Precious lesssons.

I have learnt a lot of things form my seniors at school (Space Central School – Sriharikota) and this post is about these lessons. Even now I am acutely aware that some of my responses in certain situations are influenced by these.

From the cricket field

The first is from Praveen (Praveen Tiwari). He used to be the captain of our house cricket team and I used to keep wickets. I remember a match where our opponents were piling up the runs. At some point, after each boundary was scored, I would go up to Praveen and suggest that we position a fielder to prevent a recurrence. After I did this a few times, he looked at me and said “We can’t place a fielder for every shot. We should ensure that the batsman can’t play such a shot.” This is a thought that has come back to me so many times, both in my student life, in my professional life and also as a parent.

A poem to be recited

The second is from Minal (Minal Majumdar). She was probably our house captain or some big shot in the house hierarchy and I was to recite a poem in one of the competitions. She used to make me practice. She would pull me out of the class during intervals/lunch-break and make me recite the poem. She had a tough time trying to get me pronounce “flower” the British way. Wonder which the poem was. Not Daffodils because it doesn’t have the word flower in it. Anyways, even now when I default to the Indian (American too) pronunciation of words like flower and power, a set of neurons fire me back this memory.

NCC

The third is from Simha. He was our NCC captain and I was a rather poor cadet. Nevertheless, I marched to the tune being banged out, to the best of marching ability. One day he pulls me out and tells me, “Joy, you always start a step late, and then everything is perfect. So you are always out of sync. Others have gone left and then right by the time you get your left worked out. Just try to get your start right.” Amazing insight. Can’t recall whether I managed to get my marching sorted out but the importance of “timing” is something that has remained imbibed. On a lighter note, my marching is something that used to come to my mind so often during my days as an Engineering student. Happened whenever I heard of out of phase signals, sine and cos waves plotted on the same graph, three phase motors, phase shift keying and what not.

I can’t so easily make a list of lessons from my Teachers because there are too many. However, let me take the liberty of mentioning two non-academic lessons from my teachers.

A Kabir Doha

The first is from my class teacher, Hemalatha Madam. She used to teach my nightmare subject – Hindi. Though it was a nightmare as a subject, she helped me find many things that became guidelines for me in my life. One of them is this couplet from Kabir:
Dheere dheere re mana, dheere sab kuch hoye
Mali seenche sau ghara, ritu aaye phal hoye

Thought for the day

And finally, one of “thought of the day” (or something like that, delivered during the Assembly in the Phase I school) from Moses Sir. Poignantly pertinent even now:
Your right to swing your walking stick ends where the other person’s nose begins. (this is how I remember it)

Writing this feels good. I can see so much of my school in my mind’s eye and continue to soak up the goodwill.

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JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL