“Good evening teacher”, I greeted her. “Good evening” she said and hugged me. My heart was filled with the warmth of her love and a small tear fell from my eye. I had been longing for this love since four never-ending years. Jenny and Donia too welcomed me at the door. I embraced my little girls and was overwhelmed to see them as young pretty girls now. The last time I had seen them was when Jenny was still a school going child and my little Donia was studying in class one. “Have I grown old?” this thought silently crossed my mind.
I walked inside the house along with Rakesh. The place still looked the same, serene and
peaceful. It was the same abode where I have spent lovely time with them. I felt nostalgic.
“So how are you Khushboo?”She asked me with her radiating smile while Jenny served me my
favorite “Kerala Special Banana Chips”. “I am doing well teacher. See, I have put on so much
of weight”, I giggled as I munched on the chips. “No no, this is needed. I am so happy to see
you” she replied.
She then struck a conversation with Rakesh and the topic was me of course. She told him about
the bond that she shared with me and the likes of me. She shared with him some memories of
me as her naughty student. I was amazed at the fact that she remembered so much about me even after so long. Rakesh was enjoying every bit of the conversation and amidst all this I was lost in the fond memories of yesteryear.
“Is Mini teacher going to be your Mathematics teacher now?” My sister asked as I packed my
bag for school.” I don’t know”, I replied hastily. “I am sure she is. She teaches class VIII, IX and X. Now that you have finally reached class VIII (my sister giggled), she will teach you Mathematics. Khushboo, now you can’t escape from the clutches of Mathematics”. My sister chuckled as I silently scowled.
I still remember seeing her for the first time. A shiny dusky complexion, big bright beautiful
eyes, a posture so straight and confident and a radiant grin that made her look so stunning.
She held an algebra book in her hand. She entered the class and we stood to wish her, “Good morning teacher”. “Good morning” she replied and we sat down. “I am Mini Philip”, she introduced herself. “I’ll be teaching you Algebra and Geometry from now on”. Mini teacher? I swallowed my heart that was almost in my mouth.
As days passed by, our interactions increased. I loved the way she approached Mathematics. It
had created a wave of interest in me. The initial fear changed into affection for her. She was full of love however also ensured that we remain within the boundaries of discipline. It was because of her that I started liking geometry too.
She took no time to realize that geometry was my greatest weakness and helped me whenever
I approached her with a doubt, be it the silliest of all. “Focus on theorems, Khushboo, once
you understand them, Geometry becomes easy. Then you can solve any problem without any
difficulty. I know you can do it”. She always sounded so optimistic. Now it was for her that I
wanted to learn theorems and geometry. During the initial year of my learning with her I had
significantly improved my geometry. All thanks to her I was no more scared of the subject.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires - William Arthur Ward
On my parents request she agreed to coach me in algebra and geometry after school in class IX.
Those coaching sessions changed my life completely. It changed the way I viewed Mathematics
as a subject. I would have given up had it not been for her. She helped me understand every
problem logically and not just for the sake of keeping a tally of my marks. She taught me that
no matter how hard I worked, if I looked at a problem like a pessimist I would never be able to
overcome it. “Khushboo, first accept that you want to learn Geometry. Then believe you can
do it and work towards it. Finally leave the rest to God”. This learning became the foundation
of all the learning that I took up in life, later. I worked hard because she believed in me. I didn’t
want to put her down. I would sometimes whine about it but that didn’t deter my teacher from
pushing me to do well. I often recall that punishment of writing theorems multiple times till
I understood it well. And that occasional scolding when I expressed my insane desire to omit
a chapter because it was tough sounds so silly now. Nonetheless her hard work paid off and I
scored 70/75 in my final exams in Geometry (first time ever in the history of my education ;)). I
was overjoyed and silently stood behind me was my teacher who steered my life.
The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth"- Dan Rather
I had very soon become close to her. She was more than a teacher to me, perhaps a mother figure now. I cracked jokes, shared random stories and childish poems with her. She would patiently listen to it and often encouraged me to write more. I have been one of those few fortunate ones who have been privy to the secret that Mini teacher makes amazingly tasty sambhar and aviyal. I have feasted on them to my heart’s content. I was a regular guest on Christmas Eve and loved the appam’s she made. Yes, I have also gorged on these appams on multiple occasions.
“Next time when you come to see me I want you to come with your child, Khushboo”. Her words brought me back to the reality of today. I just smiled at her statement.
Honestly, she has showered me with her abundant love and enlightened my life. I passed out of school in the year 2000 but the bond between me and Teacher continues to remain strong. Time and again I visit her as a long lost child and like a mother she always welcomes me with her open arms. When I was going through a rough phase of my life, she stood by me. It was through her that I understood the power of prayer.
I share a lovely equation with her daughters too. They are my lovely angels. Their heartfelt
mirth still resonates in my ears. I love both of them. We laugh insanely, learn new things
together and whenever we meet, we talk endlessly.
After relocating to Bangalore I had been unable to connect with Mini Teacher for various
reasons. A part of my heart ached for her love. But this Diwali when I met her, she emblazed my
life with her love again. Even after several years I could feel the warmth of her affection. Time
had not faded off her love for me. Neither could it corrode the relationship we share. True, love
is beyond time and boundaries. Perhaps some teachers continue to inspire and teach their
students for ever. This time Mini teacher taught me the “Theorem of Unconditional Love”, a
theorem that I shall remember and cherish all my life.
“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well” – Alexander the Great
Mini Teacher has inspired many students like me and continues to do so. And as far as I am concerned I have a special place for her in my heart and in my life too.