My mother, Ila, had been a school teacher for thirty eight years before her superannuation. But I am writing this – my tribute to her on Teacher’s Day – for some other reason altogether. Her teaching and her students are things about which I have heard – both from herself and from her colleagues.
Ma inculcated in me a love for books and reading at a very young age. She made it a point everyday – despite her other duties of our household which included cooking as well – to sit down beside me and help me with my homework, every evening. My father was a painter, of both national and international repute and theirs had been a love marriage. Both of them married late into their lives. Those days were the raging seventies in Calcutta – the cauldron of the Naxalite Movement.
She’s the best teacher so far as I am concerned. Yes, still. She loves to read Tagore but that doesn’t mean that she does not enjoy contemporary fiction. Her favourite writer is Erique Maria Remarque. His books like Arch of Triumph, Flotsam are hard to get these days. Simply because people (or writers) do not write like that anymore. On one of her birthdays in April ( no, I do not agree with T.S.Eliot when he says April being the cruellest month), I had gifted her with Flotsam, which I purchased from Amazon. She was so happy and the book still holds pride of place in the bookshelf in her room.
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, I only want to say this – Ma, you’re the best teacher I had or will ever have.