As the train starts to say Happy Teacher’s Day!
The train whistled and they stared their journey for the main city of Kolkata from a nearby village [close to Jhargram]. Train took hardly 5 hours to reach Kolkata Junction, but it was rainy day in the summers. Temperatures soared to as high as 45degree last day and since morning it was raining. Some delay was expected.
But that delay was sinking their hearts. Pankaj and his mama papa were too curious to have a glance of the building. The building which could reform his family’s life. Pankaj was just 8years, and this train was a start to help him make a decent future. It had been years of them living in sheer poverty, with both of Pankaj’s parents then working out on local farming to support their family of 3kids. Pankaj, was the eldest of all three. Last year the cyclone had blown away their house and the struggle had been terrible. Amidst all this, they prayed, that this day turns out to be a life changer for them. They saw a silver lining in the cloudy rainy sky.
Pankaj in an English Medium School?
Pankaj was to apply under the EWS[Economically Weaker section] quota reserved for the poor children in an Urban English Medium school of Kolkata. They planned to try out their luck but their hearts were thumping.
“English…Metro city…Environment…” It all seemed a misfit, but this little brain was adamant. He had the faith in himself irrespective of the circumstances. Although the clouds were narrating a different story that day it felt so.
EWS quota for his class had just 5 students and it was the last day for the application. Train was late by 3 hours and they struggled to reach the school only to find that the doors were closed. Sad, they made some arrangements close by only to try tomorrow. They reached school early 6am the next day, and were informed that the admissions were closed.
It was morning time and every teacher was to report in school. Mr. Das was entering the premises, but looking at the sad face of Pankaj, he couldn’t resist asking the reason. Pankaj narrated his story, he wanted to get admission and make his future. Mr. Das took him inside and in next 3hours his name was on this list! One last EWS opening was still vacant and yes it was done in the name of Pankaj.
Class IV, Section B, Roll. No, 21, Pankaj was IN.
The start of Journey
And here began the journey. Pankaj got a small cheap accommodation nearby. His dedication towards studies was intense, but after all he was a poor child with a very different upbringing. He didn’t knew English, his dressing style was not upto the mark, his interests didn’t match those of other kids. He was at the verge of mockery most of the times in his class. The only thing which kept him going was his will power to design his future. He could be seen studying under the bushes, on the small rocks, and anywhere he could find the space. It would take time for sure.
8months later, there was a Science quiz being held in the school for the Primary section kids. 4 teams, all with bright smart students sat on their desks across the judging panel. Pankaj was somewhere on a chair in the audiences behind. As the quiz started, it gained the pace with teams striving to take the lead from one another. Some questions were a miss, some hit. With every miss, audience was asked the question. Any kid with maximum correct answers was promised to be given a wild card entry to the quiz. That was quite interesting!
It was “HIS” day, he gave close to 5 answers and all were correct. Sad, they were all missed by those “so called bright students”. His every answer was either in Hindi or a mix of Hindi and English, but it did not matter when it came to intellect. The panelists clapped and welcomed him as a wild card entry. Somewhere on the extreme right, Mr.Das was smiling.
Life with Mr.Das
Mr. Das was a Senior Science teacher in this school from past 10years and had a very strong personality. His principles were somewhat different from many young teachers. Sometimes, this led him into conflicts as well, but he turned out to be a winner always. That day, Mr. Das called Pankaj in his room for a small conversation.
He was patient. Mr.Das listened “His” past and his future goals. At the tender age of 8years, the responsibility which Pankaj spoke out, drilled his heart and mind. Mr.Das promised himself a future for Pankaj. He asked Pankaj to come to study with him every day for 2hours. He wanted to hone him in English, Science and Maths. Maths, since, Pankaj seemed to have a good aptitude and this combination would make his future worth every knowledge.
Beginning of Learning spree
No fees, No sweets, No selfish motives… This act was to help a child earn his future in this competitive world. He never compared Pankaj to other students. He got old books given by senior students for him. Pankaj had a whole lot to read and learn under “Mr.Das”.
It was never a day off, Mr. Das ensured that he taught Pankaj every single day. Sometimes the class lingered due to other contingencies but it would resume in the nights even at 9pm. It was not just bookish knowledge, he gave Pankaj a very practical learning. They experimented on smaller versions, cracked some funny aptitude questions, and tapped English as they conversed. He made him aware of the moral responsibilities as a person. With every passing day, the sun was getting brighter and the days getting longer. He made Pankaj learn meditation. They walked together in the book fairs, they sat together in the literature fairs. Pankaj was gaining golds from Mr. Das who was just doing a service to humanity.
It has been 5 years hence, Pankaj has never stood 1st in his class in all these 5years and 5 classes. But he was always in top 10. Did that bother Mr.Das? No, never. Rankings were nothing for him to benchmark Pankaj, his aptitude and hardwork. His learning had not been bookish but very practical. He won many inter-school competitions in Science and Maths. He got medals in Olympiad’s and cracked many contests. His aptitude spree was not to stop anytime soon.
With his every win, Mr.Das and Pankaj ate one-one Rasho-gulla to celebrate.
Today, Pankaj is in IX standard(13years), and his parents are in Delhi to lead a better life. Mr. Das wants him to be a Medical Scientist. His goal to work towards humanity has bridged the gap with Pankaj’s thoughts. Soon, Pankaj will be applying for the sponsorship of higher education, and I believe that his learnings with Mr.Das will help him gain that.
With this real story, I wanted to salute and thank selfless teachers like Mr.Das aka “Dada for Pankaj”.
Still there are such teachers who from the core are truly “teaching” children and helping them mark out.
Still there are teachers who have not taken a penny to develop kids like Pankaj.
Still there are teachers who have sacrificed their lives to outgrow a child from nowhere.
Still there are teachers who teach from heart and not just books.
Still there are teachers who ignite the imaginations, instil the love.
Still there are teachers who don’t measure the intellect with ranks in classes.
Still there are teachers who teach by demonstrations in real life.
Still there are some teachers who smile as the knowledge transmits.
Still there are teachers who believe not only in books, but in moral, social and cultural development of a child.
Still there are teachers who drill their students to touch upon humanity rather than just on maths equations.
Mr. Das is a teacher of eternity, his influence can never put a pause! He is one of those who has irrigated dessert to see thriving lush green tree!
Hence the saying goes true : “A good education can change anyone, but a good teacher can change the world”.
Interested in reading a beautiful teachers Day poem quoted with the help of my Threenager? Click Here
[Let me know what you think of Mr.Das. Who seems to be your favourite Teacher and Why?]