Sister John: She was our English teacher at Loreto Convent, Shillong. Originally from Ireland, she instilled in us proper English cannot be taken for granted and made sure we’d dot our I’s, cross our T’s and put the apostrophe in the right place! And of course, we had to pronounce everything correctly. She also often made us compete in handwriting competitions and we’d all try and outdo each other in that department. A few of my classmates had really admirable handwriting and I still remember some of them! She was an amazing teacher and if there’s any reason why my love affair with writing and reading continues, she’s one of the primary reasons.
Beena Ahmed: She was scary and a tough master to please. She was the Assamese teacher in school. As if English and Hindi were not hard enough, we also had to learn our mother tongue. Added to my woes, I never ever could figure out head or tail of Assamese grammar. I would sit at the back of her classes so that I could avoid being pulled up. I still tremble when I think of her.
Pant Sir: In Mumbai, I rediscovered painting and sketching through CS Pant. I found him quite by luck in the Mid-Day. I had to wait for about a year to get into a convenient class, since he was always full or never had a time that suited me. Finally, one day, he called out of the blue and told me to come over. Two days a week, after work, for more than a year, it was a pleasure going to his studio, sitting on the floor and attacking a canvas with gusto. It didn’t matter how good or bad you were, he always had an encouraging word for everyone. He made the classes really interesting as he loved gossiping and took a lot of interest in all his students. He organized outings, where he would paint amidst nature and he loved that so he would try and get us out somewhere at least twice a year. He made art come alive and it was a year that I badly needed that distraction and colour. If there’s one thing I miss in Bangalore, it’s his classes.
Mme. Vidya: One of the best teachers I have come across at the Alliance FranÃ§aise, Bangalore. She makes French class come alive with her dedication and enthusiasm. Frankly, I had decided not to continue after finishing 3B since my time commitments to the language were below what was required. But when Mme. Vidya fought for a weekend batch for the diplÃ´me level, I made up my mind to try and continue as long as I am able to. She makes sure to correct every exercise you send her. She takes so much care in everything she does, that you automatically want to work harder for her class (it’s a pity that I still don’t work hard enough!). She takes particular care about pronunciation and without a doubt it has been because of her that we actually correct ourselves when reading! One look at her arched eyebrow and we know we’ve made a mistake and then we try again. She also makes sure that everyone is as involved in the class.
For all these teachers and many others who have shaped my life in some way or another: a Happy Teacher’s Day!