Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I salute you, my teachers

Let me bow before you and touch your feet and pay my obeisance to you. Were it not for you I fail to imagine what I would have been !

Lajwanti Behanji, my first teacher in Arya Putri Pathshala, Abohar (PB)-always so humble but commanded so much of reverence. Jamuna Behanji, who taught me for four years till fifth class-so very strict, hard working, tough task mistress. I still remember the flawless flow of running hand scribbling with such speed that we had to keep our gaze fixed to read and note the lessons which we were supposed to do only on rough note books then and later to learn and write them neatly with questions in red and answers in blue pen. No ball pens were allowed and how strictly the Takhti which all the pupils had to wash and apply 'gaachni' afresh daily and write there on with 'kalam' and black ink! A mistake in writing would mean a stick hit on hand and thank God, I never was rewarded thus. Only once in fourth standard when I scored six and half marks out of twenty in science, I won the hard stick on my back with a reprimand: your sister Archana scored twenty out of twenty and you !!! It still aches there, Behanji.

I salute you, Jamuna Behanji. Remember, how I would not stop playing with boys in the day of announcement of result for fourth class you deducted half a mark from my score and though I was bracketed first, was placed on second pedestal with a harsh message: This is punishment to Sumedha for playing 'kanchas' with boys. I still remember the tearful, head bowed Sumedha who vowed never to play 'kanchas' ever again. True, I learnt the hard way my lessons of life and I still continue to do so.

But I really remember the ambience of my first pathshala where we were taught daily 'Sandhya' and weekly 'Havan Yagna'.
I salute you Shastriji, my Sanskrit teacher in Govt High School, Abohar . I still can feel reverberation of Lata, late,latah/ latam late latah. I am thinking with reverence of you Prem Madam who tuaght me my first English alphabets and patted me when I got 96 out of 100 in sixth class. The memories of big 'Tallie da ped' under which we studied for three years are still fresh in my mind.
Savitri Madam and Rajinder Madam, I bow before you. When I was late one day and was made to stand in queue where you questioned each of us the reason for being late and how you had said on seeing me cry with humiliation for being late: ‘Oh, Sumedha is very sensitive’ and I didn't even know what this word meant. Later in the evening Neelam didi told me its meaning for the first time. I salute you, Tejinder madam and remember how passionately you taught us Bulle Shah and Sheikh Farid and Amrita Pritam. My PTI madam who taught me how to play Badminton and Table Tennis in class 7th as also to play side drum and flute for the Independence day and Republic Day celebrations, the memories I carry with me till date and how often when I am part of these celebrations, the recollections of good old days when we used to wear check shirts and white salwars make my eyes moist.
Gopichand Arya Mahila College, Abohar was my world in adolescence. I am indebted to you Madam Satish Jasuja for all my love for the Romantics I inculcated when you taught us Keats and Wordsworth. Meenakshi didi, you were my Economics teacher and when you gave examples of gulab jamun for teaching us Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility that exclusive smile writ large during serious teaching is something I would always cherish. And madam Pushplata, my English teacher for one year, I owe you a sorry as I showed the audacity to correct you on: 'et tu Brute,then fall Ceasar.' Howsoever favourite this line was to me, I shouldn't have done that in class, please forgive me. And Madam Usha Kiran, you tuaght us the Constitution of India and the Political Theories, thanks.
Yes, Madhurima Madam, I can hardly ever forget the way you directed 'Samajhdar Log' and led us to trek to Pindari Glacier. I was singled out once and dissuaded from becoming the Class Representative lest someone calls it partiality. I could half understand what you meant but the hurt got me a beautiful letter from Neelam didi: 'one has to be good and great not to nurse any bitterness.' And it assuaged my pain. And remember once you snatched my autograph book to scribble: 'You are the Sun who only gives..Can givers ever be beggars?' Thanks Madam, for teaching me many a lessons I still remember.

I shall ever remain grateful to Dr. DD Jyoti who taught us Linguistics. He was embodiment of sensitivity, empathy, delicacy of handling the matter and manner in teaching. Years after leaving the Panjab University, I cherished the expressions he used to teach intonation, accent and semantics. My mentor Pushpinder Syal madam, I shall ever remain grateful to you for not only un-knotting the complexities of history of English literature but also for teaching me Reiki and meditations. Thanks, ma'am.
I salute you Pitaji and Mammi for being the best teachers I could ever have right since the day I learnt to baby babble, play, read and write.
Ah! How can I leave you, dear dear Time, you have taught me the soft way, the hard way, the tough way and the easy way the things that have made me become whatever I am-good or bad and nasty, humble or egoist and self obsessed, loving or opportunist and practical-- Time Sir alone will judge !
Wish you all Happy Teachers' Day.


  1. मेरे ख्याल से किसी के द्वारा अपने शिक्षकों को शिक्षक दिवस पर इस प्रकार से कम ही याद किया जाता है. खास तौर पर ऐसी शख्सियत द्वारा जो आज इतने ऊँचे पड़ पर आसीन हो...मेडम सुमेधा जी द्वारा इस तरह एक एक शिक्षक को ससम्मान याद करना बहुत ही सुन्दर और अनुकरणीय लगा. धिक्षक दिवस की सुभकामनाओ के साथ सुमेधा जी को साधुवाद .....पवन सोंटी, चीफ मार्केट रिपोर्टर, रायटर्स (हरियाणा)

  2. Quite a moving memoir. Very thoughtful and graphic. One could almost see you learning, growing, being nurtured and shaped by the hands of great masters ------------ parents, teachers and time. Your calibre and humility are your reward as well as your homage.

  3. "Guru Govind dou khade, kaake laagoon paye, Balihari guru aapki, Govind diyo milaye." said Kabir once. He mentioned the role of the teachers in one's life so perfectly in his words. And one must not forget that part in their whole life. Being a son of teachers, I feel proud of what my parents have done for the society and me as well.
    Reading your article flashed my childhood in my mind. Hope today's generation learns to respect their teachers the way we used to do.

  4. gurur brahma gurur vishnu gurur devo maheshwaraha.......