Last month had me looking at the type of teachers out there. And I found there’s this one type in particular that I like.
The actual teacher. There is this one type, or should I daresay the only type of teacher who manages to tickle your senses and reach inside your head and shake you to the core of your mind. I know such a person and this one is about him, for him.
That fine morning, I was running late for class. As I panted after a brisk walk on that chilly morning, my professor smiled at me. That was a smile that would’ve been creepy if he wasn’t a decade older than me. But I knew him too well, he was my older, masculine version. That’s why his smile scared me.
I had straightened up immediately and was itching my feet closer to my desk, avoiding his gaze. Like others my age who have this art down to the point, I had too. The art of pretending that if you don’t look at the teacher, he won’t point you out.
But he did anyway. Not by calling out my name, no; because that would’ve been too mainstream. He laughed instead. When I looked at him sheepishly, he beckoned me over.
“Let’s take a walk.”
Walking at a leisured pace, out we went. Out of our class, the college building, to the ever cold and still sleeping garden.
“I’ve been noticing you for a while now.”
The words were enough to scare the girl in me. My senses went on high alert when he turned around to face me. I had never seen him serious before.
“You’re different.” He said to me. I was ready to bolt by now. “And I don’t like it one bit that you’re changing yourself for the sake of untalented rookies around you. They have nothing on you. You are the real deal.”
I was speechless. He was still serious and clearly not done.
“Don’t let go of who you already are in the quest of becoming who you want to be.”
He had walked ahead and I was still standing there, rooted on the spot. He had stopped beside a rose bush and I hurried forward.
“If I pluck out this flower, the petals wouldn’t survive for long and the only thing left in it would be the thorns. But if it stays in the bush, it would bloom for a long time and nobody would even notice the thorns. And then in its place, another flower would bloom.”
I was looking at him like a child would. And I was a child to him, this discovery made me feel special and a bit regretful of my earlier baseless fear.
“Petals and thorns are equally important, kiddo. But if you let go of your life, they’re of no use. Treasure your hobbies, your lifelines and your thoughts. They define you. You can be anyone in this life, but only if you excel at being a good human. Rest just follows.”
I nodded fervently. His eyes were back to the twinkling ones I knew. The ones that made him seem younger than even the people my age.
“Good. Now you head back and I’ll go through the back door to scare the pants off our H.O.D. He’s been playing the karaoke game since the morning.”
He was off before I could even laugh properly.
He made me learn the toughest subject in my final year so easily that I couldn’t believe it myself.He had such a presence that it wouldn’t matter if Tom Cruise entered the room, he would still own it.
He wasn’t just a teacher, he was the teacher. Because what good is a teacher if he cannot motivate you to study?
You can probably know my devotion by the mere fact that I want to be good in my chosen field, not because I want to be great. But because I want to work with the great.
Because I want to work with and for my teacher.