Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Happy Teacher's Day, Miss Doctor !!

On the occasion of Teacher's Day, I would like to present a write-up about a magnificent person who was my class teacher 20 years ago in Vincents, Miss Mani Doctor. Quite true to her name she would snap like a cat and then treat you with utmost care, affection and love of a pediatrician. To put her personality in simplest of words she was Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler rolled into one !!

When we first saw our names against 4B and Mani Doctor, the writing was clear on the wall. A distant cousin of mine (who was 4yrs senior to me in school) told me that an entire year of fun, games, exams and discipline was about to begin. I really do not recollect a day by day account of the happenings but our day would inevitably have an equal proportion of the above ingredients. There were just too many exams, atleast one each day, sometimes two and she was particularly severe on the students whom she expected to do well and who didn't. The everyday evaluations helped enormously during the actual school unit tests, terminals and finals. Most days (and all Fridays) ended with a feel-good story about Brare-Rabbit and his antics. This was the only time when we allowed to put our books away and rest our heads on the desks and doze off.

However the two things that I miss most about Miss Doctor's class are "Handwriting" and "History".
History: The 4th history textbooks then contained the history about Shivaji and that was the time she really came alive. The students used to be enchanted by her teaching and the actual battlefield would come alive before us. Shivaji tearing through AfzalKhan's belly, cutting ShahisteKhan's fingers. Murarbaaji, Tanaaji seemed to have lost their lives not on Purandar or Sinhagad but right there in 4B.. It did happen there and I am sure I would have 55 another witnesses coming forth to attest my statements.
Handwriting: My writing was pathetic till 3rd and though I scored in the higher 90s in subjects, reading/recitation/writing brought my %s in the lower 90s. This all changed once Miss Doctor took over. I haven't seen a single person till date who put such a high premium on writing skills than Miss Doctor. Her writing on the blackboard (we had the spilt one, similar to a lift and its dead weight - push one side up and the other side would come down) as well as on notebooks was way better than what Microsoft Word or any other editors offer. It was better that we had BlackBoards and not WhiteBoards/Markers "nahito najar lag jaati". The curves of her cursive writing would put today's bombshells to shame. The quality of my handwriting absolutely skyrocketed and remained better till about 10-12th exams after which speed and exam pressure caught up quite badly.
As of today my handwriting is history but then, so are good and dedicated teachers !!
(I still don't know how Godya managed to complete his exam papers and yet maintain the writing he still has)

I would also not forget the class for 3 more reasons, all very nice memories. This was the last time Chirag and I were classmates after 6 years since our days from St Pauls and the first time that Ameya and I were classmates. The last reason being the beating I had received the day before Ameya had joined as Miss Doctor assumed me for someone else. The last one being sweet coz, that was the only teacher who had whacked me when I was a student and it would have been almost criminal to have passed out of school 'unbeaten' :)

There were other teacher's from School like Mrs. C Fernandes and Smt Garde, or professors from Electrical Engg in VIT who were nice and good at teaching but then Miss Doctor was different. She did not have great persona or charisma but looked bright and energetic each time we saw her in white, spotless sarees. Some years ago we had gone to meet her at her home near Westend (last heard she had moved out from there) and she was still her old-self, vibrant but did look frail due to her age. She talked very passionately about teaching and students and rued the fact that the current lot of teachers were not dedicated enough and that their devotion lay elsewhere.

There are numerous people who make their mark on you but there are ONLY a few who leave an indelible impression on your head and heart.
Miss Doctor was surely one such person whose footprints will never be erased from the minds of her endearing students.



Anonymous Noor said...

Awwwww...that was quite a heart-warming post!!! and coming ages after the last post, quite welcome!!!

Keep scrapping Sallu....I check for your posts everyday :)

4:51 AM  
Blogger Mukta A said...

lovely salil!!

i realised that i dont remember all of my school tecahers names now :( am embarrased :(

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is indeed a nostalgic blog... you took me back to my formative years, and although i was not privileged enough to have Ms. Doctor as my class teacher, I was in that very school for 6 whole years, and had ample opportunities to listen to various accounts of her dedication, discipline and passion as a teacher... Although I had pretty good class teachers all along, this nagging thought that, may be just once, I should have had Ms. Doctor as my class teacher still pricks me...
Class teacher or not, I believe she was a role model for all teachers, and an icon for students...

And about my hand-writing... well it was sipmle... :P I used to write only what I could write maintaining my hand-writing... :) I never went after finishing my papers (not that i was in a I-know-all-the-answers-to-all-the-exam-questions position often, so it didnt matter if I didnt complete my paper... :) so i made sure, that whatever I wrote, at least looked good... :P;):)

Keep Blogging,


11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well written salya. There can't be a better tribute on TD. Brings to life the ocean of memories at school. I never had Ms. Doctor as my teacher then, but the account makes me feel I really missed a lot.


1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well written Salil.... brought back memories of the time I came into class and the first time I had to learn cursive writing.... from block. I still remember the first umpteen tests where I invariably had a remark for bad handwriting...

ANd its gr8 u still remember the stories on Fridays. Just wish we cud be class 4B students again :))

2:04 AM  
Blogger Atul said...

waah salil,
sahi blog hota...tya Doctor cha nav kadhla tari maala ajun bhiti watte...I still remember the slap she had given to Terrence D'souza. I was shell-shocked hearing the sound of it. She had even broken the spectacles of the poor fellow. But the good things was coz of that fear I always performed better in History than any other subject. She was simply different from the rest of the teachers. Her handwriting was terrific, I guess we were never in that league...

5:24 AM  
Blogger Sandgroper said...

I don't know if you will read this one.. But I have nothing to do in a hotel room in Moline.

Ms. Doctor was far and away the best teacher I had. I'd say Ms. Murti would be a close second simply because she never made it personal. Fr. Oesch as well.

Ms. Doctor tried her best to alter my handwriting. I think I am the next coming of Nostradamus, since I knew I would be using lots of computers anyway, and there was no point in having a great looking set of letters anyway!!

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Vishal Bhalla said...

Reminded me of my school days...I too visit my school once may be every two years...just to relive the memories...sad that I am not at Ranchi or else Adi would have studied in the same school ....

1:27 AM  

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