Students are milestones in a teacher’s life. Teachers are sands in time to a student’s progress. Some teachers are remembered by many students, many teachers are remembered by some students and few teachers are often best not remembered by all students. Whatever the category, teachers are still like a guiding light. Each teacher is identified by some characteristic trait, just like a season by its flowers or fruits, temperature or climatic conditions. This cannot be said of students.
Students are only identified for a year or more by a roll number, pet name, house identity or a student’s achievements, or often, students are forgotten by name. They however leave an identification mark in a teacher’s memory. May be a smile, eyes, voice or even mannerisms. I have had many experiences with many students across a wide compass of student fraternity– status and creed. I remember some, cherish a few and admire the uniqueness in a couple.
Amongst the two I remember; one that had a long stint with me in St. Paul’s Mission School, Calcutta, till 1996– Shankar Chakravarty. Another is one that lent spice to the life of a teacher’s mundane life,a short span of existence in St. Peter’s School Mazgaon, laying an indelible mark on me as a teacher.I was not her class teacher but I did teach her English.Many may be wondering ;as you read this piece of rambling, who could this unique student be.
Some are remembered
Art for Art’s sake
Many are forgotten
Even before they lay a stake
E’er they are smotten.
Never will I forget
Sameen who I briefly met.
Sameen, a girl of class 6, impressed me with one of her performances in a play that she acted in. It was a part of Bohemian Rapsody which she had to portray. Sameen was the central character and she had played a boy’s role. I had to choreograph the dance sequence and I had to teach her the style essential for this dance. Being a girl it did not come naturally to her. I lost my temper. Not with Sameen but with the others who were dancing with her. Sameen always managed to bring a smile to my otherwise apoplectic mood. I then became the student. My teacher a young, then dimunitive figure, unassuming and never much heard in a crowd. She was conspicuous in her absence and inconspicuous when she was present. She was the apple in every teacher’s eye.
I must confess that I did not realize Sameen’s worth till she had left St. Peter’s School, prematurely because of her parental physical relocation which made it impossible for her to continue. Though she left at such a tender age, she kept coming back to her old Alma Mater and would meet her teachers regularly.Sameen could not be erased from the memories of the staff. She made her presence felt by her constant visits and she is fondly remembered by all the staff for her politeness and courtesy.
Sameen being a lover of good literature is evident in her writing. Her style is distinctive and her emotions well painted in words. She has a deep knowledge of life’s everyday sequences which is evident in her prose and poems. Even though the sun sets, she is capable of bringing out the vibrant colours of night and pleasure the reader with the sound of silence. Sameen makes the reader feel the pain that exudes in her writing. I must elaborate that she has always been a good learner and she takes positive criticism constructively and this will take her a long way in that Art wich she has lost her Heart to. Art for Art’s sake or should I say that she has a Heart for Art’s sake. Whatever it may be, she takes pleasure, pain and enthusiasm in doing what she does best–writing.
Sameen is not just a roll number, pet name or a girl identified by an achievement or a House colour. She is a voice unmistakeably polite, a smile that launches many memories, eyes that open many windows to her writing and mannerisms that make her stand out as an individual in the crowd.
I wish Sameen all the best in her life and if there is ever a tear in your eye I pray that God will dry those saline drops replacing it with a smile. If God is out of coverage area, ‘then I’ll be there’ as the Beatles had once sung.