Memories of some people are etched in our minds and stay with us forever. Even after years, certain memories remain fresh and it feels as if the things happened just yesterday. I was in the first grade when we had a fair and an extraordinarily sweet teacher named Kiran Rane.
This happened during the lunch break. Since I was in a convent school that time, prayers used to be compulsory before eating. Hence my teacher recited the prayer, "God is good, God is great. Let us thank him for our food." After the prayers, we settled down to have our lunch. I remember it was bittergourds in a cream coloured, oval plastic tiffin box. It had a small partition so that the chapatis wouldn't soak up the liquid from the curry.
I hadn't started hating bittergourds back then. Now, I end up throwing up if I just whiff the smell of bittergourds. Suddenly, one of my classmates discovered a lizard under my desk. He made a loud announcement with all the gusto that could have put Archimedes, the Greek mathematician to shame.
The curious lot of sixty four year olds rushed to my desk to have a good look at the creature. Amidst all the confusion, my lunch box toppled over and its contents spilled on to the floor. The kids were just too busy discussing the colour, the tail and the eyes of the lizard to notice this. I had eyes only for the ugly and tasteless bittergourd curry that was now on the floor. I don't remember if I cried but I remember feeling miserable, lonely and lost, as all the pupils returned to their desks and the creature retreated, fearing its life at the hands of these little devils.
Everyone had now settled in their own seat. My teacher noticed my sad and lost expression. She stroked my back and asked me if something was wrong. When I told her that I'd not eaten, she made me sit on her chair and ordered a steamed idli for me. I was happy for the deep concern and attention. I also remember when it rained heavily, she dropped me home in an auto.
In my later years, I lost touch with Ms. Kiran Rane as she left the school within a year. So far, I've had bitter-sweet experiences with my teachers. The pre-requisite for teaching at any level is not a degree or a diploma in teaching but lots of love for students just like my Kiran teacher had.