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On a rickety wooden bench, we all once sat paying rapt attention to (or at least pretending to pay attention to) a person whose sole mission in life appeared to be imparting some crucial wisdom to the likes of us boisterous children.
Yes, for the better part of our lives, we have been
subjected to this very unique breed of humans we like to call 'teachers'. Now, these teachers are almost alien in their ability to hold down and control a huge group of raucous, easily excitable kids. Since I have two aunts who are teachers, I have had the opportunity to observe these almost other-worldly creatures at close quarters and I've discovered that they have certain qualities in humongous proportions — patience, compassion and respect.
A teacher's influence over our lives is barely understood, grossly under-appreciated. At the age of 10, the wisdom of teachers seems very rigorous and boring. “Honesty is the best policy” and “Pride comes before a fall” — such lessons seem like a waste of time and are willfully ignored. At the age of 25, with relationships turning sour and career ambitions taking the forefront, we silently think back to the days of yore and the simple, proverbial wisdom of teachers.
At 10 years, we took them for granted. A decade later, we realised how much they nurtured our confidence and inner self. Two decades later, we begin to understand that it was our teachers who taught us life's golden lessons or at least prepared us for them; and hopefully by then they are still around for us to be able to thank them.
The beauty of a teacher is that such a person is not relegated to the classroom. Mentors, guiding force, life coach, guru — call them whatever you like. Your father, professor, first boss, neighbour, janitor — anybody and everybody can be a teacher. That's the beauty of it all. We can be influenced by people whose experiences have made them stronger and wiser. We can choose to be touched by their knowledge or wallow in ignorance.
I wish a happy Teacher's Day to all those guiding lights who shined for me — Sister Muriel Rita from school, Aunts Margaret and Una, my first director Vijay Bhaskar, Lady Gaga and Carrie Bradshaw! :-) And this is just the tip of the list. After all, everybody has a lesson to share!