The Pensive Portrait.

Out of all the qualities possessed by all the mothers worldwide, the most common among them is that they all are a die hard lover of cleanliness. They want everything to be spick and span. And if their children are lazy, lethargic, lackadaisical like me, they get even more concerned. Yesterday, it was my turn to clean the cupboard. Oh My! What a mess my cupboard is. I mean was. I immaculated it as I knew my mummy won’t listen to my obsolete excuses anymore! Midst achieving the apple pie order, a white envelope lying on ‘Inspiration’ beguiled me. Out of fascination, I first went through the school magazine and then unsealed the envelope . The Pensive Portrait lying in front of me was a flashback of memories. Memories which are so intact that I still remember the exact chain of events.

6 years ago.

“Sheikh Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was the first president of Bangladesh. Her father was assassinated on 15th August 1975”, she said.

“But why ma’am?”, I asked.

“Find out why my child”, she said smiling.

It was the third general knowledge class of the session- Wednesday, eighth period. The class was quiet as a graveyard because Mrs. Usha Hariharan, labelled as the strictest teacher in the school by popular vote, was standing near the teacher’s desk and discussing the G.K. chapter on ‘Famous Politicians across the Globe.’ I asked the question not because of any curiosity but with a sole purpose of flattering her. We students call it ‘impression jamaana’ in our language. So carrying on my cajole, next Wednesday-eighth period I gave her four sheets of printed paper with full history of Sheikh Hasina and her father. It was a proud moment for me because I was the only student in a class of 40+ students to cater to what she asked for and also because I spent twenty bucks in the nearby cyber cafe to get the print-out. At that moment I never imagined that the next 5 minutes will prove to be one of the most embarrassing 300 seconds of my life. She asked me to read all the four sheets of paper in front of the class. Not that fluent in English ( Though I’ve improved now), I stumbled in every next line. Ah! Those 5 minutes proved to be 50. Even more I guess. But one good thing also happened. Actually two. Firstly, the incident prompted me to improve my English. And secondly, I got a lucid view that this teacher is above soft-soap in all measures.

March 2010, she was appointed as my English teacher. A senior warned me to quit being that scallywag which I was till eighth grade and turn all namby-pampy for Hariharan ma’am was my class teacher. Though that so called ‘suggestion’ mystified me for days after the introduction class, yet I didn’t turn up to the guy for seniors were too sacrosanct to be questioned (for me atleast, at that time!). The first week of the 9th grade was enough to imply that people held a wrong perception about the ‘strictest’ teacher of the school. She was extremely servile, soigne, solicitous and savoir faire. And today, I reminisce her with utmost reverence. 


She is one of those few people I’ve met in my life so far who have always avoided spoon-feeding. Neither has she ever served the ready-made batter on the plate to us. Her teachings have always taught us only one thing- Self help is the best help. Whenever she said ‘Find out’, she implied that go home, surf the net and gain as much knowledge of the topic as you can. In fact, I still adhere to her theory of writing with a pencil. Her compliments have always motivated me to do better and her criticism has always boosted me to come up with better things. For instance, my radio show was a big flop. Her comments made me realize what a blunder mistake I had committed. But if it was not for her criticism, I wouldn’t have come out with my best declamation till date. And how well she appreciated me for that is still fresh in my mind.

Ma’am, I am clueless as to will you ever read this article or not. I am even dubious about do you remember me or not. But I distinctly remember every single piece of advice you gave me. I may not have expressed it to you, but somewhere deep down inside me is a credence which screams aloud that YOU have a major role in shaping me and making me who I am now. Your words full of wisdom are imbibed securely in one corner of my mind. And maybe it is the same corner which compels me to write sensibly. I can be open here and tell everyone what were those magical words which did wonders to me, but, you see, I am extremely selfish in this case. Moreover, some things touch your heart so profoundly that they are way too personal to be publicized.

In the words of William A. Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” And you did the latter part for me. Thank you for your constant encouragement and support ma’am. I know I am not a dab hand in featuring a panoply of my emotions but you surely deserve a big thanks for everything. I venerate you immensely. Thanks a lot! 🙂

P.S.-Many people must be thinking that this is my propaganda to get good marks in the upcoming examinations. Well, for those who are unaware let me tell you. My 12th grade board result is coming out in less than a week and ‘she’ is a retired teacher now. So now you’ll have to admit that your thoughts were utterly bullshit. Cheers!



2 thoughts on “The Pensive Portrait.

  1. Well! I am in tears after reading this………..I miss Usha ma’am the most…….her lessons were amazing………in fact she was amazing……..& here I was hoping that if I get back to OLF I will get a chance to see her………She is THE BEST ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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