Monday, October 28, 2013


Protected by Copyscape Originality Checker (Published on on 17th October, 2013)


In August 2009, I had this wonderful opportunity to work with one of the finest English teachers of the state. Let’s call him Mr. A. I was told that Mr. A was an expert in the subject, a man who had then been teaching English literature and language at one of the reputed schools of Agartala, for the last twenty years of his life. He was much respected and loved by his students and colleagues for his simplicity. He was not a very tall guy, mostly wore off-white kurta-pyjamas, carried a shantiniketani jhola and a smile on his face, but thankfully he did not sport the so called AANTEL look! He was extremely soft spoken as well as refined.

But unfortunately, the camaraderie had to die an early death. He left the institute probably on the fourth day after he had joined us! He was a little ‘KHEYALI’. Like, on the very first day of our interaction, he said to me,

"Listen, could you please remind of my classes? Could you please remind me when to board the bus and also lead me to the bus stop? I mean...err, I am a little forgetful you see...” he smiled.

But despite my reminders, he missed some of his lectures on the first two days of the session.

Reason? He was a chain smoker. Every day, he would carry at least three packets in his pockets, and like a Prodosh Mitter, would kiss the nicotine almost without a break. In fact, he was found busy smoking in one of the canteens, during the lecture hours. To add to the misery, some of the students had complained the matter to the authority.

Phir kya! All hell broke loose and the Head of the Institute sent for him on the fourth day. Naturally, Mr. A was asked for an explanation. Our poor guy spoke for about non-stop twenty minutes, apologized for his behavior and also honestly admitted his forgetfulness. But he made a blunder! He had spoken in a polite tone, in a refined convent English, taking care of all the pronunciation, intonation, syllabification and other phonetic details of the language. At the end of those twenty ‘English’ minutes, the boss shook his head and yelled at my colleague in khaash bangla,

"Itta aami janina, aafne claash nisen na kere kon? Mamar bari ni?”

Mr. A quietly left the room.

...and the jhola was never seen again after that day...

(Life, like the poet, charms us with its words. Life, like the painter, amazes us with its colors. Life, like the teacher, blesses us with its experiences. When life is so filled with these learning moments, does one really have to imagine too hard while penning down one’s thoughts?)

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