With due apology to all women, its a known fact, women talk and they talk a lot. Sometimes it can be very difficult controlling them. My colleague would shout at the students if they did not do their task properly or did not understand but I would be patient at listening the queries. The reason could be that I had not interacted with women before and maybe that’s why I took the approach that was safe. Sometimes the noise in my class would be so loud that the other faculty had to intervene to put some order. This would happen during the first month.
The next month I took the silent approach. They would start making noise and I would just stand there, watching them with folded hands. One of them would realize that “Sir” (they called me sir) is awfully silent and then they themselves would stop talking. I would just ask them one question;
Then they would sheepishly grin at me and then I would continue with the teaching. I continued using the technique in every batch after that. Sometimes I would give a long whistle which had a shock effect.
The classes were quite enjoyable most probably because of the more practical aspect of the subject. I would have them chattering along and then when they did some task right it was the happiness of achievement. Then they would go on and help their colleagues. Sometimes I would just sit in between while they worked on the computers around me. They would be excitedly working, trying new things.
As it was two people per computer, when one worked the other would peep into the neighbor’s desktop. At times, they would turn around and talk to me and the topic was not computers every time. They would talk about office, work, office politics and everything under the sun.
When the classes ended every day, they would bombard me with queries while my colleague would get impatient waiting for lunch. I would ask them to keep their questions for next day and eventually get late for lunch everyday. The two hour lecture would leave me completely drained and high.
The exams were the tension point for all students. Before every exam women coming in my class would say “Sir mee fail honar aahe” (Sir I will surely fail). Most of them did pass with good marks. Some did not and we would give them re-exams. When it came to exams, these grown-ups would be like small children. They would do the normal antics that we did as children including asking the neighbor for answer, peeping over to neighbor’s paper etc. I once caught a woman who had scribbled answers on her palm and she was almost 50 years old. I did not tell my colleague but I failed her and made her take the paper again.
In the whole day, I only had two hour of actual work. The rest went to help the other faculty with practical, checking exam papers, roaming around or sitting outside the class doing nothing. There was a time in school when sitting or actually standing outside the class was a punishment. Here sitting outside the so-called class was also a punishment because after a heavy lunch, I would feel sleepy.
But then our center had a unique lab. It was a part of the marriage registration office and that was an unusual entertainment. Every day couples would come to register their marriage. Bride and groom in their best attire would be standing in line for getting their marriage registered. Along came the two witnesses. Sometimes the relatives of the bride and groom would get a little over-enthusiastic. Although the registration clerks did try to keep everybody silent, the noise was disturbing to the class.
We would have relatives of the new-weds distributing sweets to the students and me right in the middle of a lecture. When I was teaching, somebody would just walk into the class and start distributing sweets. We did not have doors to the lab.
When I did not have classes, I would sit with the lady on the registration desk. She would explain the law to me on how and how not to get married. By the end of the three month course I knew everything about registering marriages, registered marriages and how to obtain the marriage certificate. I knew how to elope and get married. I knew the Hindu marriage law and I knew where to get married if you are not a Hindu. I knew where to get marriage registered if you stay in suburbs. I knew all the documents needed to get married. The only small detail I didn’t know was where do I get a girl if I decide to get married.
I was 23 at that time and one question I was always asked was, when would I get married? I had the offer to get my marriage certificate anytime I want without any waiting period. It helps having acquaintances in right places. Every woman in my batch was concerned for my marriage.
I would sometimes roam in the office during my free time. Many were my students and they would offer me tea and snacks at their table. The boss of the office who would make businessmen wait would offer me seat and discuss the progress of his subordinates. It was not just in our center but different centers across the government offices. My colleagues worked in Police head quarters and knew all the commissioners.
I would like to be modest but I was considered to be the best teacher among the three teachers. My colleague who took classes in the morning would shout at the students and was not liked by them. The faculty who taught in the evening was known to only those small batches of 15 students.
The final exam included whatever we had taught in the three months. It was conducted by an external agency. Just before the final exam, the students gave us a farewell party. Mostly all the teachers would get the same gift but my batch of 20 students gave me more than the other teachers. I got a nice gold-plated Titan watch, a shirt, a briefcase and two big bouquets of flowers. I was overwhelmed by their gesture.
We tried getting them ready for exams and to a large extend we did succeed. When the results came out, 4 students had failed, 3 being from my own batch. I was shocked although I had hoped that they just scrap through but the didn’t
My first batch and three failures was not a nice scene. It was not as if there were no failures in other centers but ours was the worst affected. It was a hurt to my ego. I went and met the three students. They felt bad that they were the only one who had failed. I tried to convince them for the re-exams. I tried to convince their colleagues to convince them to attend the re-exams. They wouldn’t budge. I convinced their boss to convince them but still they just wouldn’t listen. One of them even thought that I was responsible but I did not care. I wanted my batch to be 100% cleared.
During farewell, I had asked them to study hard giving them my phone number in case they had doubts. While taking the Titan watch, I had promised to wear it only and only if everybody from my batch cleared the exams. I told the three to clear the exams or the watch would be left unused but the three had lost all interest in giving the exam again. The other students in the batch tried to convince me in wearing the watch but I refused.
Even after more than eight years, I have never used the watch.
To Be Continued…………..