With TEACHERS DAY around the corner , it is time to remember my school teachers who shaped me and to some extent helped make me what I am. Why only school teachers one may ask ! With due respect to College and University teachers, it is because in school the teachers feel as much concerned with the studies of the students as the parents at home. Instilling and enforcing discipline, checking and ensuring that the home work is done are some of the regular features enjoined as the part of their duty which they scrupulously perform . It is not possible to discuss and write about all the teachers in one go .From time to time I take this opportunity to talk about one or two or perhaps three at a time.
I am taken back to April , 1963 in time line when I got admitted to S.D.Higher Secondary School, Shimla in Class V as the school where I had studied earlier was mainly a Girls’ school with boys admitted up to Class IV only.
A Sardarji , a very young man , perhaps only in his late teens or early twenties , Gyani Balkar Singh was my Class teacher. The prefix Gyani as I learnt later referred to an academic qualification equivalent to Shastri in Sanskrit and Prabhakar in Hindi . He was a Punjabi language teacher and taught Punjabi right upto XI class and needless to say I was his student for six more years to come.
A simple man who would alternate between pants and a white Latha pyjama , appeared elegant in both. He had a loose flowing beard. It was a pleasant surprise for us when after some years he got married and we saw him wearing a suit and a tie. A story teller par excellence , he narrated the interesting story of his marriage ceremony that we all listened to with rapt attention. Apart from teaching he would also prepare students for Punjabi plays to be staged in the School Annual Prize Distribution function , year after year and the Punjabi Drama used to be the best. He taught much beyond books and once told us an anecdote how Bhai Mardana, a Muslim boy came to be named Mardana by Guru Nanak himself and he became his permanent companion and disciple. I once harboured the dream of becoming a Punjabi language teacher myself but due to later developments, Punjabi was no longer a second language .
Another teacher whom was blessed to meet only the last year is Mr. Gurinder Singh Bhalla,again a Sardar ji who taught us Science and taught very well. While teaching us the difference between Living and Non living , he gave us a simple formula to remember MERRING ,a contrived abbreviation for the characteristics of a living organism. About the constituents of Protoplasm, he had again an abbreviation ready- CHONSP .
Another teacher , I remember fondly,was, Mr. K.R.Jindal a Mathematics teacher who would award Very Good for homework neatly done and we we would vie with one another to get ‘Very Good ‘ in our notebooks. Any student uttering the word ‘hum’ would invite his wrath as the word was an anathema to him .
Another teacher, Mr. O.C. Bharti again a Maths teacher when entering the class room for the first time wrote his full name on the Black Board with his left hand and in whispers was mentioned as a ‘Khabchu ‘, but he was ambidexterous and his handwriting was marvellous.
I salute them from the core of my heart !