As I sit in my cool cabin under a puddle of light from a meek table lamp, a few early gifts by my side, outside a predicted rain merrily jumps off a white corrugated roofing sheet, needlessly smoking and clearing my window pane, its hiss offering background score to the constant Whatsapp-Facebook beeps. I check out a few messages, but quickly lose track, lost in the complex Zuckerbergian world of taggings, comments, replies, timeline posts and individual messages.
It’s the Teachers’ Day, they remind me again on a distracting day of tense US Open. It’s the day to appear in happy selfies, when you are wished by your students either with the bare minimum triplet, or with an outpouring of heart, reminding you of their first encounter or lesson that you strain hard to recall. It’s the day when, sometimes, an unblown cake bearing your name falls prey to a transparent plastic knife. The day when you also get included in the gigantically loose definition of your ilk, covering everything from the humble mother nature to the not-so-humble boss. From a piddling sibling to an unseen grandfather.
It’s also a day to nurse the injured importance of your collective species.
I feel happy to be constantly disturbed by those who would drop in to wish throughout the day. I feel good, though with slight reluctance, that they won’t take any appointment before barging in. That there is no Personal Assistant or Research Scholar between us. That I am able to talk to them about things I couldn’t dare discuss with my teachers during Engineering or MBA. It’s in these students’ dependence on a teacher that I find inspiration to improve as one. They make me realize that sometimes, if not always, you feel more like a teacher outside the rulebooks of the classroom than inside the pressure-cooker confines of one. So when they shove sweets in the mouth after getting a job, I couldn’t feel more at home.
It’s in the smiles, tears, brilliance and naivety of these students that I grow into a teacher everyday.
I put my hand once again into the cauldron of overflowing Facebook and start penning this down out of sheer exhaustion. The rain mellows down and I can now see the old drops start to slither, through the drooping, dappled leaves of my starving money plant.
As umbrella-headed students walk down a rain-polished aisle flanked by pristine areca palms sprouting out of beige concrete boxes, I see a movement outside my smoked glass door. A student slowly pushes in. I smile at him, happily, proudly, expectantly, almost as a reaction to the imminent greeting.
“Sir, what’s pattern of questions in the midsem exam?” he asks with a devastating ignorance, a shy, guild-laden smile playing on his chubby face.
Happy Teachers’ day, I wish myself.