Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Teachers...(part-1)

I read an article in today’s newspaper covering an interview of a Lady Professor of St. Xavier’s Institute and running came the memories of my school and tuition teachers and college professors who had influenced my life and made me possess some good qualities I hold today.

This blog will be a tribute to all my teachers whom I respect from the bottom of my heart. They are my idols, role models. I have learnt a lot from them and try to imbibe the good qualities they possessed.

I will write two Blogs on Teachers. In the first part I will talk about all my Tuition and Private Coaching Teachers. And in the second part I will talk about the teachers in my School and college.

I had not even started going to school and my mother had started sending me to one of the tuition teachers in my neighbourhood. She was Kokilaben. My First Teacher. A good building needs a strong foundation. The strong base of the building of my academics, my career, my education, I would attribute to Kokilaben. She taught me from the Bal-Mandir (Junior K.G. as we call it today) till the 6th standard. As it was not a private tuition and many students like me used to be all taught together, we not only learnt our school lessons but also the other important lessons of life. We learnt many good qualities from the tuition of Kokilaben. Her daughter Divya was also in the same class as I was and we were in the same school too (but different divisions). She was very good academically and very good friend of mine. (Infact till date she is one of my best friends) Chaitali, Shabana, Shabbir, Parul, Savita, Nilesh and many other friends I made at Kokilaben’s home. I still remember the Red-coloured thick semi-transparent Foot-ruler she used to use while teaching us. She occasionally gave us those small toys like the butterfly whistles or small Chakardis(small toys that can be brought into circular motion with hands) etc. Also the hanging black board on which she used to write and explain us the lessons or do the maths sums is still fresh in my memory. Also I remember how her face used to become all red when we all used to laugh at a joke together or when she was very angry at somebody’s mischief. I have very fond memories of my first tuition classes and I have a lot of respect for my first teacher – Kokilaben.

After learning for about eight years at Kokilaben’s classes I had to move on and join some private class (as she didn’t teach higher level classes). I had joined Vyas classes in Std. 7th. After that I joined Mavani Classes in Malad where Miss Leena used to teach us Maths and Science and Mr. Vinubhai Nayak taught us English. Leena miss had actually strengthened my Maths and science base and I would attribute my very good academic progress to her. She taught Maths and Science so well that I started scoring highest marks in these subjects after joining Mavani Classes. Vinubhai Nayak was one of the Best Teachers I have memories of. He taught English language and grammar so well that I remember his teaching style and the lessons till date. He made me grammatically strong. Today in foreign countries also they speak grammatically wrong English. But Vinubhai taught the English grammar rules so well that I could write and speak English grammatically correct and better than my same level English medium counterparts.

10th was the year of S.S.C and the most important year of my school life. Leena miss got married the same year when I was in 9th class and she stopped teaching at Malad and went to Ghatkopar post marriage. I had a tough time as I was so used to her teaching style. But life takes away one good thing from you and offers another even better. In vacation of 9th std. I joined V.C.R. (vacation cum regular) batch of Kumudben classes. Kumudben is another teacher whom I will never forget in my life. She used to teach so well and in a great manner. We all used to love attending her classes. In a small room around 70 to 100 students used to sit together on the floor (not even benches) but we all loved the classes. We used to laugh like anything in the class at a joke cracked by a student or some peculiar punch lines used by Kumudben while teaching like ‘Chaalo Jatu Karo…!’ (Let it go) or ‘Hey Bhagwan…’ (and some student always used to rhyme that with words ‘De vardaan…!’) or the sweet names she used to call us students by – like Labaadiya or something similar! I scored 90.85% in S.S.C and Maths and Science were the subjects where I had scored maximum – possible only due to Kumudben. In college level she taught only 11th and 12th class Maths to Commerce stream students only and I had chosen Science stream in Junior college level. Even though I had joined Mumbai’s best coaching classes in 12th Science called Agarwal Classes, I learnt my Derivatives and Integration Fundamentals clear with Kumudben’s teaching only. We were so thankful to her for letting us sit in her classes even when she used to teach only commerce stream students. That was one of the Best coaching session in my life which I attended during my 12th std. along with all my friends like Divya, Dipti, Zankhna, Jayesh, Hitendra and Pratik.

After these years, I mean after 12th, I didn't get any coaching teacher by whom I got highly impressed or who could influence me.I recollect a few professors whom I may talk about for their peculiar characteristics.(But they didn't have as lasting an impression as Kokilaben or Kumudben or Leenamiss or Vinubhai had on me)In Agarwal classes also I had joined V.C.R batch and there I got to attend lectures by a few well known professors like Babu and Pareira for Maths, Avatramani for Chemistry, A sikh Prof and Prof Mathew for Physics but I sometimes had difficulty understanding the concepts taught by them.(Either I had a problem due to my vernacular medium studies till 10th or I didn't have the pace at which they taught and others learnt)Only prof I loved was Prof Kadaali who taught Chemistry. He was amazing at teaching the subject.

After 12th ,I attended many crash course classes or regular batch at Vidyalankar but in the same way as in case of Agarwal classes, I just got little support to score marks in the exam. No professor had the lasting impression on me.

In my next Blog I would talk about some of my School and college teachers whom I deeply respect.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Independence Day...!

Tomorrow is 15th August - our Independence Day...So I am feeling a little patriotic! Let me share today some thoughts in that context only..

What is patriotism? Whenever our national anthem is being played somewhere and I try to connect and listen, I feel a vibration pass through my body. Many theaters in Mumbai have the custom of playing national anthem before the movie starts. Everybody in the audience stand up in respect of the national song and I really love that feeling of national pride every time I see everyone standing in it's respect and a strong sensation passes through my body everytime I am standing hearing the national anthem.

Same happens when India wins in a significant cricket match or any other sport or if some Indian achieves International acclaim or success. Reading the news of Abhinav Bindra winning Gold Medal recently in Beijing Olympics made the corners of my eyes wet with tears (of pride). I had felt the same when Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai had won The Best Beauty titles. Even a foreign resident of Indian origin also does something great or achieves some remarkable success, it makes me feel proud. Reading the news of a Gujarati US born NRI Raj Bhavsar winning a Bronze in Beijing Olympics also made me feel happy and proud. Sunita Williams or Kiran Desai or Amartya Sen scaling new heights of fame by their professional success made me feel great and proud.

When some foreign country tries to belittle India or us, Indians, then I feel ireful. When US recently tried to accuse us for the paucity of grain or food, I felt not only irritated but outrageous. It was silly and baseless accusation. Reading about the racial discrimination faced by Shilpa Shetty in the UK Reality show sometime back also made me feel angry. Today where are we heading to? Globalization has made the whole world a small unit. And still certain people or countries indulge in such silly things.

So is that all about patriotism? I guess not! Patriotism is much more than this.

Patriotism according to me is respecting our country and try to do whatever we can for its betterment, however small it may be. There are lots of troubles and issues in the world today like Global Warming, over population, Economic Slowdown, paucity of natural resources like power, water etc. We as true and responsible citizens of our nation shall always try to help Government in whatever efforts they are making for India's growth and to tackle all the above mentioned problems.

We got freedom 61 years ago from the British Rule. It's time to retrospect. What have we achieved in all these years of freedom? This Freedom has costed us a lot. Many lives have been sacrificed and too many hardships have been faced to achieve it. So we shall all just not have to enjoy the freedom but we have some responsibility too, as the true citizen of a great nation.

We all love the cleanliness of countries like Dubai or Singapore but what we do to make our country or city the same? Do we try to maintain our public places and roads neat and beautiful? We throw garbage anywhere. People spit or piss anywhere on the roads. It is time we start being conscious about such small things.

Do we pay attention while using water or electricity? Many times I observe, people keep Taps open after drinking water or washing their hands at a public place. Women use plenty of water thoughtlessly while washing clothes or for cleaning their utensils, homes etc. Lights and fans are kept switched ON even when they are not needed. We have to be aware of all such tiny things.

On roads, there is lot of traffic. Why? People don't think before using vehicles. Even for a small distance where a walk can do, they use vehicle. Options like Car pooling can not only be a very effective tool for saving fuel, fuel costs etc. but also reduce traffic and pollution levels to a great extent.

Patriotism for me is not just showing respect for your country but to treat your fellow citizens with respect and care. We don't care about our neighbours, our colleagues, our fellow Indian citizens. We act selfish. Many times I have seen people thinking about themselves or their own families only. But true patriotism is in the belief of ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’ (The whole world is a big family). We shall not fight amongst ourselves based on our own state or religion. Humanity shall be at the top above all the things. If we understand this, then only we will be able to fight the terrorist attacks and other such grave issues.

Let's pledge of contributing our own bit in making our independence truely meaningful. Let's enjoy our Independence in true Spirit...

Happy Independence Day to all...!