Teacher’s Day: How I did not meet my mentor

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Today, many people are waxing lyrical about teachers, and the important roles they had once played in their personal journeys. It is very nice to read such things. Teachers can be the unsung heroes of societal progress. They can influence how a child perceives the world and his/her place in it. But I find myself being unable to relate to much of it.

Because unfortunately, not all of us have had the privilege of being mentored by great teachers. We were not shown the different paths we could choose from. We were not advised to dream with confidence, perseverance, and patience. Instead, they taught us how to speak in broken English. They beat us with plastic pipes and vernier calipers to get us to learn subjects that would have no impact on our futures. And they kept us on our toes with their suggestive paedophilic glares while asking us to conform to superficial middle-class expectations.

This is merely my personal narrative. It isn’t a statement on the role that teachers play. To reiterate, they are invaluable part of civilization. But considering the state of education in India when we were studying, good teachers were a privilege or in some cases — a misnomer. I am sure there are people from my generation who have different narratives. And I hope they made use of the teachers that taught them so well.

But, we took the long route to finding ourselves. The meaning and purpose of our existence. We wandered — blind, confused and lost — until we found clarity. We learned things the hard way; probably taking a few more years to discover what is that we truly wanted to do. But, if we had to do it all over again — we would not want to change anything.

Because sometimes, life can be the best teacher. It leaves us with lessons that we can never forget.

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