It is very rightly said that every teacher leaves a part of himself in the students that he teaches. And years after years we would still remember him. Different students get impacted by different teachers as per their temperaments and frequencies. But there are some teachers who [due to their wide range of frequencies] leave an imprint across all who come in contact with them; and believe me, it’s not an easy feat. The teacher continues to live in our thoughts, our memories, our gossips, our laughters and our anxieties.
Let me narrate an experience spanning three years in the sleepy city of Allahabad where life seemed to be active under the watchful eyes of our remarkably[R] severe[S] Par(n)e.
Identify any, any student of BIT, Allahabad and that individual would have a memorable incident to gossip over hot chai at Ram babu’s –be it the topper [sorry, “tapper” as pronounced by His Highness] or the dud, the smarts or the silents… Even a dumb guy would speak up if asked his views on His Excellence… Such was the impact!!!
I still remember my first encounter with HH, a pleasant one though. We were in our first semester and our Computer Science teacher aka PC[I don’t remember how she got associated with that name… was it Personal Computer ;-) …] had dawned upon a brilliant idea of conducting frequent tests [and the frequency was only one, yes for all the three years only one class test!!!]. After the marks distribution, HH entered the class –with his customary style -one of its kind- right hand rubbing his tummy while the left hand inside the left pant pocket–probably it was his class to conduct when he found the class in a remorseful state. Now this is what he loves… it sets the stage for him to be Devil’s advocate. HH loves to humiliate. Don’t read me wrong, his intensions are to correct the individual but as HH is an emotionally charged up person, he always goes overboard. On enquiring he was informed that the marks were just distributed and the casualties were high… well, for HH the less the merrier. HH in the mood of adding insult to injury started asking our marks. Can you believe it?? It was the first semester… the hunks were gearing up to impress the chicks[ok, I know that’s a lie. For the time being lets assume there were chicks] and HH comes out with his spoil-sport plan. Eventually it turned up that me, of all the intelligent species in the class was the topper [oops. Tapper, though later over the years the title was more synonymous to Madhurimaji]. Believe me it was such a embarrassing moment when the ones who had helped you clear the test watch you getting their share of accolades and mouth unheard words. But at the same time once HH came to know about me and my community aided score –believe me, life became quite simpler. Over the next few weeks HH treated me as the one-who-topped-the-test. Ok, I know am being a bit candid, but nevertheless he had booked a not so harsh corner for me… the soft corner [HH pronunciation: carnar] were for the fairer sexes, the more fairer the more softer.
Like all remarkable gurus HH had a lot of qualities… one among them was his command over the computer language –C. I mean, I don’t think there would be anyone who in his honesty would want to admit that HH was not a good C teacher. I for myself would rate him as the best C teacher I’ve ever had [actually the only one also, but that’s something different]. HH with his homegrown accent over the English language had a very active time on the dais explaining the various intricacies of our programming language. The best however would be the loops. HH would show it by rolling his arms in front of him as if he’s put his hands inside some invisible cylinder from both side and trying to roll the same. What a perfect way of explaining loops!! I never needed to go through the concept twice. Jokes apart, whenever I had any doubts in the algorithms or in data structures I used to shamelessly ask him to explain again even if it was the nth time and he’d do it dedicatedly as the first time. In fact there is no doubt about the fact that if you are serious with your studies you’ll find HH very amicable… and the reverse is also true.
I also remember HH being very considerate towards the womankind… those who study of course. HH would consider it his privilege to be their body-guard and ask all the girls to travel in the college bus [Tata 407] with him obviously. In fact his bravery reminds me of one such incident. Shaurya also has a song dedicated to the incident.
Early morning we had just crossed the Naini bridge when one half drunken gentleman boarded the bus. HH [though scared till the bone] politely asked the gentleman to alight from the bus since it’s a college bus with students and ID cards. The guy misinterprets HH’s speech and brings out from his pocket an ICard showing him to belong to the Govt. Of India. While he fumbled in his pocket he also brought out a few pics [dirty ones] and HH on seeing them became so over excited [hold on guys, not that way] that he sternly asked the Govt. of India to step out of the bus or HH will step out and the bus will not move. Shaurya was so moved that he’d have given a Veer Chakra to HH but instead dedicated a song which I remember as “… aate jaate subse kehte… college ki bus mein nahin aate. College ki bus mein nahin aate”. Those of us who remember the song, kindly utilize the comments section.
Sometimes I felt that HH was not only living in a separate generation but sometimes in a different century. HH used to hate seeing one boy-one girl together. For that matter any boys-one girl also used to hurt him… As soon as that happened, HH would take them for a ride which would start casually with a statement like “Kundu Sourav aajkal aapka padhai likhai mein dhayan nahin lagta.” Not to be bogged down so easily I would offer just the right kind of resistance so that we could kill 15-20 mins of the 45 minutes class –“Aare sir aisa kaise, hum to dhayan de rahe hai”
“Naa! Aap to bus apna scooter chalate rehte ho yahan wahan” and the bantering would continue. Agam Prabhat and Kunal Bhalla were his favourite students when it came to “aajkal aapka padhai likhai mein dhayan nahin de rahe” attitude.
If there was somewhere HH was not comfortable –it was the A section [all boys section]. In fact, not only HH but even PC also kept her book close to herself as if the 30 pairs of eyes were enough to…
Well, if there was one person who was perfectly able to tackle the crowd with intellect and humour it was Rani Mukherjee… guys remember our Semester One, Maths -1 teacher? I still remember how many hearts were broken on the 5th of September when she walked in for the Teacher’s Day function with a 5 year old son. So much we told ourselves that it must be the neighbour’s kid. Anyways, coming back to Section A, HH had a set of folks to have fun with. But come what may, HH was a man of rules –separate rules for separate people. Another incident…
HH was teaching something and a sharp tap on the door… HH looks at his watch and finds only 15 mins left for the class to end and tell himself –whoever it is, he’s had it!! On opening the door, he find that it’s his set of favourite students –Bawa and his team. HH goes after each one of them firing with all sorts of threats as his tongue and gut would allow, of how he will not repeat what has been taught, and that they have started taking the course to be a child’s play. The group stands motionless with head bowed down or looking here and there. Bawa would generally give a blank expression while HH would be fuming red with anger. After 5 minutes [only 10 mins left now] of pants down session, HH turns to the teaching board when another equally sharp tap follows. HH will not tolerate this anymore. He is going to manhandle whoever it was. He’s cared enough for the dignity of the students but then there is a limit. Telling himself these things HH this time himself opens the door. What follows is Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest transformation of facial muscle to show profound happiness from murderous disgrace “Aare aayiye aayiye Aushotoshji… Kahan reh gaye the aap…” Ashu looks up a bit hurt from this question… “Aare koi baat nahin hum dobara padha denge…” All this while Bawa and his gang look at each other in speechless awe… well such is the power of HH 180 degree Twist.
I can keep on writing about His Highness because the more I write the more I feel of having missed a lot and I’m sure those who’ve been nurtured by him would also agree. Years would pass, then decades… we would have seen a lot of life, met a lot of people from various walks of life… a few would be in our memories till the very end. But would HH remember roll count BCA 2047/2000? Though not till the very end, but not quite forgotten also… And me, well I shall remember the lines –“Kundu Sourav aajkal aapka padhai likhai mein dhayan nahin lagta.”
PS: In case any of the BITians are commenting, kindly metion your roll count, makes us feel connected. Just a suggesion though...