One of my eleventh-standard students’ mother said to me, the other day, “Sir, my son needs ‘personal attention’.”
“Ma’am, what is that?” I asked her.
Well, she, perhaps, was not ready for that question. So, she managed to say this, “Sir, he is not comfortable in a large group… He is comfortable in a small group, say two to three students.”
“Is a group of twelve students too large, ma’am?” I asked the mother.
“Sir, I think so,” the mother asserted.
It is about three months since we started this group. The students in this group belong to some of the best commerce colleges in town and they, also, belong to fine families… educated, well-off and cultured.
None of these students has any physical, mental or learning disability… They are all ‘normal’.
But, there is only one disability: They are all casual… What is called, in their own lingo: ‘Cool’!
I have been teaching them the way I have been teaching thousands of my students over almost thirty-five years or so… In fact, with age, I have become even more passionate and mature… even more compassionate and loving. But, they frustrate me with their casual and skin-deep attitude… They miss classes … they don’t even inform me… They don’t do homework at all… Never. The strong or loving words, they do listen… yes, they do listen to… I can feel that, I can sense that… So, I do not lose hope… I do not shut my mouth… “I am your teacher,” I keep reminding them in the midst of my intense monologue, “I love you and I care for you… So, I will tell this to you as long as you are under my care.”
Many melt with those words… Many do not show their emotions… Some even look at each other and laugh…
“That’s not any bravado, darling,” I run my hand over the heads of those few who laugh as I break my heart…
They do become serious, and mumble, “Sorry sir.”
“I have been a student like you, don’t forget,” I remind them, “I have a son who has been a student just like you.” … They understand what I mean by those words…
This morning, I recited a small poem, which I had written in my book – ‘The Late Bloomer’ – some twenty-five years ago…
“Sun shines on everyone,
Moon smiles at everyone,
Stars twinkle for everyone,
Rainbow appears for everyone,
Raindrops fall on every one…
Then… Then, why should luck smile at only some?”
God, who has created us, is the same God… The same sun, the same moon and same stars give us light… The same raindrops and the same rainbow… yes, no discrimination there…
The same teacher, darling…
The same passion and the same love and care…
Then, why did some buds bloom… and why some didn’t?
“Personal attention! … Ma’am, did you ask this to God… the sun, the moon and the stars?”
Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony