As a kid, my brother had different ideas every day about what he wanted to be when he grew up. A truck driver, painter, clay idol maker… Any new thing he saw, he wanted to be that. I wasn’t like that. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. Or a teacher. In fact more of a teacher than a doctor. Probably because my role model was my mom, a teacher. And I have always loved to describe anything in detail to anyone who cared to listen.
Then fate landed me in medicine, and I consoled myself that I could still teach. But somehow I had always thought that teaching kids in a school would have made me happier. The desire, adequately expressed to the family after 10th class itself, was nipped in the bud with many arguments which mainly included inadequate financial remuneration, lack of growth beyond a limit and that I was probably cut out for something larger.
I was, of course happy learning and later practicing medicine. And forgot about being a school teacher. A few days back however, stressed with my exam, worried with the uncertainty in life and many such mundane excuses, I snapped at my dearest mom about how I would have rather been a teacher than a doctor. And no one had any business pushing me into this long uncertain alley! Talk about being thankful to the lady who believes in your talent, supports you in many ways through your education, including caring for the husband like her own son. (OK ma, I know you deserve an apology better than this!)
“You can still teach, PGs, interns and the students” she said with pride in her eyes.
“Well its not the same as shaping young minds. Like making a pot out of clay and such stuff” I said in retort and stomped out.
Then one day, I left my home keys at the hostel. While I was turning back to go fetch my keys, my dearest neighbor invited me over for a cup of tea and even offered me to camp at her place till mom arrived and opened the door. While I was enjoying my cup of tea, her daughters walked in and started regaling me with the tales in their school. Imitating their teachers, calling them names, enjoying the fact that some of their school mates are good at back answering their teachers which included saying “I’ll take you to court.” My head was spinning (yeah I was tired too) I mean, as a kid I have imitated my teachers too, but never did I have this amount of disrespect for anyone. Not even for the ones who couldn’t teach, were blatantly partial to some students and such.
I speak as if I’m so old, but with passing years, the respect we have for our elders is diminishing exponentially. More so for teachers, I noted. Mom was right. If I was a teacher to these students, I would have probably given up on them. If any one of my readers is teaching such children, my salute. I know you are doing a job for which no one is probably thankful. The students who do not know what they are doing, their parents who probably are lacking somewhere in imbibing the right values in them and sending them for tuition classes since they were gametes.
Thanks mom, for seeing the talent in me, for having a foresight which I probably would never have. And for many more things I cannot put into words.