Wednesday, September 05, 2007

a tribute to the teachers in my life

It needed an Aviva from the Radio City to remind me that tomorrow is Teacher’s Day. Shame on me! Being a teacher myself at one point of my life, I should have definitely remembered it earlier. But thanks to her and her Route No 91 show that keeps me a good company on my way back to home.

Teachers are the people, who you would never forget in your life time. In this post I am paying a tribute to those people who have touched my life. These include the people who taught me and also the people with whom I was lucky to share the staff room during my 2 year stint as a Lecturer.

Achan. He is the one. My first teacher. The one who took pain to get the books shipped from Kerala to a distant Zella in Libya and teach this yours truly the “ThaRa, PaRa” of Malayalam and English Alphabets. At that point of time, my mom claims that I could spell the English alphabets forward and reverse fluently. His presence was felt throughout my school education. He used to chip in with the minute details of Biology and Chemistry, after I graduated to the high school and then to secondary. Those where his subjects, his forte. I terribly missed his teaching once I joined for Engineering. And I envy my sister who still gets his guidance since she chose to become a doctor like him.

Primary school days! Ah, those first steps to the school. As I started my education in Class II, the environment at the school was unknown to me. All my teachers at St Mary’s L.P School, Palai, gave me enough confidence to be in my own zone and felt me very much one among them. Of course I did cry the first few days. :P

At S.N.H.S Vadakara, things were not quite smooth. I had to learn a new subject, Hindi, which I was not taught in the Palai School. And Achan arranged a Teacher to give me tuition. She was Prabha Teacher, who was my Valiyamma’s classmate. She was really good in that subject, and taught me the intricacies of our national language. Things like the gender of words and other grammar.

As I grew up people like Physics Mohanan Sir, Prema Bai Teacher, Appunni Sir, Nanu Sir taught us the various subjects. Being young, Mohanan Sir mingled quite well with us while Prema Bai teacher was the best in English. Appunni Sir and Nanu Sir handled Malayalam and Hindi respectively. I will always remember Nanu Sir for his “Mein Jatha Hum, Thum Jaathe Ho, Aap Jaathe Hai” statements, which he used to make us recite to make our Hindi grammar correct. He is the one who told us that it is “Mujh Ko” or “Tujh Ko” and not “Mere Ko” or “Tere Ko”. But my inspiration and favorite was Madhavan Sir who taught us Mathematics. In his hands Mathematics was just like a cool rivulet flowing down the mountain. I was very much touched when on the eve of our SSLC exams, he called me up and said “Dhanush, I expect you to top in Mathematics”. I topped in the whole school, but Maths I and II fetched me 92 out of 100 and that was not enough to top in that subject. That award of top scorer when to my dear friend Boost.

I meet most of these people once in a while at my home town, but last year I made it a point to visit my school especially to visit Madhavan Sir. He was there in the middle of the Mathematics Club inauguration and bringing up the next generation Maths Whiz Kids. He was very happy to see me and I wished him the very best in his endeavour.

In the middle of that high school life, Achan found out that my Malayalam was getting weak and arranged a uition with Namboodiri Mash. I still don’t know his first name, but he was famous in Vadakara as the best Malayalam Teacher and known as just Namboodiri Mash. He was the one who introduced me to Malayalam literature. He told me the importance of reading Malayalam books and Magazines for improving my Malayalam vocabulary. I remember one instance where he asked me to recite Changapuzha’s “Kaavyanarthaki”. I started “Kanaka Chilanka Kilungi Kilungi” without any tune. Then he asked me to stop and recited it for me and asked me to recite with him. There I learned the tune of it and many more poems. I learned the Vrithams and Alankarams and learned to apply them on the poems. Finally I could identify the Vritham of a poem and sing it in the correct tune. Namboodiri Mash was really a genius.

In my life, I have always maintained the point that Class XI was the worst year in my entire school history. Firstly I was upset with Achan’s decision to join me in a Plus Two School instead of the prestigious Govt. College, Madappali, where my father, his brothers and my elder cousins studied. I was the first one in our family not to be studying in Madappalli College. Secondly I had to travel close to 90 kms a day and was mostly late for the class, with the Calicut-Kannur Passenger never keeping the right time. And so the stint that year was nothing great. Only a few teachers like Rasika Miss, who taught us English, and Chandrasekharan Sir of Chemistry impressed me. And this was where the term “teacher” was replaced with “miss”.

Seeing my marks plummet like Venkatesh Prasad’s pace at that time, Achan decide to pack me off to another school, this time a bit far in Tripunithura. I was put up with my aunt and there started my best phase of school life. I started taking things a bit more seriously and my favorite there was Sunanda Miss, who taught Biology. Her classes were just simply brilliant and interesting. Moreover that she had great affection to us, as we were the few boys (There were only 4 of us in the whole school) who took Biology.

I cannot forget Appukuttan Sir of ICS Coaching Classes, Ernakulam, who taught us Biology. He was the one who increased my interest in Biology by explaining the terms simply and beautifully. His classes were always comfortable and enjoyable and he used to crack jokes that will make you laugh for minutes. But in the midst of that too he was a strict teacher.

Dr. Radhakrishnan Sir, in our second meeting could, call out my name looking at me, during my first year in college. That just impressed me that in the first day in class, he actually has by hearted the names of all 50 of us who joined Govt. Engineering College, Trichur for Comp Science Course. He taught us Computer Organization in S4 and was really a great Teacher. During this time I have really dropped the interest in studies a bit and was brought down to an average student. And then one day looking at my S4 Results Reghuraj Sir asked me why I am not doing good. He was our class teacher. He called me up and enquired what the problem with me is. That really touched me as at a Govt. College no teacher really bothered to ask a student why he is doing bad in studies. I promised to do better at least in Reghuraj Sir’s subjects, but I must say I would not have done justice to that promise. During this period when we graduated to the final year both Radhakrishnan Sir was transferred to another college and Reghuraj Sir went to do his Phd.

Vrinda Madam came to teach us Microprocessor Based Design this time and was really a nice teacher. She explained the concepts well. Moreover she didn’t see the class as a group studying and non-studying students as was done by some other teachers during that time. She considered everyone equal.

Then one fine day I too turned a teacher, in fact a Lecturer-The Versatile Dhanush Mash. At Digi Dynamics, there was Reejesh Mash, Sreejith MP, Sudheer Mash who really ruled the classes and also inspired the students to do better. Reejesh Mash was really strict, but friendly. No one could play gimmicks with him, not even us. MP was the hardware geek; setting up networks, machines, bringing in new technologies, jumping into unknown territories of Computer Science was his forte. Sudheer Mash was the hard worker. He really sat and learned new subjects and taught them to the students. It is a strange reality that today apart from MP both of those best guys are not in this field any more. Reejesh Mash too ventured into the field of IT while Sudheer Mash joined the Govt. Service.

I did a short stint in Model Poly Technic Vadakara and Vadakara Co-operative Engineering College Vadakara. Nothing memorable was there except for the good company I had with Sreejith Sir and Jijose Sir.

Then came the big daddy of all. National Institute of Technology, Calicut or REC Calicut. How they selected me is still a mystery to me and I am pretty sure that I never did a good job there. But as this post is about the teachers, I would not divulge into those details. NITC should have had the best teachers in Kerala for Computer Science at that time. It was a great honor for me to share the staff room with Namboodiri Sir, Govindan Sir, Sebastian Sir, Murali Sir, Vinod Sir, Nazeer Sir, Saleena Madam, Subhasree Madam, Priya Madam, Madhu Sir and Saidalavi Sir.

Govindan Sir, who was the Head of the Department at that time, helped me a lot in setting up the question papers and the answer keys for the semester exams as NITC had turned autonomous that year and the Lecturer’s had to set the questions themselves for the semester exams. For a young guy who barely started his teaching career that was a big thing, and Govindan Sir’s experience really helped me a lot.

Murali Sir was the exponent of Theory of Computations and Compilers. I used to attend his classes whenever I was free, in the pretext of preparing for the GATE exams. If only I had prepared well! Murali Sir taught me the art of sitting behind a motor bike. He drove bikes crazily and I had to really adjust with his speed and skill to make myself comfortable at the back. Vinod Sir was the ever friendly chap with whom I discussed literature, cinema, music, and an occasional computer science. He was the guy who after 4 years of IT experience threw away the job and joined REC. Boy; he made a courageous decision at that time, when Y2K and IT was booming in India.

Saleena Madam was the mistress of Data Structures and Theory of Computations, while Subhasree Madam taught Operating Systems and Database. From Saleena Madam, I learned the procedure of solving the recurrence relations and Big Oh Notations, while Subhasree Madam was always there to help in Operating Systems, the subject which I took. Nazeer Sir was the Artificial Intelligence Guy, Madhu Sir the Database expert while Saidalavi Sir handled Logical Design and Advanced Operating Systems during this time.

Namboodiri Sir was the first HOD of our department and was a renowned teacher all over Kerala. Sebastian Sir took charge as the HOD after Govindan Sir’s tenure ended just after I left the institution. Both these persons were the doyens of Computer Science and I was really lucky to be among them for that one year. It was really comfortable to be among with those senior people. They made you fell just one among them.

And then on one fine summer day I got the intimation from my company, where I was placed in campus, to join them in the monsoon. Thus ended my teacher’s life. NITC was probably the best period of that two year teacher stint. There were a lot to learn and explore. Probably I feel I didn’t utilize them to the best, or I was not good enough for that. Some time before, I used to think I would like to go back to NITC, but later I decided not to as I was not sure if I could offer anything best when compared to these stalwarts.

Memories of all these teachers jsut doesn't fade away. They are the ones which you treasure. Given a chance to be taught by these people at any point of my future life, I would be glad to accept. The most of important aspect of all these people are not only their teaching quality, but the fact that they are good human beings too and simple and down to earth. Something that will bring the best out of you.

On the eve of Teacher’s Day, I salute all those teachers in my life and also all the teachers around the world. Simply you are the best.

Wishing you the very best on this Teacher's Day.

Photo Courtesy:


yetanother.softwarejunk said...

Happy Teacher's day!

offnote: enjoy the day with "Teacher's"

silverine said...

Beautiful post...vivid memories. Your teachers are so lucky that you remember all of them. That would be their lasting legacy...a student like you :)

Alexis said...

Nice post...
And a very happy teacher's day to Dhanush mash...

Sree said...

Nice read. reminds me of the rainy bike trip behind u, during those NITC days!
Would love to do it again though :)

Nice read bro!

Dhanush said...

Joju Same to you. "Teachers" is way too costly :)
Silverine I am definitely lucky to be taught by them. They were the best. Lasting Legacy? I doubt :)
Alexis Thanks Alexis. Same to you too, for you provide the students all over the world with some incredible books
SreeTrue. Those were the days. And thanks to NITC for making you my best friend.

pophabhi said...

Maashe...Dhanush was just kidilam da. Terrific post. Was so involved in it.

Shud make amma read it,since she never fails to tell that the most satisfying job is teaching. She will love this one.

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Preethika said...

Actually even I missed it... and later when i remembered it, I spent some time thinking about those wonderful people to had played that important role in my life. Nice post!!

Btw, I missed meeting you at Vikas's wedding. I too was there... later I saw you in the photos. :-)

Dhanush said...

Abhi Thanks da. Hope your mom loved it :)
Preethika Thanks. Is it? Didn't you notice a guy clicking photos left right and center ;)