Monday, October 22, 2012


About ten minutes before my morning lecture, today, Ritesh* sent me this sms:

“Gd mng sir. I just left home; will be late for class by 5 min.
Hope, you don’t mind, sir. Thanks.”

I replied, immediately, “No problem, Ritesh. Come.”

Meanwhile, I got another sms… This one was from Heena*:

“Can’t come for class at 4 today. When to come tmro?”

I did not reply to her for two hours. Then, I sent this one:

“At 4 tmro.”

Actually, Heena’s message was in this shape:

“Can’t cum 4clss at4 2dy wen2 cum 2mro???”

That’s okay… I would have still replied her, immediately. But, what made me a bit ‘sick’ was the plain apathy… the indifference… the insensitivity… the lack of respect, if I should put it in an old-fashioned way. 

“Sir, I can’t cum 4clss at4 tdy. Can u pl tell me wen can i come 2mro?”… Or, “Sir I am sorry, I am not able to attend the class today at 4. Can I attend anytime tmor at ur convenience, sir. Appreciate, if u let me know. Thanks.”

There were many more ways in which Heena could have impressed me. But, not with this:

“Can’t cum 4clss at4 2dy wen2 cum 2mro???”

Now, tell me. Who should change: my 16-year-old student, Heena or her 54-year-old, sir? Should the student change the way she writes her message? Or, should the teacher change the way he reads the message?

By the way, Ritesh, too, is just 17… goes to one of the ‘town-side’ colleges… He, too, has a fine cell-phone and scores of ‘cool’ friends. But, then, who taught him to type his message the way he did?

“Gd mng sir. I just left home; will be late for class by 5 min. Hope, you don’t mind, sir. Thanks.”

“Come.” This can be a command, an order… or, it can be a warm invitation, a kind assurance, “It is okay beta, if u are late by 5 minutes… Please come… I will take you in.” Yes, whether “Come” is an order or a warm, kind invitation… is decided by how it is conveyed: 

“No problem, Ritesh. Come.”

We are busy people… Aren’t we? 

So, a student is too busy to add in her message

 ‘Sir’, ‘please’ or ‘thanks’… 

and, a teacher is too busy to add in his message 


or, ‘it is okay’ or ‘No problem’. 

“Move with the times,” many advise me. I do… Yes, I do.

But, my heart is still old-fashioned… The warmth of your words keeps it alive and young. Heena, please let your Blackberry know this.

“It is okay Heena… Please come for class tomorrow at 4. Love.”

*Names have been changed


Pics.: Supriya Chavan


Kapil Nawani said...

Like it old-fashioned manner. Kapil

Vishaka Lal said...

Woke me up!!! Thank you, sir. Vishaka

Vivek said...

A very good awakening ..! Thank you sir !!

Meera Awasti said...

Must read for every parent and child. Thanks Gerry.... Meera

Anonymous said...

Kids watch and learn... Let's us set good example. Great writing.
- Utpal