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Carrying Ahead Legacy

Our life becomes a rich experience depending on the relations we build in our life. Today I am going to write about the special relationship I established with my teachers. It has played an equally important role in shaping my life and personality as my parents have done.

It starts from my home. My mother was the best example of what a selfless teacher could be. She used to teach Sanskrit, Hindi and Marathi. I remember her spending time after her school hours to make her students ready for "संस्कृत भाषा प्रचारिणी सभा", examinations. She also used to teach Sanskrit to Ayurveda students, by taking out time from her busy schedule, not for monetary gains. We as children always used to feel that she gives more time to her students than us. But we're equally proud that everyone used to come to her for their doubts. This continued till her last few days, as she was bed ridden. She used to teach the daughters of maids, her own grand kids and their friends, even when she wasn't able to move from her bed. That was the spirit of life and dedication.

When I was a school student, our relations with teachers were like family members. I remember visiting them even on holidays or during vacations just for playing or meeting them. We were always welcome at their homes.

I remember my English Teachers who have taken great efforts in improving our grammar by giving multiple lessons, until each one of us has understood it.

When I was in 9th standard, our school had arranged a felicitation function for meritorious students, who had studied upto standard 4 in my school. From fifth standard it was a girls school. I remember my primary teacher, announcing that I am sure that Anjali is going to be there in the merit list next year. With all her blessings, I was the second among girls and 4th in the overall merit list for SSC the next year. That was the confidence of a teacher.

My Mathematics teacher was a very bright and hardworking person, and the way he taught us Mathematics, that I still remember it and could transfer that knowledge to my son. I still remember the way I used to make "Silly Mistakes'' which is why I was never able to get full marks in Maths. But once he had put a remark on my exam answer book, "Don't be overconfident, instead try to do it using some brain". I was in 10th standard, and I got so much disturbed by that remark that I decided that I have to get full marks in Maths in the final SSC exam. And I achieved it and got a first prize for mathematics. That moment I can never forget in my life till date. That was the passion and dedication of a teacher, which we have experienced.

My Marathi teacher in highschool was a fatherly figure to all my classmates. In fact he was my father's classmate in school. He always used to take us for various competitions, programs, radio programs and would also arrange programmes for us in school, where we could meet Bhalji Pedharkar, V.P.Kale (व.पु.काळे), N.D.Mahanor (ना.धों.महानोर).

and many such laureates in Marathi literature. He used to introduce us as his daughters. Truly he always treated us as his daughters. After leaving Nagpur, I couldn't meet him that frequently and when I met him, he was suffering from Dementia and couldn't even recognize me. He soon left for his heavenly abode. The love which he showered on us and tried to make us all-rounder or "बहुश्रुत " was incomparable.

I fondly remember them all, though their names are not written and all incidents are not quoted, each one was and still is equally special to me. My heartfelt thanks to all of them.

Later in college, the respect and attachment continued, but it did not go to that depth. But whenever I go back to college and meet them, they are still passionate about their students' progress. I feel that the best part of this relation is that the Teachers always want to see their students grow and reach to much greater heights than they themselves have achieved. Once I had gone to attend a musical concert of Pandit Jasrajji, who recently passed away, and heard him saying about his disciple Pandit Sanjeev Abhankarji that this boy has made a place for me in heaven. It is believed that if the "शिष्य" (Student) performs better than "गुरु" (Teacher), the गुरु gets "मोक्ष" and goes to heaven. Which continues to linger in my mind.

In my 30 years of teaching, I have met students coming from diverse backgrounds, different strata of society, but one thing is common. They have tremendous faith in their teacher. I consider myself lucky to have many such students in my life who have given me an opportunity to become a teacher.

Over the years, the relationship is becoming more of intentional mentoring nature, which used to be unintentional earlier. Many things have changed and I have witnessed the transformations in attitude, confidence level, emotional quotient of the students. The thing that is not changed is their affection and love for the teachers.

Whenever I visit the USA to meet my son, the students staying there make it a point to meet me. They take pride in showing their offices, invite me to their places and continue to chat with me.

Recently one of my students sent me a message that "I have purchased a new house and you have to come and stay with me and my wife". What else one desires for?

I sincerely feel that whatever I am doing for my students, is just a small part of what my teachers have done for me.

This poem is dedicated to all my teachers which shows my feelings in my mother tongue:

हातात कोरी पाटी घेऊन,

डोळ्यात मोठ्ठी स्वप्ने घेऊन

असीम श्रद्धा मनात ठेवून

आम्ही तुमच्या छायेत आलो,

आणि आयुष्यभर पुरेल अशी

शिदोरी घेऊन बाहेर पडलो

संस्कारांचे बीज, जे तुम्ही पेरले

त्यालाच खतपाणी देत राहिले,

फळे मला तर मिळालीच,

पण श्रेय केवळ तुमचे..

मी कधीच विसरणार नाही,

जे प्रेम आणि आपुलकी मला मिळाली,

ती अंशतः का होईना पुढे नेण्याची संधी मला मिळाली

ही पुण्याई केवळ तुमची..

ती निस्वार्थ सेवाबुद्धी,

ती तळमळ

जाणवते आजही,

आणि पाणावतात डोळे


- डॉ.अंजली देशपांडे

५ सप्टेंबर २०२०

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