I last met Usha Madam at my grandfather's funeral, a little over two years ago. I had seen her after almost a decade that day. She looked shorter and older than before. She looked weak and frail. It is not like that she was ever young. Right from my childhood, I have always remembered her having grey hair. But as she met me that day, her eyes lit up. Her smile brightened my day. She feels very proud of me. I am her most favorite student ever. She wasn't my school teacher. She used to stay in our neighborhood and my parents used to send me to her place to study and learn things. I used to spend few hours daily at her place till I reached 5th standard. She was my first teacher in that sense. I attribute a lot of my core values and qualities to my parents'upbringing and Usha Madam's teachings.
Yes, engineering corrupted me to an extent in my adult life. It made me more practical. But those lessons, in her home, somewhere are still deeply entrenched in my value system.
Apart from teaching various subjects, she used to talk about religion and spirituality. I used to accompany her to some satsangs (religious congregations) as a kid. I remember her taking me to a bank branch and helped me open our first savings accounts. That was the most exciting thing as a child to graduate from a piggy bank to actual bank branch. In those days, it was an amazing experience, when branches were not digitized. Even as a kid, she never used to patronize me. I owe a lot to her. I remember a very interesting incident fondly.
One day, I was upset or angry about something. She gave me an exercise to make sentences using few words. Some words that I remember she gave me were - cow, glasses and milk. There were 10 - 15 such words. In form of a protest, I randomly decided to use the word ''Red"in each sentence, even if it didn't make practical sense. This was my form of rebellion against something, I don't remember now. So my sentences went something like this:
The red cow crossed the road.
She looked ugly in red glasses.
The red milk was tasty.
and so on...
I was sure she will scold me. But she didn't. She told me that even when I was angry, I was careful to construct the sentences properly and also didn't make any spelling errors. I think my anger melted away at that time.
Now how many of us can claim to have such wonderful teachers in life. I met few more in school later. I fondly remember Anupinder Sir. Will talk about him in some other post.
When I was blessed with a baby boy recently, she called me to wish. She had never called me in last so many years. I hope Meharaj also finds a good teacher in life.