I knock the door and wait for few seconds. I see a Priti with a lovely smile in front of me. Her smile is a magic which always forces me to leave tension, tiredness, boredom aside and make me energetic. She is observing me like everyday and suddenly hugs me.
Priti: What is wrong? You are not comfortable today.
Me: Nothing, just trying to recall something.
Priti: Anything unpleasant or disturbing.
Me: Not at all. I am just thinking how time flies. I got a call from Sam and Adi was also in concall (Sameer and Aditya, my schoolmates and still we are good friends even after 20 years). Mr. Parekh has retired yesterday. I am just thinking, how life pushes us with priorities. We don't have enough time to remember people who had done immense contribution to grow us. Suddenly feeling awkward with this pace and blind race towards success and fame.
Priti: Ohhooo. Management professional is talking like a ordinary layman, full of emotions. Happy to see this (With a big smile)
Me: This is not joke.
Priti: Okay.. Okay.. I have a good idea.
Me: Please (With full of attitude).
Priti: Why don't you travel to your native with Sam and Adi during weekend? You may meet with you teacher. "A journey toward search of My Childhood" can be a caption to trip. I am genius. (With attitude)
Me: You actually have a brain (With a big laugh).
Priti: I wiiiilllllll kill you.
I settle on couch after completion of dinner. Now I have to convience these 2 duffers also (Sam & Adi)
I am working as a Management Professional, Sam is Financial Controller and Adi is a Software Engineer. We all are settled in different places and now we have to travel to our native from 3 different cities. We have decided to travel on next Saturday. Our school's gate is all time better choice for reunion.
Finally, it's Saturday and I am in train travelling to my hometown. It's almost 5 hours journey. I am excited and recalling my childhood memories.
Mr. Parekh, a man with jolly nature and amazing sense of humour. It is really a rare combination that a Math's teacher who deal with statistics, numbers and derivatives is so much funny and spontaneous by nature. He and his way of teaching is the biggest reason that we all friends are experts in Maths. Subject considered as a pain area for majority of students was our favourite one.
Mr. Parekh was from middle class family. He was happily enjoying life with spouse, 2 children and old age parents. As a teacher he always believes that it is moral duty of a person to impart learning and values to childrens. If values system is strong, he/she will develop capabilities and survive. Just a money without values is like a sea water. It may be in abundance but no one can drink it.
I am really thankful to my teachers to inculcate strong value system and ethics. Between best of memories about our mischiefs, innocent mistakes and colorful school time, train stops and I see a board with name of my town. I don't have words to showcase my emotions. After somany year, I have seen this platform which was our favourite place for late night tea and snacks. I am just trying to feel old days and suddenly my mobile started ringing.
Sam: Where are you? We are waiting from last 30 minutes.
Me : Just settling myself in auto. Will be there in 20 minutes.
Sam and Adi are in front of me. Though we use to have lot of video calls but meeting personally is a different experience results in goosebumps.
Adi : What is the plan now?
Me : No plan. Let's have a tea and maskabun at M G Restaurant.
This is the place where we use to have tea during our school time. We all are from middle class family and like other middle class children, we use to get hardly 2 rupees as pocket money. Cost of tea cup with muskabun was 10 rupees. We used to accumulate money to have breakfast once in a week or ten days. A middle class child always grow up with a mindset that outside food is a garbage. Mummy used to make a breakfast in morning and in lunch, we had roti sabji. Infact our parents had thousand of reasons to convince us that the people consuming outside foods will face health issues in future.
We are enjoying our snacks with lot of chats, masti, mimicry and fun. We are just observing how small things give happiness in our life. We all are well settled in our life and enjoying hefty salary and earnings. It's a cake walk for us to go to any of expensive hotel and have lavish buffet or ala carte but surely that lavish food not give us the warmth and emotions which we are enjoying at this restaurant.
After spending almost 2 hours, finally we pay the bill and took an auto.
We are just in front of Mr. Parekh's home. We have knocked the door and a decent women has opened it. We have introduced ourselves and she has asked us to settle on couch. This is the same 20 years old property. Small 2 BHK flat but nicely maintained. Suddenly Mr. Parekh is walking from his bedroom. A old men with grey hairs and wrinkles on skin. It seems that inspite of age, he is maintaining his routine well. Ironed clothes, clean shave and coiffed hairs are dignifying his personality.
Mr Parikh: Who are you?
We are introducing ourselves with load of emotions and stammer.
Mr. Parekh: Great to see you my boys. It's really a pleasure to meet old students. What are you doing?
We have started talking about our family, profession, lifestyle, even earnings.
Mr. Parekh: I am happy. You all are settled in your life.
We have immediately reacted without losing a second "It is because of what we have learned from you. That learning has made us capable to reach at this level".
We have asked Mr. Parekh about his retired life.
Mr. Parekh: Sambhavi (Daughter) got married with doctor and settled in Mumbai. I am with Vishal (Son) and Rashi ( Daughter in law). They have son Aryan who is studying in 5th standard. Shradhha (Wife) was expired before 3 years and you know I got retirement before few days.
Me: I am sure you have some retirement plans.
Mr. Parekh: Vishal is working in purchase department with local firm and earning decent enough. He had opportunity from Hyderabad but he had not accepted it. I am dependent on him so he selected a local job. I am feeling proud that my son chose family values above money and fame. I am thinking to start a tution for primary student. Not because I need money to survive but I don't want to be idle in life. This is the time that I don't have any personal priorities and can contribute to society. As a teacher, teaching is the best service which I can render to society.
We 3 are speechless. Till yesterday we were feeling that we have earned lot of money and have all luxury of life. Today we are feeling like a beggar. A man has rejected a career to be with his family. A person at the age of 60 years talking about contribution to society even after no regular income. True gentleman deserves respect and salute.
We live in society where people are known for their designation, earning, career, success, fame, bunglows and cars. We are blindly running for money and luxury without valuing our relations, family members, near and dear. It is quite strange that one with lot of money is called as rich while one with values, ethics and culture is called as Middlecass just he has limited income.
We are leaving back with new lesson of life. Even after 20 years, Mr. Parekh has beautifully played his role as a teacher.
He is absolutely a rich man with positive thoughts, ethics and values.
Happy Teacher's Day!!