The adjoining…… “picture of my teacher”; wow what a rhyme!! Such is the persona of “my Sheila Sen ma'am” that even today the heart goes ga … ga , words start rhyming on their own.
Please do not construe that the picture which is depicted in black and white is a pick from an age old collection. Age it seems is only an number on the calender for my Sheila Sen ma’am who looks like a million dollars even today. I have deliberately not cropped the date on the photograph which stands to prove that it has been clicked on 27th May 2010.
I start typing this write-up after a lot of hesitation. Its obvious that when you write something about a person who is so meticulous, so beautiful, so ahead of her time; such a wonderful teacher and a person; you have to hesitate to think what you write, I mean not only has the write up to be good enough but also the presentation and the aesthetic look of this blog better be good!! because I am writing this blog with none other than my Sheila Sen ma’am in mind.
The name of the topic also has not crystallized. I dwell long enough but sense that I am loosing time. I decide scratching my head is futile and following my heart is a better option instead.
I have been forced to take shelter on the mid-landing of the staircase connecting my bedroom to the terrace. I have been driven out from my mother’s bedroom as every one prefers to see Salman Khan in all glory enjoying the attention of the participants in a late night reality show on the idiot box. Even from where I am I can hear the intermittent commercials taking advantage of the TRP of the show and there seems to be more time slots allotted to the commercials than the actual program.
As I try to settle down, my thoughts are brought back to the real star I am writing about; “my Sheila Sen ma’am”. I have used the word “star” as an adjective in the previous sentence because this word not only describes how a person looks but also show cases the quality of the person as a human being!!!
The first time I saw her was when I graduated from primary section to secondary section. I had never seen her before because the primary section was where the actual school building now stands and the secondary section was a little away very close to the Sion hospital, in effect they were at two separate locations. So as soon as we came to the fifth standard it was like a totally new place with new faces every where including new set of teachers. But I never failed to notice Sheila Sen ma’am even though she did not teach me till the standard seventh.
I always noticed that she seldom came to school without her sunglasses and looked so classy. I always made it a point to wish her and let her pass me by because she also smelt very good, I always wondered which perfume she wore? Thinking back in time I can easily refer to her as “my dream flower teacher; in the same vein as the punch line for Ponds talcum powder goes”! ………. “My dream flower girl”.
I would like to admit here though at that age I looked up-to her because she was so beautiful. I had a crush on her but in a different way. I hope I am able to explain this sentiment, it was much like what you feel about your favourite film-star!!
However as I reached the seventh class she started teaching us though for some few subjects because she was more involved in teaching higher classes. As my interaction with her increased there was a transition in my feelings towards her, though the feeling of admiration remained intact but my respect for her grew as my interaction with her increased.
As I progressed to senior classes i.e is the ninth and then the tenth standard. I realised that her way of dealing with students was very different, she treated all these teenagers as friends. I now realise she addressed the confused minds of all these teenaged friends in a very matured manner. Even I being a prankster and rogue was handled very effectively by her. I never troubled her because I admired her too much to be in her bad books; I think this should answer the query put to me by my Sheila Sen ma’am herself on my blog under the writeup by the name “Growing up”.
Though I have been in touch with her for the past year through face book but it was a different experience meeting her in person along-with the other teachers at the condolence meeting of our beloved Singh teacher. Though it was not an occasion to be happy about but it kind of reduced the burden of losing a beloved teacher who was so close to my heart. The affectionate look in the eyes of Sheila Sen teacher betrayed the emotions they were overcome with!! She was clearly touched by my insignificant gesture of being there for the condolence meeting in response to her post on facebook.
The condolence meeting concluded quietly as they usually do. I also started my slow walk towards the exit of the gurudwara after acknowledging the bereaved family and friends; my eyes were in search of my Sheila Sen ma’am. I found her seated in the front seat of car which was driven by my senior school mate Advocate Ashok Sahani. As soon as those beautiful eyes saw me I realised they wanted to tell me volumes about how nice she had felt that we were there. I extended my hand for a formal handshake……… but she held my hand in both of her beautiful hands so affectionately like a mother holds her long lost son. I was also filled with a beautiful feeling of gratitude which brought my eyes to the brink of tears. I realised a person who can bring such beautiful emotion like gratitude in us is only next to god.
After i posted a blog in dedication of our Singh teacher, a casual comment in response to my write up; by our own Sheila Sen teacher in the course of my chat with her put things in right perspective. She told me very candidly “Dont wait for me to die to tell me how you feel about me”. This statement of hers brought home a very relevant point that, it is important to let people know how we feel about them while they are still around. I also realised that teachers are teachers and they will teach you knowingly or unknowingly!!
On a parting note I would like to tell you ma’am, “we all love you for what you are! the way you have taught us academically and for making us the person we are” !!! And one more thing ma’am “ May you have a long long healthy life”.
With lots of love…….
Jagdish S Kolur