I don't know whats making me write this post. but I guess I need to write this. For the affection i have shared with this teacher. If you think He has ever been a part of your life, please leave a comment.
“May I come in sir?” I would peep in with hesitation at 9:15 am, from the door of 211-B, with pleading eyes towards a pale elderly figure near the blackboard. But this pale elderly figure would let me in, one thing I loved about him; unlike others who would either welcome me with terrorizing glances or most of the time drive me away from the class. I just had one grudge with him at times; as to why could he never miss a class; or why would he always be on time. Whether it be an eight o clock lecture or a two o clock tutorial; whether there be ten students in the class, or full class strength; this old gentleman’s effort and dedication to his teaching would never change.
Steel structures was his subject. Not that it mattered.
For me all civil engineering subjects were the same. Dry, pointless and suffocating.
But his dedication to his students, his spirit to teach and his exuberance. That mattered.
That always mattered to me.
And this was the reason that inspite of getting a meagre 50% in his previous course; and still never understanding a word of Steel Structures; I would look upto him him with a respect I have not for many people in this world. There was something about him that I would come up with awesome verse and prose in his class; and would pen them down while the rest of the class was busy solving steel numericals. And some of those writings would actually amaze me.
They said this eighty year old soul lived all by himself. His wife had passed away long back. His daughter was said to have been married somewhere in Mumbai, and all we could guess was that he must have chosen not to live with her for his principles.
We would often see him cycling to or from the P.C.T. and he would respond to our good mornings and good evenings with a heartfelt smile and his peculiar salute, which reflected a spark, an enthusiasm ,an ineffable zeal. Where did this zeal come from; what did it feed upon; would often fill me with awe.
He was so different from the mankind around him; with his freedom of thought, his affection, his graceful bearing and humility and this gentlemanly zeal.
He would salute us as we wished him.
I would salute this gentleman in him.
It was this zeal oh his which would sometimes inspire me to take interest in steel structures; but as other civil engineering subjects, I would only end up in suffocation.
That day after his class, he happened to ask me why I bunked so many classes and why I would not be attentive.
I could have lied to him as I had learned to with ‘others’ who never cared. But that zeal in his eyes urged me to speak the truth. So I told him he was never at a fault as a teacher. It was me who couldn’t grasp the concepts of civil engineering. I told him I would often write poems in his class.
He did not say a word, just walked away. But I could see disheartenment in his eyes. I felt a bit guilty of having spoken a bit too much of truth that day.
Days passed as they pass in Pantnagar and we heard that hansraj Sir was soon leaving the University. He was joining some college in kichcha.
“Why?” was the first question.
No. he needed the job to keep the zeal alive.
Not either, as he had great memories attached to this place and would not like to leave it at this phase of his age.
I discovered the reason soon. I won’t mention it here. But as I came to know it, a sudden convulsion of madness and rage passed over me.
“How could they?
To such a noble soul!
But past few days I had known deception, false hopes, betrayal and untrust. I had seen egoism, false pride and unjust decisions and someone being sacrificed. Today it was His turn.
It was a bright Monday morning. I walked up to his cabin with a card I bought for him.
“We’ll miss you Sir” I gave him the card and implored him to open it after I leave. He asked me the reason for the same.
I told him I had enclosed within all the poems I had written during his steel classes.
To my surprise, he took out those pages, kissed them and pressed them against his forehead.
His act left me speechless.
He then pointed at a glass pane on his table and said-
“Look there! Those are scribblings by my daughter when she was a child. I have still preserved them.”
As he said that I could see a tear drop struggle hard with his eyes. I looked at the glass pane. There lied, tiny pieces of paper with thoughts scribbled in coloured sketch pen.
Something erupted in me and I felt like crying.
But I looked on, surprised and moved। I looked at that man, loyal to a vision, betrayed by his dream, faithful to his everything.
I saw that everything might change one day. What shall stay is the inexorable zeal this man is carrying along. The zeal that shal keep him going, that shall drive him on, no matter where he goes. Zeal to live. Zeal to love.
Zeal to say ‘Yes’ to the life ahead।
“May be he’s required there for a good reason” I said to myself and smiled.