE NOT LIKE DAD”.He was reopening a wound that would never heal throughout my life .My Dad was just not my Dad .He was my hero ,my role model .I have never become like him inspite of trying all my life .And I started to choke as I felt the void of my father in view of impending unemployment .I felt lonely and insecure .I felt completely empty and exhausted .I remember it so vividly………As if it was yesterday .

 

(The next part of my blog will be published soon)

 

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