The Teacher Who Changed Me!
The Teacher Who Changed Me!12 mins 284 12 mins 284
‘New Head Sir is coming to our house!’ My younger brother whispered in to my ears!
‘Is the existing Head Sir (went) off the world or transferred to somewhere in hell?’ I was spewing venom against the existing Head Sir of Chitrakonda High School. In fact, that time all the teachers, my parents and every adult were appeared to be sworn enemy to me.
It was perhaps November 1978 when I was in class nine. I used to be an average student till class 7th who at least used to secure pass marks for promotion to next class. By class 8th I was really a gone case. I had a friend circle or rather say a circle of spoilt kids that used to skip the class regularly. Going to cinema halls was a regular habit (be it Odia, Telugu or Hindi movies), playing gamble of dice (in the Bazar street) and of course stealing money from father’s wallet. As a formidable group we too beat up many classmates for no reason. We just wanted to dominate and of course we had dominated.
As a result, the entire class minus my friends always was frightful of me (although I understood now that they actually hated me that time). We were so rude that even we didn’t spare teachers and used to criticize them! The only strength for me was my father’s influence of power.
In class eight annual examinations I secure single digit marks in every paper and as aggregate I couldn’t even touch three-digit figures in total. Yet I was promoted to class ninth because the Head Sir of project High School didn’t want to be in firing line of my father’s influence.
But then I was simply beyond control. When my father came to know about my mischievousness, he took stern disciplinary actions. But I was also equally defiant, thus stole money and fled away from the house. After some fifteen days I was recovered from my aunt’s house (to) whom I had lied that my father was torturing me for reasons beyond explainable. As my father was a kind of “Angry young Man” that time so my aunt felt let the boy (me) stay for a while at her place.
Anyhow, I was brought back to home. But the existing school administration wanted to get rid of me (I too wanted to get rid of that school!). My father was influential but his influence was not enough to meet the school administration and the parent committee. Thus, neither I was accepted to them nor did I want to be accepted.
That’s why when ‘new Head Sir’ Word came out I thought he was my school’s Head Sir i.e. Chitrakonda Project High School … you know!
‘No, He is not Head Sir of Chitrakonda!’ My younger brother revealed the fact, ‘It’s some Hota sir, recently posted as Head Sir of Balimela High School!’
‘Why did he come here?’ I just asked, ‘and why did he come to our house?’
‘Simple!’ My younger brother who was more matured at that time said, ‘First thing is all Head Sir of project High Schools of Balimela Power Project (that includes Chitrakonda, Balimela, Dyke-1 to Dyke-3, Spill way and many other schools/ High Schools that were financed and controlled by the project office) had to have a customary/courtesy meeting with our father (because of his post)) and second, you are going to join Balimela High School!’
‘What?’ I was really surprised, ‘But I have decided not to study anymore!’ I said.
‘Well, you said it number of times since couple of years!’ My brother mocked me, ‘Whenever the stick in father’s room comes to his hand, all your resolves vanish!’ He really laughed loudly intentionally. I didn’t say anything. The stick in father’s hand was really frightening.
Thus, I decided to escape from the immediate face off. While wearing my shirt I came out of the gate of our bungalow and looked at three roads before me! But Father was coming along with a forty plus man from right side. I wanted to escape through the front road (kaccha) that leads to play ground through back yard of Project Hospital. But I realized that escaping at that moment was not a good idea. Father was more like an athlete to run behind me and could easily catch me. Was there any point to do a misadventure whose end result only to be explained by the stick in my father ‘s hand and my body especially the back?
My father upon reaching at me introduced the man, ‘He is Hota sir. Head sir of Balimela High School! You are going next week to that school!’
I didn’t say anything nor saluted him. Father perhaps didn’t note my bad manner. He said to Hota Sir, ‘Because of Rahu Mahadasha (My father was a deep believer in astrology) he was bit off track. Any way he's henceforth your liability. I would also be at Balimela in three months as my transfer to there had been already approved!’
I still remained silent wondering what Rahu has to do anything in my case. But Hota Sir perhaps was no more listening to my father. He simply touched my chin and then raised my face in his hand.
I had to see his face which was although smiling but appeared to me as curious and bit snooping. I had to lower my eyes.
‘He is rebellious at the moment!’ Hota Sir said, ‘don’t mind sir, somehow I feel all of you are responsible for making him a rebel?’
My father was surprised. He wanted to say something rough, but Hota Sir, raised his hand and said, ‘Sorry Sir, you’re my paymaster and that’s your only authority! But I am a teacher and I got my student now. You may be his father but from now onward he’s, my student! We will talk after his matriculation examination is over!’
My father didn’t say anything. He was perhaps happy that at least Balimela High School Head Sir agreed to take me despite serious observation by Chitrakonda High School! Parents always see immediate relief!
I was really stunned. For the first time I was supported by a teacher and a teacher not less than a Head Sir! Tears were about to start rolling out my eyes, I wanted to hide those but there was really no need as both father and Hota sir got inside of our house discussing. I stood there for some time reconsidering Hota sir’s figure. He appeared to me as a very pleasing personality more than anybody and perhaps the only adult in this world. I returned back to my house.
I couldn’t sleep that night thinking Hota sir’s rebel word repeatedly. I had a feeling that the world was against me and only Hota sir stood on behalf me. Thus, I decided on that night that not for me, but for at least Hota Sir, I would do whatever it takes not to let him down!
Next day my bedding and baggage was ready. I informed my father that I was ready to shift to Balimela. Father was really surprised. But it took another four days till I was shifted to Balimela a town 23 KM away from Chitrakonda!
From the day one I started focusing in my studies, but frankly I couldn’t get any clue on any subject of my course. After a week I asked an appointment with Hota Sir. He called me in the evening. I reached at his residence in time. He was in the process of bidding bye to many students who came to him for guidance or help. Then he called me in to his study room.
‘Yes? is there any problem?’ Cleaning the glasses of his spectacles he asked, ‘I already instructed all teachers not to say any word of your past?’
The Balimela Power Project although a huge project still it was a small circle where reputation of my type of failed characters couldn’t stop propagating particularly when my father was one of most influential personality of the project!
I felt like crying. But I controlled myself and briefed my problem. I explained him that despite his motivating words I didn’t think that I could do anything at least in the studies!
He saw my face wondering. Maybe he was thinking whether he had chosen me wrongly. Finally, he said, ‘I came to know that you saw many movies?’
I didn’t say anything. I realized that seeing movie at that age was really hazardous for studies. I had already committed those mistakes. But was the door closed for me for further studies?
‘Tell me one story of a cinema you like most!’Hota Sir’s instruction made me awake from my nonsense thought process. But again, I thought was he ridiculing me?
‘I like movies, I had seen more movies than you, in fact I had seen all the movies at least those you have seen!’ He said although I thought he was intentionally and ridiculously quizzing me. Any how I thought about the movie aspect where at least I can beat this man. Thus, I said that I can explain Telugu film ‘Jeb Dongalu’.
He agreed, I started telling him the entire story as per the screenplay without missing a single dialogue or a single scene. At least I was ahead of anyone at one subject despite the subject was bad!
Hota Sir was looking at me very surprised. Then he asked, ‘How many times you have seen this cinema?’
‘Once only.’ I answered but really didn’t appreciate Hota sir’s reaction. I feel as if he thought I had seen the picture for hundred times and just copying the script in front of him!
‘I had seen this film for seven times!’ Hota Sir revealed, ‘yet I couldn’t remember one seventh of the story! What it means?’
I understood what it means. If a head master after seeing a movie for seven times couldn’t remember one seventh of the film,and I didn't miss a single word, dialogue or scene after seeing the picture for once, I was really in great trouble and perhaps deserved to be among bad boys.
‘The great thing is that you have a fantastic memory power?’ Hota Sir then said as if he declared a world secrete! I was really stunned and puzzled seriously!
‘Very few people have such memory power. You are one of them!’ while touching both my shoulders Hota sir addressed me, ‘Memory power works well if you are interested on a subject! You have got the power, if you create an interest to study; I think you can be a winner!’
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September 1980, after pre-test examination!
[After that movie episode I really started using my memory power. One of my friends Manoranjan Parida (who was also a topper) helped me understanding logic that led to understand the mathematics. I passed class ninth with some forty percent.
Because of ten plus two system introductions, at that time we had to enter class nine again even after passing class nine. That means 10th Board examination was when we were in class eleven. That was really a tyranny of 1981 batch of matriculation.
However, by 1980 annual examination I secured 436 marks out of 700 securing fourth position where as Monoranjan Parida was first followed by Jayasree Nanda second. I am not sure whether Rashmi Mohapatra or Madhumita Babu was at third position.
I was way behind those entire three position holder. However, both Manoranjan Parida and Madhumita Babu weren’t part of Matriculation due to transfer of their fathers from the project.]
Head Sir entered to the room to take English class. Suddenly he asked everyone about the results of pre-test that were just out. We informed him that marks of one paper (mathematics optional) were yet to be out.
He then asked Jayashree Nanda what her aggregate was. She said 451 He asked her about her expected mark in Mathematics optional. She replied that her expectation was at least 90. Hota sir added the figures and displayed a satisfaction that at least 541 would be her score.
After transfer of Manoranjan Parida in fact many had become frustrated as he was the only student having capability to score 600 plus! He had the record of scoring 609 in class nine examinations (1980) before being transferred to Bhubaneswar.
He then asked two-three other students and then asked me, ‘what’s your score my hero?’
‘510 till now sir!’ I replied plainly.
‘Keep going above four hundred, Man! Last time you had scored some four hundred thirty!’ He said bit frustratingly. Perhaps he heard my score as 310. Someone from front row perhaps corrected my numbers. He stood stunned and looked at me as if I came from another planet.
‘Your number is 510 and a paper yet to be disclosed?’ He asked very loudly and impatiently.
I nodded my head acknowledging silently that, yes sir… You Won! Your “Champion Rebel” is now class topper turning the table upside down!
‘What would be your score in math optional? May be 90! Then you are reaching six hundred marks? Who said that we don’t have a student of six hundred plus!’ He had started screaming like a madman; I was standing at my place and tried to control myself. Yes, for my success as a student was definitely a win for a teacher like Hota sir.
Then he stopped for a moment. went outside the class for couple of minutes and then entered into class with a bit composed. He straight away gone to blackboard and written ‘Who’s the winner?’
Then he started telling my story from Chitrakonda starting from my jorney from a spoilt kid to this stage. He didn’t hide anything. More he revealed my story more I became emotional. Hota Sir was emotional in fact the entire class was emotional. In the meantime, math optional score was sent by math teacher (because Hota sir instructed to send the marks), where I scored 100 out of hundred making my final score 610, one mark more than Manoranjan Parida.
He came very near to me and said loudly, ‘You are a student who can make a teacher like me winner!’
Everyone clapped in the class. But I knew the hard reality. I said very firmly and loudly, ‘Sir, winners and champion teachers like you only can change the life of even a gone case character like me. What would have I been by now had I not came under your umbrella? A thief, a goon or a criminal? It’s you who addressed me as a rebel and I am here where you wanted to see me!’ you are The Teacher who carved out a winner from scraps!!’
Everyone in the class was in a crying mode. That was an emotional scene.
He might be special to me but ask any student under him, all will agree that Hota Sir was a teacher who changed everyone’s life because of his teacher-ship!
He passed away on 23rd June 2021 due to old age.
On the eve of this teacher’s day I dedicate all my successes, mile stones and everything I am now to my favorite Head Sir “Binayaka Hota” the teacher and Guru of my life!