Monday, March 2, 2015


Pic.: Tandra Chakraborty

A lady called me up this morning. “Sir, my name is Anjana*,” she said, “If you remember, you had taught my brother-in-law, Uttom* many years ago.”

I had difficulty recollecting the name. By then, Anjana had already asked me this: “Sir, do you still teach?”

“What else will I do, Anjana, if I don’t teach?” I asked light-heartedly.

“Just asked sir,” Anjana sounded a bit apologetic, “it is really a long time – almost, thirty years since you taught my brother-in-law!”

Anjana wanted to enroll her son for the twelfth-standard… But, she wasn't sure whether I was still in the profession of teaching!

I know someone who has a shop, not very far from my office. Over the last ten years, I have seen the sign-board outside his shop changing at least four or five times… Which means, every two years, he has tried a new venture… And, he is still trying!

After a certain stage, every person and every business has to re-invent himself or itself. Else, stagnation comes in. Diversification, therefore, is good. But, not until one finds his niche, his area of core competency… Simply put: If you do not know what you are best at, you will keep testing and experimenting all your life!

The other day, I was reading what Amitabh Bachchan was telling when asked about what had saved him from total bankruptcy. “My passion for acting and bringing focus back on it,” he had replied.

That sums it all… Imagine Amitabh Bachchan without his acting prowess… Imagine him doing everything but acting! Yes, his downfall had come – in a career spanning over four decades – only at a time when he had strayed away from acting, when he had lost his focus on it!

What saves all of us from going ‘bankrupt’ or ‘insane’ in life is the same thing: the passion for our respective professions and the focus we give to it…

Some thirty-five years of teaching has kept my self-confidence in life alive. Because I love teaching and because I am able focus on it, I am not afraid to face my future… “I can teach and I can survive,” I keeping telling myself.

Yes, Anjana, what else will I do, if I don’t teach?

* Names changed