I’ve met many people who have taught me many things in life. My family, friends, foes, acquaintances, school teachers, lecturers, the postman, gardener… the list goes on and on and each of them has taught me something or the other. In fact, I should call every one of them as my teacher.
I remember shedding tons and tons of tears when one of my most favorite teachers retired from our school. She was the one who protected me, guided me in the right path and carved me into a person who I am right now. Not even once did she scold me in my entire school life, even though there used to be a minimum of 10 complaints about me every day about all my mischief and pranks.
On the day of her retirement when I was drowned in my own flood of tears, my teacher looked right at me, her eyes brimming with the same emotion and said “Men may come and men may go dear..“ – A quote from one of my most favorite poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson. She was and always is the best teacher in my life.
But the teacher whom I “admire” the most is my Neighbor Grandpa! Yes, the most loving, generous and pious man with an ultimate flare for wit and wisdom. He was more modern in “thoughts” and “deeds” than most of the 21st century’s so-called modern men. A die-hard Sachin Tendulkar and Virendar Sehwag fan who gave me the best company during every cricket match and covered me with a warm blanket when I fell asleep on the couch during those long and ever-ending test matches!
He taught me what “being modern” actually means. He used to talk to all the neighbors and friends with equal love irrespective of who they were, what they did and where they belonged. Be it the mail delivery guy, the garbage collector, the water delivery guy, newspaper boy, the vegetable vendor.., he would invite every one of them inside his house, switch on the fan and tell them to relax a few minutes on the very same couch. He had those orange candies and savories, always in stock and served everybody with love. Sometimes young men or families used to visit him and thank him for all the favors he did for their education, job or wedding.. Yes, he always lived for others.. 🙂
His wife, an ardent lover of Carnatic music, used to attend every Carnatic concert in the locality and he always accompanied her even if there was an important cricket match between India and Australia because her happiness meant a lot to him. He used to buy all the latest audio cassettes as a gift for his wife. Just to see that smile on her face. 🙂 He was around 75 years old then.. He used to deposit a separate amount of money in her account every month as he believed that every woman should be independent and she should never ask, not even her own husband for money. Wow! Isn’t it?
I saw him few days before he left this world, he had lost his vision and was bed-ridden, even that day, even though he couldn’t see me nor could he hear my voice clearly, with the same bright smile and energy he told me ”Come, have some snacks with me and tell me all about your school“.
A man who believed and followed equality, loved everyone whole heartedly and lived for others.. A teacher who set an example and inspires me always and forever. 🙂
Yes, as my teacher said, “Men may come and men may go, but yeah, grandpa’s love and inspiration lives forever” 🙂