To Students with Love…
Every 5th of September many of you very sweetly take the time out to think of me and wish me a very happy Teachers’ Day. And I reply with a Thank You and a smiley to every message. So it has been for the past few years, and so it will continue to be in future.
Not this year though. This year I have decided to beat you all to it and say Thank You before you even wish me. Ha ha! Moreover, I am going to do something new. I, Mrunal Savkar, by the power vested in me by the various colleges and universities I have taught in, declare this day as Students’ Day from henceforth!
Because if it weren’t for you students, we really wouldn’t be teachers, would we?
So let me start by wishing all students in general and my students in particular (of course I give my students preference!) a very Happy Students’ Day! Then, following the pattern you all have set over the years, kindly allow me to thank you all for being part of my life. Each one of you has been a friend (to me at least), philosopher and guide in your own special, whimsical way. You must be wondering how? (Even if you don’t, I am going to tell you because that’s what teachers do.) Let me explain.
First and foremost, I am thankful to you for being patient enough to sit through my lectures, which I know were sometimes very boring and quite off-the-track. But not once did any of you complain or show any disrespect towards me. You know, all my life I participated in various elocution competitions and debates to get rid of my fear of public speaking. It never worked. I always fumbled, I forgot my lines and I was either laughed at or pitied. Till one day I had to face a class full of students like you who were hanging on to every word I said. Who did not frown upon me for forgetting a small detail like an important date or name. Who laughed at my not-so-great jokes and let me say what I had to say in my own weird style. You took away my fear. Thank you for that.
Thank you also for trusting me enough to share your problems with me. I am no expert at solving problems, but to give me an opportunity to help solve yours was very brave of you. I am not sure if I ever did manage to help any of you, but I certainly hope I didn’t worsen it. If I did, I apologize sincerely.
Actually, now that I have started, I can think of so many things to thank you for. I can even make a list — the “I Am Grateful To” list, let’s call it. So here goes…
I am grateful to:
1. You curious, inquisitive ones for pushing the boundaries of my knowledge and understanding by asking questions that baffled me.
2. You nervous, scared ones for forcing me to fight my own fears so that I could help you fight yours.
3. You sneaky little devils who smuggled stuff out of the kitchens for me to taste.
4. You stubborn, bossy ones who have a couple of times bullied and blackmailed me into eating lunch when I didn’t feel like it.
5. You silly, crazy ones who made me laugh with all those silly jokes and anecdotes.
6. You shy, silent ones who never really spoke to me in college but wrote to me privately when they thought of me, always asking with utmost respect after my well-being.
7. You one timid guy who never spoke to me, but wrote to me just once before an exam to tell me you were scared and shared your anxiety with me. That you thought of me in your hour of need and found comfort in my words meant the world to me.
8. You highly intelligent guy who probably had no need of my lectures — you knew more than I did! But you attended my classes nevertheless and never interrupted or argued with me. I was very flattered to learn later that you only attended my classes because they weren’t “run-of-the-mill” (that’s what I was told anyway)!
9. You two dear caring souls who, when I was in a very disturbed state of mind, put me in an auto-rickshaw, made me sit in the middle and dropped me all the way home even though you had an exam the next day.
10. You wide-eyed, wondrous ones who took my lessons seriously and developed a liking for a tedious subject like history and research.
11. You rebellious, defiant ones; I scolded you a million times and you obviously did not like me. But you perhaps have taught me one of the greatest lessons in life — that no matter how hard one tries, one cannot be liked by all. You don’t need to be! Just be yourself and be proud of who you are, without worrying about the world.
12. You thoughtful, sensitive ones who stood by me when I needed it the most.
I can think of so many more things to thank you all for, like the greeting cards and cakes and chocolates and everything. You may find to it hard to believe, but I remember almost every conversation I have ever had with each of my students. And I have grown as a teacher and as a person with every moment I spent with you all. You have given me wonderful memories that make me smile everyday. You make me proud everyday.
I became a teacher by accident; an accident I will be grateful for all my life. There are some things one cannot express in words, written or spoken. But I know you will understand. Thank you dear students — you all will always be a part of me.
Thinking of you always,
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