On contrary to the popular belief that teachers are kindness personified, she was tough and rude, right from day one till the end of our postgraduate studies, and for this reason I never felt the need to create a lasting rapport with her, unlike the relationship with other teachers who were very friendly and loving. Being in-charge of our department, she was always seen busy with teaching and other departmental activities, the reason that gave me an initial false notion that her work distanced her from us. But I was wrong, and she proved this many times beyond doubts with her ungracious behaviour, often insulting and hurting us for no specific reason to mention.
She hardly came to our classroom or took pains to complete the lessons, but reached, she proved herself with her fantastic and attention grabbing lectures, the only reason why I’ve never hated her completely. But the teacher in her was mostly overshadowed by the hard-hearted human who never left any chances to mock and insult us for all the silly reasons that she could find, whether it’s a spelling mistake in our lecture notes or a wrong pronunciation while reading-out a seminar. Instead of taking pains to explain where we were wrong, she often made a mockery of us before the whole class, and enjoyed it herself. Even while submitting assignments and seminars, we took extra caution to put things ‘her way’, as we knew that she would tear the sheets mercilessly and throw it on our face for even for the slightest and unintentional mistake of ours.
Much to my surprise, she always loved indulging in self praise, which often sounded funny, as though she was unknowingly trying to make a fool of herself before others. But no one had the courage to go against her, and hence agreed to whatever she said, and showered her with undeserved praises, just to make her happy, or else it would have clearly made its effect in our internal assessment marks.
Initially I couldn’t take-in the rude attitude of hers but had to forcefully make-up my mind, as I had no other option. Thankfully the other teachers were good and compassionate to us, and for this reason we never felt disheartened at any point of our college days. It was almost during the mid of the third semester that I happened to hear the life story of our ‘ruthless’ teacher, which changed my attitude towards her overnight. Married to a government servant, from a reputed family, she expected a happy and peaceful life but soon received the first pitiless blow of fate when her husband was caught for misappropriation of office funds. After losing his job as a part of the official enquiry, she was only breadwinner of the family, and had three little children to take care of. But she moved on, and even managed to complete her doctoral studies while working, amid umpteen difficulties.
Years passed-by and her daughters reached the marriageable age, but sadly she couldn’t get a suitable groom for her eldest daughter, for some reason or the other. This frustrating delay shattered her more than words could describe, and to make matters worse, her younger daughter eloped with someone. It was another huge blow for her. The only son, the hope of the entire family, was a good for nothing spoiled brat. Added to all these were the spicy gossips about her family.
I couldn’t help but wonder how she managed to live sanely in her problem filled world. Although her personal grievances could never be considered as an excuse for her ill-treating us, I was ready to forget whatever she did, as I was sure that circumstances and surroundings might have made her the way she was, for which she could never be blamed, no matter however bad she behaved. I knew that she would never change herself at any point of our academic life, but after hearing her story, I could no more carry any hard feelings for her.
I completed my post graduation in 2003, and till then she was more or less the same, but as I knew the ‘reason’, I faced her arrogance calmly the whole time, without any qualms.