“SIT DOWN, ASRAR!” – He shouted!
I was jumping up in my seat.
The year was 2002. I was in VI standard. He was my English teacher, Sunny Thomas. I still call him Sir.
I used to be the naughtiest guy in the class only during his period, always disrupting his speech and involving in bizarre antics which would not let Sir complete his class with full vigour. I dunno why but except in his period, I never behaved this way– I always used to be the calm dude who finishes his homework on time, scores an A in tests and keeps his teachers happy by obliging to everything.
But in Sunny Sir’s class, it was different. Maybe because he was of a free-going nature and cracked many jokes in the class to keep the students smiling. Maybe because he always stuffed extra chocolates in his pocket when birthday pupils came to him. Maybe because I took his jokes for granted and assumed that that’s all he wants or etc. But whatever it may be, I was the most hated student in the class by Sir.
I used to throw water balloons at fellow classmates, refuse to take down notes while Sir was dictating lessons, scribble endlessly on the blackboard while he’s not teaching and crack jokes with neighbours and laugh as hard as possible. He always looked at me with a frown and sometimes with anger, secretly wishing me to kick out of the class. But Sir never did. As for the record, I still was the most disobedient student, acc to him and he despised me BIG TIME!
One fine day, Sunny Sir walks in to the class and announces a surprise elocution test. Students were to write a 400-word passage on how we can save the near-extinct tigers in the world. All my fellow classmates, including me of course, were taken aback by this announcement as none was prepared or had any valid points in mind to contribute to the essay. However, we unwillingly started the test and submitted the answer sheets by the hour. Sunny Sir sat down checking all the papers, calling the respective student near his table for feedback and awarding marks.
About tests, there was one thing particular about him. Let the student be a direct disciple of Shakepeare even but Sunny Sir always used to write the word ‘good’ as a remark in test papers, indicating that he meant it was the best. Never in his life did he write a different remark word signaling a better appreciative word than ‘good’.
I stood up. He glanced at me, opened the sheet and started running his eyes all over my paper all the while jetting down huge tick marks with his red pen. As he reached the end of my paper, his facial expressions changed. I could sense something was wrong. He called me to the teachers table. As I went ahead to collect my paper, he looked at me with eyes that displayed a completely different emotion, rose up from his seat and HUGGED me!
I was literally speechless. He then patted my back, wiped down an invisible tear from his eye and asked me – “Your essay is the best one I’ve ever read. Why did you hide this from me?”
I was speechless. Had no idea then what Sunny Sir was talking about. I sheepishly collected my paper and quickly ran down to occupy my chair. It was only when I reached home to open my answer sheet that I understood the gravity of the situation – there was an ‘Excellent’ written down at the last page!
I cried profusely. I know Sunny Sir did too. It was emotional.
The next day I attended his class in a whole new avatar. I tuned in to be the most obedient student and he looked at me with utmost care and respect.
It gives me goose bumps as I recollect this incident even today. Sunny Sir, wherever you are today, THANK YOU SO MUCH for teaching this creepo and weird guy a very important lesson in life.
If only I could meet you someday and fall in your feet, I’d be so HONORED!