Ravi Valluri

Romance Inspirational Others


Ravi Valluri

Romance Inspirational Others



5 mins

There once lived a mathematics teacher in a prestigious school who was known for her unconventional pedagogy techniques. Very often amidst the game of numbers she would come up with something “out of the ordinary”, “out of the box” which would intrigue the minds of her students. Such processes engineered greater bonding between the students and reduced the levels of competition and fostered friendship.

One day the Maths teacher as war her inimitable style asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, while providing a space between each name.

Thereafter she told them to seriously pause and ponder about

 the most amazing and something nice thing they could say about each of their classmates and pen it down faithfully. “Mind you class, the choice of candidate whom you chose is essential, thus be extremely honest,” she was to say.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers to their maths teacher. The students were quite stupefied about the exercise, which was so different from taxing their brains on solving problems pertaining to algebra, geometry or questions on probability.

The maths teacher had conducted this unique assignment on Friday and had planned to check the response of her students the following morning.

That Saturday, as the sun rose from the depths of the sea the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each of her student’s his or her list. Upon receiving the sheets, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?’, “Is it so” the teacher was to hear excited exclaims. 'I never realised that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments. “I spent a fortune to look good looking, but these comments have made me Ms Universe,” gushed a girl. “All these years, my family condemned me and referred me to be jejune and pedestrian,” but today I have rediscovered my mojo upon surfing the comments yet another student was to say. “My mother and neighbours were to always critical about my physique, but today I feel like Mike Tyson,” opined a relatively light weight student. There was all round enthusiasm and the classroom was bustling with unprecedented bonhomie.

Her purpose was achieved and the joy of the mathematics teacher was unrivalled and unmatched.

No one ever mentioned about the feedback and the experiment again, though the teacher continued with her unique dummy runs. She never knew if her students ever discussed them after class or with their parents, but it did not matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose.

The students were happy with themselves and one another. And that group of students moved on with their lives. 

 Meanwhile several years later, one of the students achieved martyrdom during the 'Kargil' war. It was a tragic moment in the life of the teacher. And it was a misty eyed teacher who attended the funeral of the deceased Major of Indian army.

 She had never attended any funeral service of an army man who was felled by enemy bullets as the brave heart was guarding the frontiers of the country. The student / soldier clothed in baggy greens and draped  by Indian tricolour looked so serene as he had met his maker.

The place was choc a bloc with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk. The teacher was the last one to bless the departed soul. The deceased Major was one of her favourite students who was mocked to be a puny character, but felt like being Mike Tyson after the experiment was conducted.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Sanjay's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Sanjay always referred about you and the unusual practices which were part of your pedagogy.'

After the funeral, several of Major Sanjay's former classmates who had assembled and were maintaining a stony silence with moist and teary eyes. Major Sanjay’s parents were also present waiting to speak with his remarkable teacher.

' Madam we wish to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Major Sanjay’s body when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it,” the father was to say.

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Sanjay's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Major Sanjay’s mother said. 'As you can see, Sanjay treasured it.'

All of Sanjay's former classmates had assembled and this added an air of nostalgia and poignancy to the atmospherics. Arjun smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Prithwiraj's wife said, ' Prithwiraj asked me to put his in our treasured wedding album.'

'I have preserved mine too with great care Rashmi said. 'It is a permanent fixture in my diary'

Then Deepali, yet another classmate, dug deep into her pocketbook, and took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times. This is my lucky talisman. ,' Deepali said and without batting an eyelid, she continued: with conviction 'I think we all saved our lists'

This is when the teacher finally sat down and cried inconsolably. She cried for the departed soul and for all his friends who would never see him again.

 She thought aloud, “in the humdrum of life, with constant action all the time we forget that everything in life is transitory and also the truism that impermanence is the only permanent thing in life. Humans tend to forget that life will certainly terminate one day,”.

As the teacher walked away misty eyed her only words were that love and care everyone and tell them that they are special people in our lives before it is too late.

The mathematics teacher blessed all those present and asked them to share the blessings with everyone. “ It was so tragic , yet a beautiful moment in my life,” mused the teacher. 

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