Wednesday, June 22, 2016

IS 8 O'CLOCK TOO EARLY, BETA?







Pic.: Shoba N Krishnan


Some of my twelfth-standard students, whose college timings are in the afternoon, had joined the morning batch in my classes. The batch timing was 9 to 10, thrice a week. Two days ago, the majority of these students approached me to change the timings to 8 to 9. As I was discussing this issue, I found a couple of students throwing a lot of resistance...

“Why… What is your problem?” I asked them.

“Sir, it is too early,” the answer was unanimous.

Had the answer been, “Sir, we have another tuition class at 8,” or “Sir, my Gym or Cricket- coaching timings are clashing,” or, “Sir, I have to help my mom in the kitchen (Most unlikely, though!”)… yes, had the answer been one of these, I would have empathized with my resisting students…

But, “Sir, it is too early”?

“Nothing doing," I blasted, "it will be 8 from the next class.”

Today was the ‘next class’. I was keen to note the impact of my decree. Surprisingly, the attendance was one-hundred percent… and, guess what: my resisting students were the first to arrive!

“Excellent,” I applauded, “see how good you feel about yourself.”

“But, sir, can’t get up!” one of them meowed.

“Well, I can understand that, beta,” I empathized, knowing very well that they had been so used to getting up late, all these days, just because they had to go to college in the afternoon. “It is just a matter of forming a new habit – of getting up a little earlier, that’s all… Form that habit… and, do it by choice, gladly, willingly… It becomes self-discipline, a part of your character… It makes you more confident in life, more productive… You know, you are in twelfth standard… It is a crossroad… This is the time to plan your career… develop some new skills, prepare for some competitive exams… And, you can do all these things only if you learn to manage your time well… One or two hours saved every day, over the year, has stupendous cumulative effect… Trust me, it has.”

Then I gave my own example. “I will be 58 this July. This ‘my’ class… I can start my day at 10, 11 or 12 if I so wish… It’s my call. But, I purposely keep a class at 7.45 or 8 so that it brings in me a self-disciple of getting up early every day. So, I get up between 6 and 6.30 latest. I do all my morning routines and leave home early… It keeps me mentally and physically agile, offers me more time in hand to do what I love doing the most – my blogging and writing… It makes me more independent, more confident in life… Tougher and more resilient.”

One of the resisting girls’s (the one who had meowed) uncle was my dear old-student. When he was her age, their family was going through a lot of financial hardship. This young boy was doubly motivated to do something about their house condition. He had three sisters to marry off (one of them was our girl’s mother)… So, he planned his future in such a way that he, soon, went aboard for his studies, found a great job in London and, now, for the past fifteen years, he has been living there with his family… Yes, helping his young niece, back home, financially, too…

I spoke about the focus and determination of our girl’s uncle in the class, this morning… and, I could see her eyes sparkle, even though they were moist!

“Is 8 o’clock too early, beta?” I teased.

The young head just nodded left to right… and right to left!

GERALD D’CUNHA

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