Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bad, bad teacher!


This post is dedicated to the weirdest creepiest female I was a student of, around half a decade ago.

To begin with, she had this odd fashion sense. Her pencil thin frame was usually clad in saree- draped in sheer carelessness sans any effort to look neat. She was also supremely short for an average Indian adult, and this made her look comical- but mind you if you smile around her she will scare the daylight out of you using ultrasonic expletives. She complemented the bandage of a saree with pointed high heels which she obviously considered very funky to be wearing in a college where one has to walk in kilometers to go from one classroom to another. The annoying noise that her heels made could be heard from the nearest railway station.

When she entered the classroom, the sound of her heels automatically transformed the normal working of our brain to a state of numbness wherein we were reduced to vegetables which can read and write. As soon as she left we reverted to our normal state. Whenever she gave us a problem to solve, she walked amidst us creating an air of fear and sometimes casually banged her wrist on the desk- which caused a minor myocardial infarction to the student whose desk that was. 

Again, her vocabulary in English consisted mainly of the word ‘man’. ‘Come here, man’ ‘Get lost, man’ ‘What the hell is this man’ ‘Get out man’. And mind you, ‘man’ was not used for men alone. Once she told me, ‘ You Anita ! Get me a chalk, man’ K

The primary reason why she was weird was the explosive temper which could give any Shaji Kailas protagonist a run for his money. The subject she taught was associated with a lab – and hence this semester was a painful slow death for any student aspiring to attain a degree.  To get her signature on one chapter of the record book was mission impossible; imagine getting it for all 21 chapters and appearing for the lab exam where she will be there with her devilish grin and eagle eyes to get any prey she can lay her hands on. If at all you complete an experiment at the lab, document it and go to her for signature, she glances through the pages and if there is a micron of a correction she hurls the record book outside the staff room. The wailing students were supposed to pick them up and run to grab their anti depressants. The area outside her staff room was appropriately nicknamed ‘runway’ because the flying record books always crash landed there. The students actually formed a queue and stuck themselves to the wall so that there was enough space for the flying saucers.

Once she was joking to another teacher in the staff room and smiling..yes I caught her smiling! I continued to wait happily in line for my first experiment, when the boy standing ahead of me handed over his pen to her for signature, and to his fate the pen did not produce enough ink for her to carve her much anticipated signature and it went flying out of the window. The guy cried ‘My Pierre Cardin!’ out of an instant gut and he has not been allowed in her class or lab ever since. Well, when the pen went flying, so did I, straight to my hostel holding my record book tight to myself. That day I called home and cried to my parents blaming them for sending me to a place where there are villains for teachers. However I made it a point to never be a victim to her outrage and learnt my experiments in depth and wrote them accurately.

Another very appreciable quality which she possessed was her relentless ability to curse. Once a guy talked in her class and she cursed him, his parents and ancestors and even subjected him to further humiliation when she expressed her desire to see him around writing arrears for the next seven years. And on her last class before the exams all the other teachers wished us good luck...whereas she expressed her sincere wish that all of us fail her subject and wait at her desk again the next year.

Finally the day came when I went with shivering hands and feet to the University Lab exam. I got an experiment which I was not an expert on and started with a doubtful mind. The external was a man in his 40s and was a kind person. Madam Cruella De Ville sat next to him, looking at me as if to find some fault as she learnt from my expression and body language that I was doubtful. Unfortunately the tiny screen did not show any output when I heard the creaking of a chair being pulled back. I turned to look at her coming towards me. My fingers were literally shaking. She said, ‘Okay Anita, so see you again next year, same lab’ accompanied by devilish laugh. Other students looked at me pitifully, when tears started gushing out of my eyes. I dint say anything and continued to work on my experiment. However it did not give any positive signs, and I proceeded to my second experiment for which I got the desired result. But Madam Adamant was stern on her decision, and gave a smirk as I proceeded out of the lab. Needless to say I was torn apart.

However the graceful Almighty not only passed but also gave me good marks for her theory paper and lab. The 40 something normal external professor gave me marks for the experiment I did correctly and also reduced for the one I dint, but adding up record book marks and internal marks I got a decent score. I do not know how long she continued in that institution after I graduated seven years ago, but wherever she is, I remember her and feel pitiful for the students who get suicidal under her guidance.

Wherever you are, I dedicate this song to you, Ma’am, and I really mean it!




20 comments:

  1. Madam Cruella De Ville :) :) .. kollaam ttaa. .

    " see you next year same lab " I heard similar one . "ee record book okke sookshichu vechekku .. adutha kollam nokki padikkende "

    Good one Anita :)

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    1. Thanks Praphul...hmmm appo ithu teachers inde sthiram dialogue aanu alle..

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  2. And to think teachers are supposed to guide the students and be an example to them!!! Whatever happened to 'matha pitha guru deivam'. Sigh! I also really think you should let go of the grudge and move on.

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    1. hmm so rightly said. Matha Pitha Guru Daivam was when the Guru was equivalent to the other three. Not in this case I believe.

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  3. hahahahahah, you made me go back to my school days. There used to be a teacher who would use me and my friend to show to class the distance between molecules in solid, liquid and gas. She would bang our heads together :(

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  4. Anita,

    I have been really lucky not to have had such teachers. But come to think of it she must have made all of you work hard to ensure that you do not repeat another year with her.

    Take care

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    1. If that was her intention I totally forgive her. But one should keep in mind that for young adults teachers should be their role models. She was barely one of that kind.

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  5. I have seen some like that too.. Some people are just plain sadists. I have especially noticed that these bad tempered people usually roam around confined spaces like labs.. May be something in the air?

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    1. Yeah may be..Sunitha. Sadistic people..!

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  6. Anita,
    These are only painful details. But then the fact remains that you could pass Engineering without any arrears, all the four difficult years. That is what matters.
    Do not curse your teachers. I feel you have done well in spite of all hurdles you had to go through, 2001-2005.
    Papa

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    1. Thanks Papa...and you are right as always..
      but to think of the torture inflicted on us by some teachers...its difficult to forget or forgive them..!

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  7. Lovely writing, Anita:) I could almost visualize your lizard like creepy teacher:)

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  8. my wifie is a dedicated teacher..so i luv what yr dad said anita..though understand what u mean...wishes alwayss friend

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    1. Is it...both my parents are dedicated teachers..of which Mummy is a teacher for the last 30 plus years. I dont think she ever would curse anyone for that matter - forget the students.

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  9. Goodness she sounds like a specimen;-o!!!!
    U know all along I was hoping tht she turns out good in the end and was all along trying to aggravate you guys into doing ur best but sheesh...:-(

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    1. That too an irritating specimen !Ya we all hoped that she will be sober and wish us good luck for the University exams , but thats when she cursed us :-| You know Christ has to come the second time to tame people like these...!

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  10. lovely read, anita. the pierre cardin incident reminded me of something that happened to me. i had changed jobs and taken up a relatively junior level position in a new company, and the supervisor wanted a pen to mark a job sheet. i gave him my mont blanc - nearly fifty years old and the pen with which my father had crafted most of his early masterpieces as an author. he was not used to fountain pens and spent some time scratching with it so hard that the nib got damaged. it didn't end there, he tried to shake the pen to make ink go to the nib, and it slipped out of his fingers, flew across and fell straight on its nib. i could not even explain what it meant to me, and the nib was anyway beyond repair. i decided from that day that i would carry the use and throw biros instead.

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    1. Subhorup Dasgupta : You know, when there is something we use and it is our own, we should be careful. But if there is something borrowed that we use, we should be doubly alert and careful and it is our duty to return it in exactly the same condition.These are basic fundas of life that some people are completely ignorant about. I am sorry about that pen, and would advice you to treasure it even though the nib is gone.

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