Lament of a Teacher
Mathematics is fun. The word fun translates to enjoyment, wonder and the ardent wish of repetition. The mind resonates with a sense of beauty, mysterious yet attainable and the absolute hope of happiness at the end of a messy journey. There is so much hope driven by love, that the effort, the failings does not distract from the journey. One believes that without the failures and the struggle, it would cease to beautiful and meaningful. The source of this journey is the teacher, that living entity that can make or break the experience. To most, including this narrator, Mathematics is hard, obscure and impervious. Yet, the mystery and the unfathomable beauty somehow leaves a mark in the dumbest of us all. We heard of the fun in the voices of others and went home thinking that we were deaf and more importantly with the sense that it is not important at all. The teachers were there reinforcing the sense of defeat, albeit with subtlety. Fools that we were, we grasped the fear harder than our own sense of wonder. Fear won the day, sending us home defeated, with a healthy dose of self loathing and a sense of relief. We all looked forward to the day when we no longer had to attend a math class or sit for a math exam. Standing in the empty class room, trying to imagine my own self in a time past, in an image that is lost even to myself, I was able to live my defeat and my fear with absolute clarity. The face of my teacher appeared as a blur, as if it did not matter. I sat down in a corner, and looked around. The walls bathed in the dying light of the day, overlooking a city that has changed its contours so much that it had a new skin now. The numbers and the Euclidean structures filled up the blackboard effortlessly and came alive dancing in front of my eyes. When I came to my school today, I thought I will have other memories but I remained submerged in numbers. I felt something was amiss. I got up and walked to the teachers desk and turned around. The dying sun struck my eyes with quiet vengeance blindly me but lighting a fire in mind. The teacher in me returned and I stood there wondering all that went through my head only moments ago. I sat down in the empty teachers chair and wondered if I had tried hard enough. My job was to invoke the power of love, the sense of wonder and the incredible task of thinking in those young lives. I am old, yet the desperate wish to redeem myself is like an intoxication, a cruel addiction. Like an alcoholic, I now visit free tuition centers offering my service to the city’s lower depths. They come with a broad smile, in the hope of free lunch and I am looking to open up their brains and pour some love. The numbers will find their way inside of them, then.