Enlightening young minds

Enlightening young minds

A teacher prises open our skills, further honing, gilding them to sparkle distinctly.

In 1993, my family relocated to Agra from Mathura. My father, a government employee, was subjected to transfer every three years. That year, my parents decided to settle in Agra, at our ancestral house.

A big city, Agra would cater to the educational needs of my elder brother and me, and my father’s transfer would not trammel our studies. With great efforts, my parents could somehow secure my admission into class VII at a prestigious English medium school.

I hailed from Mathura, a small town, while Agra was considered, and still is, among the bigger cities of Uttar Pradesh. I faced great difficulties in adjusting to the new environment. I was nonplussed by new teachers, classmates, curriculum, friends and neighbours. I scored poorly in exams. My weak English fettered my performance in every subject. 

The results of the first term exams turned out disastrous. My mother feared that I may not be able to qualify into the next grade. When my parents realised that my major deterrent was English, they even thought of transferring me to a Hindi medium school. However, by working hard for the second and third term exams, I somehow managed to qualify for class VIII. 

English being my impediment, I riveted all my focus towards it. But that particular year, I remember, like a harbinger of spring, my new English teacher, Mrs Shanta Tripathi, spry and debonair, supplanted all my fear for the subject with love. As if a magnet, her teaching would automatically draw all the attention towards herself.

Her intoning descriptions would enable my ears and eyes to listen and visualise the content of the poems and passages. I could see the beauty of nature in the poems and the ruse of characters in the plays of Shakespeare. I loved her classes. I started loving the subject. At a canter, I scored fairly not just in English but in other subjects as well.

Towards the end of the year, we had a school tour to Kathmandu, Nepal. This was my life’s first long-distance tour and also my first tryst with nature’s bounty. As our school bus rolled through the vast and vivid prairies and valleys, the springs and rivulets and the stunning hamlets of the Himalayas, I realised that all the beauty that my senses discerned dovetailed into the descriptions given by my teacher. 

Even today, when I catch a glimpse of a valley of flowers alive with brooks or misty mountains with a melting sun or riding clouds with the drumming rains, I feel as if the words of my teacher have resurrected in front of my eyes.

Similarly, in class XI and XII, Sir Char-les Clarence took charge of our English classes. He would instil life into the characters of Joe, Pip and Estella from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. In his articulate explanations, the characters and the scenes would never seem fiction. He would frequently urge students to make reading their passion. I owe my passion for reading to my teacher.

It is the result of untiring efforts by such teachers that young cavernous minds are filled with the elixir of knowledge and wisdom. A teacher prises open the skills in each individual, further honing and gilding them to sparkle distinctly. No matter what we become or where we reach in life, their valuable teachings continue to resound vibrantly in the horizons of our minds. I dedicate this article to all wonderful teachers for unfurling and ushering many young lives towards becoming enlightened responsible individuals.

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