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Drawing A Conclusion
Incorrigible Teacher Neglecting Students
School day memories are always sweet. So are mine. In the sixties we had excellent teachers and I still remember how endearingly they taught us subjects and even an English teacher had the capacity to lecture on Bengali and could easily prove his prowess in Mathematics.The way they taught us kept us glued to the lecture and we almost needed no further studies at home. But there was one exception. I distinctly remember our drawing teacher, a rare breed, entering our class and drawing a sketch of an animal with his nimble fingers and settling on his seat for the next 40 minutes or so. We had only to assume that he had instructed us “Now boys draw the picture in your exercise books”. The task would take barely 10-15 minutes and we could watch vividly how the teacher acted during such a yawning gap of nearly half an hour. He would point to a few of his favorite students drawing one of them close to him and instructing him to discover his growing gray hair and count them before consigning to the floor. As the soft fingers caressed the head and the neck the desired pleasure would soon send him to a careless siesta and offering us the scope to enjoy the time gossiping and wondering whether our Headmaster could arrive at that opportune moment!
But not to speak of the school Inspector, I never found any senior teacher gazing at him during his period. Slightest noise in the class would startle the smart artist to wake up and regain his composure in no time. His class was generally allotted just before the tiffin break and he was very particular to rouse himself 10 minutes before the recess. Like the present day mid day meal system we also had tiffin provided by the school and he would supervise the distribution of the food carefully watching how many remained in excess. He would then ask his chosen few to call his son from another class. The obedient boy studying in a higher class than ours would come as swiftly as he would dart back receiving the packet. The indulgent father would then leave the room giving a scant look at the drawings that were submitted without ever inquiring whether every one of us had participated in the work. As a result as we grew up learning a lot of other subjects with poor knowledge of drawing our interest for the indispensable art was thus nipped in the bud. As the teacher continued to draw breath we were left with no scope to draw any interest in the subject.
Nevertheless everyone knew him as an excellent artist having to spend sleepless nights during those days drawing portraits which fetched a lot of money for him. Other artists of the town would be green with envy watching his imposing pictures auctioned at high prices. But as we were proud of his achievements we could not console ourselves being deprived of his proper teaching in the class. But he did not seem to have ever been seized by some sudden pang of conscience to change his role as a teacher like other conscientious colleagues who remained models throughout our lives.
Turning Over A New Leaf In Life
But my father’s untimely death forced us to leave the town and shift to Kolkata where I finally settled. Decades flew by and one day I heard my office colleague relating the story of an ascetic elderly person who would often visit their ashram and render yeomen’s services to the residents and especially the poor orphans living in their hostels. He would drop on the premises during the stifling summer days or wintry January in search of the orphans whom he would look upon as his own children. And they drew inspiration from the holy man who taught them different subjects and often drew beautiful pictures for illustration. Although I never had the opportunity to see the person I could visualize a true monk sacrificing his life for the poor and destitute. I have never been initiated to any spiritual person nor do I regularly visit such a holy place but my respect for the godly man grew by leaps and bounds as often I listened to my colleague and his co disciples speaking eloquently on his different charitable acts which drew even the main saints and drawing inspiration to emulate him in their lives to be successful in their mission.
Now that I have related two opposite stories allowing you to only wonder what I mean to convey at all. Before I conclude let me ask you whether you find any similarity between the two persons I have described. Like my colleague and his co disciples you must have no inkling of any resemblance but would you believe if I have to affirm that they were the only and the same person characterizing two opposite roles.The once incorrigible teacher on his superannuation from the services had turned over a new leaf in his life becoming a monk to repent his sinful days as a teacher because he believed that God welcomes the sinner who repents.
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