To Sir, with gratitude

Urgi’s heartfelt letter to Sir on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, 2019:

Dear Sir,

It’s teachers day today but I was wondering whether one day is enough to celebrate and appreciate all you have done for us over the last many years. Over almost the last decade that you have taught us, you have toiled for us and everyday, through bits and pieces, built into us the foundations through which we could become someday worthy and able members of society, capable of being successful in almost every endeavor that life throws at us.

There are not many people who can do this and it would be unfair to say that you’ve only been a teacher to us, in the conventional sense that is. You’ve been to us much more than that, to us you’ve been like a mentor who has prepared us for life by arming us with the set of skills that’s required for survival. To us you taught not only how to fight the battle of formal education, which is merely temporary in nature, but something much more permanent, the battle of life itself.

In many a ways to us you taught these various skills.

One such skill which you built in us was the need for thought. It was you who taught to us that in the end it was the thought that counted and the thinker that was rewarded, and so we must learn to think if we wanted to be successful in life. From a very early age this is what you prioritized in us and not something the other schools prioritized, to mug up and then throw up in the exam.

Having built into us the ability to think, to be our own person and not a sheep, you then tried to make us all into mature and responsible human beings. This you did through various ingenious ways. One of those ways was that you made us run the school with you so that we would develop some of the skills and organizational abilities needed to run, well, organizations.

But to get to the adult life in which the learning of all these skills would pay off we first needed to pass some hurdles. We had to first pass the barriers that had been put in place by society in terms of formal education. For this you taught us, and taught us you did phenomenally. Instead of making us memorize things that we could have then written in exams you gave us real learning. All the subjects that needed to be learnt you taught us the concepts and principles of and that too in the most interesting way possible. The results of these teachings were immediately evident as most of us ended up getting top scores and grades in almost every exam we gave.

In all the ways that I mentioned till now you’ve enriched us as a group. But to me personally you have helped a hundred times as well to become a better person in every aspect.

One such time was when last year I had gone off track by thinking of colleges as the ultimate destination for fame and glory in life, thinking of them as paradise even. But thankfully you became aware of the illusory bubble in which I was living and brought me back to reality.

This, though one of the greatest ways in which you’ve helped me, compares not at all when taking into consideration the inspiration you’ve constantly been to me throughout the last decade or so. Before there was the need to do well in exams for my own sake, my motivation to do better everyday came from you. In you I saw somebody I wanted to be like, somebody worthy of being like, somebody smart and compassionate and caring. To me as a result you were like a parental figure, a guiding force.

Finally, though this really could go on, the most fundamental way in which you have changed my life, and everybody elses’ really, is due to the fact that you opened this school. With this school you provided to us a magical and radical place in a place where tried and failed convention really had the upper hand. By opening this school you changed our lives forever.

So Sir, for all of this I’m greatly thankful. Thank you for teaching us the skills we needed to survive in this world. Thank you for providing us with a wonderful childhood by opening a school of wonders. And above all thank you for being such an inspirational parental figure who was always there for us. So Sir, THANK YOU for all this and with this I wish to say to you happy Teachers Day, though to me you have been a lot more than that.

To Sir

-From Urgi