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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Essays, heat and rain, selfishness

He is never late for class. He sits like a Buddha with a long nose (I’d like to touch that nose!). He drinks endless cups of tea. He brings boring lessons alive. He sniffs too often. He marks homework meticulously. Sometimes he calls out answers so fast that I have trouble keeping up. He is very frightening when he flies into a rage, but he cools down quickly. He can stay calm even in the midst of family crises. He takes out the garbage himself. Time flies in his class, we have so much fun. I had heard lots of nasty rumours about him, but the real man is very different. I am going to miss these classes…

That was the general tenor of the essays that the current batch of pupils in class 10 wrote about Suvro Sir. Some cheerfully read them out in class, some had to be coaxed, some submitted the essays for me to read because they were too shy to read them aloud, and many of them, of course, didn’t bother – I daresay the majority of them dislike me, or couldn’t care less, belonging to the type who only come to collect notes or because their parents have forced them in. It pleases me, rather, to see that so many kids did take the trouble and wrote so many nice and curious things – sometimes they give me tips which help me to improve – and also to see that nothing seems to change: their mothers and fathers were hearing the same rumours and writing the same sort of comments thirty years ago, and, if I live that long and carry on, their children will probably be doing the same. Mobile phones have not made any significant difference here, at least!  

So thank you to those who wrote all the nice things: my blessings and good wishes. May you have gained something from me that will be of lasting value. As for the rest, go your own way, but try not to be mean and malicious afterwards out of sheer ignorance, stupidity and spite, as you have seen so many elders doing. Remember, it only says things about you, not about me. Remember, also, that something does not become either right or good or defensible just because mummy or daddy does it, whether it is talking on the phone while driving or spreading gossip born of idleness and envy. That is one of the very very wicked things that Indian parents manage to drive successfully into the heads of their children – they must be ‘thankful’ that two people brought them into this world, and thankfulness translates into covering up for those two all their lives!

There was a terrific thunderstorm on Friday evening, followed by torrential rain – the heaviest this year so far. I don’t know whether this is the first sign of the monsoon or whether this was some sort of ‘depression’ as the Met office likes to call them these days (the weather seems even more frequently ‘depressed’ nowadays than people are!), but from the very next morning it has been blazing again, besides being incredibly muggy – the downpour could have been a dream, were it not that the wet earth still bears testimony. This is the time of the year when only the airconditioners keep me going (and gift me with a bad cold that refuses to go away). Yet on a very hot June afternoon 34 years ago I bathed in the cold water of a deep well and fell fast asleep in the shade of a giant peepul tree in a village somewhere deep inside Jharkhand (it was Bihar then), waking up only when I was hungry again, and the sun was setting in crimson glory. Have I changed, or has the weather?


Talking of change, look at the picture below.


 I have been seeing this advertisement frequently in the newspapers lately. (Another one, put out by some coaching class, I think, promises to develop the ‘killer instinct’ in children so that they have a better chance of being ‘successful’ in life). Most people have always been blindly, stupidly selfish, of course, and never found out the joy of sharing and caring, but has petty, vicious materialistic selfishness ever been preached to children as a good thing on a vast scale this way before? Just what kind of adults are these kids going to grow up into? Oh, I know, I have talked to a lot of people in their thirties and forties, and the commonest and most asinine thing they say is ‘Sir, you take things so seriously… amra moja korchhilam Sir, we were just having fun.’ I think of the ‘fun’ that the young adults of 2035 are going to have, those who will become teachers and policemen and politicians and parents then, and I remember the fun they had at Auschwitz.

2 comments:

Deyasini Ganguly said...

Dear sir,
You told us once in our classes that your blogs are an extension of your classes. I didn't quite understand the need of that extension back then while I was still reading there. Now, reading your blogs do give me an identical feeling that I felt sitting in your classes and I might say this loud that I do not really miss my past schools a lot but I do miss my English classes and I often ask my sister to tell me more about the air of the classes just in order to keep up.
Talking about the essay, I remember writing that in Class 8 instead of 10.I still have that essay with me. Actually, I have all of them with me. They just remind me of good old times.
Coming to 'fun', I think anything anybody does today and posts on the Internet becomes 'cool'. The other day, I saw a video on Facebook captioned 'most hilarious thing you'll see' and it contained a man waxing off the eyebrows of another sleeping man. Funny, is it? Cuz I don't think that's the first word that would come to my mind if a similar trick was tried on me. God knows how people get excited and 'like' such things when they should bring up nothing but disgust and irritation, perhaps. Anyway, I did the best I could. I hid that post from my timeline and requested Facebook to show fewer posts like those.
Talking about the torrential downpour on 2ND that the entire city is talking about,I didn't have the slightest knowledge of that. There I was in the Bioscope watching Posto and strangely, I never made out that the weather outside was so fierce. Yeah, we didn't hear one thunderbolt Oh, Posto was a great film by the way! Please do give it a watch.
And as far as selfishness is concerned, I do not have anything to say. If parents can absolutely ruin or change the course of their children's lives just in order to satiate their self obsession and ego and mean minded selfishness and then dub their decisions as acts of sacrifice for their wards , then I guess all the other selfishness in this world can be better justified.
Deyasini Ganguly
ICSE 2015 Batch

Sreetama said...

Sir,
I could relate this blog of yours with one posted 9 years ago(I wished I had resigned sooner).
The despair ushered in by that blog of yours is dispelled, even if slightly, by this present post as well as the comment from your young student.
All I can say is that at times we tend to take things that are beautiful and precious for granted, whenever they seem to be within our reach (in the poet's words - "ekti dhaaner shisher upor ekti shishir bindu").
Your proximity in a town like Durgapur, perhaps doesn't appeal much to the parents/students who are very unfortunate to pass you off as another commonplace tutor.
Time and again we keep on realising what we miss and more so when as parents we sadly fail to find real 'teachers' like you, who are infact on the verge of extinction.
Again taking cue from your 9 years' old blog, it's a lesson for all parents like me that excellent results from branded schools and colleges do not automatically ensure real education.
Infact such academic performances​ and big names don't even suffice to secure a job as as been echoed in the following article by one of the hirers:
http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/iphone/homepage.aspx#_searchresults1

My regards,
Sreetama