Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Best teachers in life ....

The morning alarm ripped the silence in the room. 6 am. Long day.... he thought to himself. Quickly folded the cafe Blanc filter paper cone for the machine and switched the machine on. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the room. The Pizza box was on the sink side of the kitchen. A dash of sugar in his coffee mug, which read "I am a foodies" and a quick stir... and begins the day with the mildly sweet warm black coffee. 

The day started for Kannan with the usual browsing on the net and newspaper. The day seemed to be yet another day but all that he could see was Dr. Radhakrishnan's picture and a lot about teachers. He quickly checked the date on the calendar - 5th September. As any modern techno savvy guy would do Kannan searched the net and there it was:

5 September 1888
The birth date of the second President of India, academic philosopher Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, is celebrated day, where teachers and students report to school as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by activities of celebration, thanks and remembrance.

Google seems to be ready with the answer like a wife. An answer for everything. While whizzing past the headlines and his favorite Sudoku page, he drifted into thought which came to him as a flash.

"So many have taught me in schools and colleges.... They are not just the teachers who taught me life. Who all contributed to my stature in life today?" Kannan thought. 

The awards and medallions adorned the red stand on the wall. It seemed a bit crowded there on it. But the thought grew on him. The empty room started filling up with faces in the mind of Kannan. He took the Laptop, unplugged the charger and took it to the chair and switched it on. The windows signature tune would be the alarm for the person living next door. He opened a notepad and started.

"appa and amma" he keyed in to his laptop. "My thatha ... he told me many stories which taught me values... yes ammamma, she taught me the basics of singing. My first school...." thoughts started pouring in like a storm and names started popping up like the lights in a festive mood.

The list went on and on with some names correct and some which he had forgotten. 

"Varghese Sir, Natarajan Sir, Gangadharan Sir, Carrie Sir, Vijayan Sir ....."

He lost interest in the mundane news of the day on the papers. The TV was airing the live breaking news from around the world, the hot coffee that lured him  to wake up from the left over slumber, now seems to be waiting to be sipped, and getting cold in the cup.

Names whirred in his head like a machine and started keying them in as fast as possible.... 60 names ... now 83, more ... more... yes 120... and within an hour, he keyed in a huge list of over 200 people who made him what he was today. Kannan looked at the coffee, took a sip and found it to be cold and slugged down his throat.

He opened his facebook account and started with a smile on his face...

"To all the dearest teachers in my life who made me what I am.... On teachers day I would like to thank each and every one of them"

Clicked the photo icon and uploaded the picture collage he had made out of the list of teachers names."Post" and there it was. 

"Is it all the likes and comments that I want? I need to thank at least one of them personally. He searched his phone and got his friends number...

"da...Linu ... do you know our class teacher TT Albert Sir's number", I wanted to call him. After school have never spoken to him"

"Ya remember the cane he used to carry" Linu said abruptly

Thoughts were exchanged over 10 minutes discussing the interesting school times. Time seemed to melt away with the excited hyper talks about the teachers,  the pranks, the fun, the food, the lunch time and everything under the sun then. Linu stopped in between and said

"Kanna... here is the number ..."

Kannan carefully noted the number on a notepad on the table..."Ok da... thanks... chatya later" and hung up. 

For a second, Kannan relived those moments. He felt refreshed. Albert Sir was so strict, and is he the right person to call today... "should I, will he remember me. It’s been so long, over 20 years. He might not remember me...." he kept thinking for some time.

"bzzzzzzz" the vibrations of his smart phone made him realize the whole lot of people who have started liking and commenting on the status he had updated a while ago.

Kannan took his phone and dialed the number. There was a pause and silence... anxiety... excitement ... he did not know what to say and how to start. The phone was ringing and there was silence on this side of the phone.

"Hello ... Albert here" said a faint tired voice. 

The whole hustle and bustle around Kannan settled down. All that he heard now was that voice over the phone. The voice seemed to be frail and weak. Not the stern voice of the teacher who came to the class in classy trousers and well pressed full sleeve shirts. The word "Silence" used to reverberate in the corridors of the school when he demanded it. And it used to be silence then on in the class.

"Is it the same Albert Sir I know" Kannan thought for a moment before he replied. "Sir... I am your student Kannan"

"Kannan.... I faintly remember a few... sorry I am not able to place you ... but how are you... where are you" Kannan heard Albert Sir’s weak yet excited voice.  He seemed to be happy to hear me, Kannan thought.

"Sir.... You were our class teacher ... you taught us English and..." Kannan gave many instances for him to think back about his younger days. Some made him smile and some left him silent. Those series of smiles and silences gave the warmth to the voice. Kannan heard the long breaths on the other side of the phone....  The clock ticked in the room, which seemed to slow down for the teacher and student to travel back in time. Every other moment Kannan wished Albert Sir could place him in the huge list of students.

"Ya... I do remember the bright eyed boy, with big ears and .... and ... you were in the band troupe ... right?"

Kannan was delighted .... "Yes Sir, I was"

"Ah..... now I remember you" said Albert Sir. There was a mellowed excitement, only affected by the age and loneliness.

"Oh I am so happy that you called. I am retired now and not keeping well. So nice of you to have called... Where are you now and what do you do" Albert Sir  
talked in a slow and steady pace. 

"Sir ... I am a consultant. Now I am in Dubai. I write too, and it’s the language you taught me... that made me what I am today"

The whole world around them seemed to smile at them. The air conditioner in Kannan's apartment, took the chance to blow a cool breeze as if to celebrate this  
joyous moment of accomplishment. 

"And son..." he continued " I know I have been strict with you kids .... it’s just that I wanted you to be much better than you could imagine.... don't keep it in your minds"

There was the silence which was not commanded but fell from the heavens. Kannan could feel Albert Sir in tears. Was there a drop of tear in his own eyes too ... yes there was.

"Please call me and do come home sometimes when you come down to India.... I am alone here, wife passed away a few years back and sons are abroad" Albert Sir said. "And thanks for calling ..."

The click on the phone that cut the call was like the button of a remote to the world. The breaking news seemed to go silent. The comments on facebook did not attract him. The world seemed to be silent in all its respects. He slowly walked towards the sofa and took his laptop. Keyed in a line as his new status update

"The best teachers ever ... age and realization". Post.... 

Kannan did not want to look at the post or comments or the scandals posted on facebook thanks to Zuckerberg. He looked at himself and smiled. took the phone and dialed again

"Da bro Linu .... I need more numbers...will send you the list".


  1. 👍 Kris.. Good old days ...
    'Eating from the dustbin , I saw a cockroach' . Explained our good TT ... About meaning variation with changing the sequence in a sentence. I met him a couple of years back. Had been to his daughters marriage ...
    Thanks for rekindling old memories

  2. First and foremost only few people remember Dr.Radhakrishnan these days on a teacher's day. Kannan deserves the praise for that. Secondly the very thought of remembering in gratitude all the teachers in one's life is a great thing. I was wonderstruck when kannan could remember 200! That is Wah! moment only. Again the telephonic conversation happening between the retired Albert sir the student is touching one. The good intentions of the erstwhile teachers are truely adorable. Very few are committed in that profession these days. Overall a fantastic story which takes us back to school days. '