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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A girl who admired her teacher!

The following is a recent conversation on google chat between a teacher (T) and a female ex-student (X), now in her mid-twenties.

X: Good Afternoon Sir and Happy New Year. I was in office the other day so couldn't talk to you.
T: ... and now?
X: At office again but no meetings as of now so I am happily chatting.
T: So tell me something I can chat about. You people fall so completely out of touch for so long that I don't know what to say when you suddenly pop up to say hi!
X: That is true Sir. I read your travelogue. It shows you love the hills. What about your plans for the trekking? The last time I had a talk you said you were supposed to go out for trekking with your daughter.
T: She's still too young, and by the time she grows up I'll probably not be fit enough any longer!
X: Sir that's not true. I still remember I never could actually pace up with your fast steps before our tuition class.
Have you visited Auli? I would be going for skiing there.
T: It's been many years since then! I still walk faster than most of my old boys, but these days my knees hurt, and things are slowly getting worse.
X: But I remember you were very keen on keeping fit.
T: …and ex-students make me feel older than I am by cutting off all contact after leaving - scores of them, year after year...
I try to keep fit, but fate has ideas of its own, too!
X: Sir you must be deeply hurt with some of your ex-students, each time I talk to you or go through your blogs it clearly shows the anguish.
T: Of course. So many forget instantly after leaving, so many can only think of abusing me, and so many who seemed so loving and impressed seem to decide that I no longer matter!
X: I pity them and so should you.
T: By contrast, a tiny handful continue to warm my heart - as my latest blogpost will tell you. And wait for this: almost all of them are boys!
The girls gush much more, but forget much more completely.
X: I do not mind hearing this because that's true and more heartswelling as girls were equally close to you.
T: I cannot, after teaching 27 years, think of three girls who will be glad to do the sort of thing that Y and Z and W recently did for me (all boys)!
X: and they do disappear!
T: And so these days I have become openly cynical about girls in my classes, and the girls dislike me for it. Bad luck for them!
X: Cynical?
I don't believe Sir.
T: No, really - I frequently say that I expect nothing from girl students except their fees...
All the respect and caring and help will come from the boys.
X: If somebody cannot be like the three it doesn't possibly mean they do not care for you at all.
T: Ah, don't give me that corny line, X: I am sick of hearing about girls who have always cared 'secretly' for me. You cannot imagine how many girls have told me about that. They won't be any use to me in my lifetime!
X: are you saying "use"?
Isn't that corny too?
T: All my life I needed the warmth of loving company, and in my old age I shall need help... that's what I mean by use, and I have almost always got that only from the boys. Whether it be waiting for me at a station or taking me to hospital, I can only think of turning to boys.
That's what I have got after teaching girls for 27 years! That's what I mean by use.
X: I understand, but each time I talk to a girl about you the only view they have is you have deliberately and desperately changed.
T: …and if that meaning of 'use' sounds corny to you, we don't speak the same language, do we?
Yes, I have changed: the girls have taught me a lesson hard enough to make me change. I expected much more than fees from them for years and years: I don't any longer.
X: You have actually formed a shell and true to say I like many do need to break the shell to reach the core inside to reach the loving teacher we so admired.
Language? I didn't understand Sir?
T: 'Admiration' means giving back, X. Somehow boys know that instinctively, and girls refuse to understand.
You employed the word use in a snide sense, and I didn't like the innuendo. So I clarified what I meant by that word, that's all.
X: And what about silent admiration Sir? Isn't that counted in your language?
Should admiration always be very flowery? Should admiration have to be shown? Else it is not there?
T: No. And yes. I have already answered that, and you simply did not bother to read!
Admiration that is not shown is not admiration at all.
X : Giving back?
T: Anyway, no one who doesn't wish to listen will ever hear anything. Bye.
X: I have bothered to read Sir.
But fact is that you never heard the silent admirations. Well, leave it Sir, the "sir" I worshipped would remain somewhere in the mind's altar, your three precious souls can never understand nor you, Sir. Sorry for this. Take care.
(end of conversation)
Any comments?

44 comments:

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

Our idea of respect is very wrong. We are taught to show respect, kindness to an entire set of extended family whom we hardly get to see other than in occasional functions.

Very diplomatically we never question their existence. Just because their parents / siblings meant something to someone close to us in historical past we are asked to shower respect and affection.

That way, we have so many "senior relatives" who claim respect, lecture us in times when they meet us.

Few amongst us have ever risked those relationships which are sometimes meaningless.

However, in all these we forget / ignore few who perhaps mattered most.

Teachers who contributed to our development are among them.

It is so sad. We hope to remember the birthday of an eccentric relative but we would forget to wish a teacher well. We will remember to watch an episode of Roadie and gush about it but shall show silent admiration to people who expect just a word of nicety.

We have our priorities grossly misplaced.

Sayan Datta said...

Of the numerous things my father tried to teach me I did actually try to learn one. And it is - It's nothing less than an excuse to say “I do not have time”. If someone really wants to do something, he will do it no matter what and inspite of all the constraints of time and space. It's similar with admiration and love and respect. You don't need to be embellished in your admiration of someone to make it worthy enough. But it will get shown. In small but meaningful incidents it is bound to get displayed. Does the husband need to kiss the wife ten times everyday to show his love for her? Does the mother need to buy expensive gifts for her son on his birthday to prove how good a mother she is? But she will pay his bills and wash his clothes and fill his belly. When sick she will take him to the doctor. When lonely she will give him company. It's simple enough - For those who can see love and care do get displayed - as to this I will side with ‘T’. A relationship without consistency is no relationship at all. Consider this – A close friend chooses to sever all connections and then comes back years later to say “I missed you so much all these years.” Will I believe him? I don’t think so. I will probably be thinking – Where was he when I needed some friendly counsel? Where was he when I was going through a rough patch and needed someone to talk to? Where was he when I missed that friendly pat on the back? I will be asking myself – should I trust him? Probably not - will be my answer; he is just as likely to sever all connections again a couple of years down the line!

Silent admiration isn’t easy. And using lofty words to justify an excuse is nothing short of being hypocritical. Why can’t we sometimes own up our mistakes and make sure never to commit them again? Is it so hard to look into the mirror?

And a teacher who has always welcomed back ex students with open arms deserves a little bit more than ‘silent’ admiration. Doesn’t he?

As someone just starting out to be a teacher, I am indeed learning a few vital lessons.

Sayan Datta

Sumitha Kurien said...

I have said this many times, I'll say it again... Human beings are incredibly self centred.

I don't know if this is applicable to your student X, but in general what I have seen is that, people have these lofty, abstract and archaic "principles" that they supposedly "live by" (very akin to the silent admiration stuff that you have mentioned). But the moment one tries to give these folks a taste of their own medicine, they realise that the medicine's very bitter.
Why else would we have a vast majority of these folks hoarde up pictures of their vacations in the Alps or them at a world wide seminar or symposium or the likes on their social network profiles, if it were not for gaining some very vocal admiration?

And so I agree with you Sir... admiration, like love, respect, or any of those good things that matter most in life, cannot be silent. It just doesn't serve the purpose then!

Regards,
Sumitha Kurien

Subhanjan said...

What I like most, and believe in strongly, are these words from Sayanda: "If someone really wants to do something, he will do it no matter what and in spite of all the constraints of time and space. It's similar with admiration and love and respect." These two sentences explain everything. This very philosophy had been the determining factor behind every good thing that has happened in this world; be it the determination of a young man to cross a hot desert to meet his beloved, or the Dandi March of Mahatma Gandhi. And since we all know it perfectly well that nothing worthwhile can be achieved without a strong sense of purpose, responsibility and gratitude, and practical implementation of all these, there is nothing but hypocrisy in saying, "Oh, there had always been a silent feeling inside me. I really do care." And this applies for two things specifically: 'Corporate Social Responsibility' and 'Girls'. Both of these two entities are well skilled in hypocrisy, deception, manipulation, and shamelessness. This reminds me of a girl at the audition of Roadies (which I accidentally came across while surfing channels and decided thereafter not to see it again) who proudly claimed that the positive part and strength of her character was 'manipulating boys'. More was yet to come. She said that this was a special power of girls and a big advantage to them. No wonder a girl would understand the word 'use' in a sense that you would remotely do.

In the past eight years of my intimacy with you, I had hardly seen you talking to an ex-student who is a girl. No wonder there are only a few girls whom you can approach for an intellectual discussion or for some practical help. This is deeply painful for you when you had taught girls with equal sincerity for years and had found the entire effort bearing no fruit at all. They can not blame patriarchy for this. Strangely enough, girls have freedom to reveal the skin of their private parts in public, but not freedom enough to be in love, appreciation, and care. And then they have certain men supporting them. I have a friend who countered these views of mine by saying, "How can you possibly expect intellectualism from women and girls when they are raped everyday by greedy men at almost every household?" I was left at a loss of words. Not because I was facing a strong opposition. But because I was having pity on my friend who was making a terrible mistake and was living in dangerous misunderstanding. He seems to be staying in a patriarchal society that had an existence a hundred years ago, and has no idea whatsoever of how horrifyingly men are raped by women, that too mostly on the psychological level. Life is going to be painful for this friend of mine. And women will be at a much more advantageous position with such men. After analysing all these things, it seems that our ancestors had ample reasons to impose restrictions on women. Freedom, love, and respect are things that men know from their instincts. Women do not want to understand these feelings. They are basically crude and think at a very crude level. One of my friends said that when he used to meet his girlfriend, he used to simply gaze at her beautiful face for the first few moments. And then he noticed that she was occasionally noticing whether his trouser had an elevation at a particular point or not. This may sound crude. But this is pathetically true.

Subhanjan said...

What I like most, and believe in strongly, are these words from Sayanda: "If someone really wants to do something, he will do it no matter what and in spite of all the constraints of time and space. It's similar with admiration and love and respect." These two sentences explain everything. This very philosophy had been the determining factor behind every good thing that has happened in this world; be it the determination of a young man to cross a hot desert to meet his beloved, or the Dandi March of Mahatma Gandhi. And since we all know it perfectly well that nothing worthwhile can be achieved without a strong sense of purpose, responsibility and gratitude, and practical implementation of all these, there is nothing but hypocrisy in saying, "Oh, there had always been a silent feeling inside me. I really do care." And this applies for two things specifically: 'Corporate Social Responsibility' and 'Girls'. Both of these two entities are well skilled in hypocrisy, deception, manipulation, and shamelessness. This reminds me of a girl at the audition of Roadies (which I accidentally came across while surfing channels and decided thereafter not to see it again) who proudly claimed that the positive part and strength of her character was 'manipulating boys'. More was yet to come. She said that this was a special power of girls and a big advantage to them. No wonder a girl would understand the word 'use' in a sense that you would remotely do.

In the past eight years of my intimacy with you, I had hardly seen you talking to an ex-student who is a girl. No wonder there are only a few girls whom you can approach for an intellectual discussion or for some practical help. This is deeply painful for you when you had taught girls with equal sincerity for years and had found the entire effort bearing no fruit at all. They can not blame patriarchy for this. Strangely enough, girls have freedom to reveal the skin of their private parts in public, but not freedom enough to be in love, appreciation, and care. And then they have certain men supporting them. I have a friend who countered these views of mine by saying, "How can you possibly expect intellectualism from women and girls when they are raped everyday by greedy men at almost every household?" I was left at a loss of words. Not because I was facing a strong opposition. But because I was having pity on my friend who was making a terrible mistake and was living in dangerous misunderstanding. He seems to be staying in a patriarchal society that had an existence a hundred years ago, and has no idea whatsoever of how horrifyingly men are raped by women, that too mostly on the psychological level. Life is going to be painful for this friend of mine. And women will be at a much more advantageous position with such men. After analysing all these things, it seems that our ancestors had ample reasons to impose restrictions on women. Freedom, love, and respect are things that men know from their instincts. Women do not want to understand these feelings. They are basically crude and think at a very crude level. One of my friends said that when he used to meet his girlfriend, he used to simply gaze at her beautiful face for the first few moments. And then he noticed that she was occasionally noticing whether his trouser had an elevation at a particular point or not. This may sound crude. But this is pathetically true.

Sayan Datta said...

While I agree in principle with most of what Shubhanjan has said, I do think he has gone a bit overboard. Though it is true that most girls cannot talk about anything beyond what's going on in the latest disco in town; there are, however, examples of those who live reasonably decent, honest and intellectually active lives. There are quite a few on Sir's blogroll itself, some of whom, though younger than me, are much more well read and have a close, personal style of writing; something not very easy to achieve.
Since generalisations have been made, let me also put into perspective the life of the maid servant, the saleswoman, the nurse, the divorcee who does a job and at the same time tries to raise a child with utmost care, uncomplaining and enduring all, with little outside help.
I could have gone on, but that would be besides the point.
I hope I have not been misunderstood here. All I am saying is that let us also keep in mind that there are, though small in number, girls who are sober, honest, intelligent, assiduous in work or study and who have dreams of becoming something more than an air-hostess or IT professional or just somebody's wife.
Sayan Datta

Aakash said...

Dear Sir,

I am not sure how appropriate it is for me, a boy, to comment on your post. But I would like to point out X has never, as a student, understood or appreciated what you taught. She found your use of the word ‘use’ corny because she has always used it in that sense. I am sure you meet the ‘education ruined me’ (a witticism that’s pretty popular on T-shirts these days) sort every day. And I can quite imagine your frustration over these people who think the world of the well after a smattering of learning.

However, I’m quite sure that there are girl students, perhaps very few in a long teaching career, who do care about you. They are like dime among cents.

With regards,

Aakash

Sriranjani Datta said...

Sir, you never understood the silent admiration. That is what I have been trying to tell you for so long. many a time you can't show your admiration because of the cruel gossiping world around you.. but you do afmire people. If protecting against gossiping about sir would lead to another gossip that i am trying to provoke sir sexualy then what would a flowery show of admiration lead to?!

kumarjit said...

While X is not a very nice person, she may sound more self-centred and pompous than she is because of her inability to express herself properly. I’m saying this because I feel that people sometimes misunderstand me because I can’t express myself properly.

The statement: ‘Well, leave it Sir, the "sir" I worshipped would remain somewhere in the mind's altar, your three precious souls can never understand nor you, Sir’ could be a cover up or a blotched up (but genuine) expression of her feelings. It reminds me of Bathsheba telling Boldwood in Far From the Madding Crowd that ‘[i]t is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.’

I’m not very fond of Hardy’s habit of portraying women as either helpless creatures or cunning shrews, but he seems to have a point here.

Subhanjan said...

In addition to my previous comment, I would like to add a few more things that have come to my mind. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that there are reasonably decent, honest and intellectually active women and girls. But it is also important to acknowledge that the number is far fewer to that in the world of men. Let me also clarify that this is not a gender war here. What I want to say is that in terms of intellectuality, very few girls even understand the meaning of that term whereas one might find intellectual men in many spheres and walks of life. In fact, if one observes the world of media, politics, academics, science, medicine or philosophy, one will see that men comprise an over-whelming majority of the intellectual force and physical force as well. The only sector that has loads of women involved is specifically fashion and page 3 related issues. Does this portray the fairer sex as the 'intellectual' lot? If there are still many women who 'live...intellectually active lives' (as someone has previously said), where is the proof? Proof has to be shown on a larger scale and not merely on the basis of one or two examples from Sir's blog.

Secondly, it is very important to note that there are indeed maid servants and divorcees who have a very hard life and that one must not expect much from them. But let us not forget that over here we are dealing specifically with the past, present, and upcoming generations of the privileged ones belonging to the middle class and the ostentatious rich that grows obese over luxury. Sir surely does not teach any maid servant and divorcee I suppose.

Thirdly, I fail to understand what privilege does working in sales and as a nurse stand for women that working as a sales boy or as a ward boy does not for men. Has human emotions like love, respect, dedication, or devotion, got anything to do with sales or nursing? I am curious to learn as to why there has been no second Florence Nightingale if working as a nurse automatically qualifies ones as an esteemed person.

Fourthly, no one will ever question the acceptance of the fact that there are a few girls who, though small in number, "are sober, honest, intelligent, assiduous in work or study and who have dreams of becoming something more than an air-hostess or IT professional or just somebody's wife". But the pity is that they are much fewer in number as compared to boys. That is the point of this entire discussion. As I said earlier, this is not a gender war. This is a lamentation over the fact the domain of 'women with brains' is almost microscopic.

Sayan Datta said...

As I have already said before, I agree with you Subhanjan. It's just that I want to believe that there are still a few good, like minded people (including girls) around. I have cribbed a lot about how bareen this country has become intellectually in earlier comments of mine; so much so that it is hard even to find someone to talk to. It's just that I don't want to go into sweeping generalizations as of now simply because I don't want to become too cynical too soon. Now, whatever I said in my earlier comment may be statistically untrue, but I still wish to believe that the valley is still green enough. Maybe some day hard personal experience will teach me a good lesson; but if I choose to shut all my doors and windows too tightly so as not to let fresh air enter my room, I am bound to die a miserable death. Indeed, if I let myself be robbed of the life giving force called hope, how will I live and work for the rest of my life?
My apologies, Subhanjan, if I offended you. That wasn't my intention as I hope you will understand.
Sayan Datta.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Hey hey...
while both Sayan and Subhanjan have said true, important and relevant things (and I will have things to say to both), I don't want this forum to be used for a debate between just these two! Where are the other commentators?

Suvro Chatterjee said...

A note at this point: of course I am aware that there are a lot of nice, strong, worthy girls/women around; my lament is that I find so few of them among my students (who all come from very privileged and 'educated' backgrounds), and so many of the contrary type. Also, this is not so much about girls' intellectual attributes as about the genuineness and depth of their emotions.

One girl has just written in support of X to say I don't understand 'silent admiration', and also why girls need to hide such admiration for fear of 'what people might say'! Of course I 'understand' silent admiration; there's nothing very intellectually sophisticated about the idea that it should be beyond my mental grasp. The point is that I despise silent admiration - as I wrote to X in the blogpost - because it is cheap. Anybody can claim she 'silently' admires me, because she has to do nothing to prove it: take no risk, spend no money, make no effort, give no time! Haven't you heard the proverb 'Actions speak louder than words'? ... and all the girls know that I am right, of course. Imagine your father having a heart attack - whom would you like more then, those who rushed to come to his help without making excuses about being busy and about what people will say, or those who stayed away, silently admiring him but doing nothing to save his life? Besides, emotion that you dare not show for fear of public criticism is not emotion of any value, is it?

Silent admiration is disgusting, and my regret is that most girls only silently admire, while so many boys do so much to show their regard (of course there are hardhearted and foulmouthed boys galore, but my point is that I find so many good ones too) - and then, when I say I love the boys much more, the girls get angry: "he's so biased"! That is really wonderful! I suppose to show I am not biased, I should love those who do nothing for me, and despise those who do - is that what girls really want? To be valued more because they have done far less to deserve it?

Sayan Datta said...

Well, whoever wrote in to say that girls have to hide 'silent admiration' for fear of what 'people might say', never really got your point because the crux of your teaching has always been to banish that very fear.These are the most hypocritical of excuses as I said before in my first comment.

Abhijit-Bhabhi said...

Respected Sir,



When I was a student in St Xavier’s, I had heard that Mrs. X, Y.Z from Carmel Convent was extremely popular with her students. I am quite sure if we ask those teachers - how many ex students are in touch with them over the years, the answer will be disappointing.

The same tendency can be seen with college girls after they graduate. How many girls actually make an effort to keep in touch or to reach out to their former classmates by taking some initiative. The general tendency seen is that girls tend to get involved with their own lives and do not seem very interested in keeping those college bonds alive , except with a very few special people. On the other hand, men do make that extra effort

I am neither trying to blame women here nor say that there is anything wrong with their behavior. I think women are not very emotional about their past and beyond a point their career, spouse and family assumes so much importance that they tend to slightly ignore other aspects. For a man, his friends, his personal life (apart from his wife and kids), his SPACE, is always very important and his other duties/responsibilities do not come in the way of doing things he really wants to do (or at least he will try to keep that spark alive as much as possible).

When was the last time you saw a gang of girls/women together in a mall, cinema hall?, but it is very common to see lots of guys , even married men who will regularly meet their pals ,and they keep looking forward to such gatherings. I can only speak for myself, but if I had to choose between my girl friend and some of my very dear friends, I would definitely choose my friends. Men tend to give a lot of importance to bonds/relationships which are not romantic by nature. The emotional fulfillment for men comes from many sources other than GF/Wife. This will include their friends, teachers, some dear colleagues etc. I think for men, their relationships are less dependent on the present day circumstances/situations but for women it depends on their present priorities.

I think women do not live much in the past whereas men tend to “hold-on” to the past a bit more. Now holding on to the past is not always a bad thing. A man will re collect his school days more often, will try to call up or contact his good friend in school and re-live those days again. I am not sure many girls/women would do that also take some action about it.

All that I am trying to say is - it is not a co incidence that in most School/College Alumni Functions, there are always very few women in attendance. . The “silent admiration” seems to be bear testimony to that.

PS: I do not intend to de-mean or criticize women here. I welcome any suggestions from anybody who does not agree with my views.


Regards

Abhijit Bharadwaj
( Bhabhi )

bharadwaj.abhijit@gmail.com

Sumitha Kurien said...

Well, well...since there are quite a lot of comments about girls and their lack of intellect etal, I thought I should chip in (being the only female commentator so far on this post).

I daresay I do not know much about the link between gender and intellect, so I shall leave that at that. But something is definitely amiss among the youth in general. They have distorted views about all things good, by the time they pass out of college. I'll give an example:

I happened to travel overnight by train, from Hyderabad to Bangalore in a sleeper class compartment last year. My husband had thoughtfully booked a ladies quota berth for me. My peace was shattered within 25 minutes of starting the journey. There was an older lady in the coupe, who appeared very polished and well educated. She was reading some religious book and it was only 7:00 in the evening. Now there was this young female, just-out-of-college types, who suddenly jumped up and told the other lady "Excuse me, please get up. I need to sleep and since mine is the middle berth, I want to use it now".

The older woman tried to reason with her as to why her demand was totally unjustified and out of place at that time of the day. I pointed out to her that there were two upper berths with no occupants. But she was adamant; she wanted to use her allotted middle berth, and for that the other person would have to crouch and sit (distinctly uncomfortable position).

Atlast, the older lady told the girl that she was the principal of a convent school in Hyderabad, and atleast she should show some courtesy or respect because of that (the girl was shouting).

The girl literally started shouting filthy and abusive words at the other woman then. She cursed her (yes! literally cursed) and said that it was a shame that she was the principal of a school.

Now I was an impartial observer of the whole incident, and all those gathered there were of one accord -- they had never seen a more horrible person in the past few months, to say the least.

The essence is, there are some things that should come from within you. When you travel in a bus and rise up to let an older person sit, that shows that you care, and that you have some amount of decency in you. But people like the girl in my story are living examples of all that has gone wrong with the world today...which precisely boils down to pomposity, greed for more and more money, selfishness and an ultra ambitious nature. And I believe that those vices aren't, like intellect, restricted to either gender.

It is however quite unfortunate that Sir has so many female students who fall in that category. Let's hope that your current and future batches will make up for this bad behaviour by their "didis".

Regards,
Sumitha

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I have little to hope for, Sumitha. If anything, girls today are far worse than they were twenty years ago! They are being brought up with the notion that they don't have to even pretend to care for anybody (even by the minimal standards of courtesy in public) unless they have something to gain or lose from him or her... hence sickening sycophancy before your own principal as long as you are in her school, and the grossest bad manners with any school principal who can no longer affect you in any way. I fear greatly not only for my daughter these days, but for her would-be boyfriends and husband, too! My wife and I tell her night and day that she has no right whatever to be inconsiderate and indecent with anyone just because she is female.

Arnab said...

Dear Sir,

I just finished watching “Shrek The Third”. I came across a line in there ... “The only one stopping you is 'you'”. A very old saying ... anyone who has taken a class from Sir would have heard it, even the girls would have!

I haven't known as many girls as Sir has, so it would be rather unfair on my part to generalize, but I've have noticed one thing about girls ... they are too concerned about the future, about what will be ... so concerned that they often forget to show their gratitude for what was.

X seems to have been offended when Sir used the word 'use', but the fact is that she (like many others, including both boys and girls) didn't chose to stay in touch because she thought that Sir wouldn't be of any use to her! As for the 'silent admiration' – I think its just another excuse ... a rather clever one. No offense X, in case you are reading this, but you see the only one who was stopping you was you!
Maybe priorities change radically for a girl from time to time, maybe they are simply ungrateful by nature ... in any case I need not say that Sir's anguish is justified.

Sir, I really think this conversation should serve as an inspiration to those ex-students, who chose to stay out of touch for a long time, to get back in touch, at least the for the boys. I couldn't help noticing that you have been extremely soft spoken throughout the conversation, Sir.

Arnab Chakraborty
arnabchk@gmail.com

sreejith nair said...

Actually it reminds me of something i learnt in the hindi class very long ago.There was a couplet from Tulsidas, i suppose, saying that buffaloes and women fall in the same category- they need to be beaten up by a stick if they have to be kept in control.
May I dare say that I am not being sexist or chauvanistic here.
Actually as Sir rightly said,females think that they can boss over just because they are females.
As one of my sisters commented recently (in the comments), citing the incident of a girl abusing an old lady who was very much doing the right things, girls have become immune to the suffering they are inflicting on fellow human beings.
One of my friends too said (in the comments) that girls were using their salary to provide for themselves.
Why go that far? Let me give you an example..Have you ever seen a wife carrying luggage in a railway platform?
Its not about the fact that males are stronger.Generally, they have less luggage. The female with all her paint and brushes(for her face) has a truckload. The poor husband, would be running with all the luggage (and the kid perched on his shoulders) while the wife will be talking to her parents, adjusting her featherweight GUCCI handbag..and taking her own sweet time while the husband rushes back with a lime juice(with extra mint)..."its so hot... no?"
And we too as a society allow the woman to do as per her will and then create havoc. Take the example of Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister or Britain's Margret Thacher or of Sri Lanka's Chandrika Kumaratunge.
As seen in the reference conversation these girls are so hypocritical. Now a days the hip talk is that girls and boys are equal! If so why do they need reservation (Womens' Reservation Bill has been passed by the UPA Govt. this year)? I mean why should college girls get a seat in the bus when an old man is standing? Why should they be given a seperate income tax slab and superior rebates when the work done is the same? And even after all this they brag about equality!
Girls are feline creatures, do not expect them to be loyal.
That Tulsidas guy was indeed wise!!!!Where's the stick?

Shilpi said...

Wow Suvro da, I am still reeling under the barrage of comments that have come in for this post of yours and on re-reading your post at least five times over. I’ll keep myself on track with points:
1. The two key statements in that post of yours is one, your own on what admiration means and two, the girl’s very last statement on how she will continue to worship you. It’s quite evident that the poor kid is not really listening to what you’re saying although I am sure that she would feel enormously hurt and offended if I told her that.

2. I’ll get back to the point above a little later but I can’t help but let out a wan grin since I’m reminded of all the times that I have told you the same thing: “there must be hundreds of girls/women who secretly care for you, and care for you a lot…”

3. I’m not sure why the girl terms the word “use” as being corny but I have a feeling that she’s not really sure about the meaning of the word corny.

4. Returning to my first point, I can’t help but grin a little more widely and I do have my reasons even though there’s nothing funny about your post. I know for a fact that there were girls who found you very interesting but never got to know you and never realized that if they had stomped over to your doorstep and rung on the bell and said, “I really think I’d like to know you a bit…” that you would have let them in. Now while I get this bit I really do not have a very clear idea about your ex-students because they did get to know you from close quarters, and they did get to see you as being caring and attentive and helpful and everything else that makes you who you are. So a part of me says that “well maybe they really just didn’t care enough. They gushed when you were an immediate presence in their lives and they bid you a farewell once they left your tuitions.”

But then I’m reminded of something you told me a while ago. And in that connection I see quite clearly that this ex-student of yours as well as other students who claim to “silently admire” you don’t really admire you or care for you or feel compassion or kindness for you. X clearly says it: she worships you. Now under normal circumstances one can’t really admire and worship someone at the same time. Under “normal” circumstances, one can’t really feel many other emotions when one is going about “worshipping”, and one doesn’t really feel the need to engage in any actions either. One worships God – whatever one’s conception of that God. One can’t (once again under “normal” circumstances) really go about “admiring” God or “care” for God or show God compassion and kindness and “be loving” towards God directly.

(There is something rather twisted and ironical about this post of yours Suvro da that I could write at least 7 pages with a lop-sided grin but I’ll stop writing shortly.)

5. I am almost convinced that there is nothing wrong in worshipping a human being (of course it greatly depends on what one means by “worshipping”!) but the point is that one must be keenly aware that one is dealing with a human being and therefore one has to be able to deal with and treat that individual as a human being, and then one can go on ahead and worship that human being if one is so inclined. But as I said “I am almost convinced” and in any case there has to be an enormous degree of care and caution and awareness that goes into such a process but now I’m digressing.

In any case I think I understand why the “silent” admiration bit disgusts you and I’m absolutely sure that if all your old girls who do (or claim to) “worship” you would just worship you a little less and really care for you a little more in “real” life and not just in their heads, everyone would be a little bit happier.

Last couple of points and I'll wrap this up:

I’ll only restrict myself to a brief comment on Abhijit’s comment about girls who are interested in keeping bonds alive with only a few special people. I don’t see anything wrong or appalling about that. Far from it – the special people are the only people with whom I would want to maintain contact. Why on earth would I want to keep in contact with every other person that I came across in college or in school?! But the important point is that if one does consider a person to be special or a relationship to be special then one must act accordingly.

The one other comment that makes me throw my arms up in the air is the one by the girl who wrote in to say that girls must hide their admiration out of fear. I do want to use some rare expletives but I will restrain myself.

It is an engrossing post, Suvroda. Alarming as well at some level and rather sad and curious as well on some other levels.
Love and regards,
Shilpi

Arindam Mukherjee said...

ever notice that the majority of the so called people who care about you..tend to be the ones who were directly taught by you in school, the ones in your section. In a school setting you tend to get to know a teacher much better by meeting with him on a regular basis, while in tuition, you only meet him..maybe once a week.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I am sorry to disabuse you, Arindam, but the fact is that many of my closest ex-students are those who attended only my tuitions - where the chances of forging strong personal bonds are actually much greater. On the other hand, considering the enormous number of boys I taught in school for 14 years, the remarkable thing is how few bother to remember me well: which is why I have earlier regretted on this blog that I didn't quit that thankless job much sooner.

As for the few girls who continue to maintain warm and genuine relationships, it goes without saying, doesn't it, that I never taught them at school?

Subhanjan said...

Kumarjit seems to have a point. But I am unsure of the validity of the remark made by Bathsheba. I think we need a little bit of information on the history of language. Or may be it is more with the history of women rather than with he history of language that we are to deal with. I will be glad if Sir throws some light on this issue.

aranibanerjee said...

Sir,

Much has all ready been said on this post: I will restrict my comments to a few lines.

This girl comes across as one of the many that I encountered in the fancy university I attended, in my 'chic' workplace: she is the member of the post-Lacanian and Lapsarian tribe who swear by Amitava Ghosh, and Milan Kundera and jashodhara-di and the rest. They have never read--'Galpoguchha'(for them Tagore's Gora--for its Freudian bit--and Ghare Baire-- for its post colonial inputs--are the only worksthat matter) Of course they are into semantics,--the pondering on the word 'use' bears testimony to it--feminism, and the post-modern ambivalence of tying all this up with 'worship'. These are the women who would ultimately give in to the wealthy men, and their beds having found 'usefulness' finally

Supra said...

Why I should admire my teacher? I would start this by discussing what students look for in teachers. This is an interesting topic. Students in most cases look to teachers as being role models. They look at the teacher’s every action and in some cases even try to be like them. If the student was brought up in a "proper" home and was taught the right values, they would try to follow in the footsteps of a teacher who has "good" ways. I admire Suvro Sir as he is very passionate about what he teaches. You can actually see that he enjoys what he does. He was also always eager to answer any questions I had on any topic that was thought. I have seen him greet everyone with a warm smile inspite of the students’ misconduct during the classes. Some teachers have a serious look so students are often afraid to approach them with questions (I've encountered these types in life as well).Sir has his rules and standards, just not ones that might seem common. He has taught me many powerful and memorable lessons about not only academics, but life in general. The magic is, he did it all in a way that actually got through me. Surely he deserves something much more than just silent admirations. Anyone can claim he admires Sir silently, because unfortunately human countenances are deceptive.

I strongly feel all that he has done and is doing; he surely needs to feel a little better now and then to go on. Obviously something sustains him and that is he still continues to hope. And we students need to change our ideas of 'respect' and 'admiration' especially the girls. Now coming to why the girls admire Sir ‘silently’ I don’t see any logic for this type of admirations. Sir teaches both boys and girls but eventually mostly the boys turn up too meet him. Sir depends *only* the boys for any kind of help or at the times of needs. This surely says something either the girls are too ‘busy’ (don’t know what makes them so busy, neither time to read a serious book nor to show some gratitude towards a teacher, who they claim to admire in their hearts!) than most boys are or maybe just don’t care. If they would have indeed admired him, why would they be shy or ‘busy’? They real reason is that most girls don’t care for a person who is not a close relative or her husband (whom she has to depend on for her needs) leave alone admire him/her. I feel the girls have no time for these ‘silly’ things they have so much to do visit the latest sale in the town, attend weddings, nag after their parents and later in lives after their own children. Most girls are contact with a teacher or her friends only till her needs are to be fulfilled, once the girls don’t need the person anymore, they choose to forget those once ‘teachers and friends’. And the most easy excuse is *Sir I admire you silently! Why do you always prefer boys?*

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Note, Supra and everybody else - not one girl/woman has directly tackled my question about why I cannot count on any girl ex-student for things like waiting for me at a railway station or admitting me to a hospital, even though so many of those girls are adult, educated, not lacking for money, and theoretically independent!

No matter how nasty it sounds, we must choose between only two possible explanations, isn't it - either girls don't care (not Supra alone but lots of people down the ages have averred that, rare exceptions aside, girls never genuinely care for anybody outside their immediate families: widespread affection and caring is a male phenomenon) or else that our girls, for all their vaunted 'independence', are still mentally living in the middle ages, so it is impossible for them to display caring the way boys can. What will mummy and pishi and saasuma and aunty next door say (oops, I forgot the males: it's the males who always prevent them from displaying true affection openly, don't they?)

Why am I insisting on the truth being openly acknowledged? Because that will help both males and females to deal appropriately with one another, with less chance of deceiving the other sex, or being deceived.

Niladri Roy said...

Dear sir,
I know how ungrateful this world is getting these days. You will do your best for someone and he/she will forget you within a few days. I can understsnd how it feels. You are the most knowledgable teacher I have ever seen, and you are hard-working too (most teachers I see lack both of them).
We feel that girls forget faster because we expect them to be caring and loving. Our fault! Boys are much more eager to pay back what they have got from someone. So they are much more grateful and helpful. And I the shell is important. Sincere gratefullness is strong enough to break it.
I am late to comment because I had my Pre-finals and was restricted to sit before the computer.

Shilpi said...

But Suvro da, how can you count on a girl to help you in any way if they claim to admire you silently (I've gotten increasingly more annoyed about this since the last time I commented on this post) and/or worship you from a distance or are afraid to show that they care or give you a hundred and one other namby-pamby excuses. Even something as simple as "giving back" makes this girl wide-eyed...makes me want to puke actually. Suvro da, you answered the question yourself or so I thought.
Your last paragraph throws an image in my head: It's almost like you're a magician who's just about to take something out of the top-hat but asks the audience "what do you think is inside?" And I have not the foggiest clue...
I'll comment on the other posts later.
Regards,
Shilpi

Shilpi said...

***Typo. Typo. First line. Apologies.
...count on girls - not on a girl.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

A little update:

This girl has not, in more than three months, found it necessary (after reading my blogpost and all the comments) to write in to say she now understands the error of her ways, and how she hurt me, and that an apology is in order.

As I say so often, why pretend to love and respect anybody - teacher or anyone else - when you know you are incapable of love and respect, and can only flatter or sweet-talk people at best when you consider them useful, and you have such a weak, fragile little ego that you cannot take criticism, even from an old teacher who may be absolutely right, though he is saying harsh truths?

From her orkut-profile and other sources, I have seen that this girl believes herself to be a gentle, loving, caring, intelligent soul. If only she knew what she looks like from the vantage point of someone like me, who has dealt with literally thousands like her!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

It's been eight months since anybody last commented here. Meanwhile, another year's batches have just come to an end. I shall, as always, look forward to seeing how many girls (ex-students) do anything at all to change my prejudice against their kind. I do not think I am going to be surprised. I have a daughter myself, and I keep telling her 'Don't be a girl, be a human being.'

DEBARATI said...

It's good to know and read different people's view about this post.

Firstly,
Subhanjan,
I see a strong hatred for girls in your words. I don't know the reason so I'll not talk about it. But one thing I'll certainly mention that I do agree that there are both girls and boys who are hypocrites. You can't just say that only girls are so. I can endlessly write about men grounded in treachery and in spite of the fact that we do not live in a patriarchal society as you say, women are still raped in their households. I also agree with the fact that there are countless girls and women psychologically raping men around.
Hence, the bottom line is, we cannot jump to conclusions about women on the whole. There has been a time when I have strongly hated men, obviously because of some very bad experience, but then I realized that it's all a matter of a person's mentality: it varies from person to person. We are not here to do a survey and pass judgments about it.
Indeed it is sad for a teacher who taught both girls and boys with equal sincerity to be cut off from the lives of only the girl students.
But on the contradiction, me being a teacher now have come across students( both girls and boys) who have happily kept in touch with me, in fact the girls take an extra effort to stay in touch. But I certainly don't go about blaming all the boys as shameless or hypocrites. It's a matter of choice I guess; it's your mentality that speaks.
So far X is concerned, I know about hr whims and fancies, since I know her personally. She has been a good friend of mine for more than a decade now and I don't mind saying this that many of the words spoken against girls here, stand true for her as I have faced it myself.

Secondly,
I completely agree with Sayan on many things.
"You don't need to be embellished in your admiration of someone to make it worthy enough. But it will get shown. In small but meaningful incidents it is bound to get displayed. Does the husband need to kiss the wife ten times everyday to show his love for her? Does the mother need to buy expensive gifts for her son on his birthday to prove how good a mother she is? But she will pay his bills and wash his clothes and fill his belly. When sick she will take him to the doctor. When lonely she will give him company. It's simple enough - For those who can see love and care do get displayed - as to this I will side with ‘T’. "
- I feel the same. Now tell me,do you think the mother who is also a woman, a hypocrite? Or will you say that her motherhood has transformed her into a human being which probably she wasn't when she just a girl or a lady?

I am a girl in my mid twenties who still encounter the whiplashes of a wretched patriarchal society. I don't accept them and because I revolt and rebel, I considered an outcast in the society, even by my parents and family members.
In my own little way, I keep telling people (my students mostly) not to be chained down by what society will think of you if you follow your heart, because these people never really care and all they need is just a topic for gossip.
Disagree with me if you want. But even I have seen a bit of this world in its worst in the last few years. I call it 'growing up'. Life teaches us every lesson I guess. There are so many things we encounter, we take some and throw away the rest.

Reagrds,
Debarati.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Debarati,
Thanks for commenting. I love to see people going back to older posts.

As you will surely agree with me, experience alone makes us grow up, and as we grow up, it has been well said, we become both sadder and wiser.

But it is also true that these days there are so many people around who are determined not to grow up... it looks weird to see people my age or older still insisting on behaving like silly adolescents. It seems to me that life has taught them nothing!

DEBARATI said...

Sir,
You are absolutely right- I do agree with you on the point that "experience alone makes us grow up, and as we grow up, it has been well said, we become both sadder and wiser."

So far growing up is concerned, I am a bit confused about how people define it. Different people have different opinion and different definition about growing up.
I would define it as a process of learning, what I get out of this process and how I make use of it. Others might not agree with me and even if they do, may be “making use" of this never ending process of knowledge will have be different.
But as you rightly said, there are indeed so many people around who are utterly reluctant to grow up. I have heard people saying that, "I don't want to grow up. I want to be in my beloved's arms without caring about the world and be pampered all my life".
I am sorry to upset those people who might be angry with this comment of mine, but I really find this deplorable. No offense love birds!
I don't find a reason why it is necessary to spend your whole life in the arms of someone else doing nothing. Is that how love is defined? By being lovey-dovey all the while and displaying it in public?

I don't mind accepting the fact that mostly girls come up with this comments.
All you boys who poured your heart out to grind the women folk can be happy! (;-))

Debarati

DEBARATI said...

Many of the readers here might have come across this but I would still like to share it with those who haven't. Besides, I think it certainly fits in with the central theme of what we all are taking about.
Please take some time to go through...


One day Math’s teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.


On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in 'Kargil' war and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never attended Funeral of a serviceman before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The place was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk. The teacher was the last one to bless .


As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Sanjay's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Sanjay talked about you a lot.'

After the funeral, most of Sanjay's former classmates were there. Sanjay's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Sanjay when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Sanjay's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Sanjay's mother said. 'As you can see, Sanjay treasured it.'

All of Sanjay's former classmates started to gather around. Arjun smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Prithwiraj's wife said, ' Prithwiraj asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

Then Deepali, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Deepali said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'


That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Sanjay and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.
Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.


Thank you for reading,
Debarati.

DEBARATI said...

Being a teacher myself, I love to keep in touch with my students. In fact I am friendlier to my students than my colleagues. Even in college, I have been more at ease with my professors than my batch mates.
The girls I studied with could not talk anything apart from jewellery, boys, marriage and food. I used to get so frustrated with them that I used to keep strolling outside the staffroom, wait for my favourite teachers to come out and strike a conversation with them Or else would go to the library and spend time.
I remember one distasteful incident in the early days of my college.
There has always been a rule for the students of English honours that the first year students would have to stage a show for the teachers of the department on teacher's day. I had prepared a short play about 5 friends who meet after 10-15 years at a cafe. The role I played was about a girl who runs away from marriage and is busy with her career.
You wouldn't believe, the next day the students of my batch locked me up in the class after the college hours and counselled me as to why I don't want to get married. When I said that it was just a role I played, they jumped up saying, "It was more than just a character, you were so into it, as if they were your own words. We need an explanation as to why you don't want to get married!"
Can you believe that? On the last day of college, I was exhilarated about the fact that I'll not have to put up with these marriage maniacs any longer.
It's four years now that I am not in contact with any of them. I don't know in which part of the world they are in or what do they do. But I know very well which professor is on leave, who has changed college, who is going abroad for further studies or who has even changed her phone number lately.

Sir, going back to one your previous comments, I would be more than happy to prove you wrong in your opinion about girls. Of course I, alone, might not be able to make a huge difference, but like the proverb goes: drops of water make the ocean. I am sure there will be many more girl students in future who would be worthy. I hope all those people who stained girls here could think otherwise. I would love to be positive here.

Regards,
Debarati.

Shilpi said...

Suvro da,

I've got to say that after being an instructor and T.A and instructor again for five years - I've had very good interactions with a few of the boys. Not to make this into a long and rambling comment - but it was the boys (one or maybe two in every semester I think while teaching as an instructor) who'd come and thank me towards the end. And every now and again they would holler at me if they saw me walking to some place and we'd engage in good conversations. A couple of boys of course were quite rude as well. One wanted an "A" for the course demanding that I show some "compassion" because he was going to join Physics at some Grad School and an "A" would be greatly appreciated and another annoyed me for an "A" as well. I told them off of course but I noticed that the boys were more effusive...in both their meanness and praise...of course there was one boy who startled me by shaking hands with me on the final day and I was much moved. Only one girl in these five years told me that she had a good time in the course....
....and I don't know how to explain this curious thing myself. Hmm...

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I am visiting this post after quite some time. Just to say that everything that has happened in the interim has only gone to strengthen my prejudice against the female of the species. When I see an exception to the dreary and pathetic rule, I salute her. But I don't have to salute very often!

Shilpi said...

That's sad, and I'm sorry. It is sad that you of all people don't come across the exceptions more often - if they exist. This post of yours has been hopping sharply more often on my nerves this year round. The post puzzles me too, and that last bit in a previous comment of yours. And I'm sorry about my previous comment - it sounds rather presumptuous and also disconnected. No point in trying to explain the comment.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

This post has been fixtured as the fourth most-read on my blog. Good.

These days, when young girls currently studying with me ask me about my attitude towards the female of the species, I direct them to this post. Saves me a lot of tedious repetition.

The girl about whom I wrote this post may find it interesting to know that since she left my tuition, I have handled several hundred just like her; just as hollow, silly, pretentious and confused. And I no longer mistake them as worth anything more than just a monthly envelope for a period of a few months. That hasn't stopped girls from coming in droves to my tuitions, and I am content.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

... and yet, at least until they grow up, girls are wonderful. You should have seen my tiny tots gush on Teachers' Day, and what trouble they took to bring chocolates and cards and pens and flowers and cut custom-made cakes and share them out among themselves, cheering all the while, while their mothers assure me they weep and fight if the parents say they can't attend one of my classes for some pressing family problem. It's only that they sour up too soon as they grow up, this much I have understood... by the time they are 18/20, they find any talk of religion/philosophy/politics/art/science/economics/aeroplanes/poetry boring, and any mention of matters romantic and sexual chhee-chhee... their only indices of growing up being getting married, having babies, shopping around, dressing up and preening and bitching at parties. Couldn't God have created them better?

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Here is an open challenge: I promise to put up every comment from adults, both male and female, who write in to say that most women they know are NOT like what I have described in the last but one line of my previous comment. Just so long as those comments are signed with your full (real) names, and do not contain abuse.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

There is a girl I know, in her mid-20s, who lost almost her entire family in a horrific car accident less than four months ago. I saw her gmail tagline today: 'I wanna (sic) shop again. its (sic) never enough!'

...meanwhile, it is soon going to be a whole month since I asked for responses to my last comment.

Rashmi Datta said...

Dear Sir,

I read this post four years back. A lot of things have changed in the following years and now I understand ever better the meaning of admiration and why silent admiration is only worth despising. Actions indeed speak louder than words and words which are not supported by actions or are contradicted by actions are only plain lies (although most of us will deny it). One would be more honest if one admitted that he/she never cared enough.

I also wonder why our women have developed such an aversion to the word ‘use’. Why in the world should we not be of some use to the people we claim to care for? Kind words, understanding sympathy, providing a shoulder to cry on, practical help, and willingness to spend time, money and energy, asking for forgiveness where due and forgiving when a sincere apology is given: If all these do not show that we care, what does? Only buying unnecessary expensive gifts or doing absolutely nothing except ‘silently admiring’?

Sir, it is only because of this post and your comments on it that I began to ponder over what admiration means four years back. How I wish more people would listen more carefully to what you say and without ego hassles. We would all be leading much more happy, useful and meaningful lives then.

Thank you for this post, Sir.

Warm regards
Rashmi

P.S. I think it is notable that not one person came forward to accept your open challenge in these six months. Says something, that does.