A Rare Breed

During the latter stages of school and for most of college, complaining how bad your teachers are, is pretty commonplace among student circles. At least that’s the way it is here. And its no different with my friends, and friends of friends, and the friends-so-distant-you-don’t-even-know-they’re-the-least-bit-related, and the people I overhear complaining about the teachers. But occasionally, that too if you’re lucky, there comes a teacher who you just cannot nitpick about. And its not just the teaching part that she’s so good at, but also the being-a-likeable-human-being part. Remember how I said ‘if you’re lucky’?

Well, here’s what happened. I switched subjects this year (I’m in the 12th Grade, or the second year of Junior College), from Mathematics to Philosophy. I had taken Math in the 11th owing to some general advice of a school teacher and also an administrative misdirection by a college official, and Math didn’t work out for me. In the meantime I had also decided that I wanted to pursue Psychology as a career (still working out the details, doing some research). Since I didn’t want to continue with Math, the obvious choice was Philosophy as opposed to the third option of History, since not only is Philosophy an immensely interesting subject to me, personally, but it is also a good subject to have a background in if you want to pursue Psychology.

Now, the procedure for switching subjects like this was no doubt a lengthy one. I started inquiring about it towards the end of my 11th and the process dragged on all through my pre-12th vacations and well into the second month of 12th until any official announcement came from the college. So right until it got wrapped up, from my point of view I had a very realistic chance of 50-50 of having Philosophy as a subject to study. When it did get wrapped up, it was a relief like no other I’ve felt in recent times. But that’s not the point of this post.

The teacher I’ve got for Philosophy is, in short, pretty much awesome. There’s different kinds of awesome when it comes to teachers, and it depends on what kind of student you are. If you’re the kind that likes the subject to be stimulating, something that makes you think, genuinely be drawn to the subject in a natural, progressive way, then awesome would mean a teacher that explains the subject very well, makes lectures not seem like lectures, makes them interactive, doesn’t stick to the text, and does not give you everything on a silver platter. That’s the kind of teacher I’ve got. Not only that, but she also takes interest in every student, she knows a lot of our names, and comes off to me as a very pragmatic but passionate person.

About a week or so back I had to go pay a small amount of money to the college as administrative fees for carrying out the whole subject change process. But the time they’d allotted for us to pay the money fell smack in between our Philosophy lecture of the day so I missed about half an hour of it. I thought I’d still go and try to explain why I was late. When I got there, to my surprise, the classroom was completely empty and our teacher was sitting by the table on the podium, reading something. She was still expecting people to turn up, because as soon as I walked in she asked me if I knew where the others were. These kind of things happen sometimes, everybody decides to bunk the lecture on the same day, knowingly or otherwise is something I won’t comment on ;).

Anyhoo, since I was there, she asked me whether my subject change process had come to a close so I could finally concentrate on Philosophy, and I told her that it was done now that I had paid the money. She looked genuinely relieved, and for a second, almost as much as I was. I’m usually a talkative person if I feel comfortable in the company I am and such teachers usually are that way, so we talked about this and that for a few minutes. Naturally, as a teacher she asked me what my plans were, academically, after I passed the 12th Grade. I told her I was pretty dead set on Psychology but was still considering the exact options I had in that field and had it narrowed down to Counselling, Sports and Criminal Psychology. She expressed surprise at the fact that I was so sure ‘so early’. The fact that I have a blog also came up. She was even more surprised, in a good way. During her lecture a couple of days back she had told us she was quite into fiction, especially the Agatha Christie kind, so there was more surprise for store in her when I told her I had started the blog primarily for the purpose of fiction, the Agatha Christie kind. She told me she was very impressed, and that made me feel really good. Like I was on the right track, more or less. The fact that I was from a reputed school and a reputed education Board, and had done well there, made her even more impressed. Then I realised I may have set the bar too high for my own sake because she told me she expected me to score at least a 95% in my 12th Board exam. sigh

Guess I’ll just have to get down to the books now.

See on the other side, folks!

A Brief Pit Stop

Its good to slow things down every once in a while. It can be fun too. If you’re that kind of a person who likes to let your foot of the pedal after a long run, stick your head out of the window and enjoy the wind brushing by your face, like a little dog.

And then you pull your head back in and your foot back on the pedal and swear back at the drivers who just called you things that you’d rather not write on your blog.

I don’t slow down as often as I should. And yes, even a 16 year old who hardly has any workload from college needs to slow down. And he did yesterday.

My college is a great college. Its got a ground that along with the surrounding small road is probably the size of a few colleges of very unfortunate students. And that’s just the ground. So, it goes without saying that the college is very spacious. However, like anything that exists, it has its lows as well. One is that it has practicals for Physical Education.

I mean, what? That was how I was when I first heard we were going to have them. We didn’t even have them in school. In the 10th. In ICSE! And that’s saying something. So they make us do sit-ups (squats, if you want to call them that), long jumps, 100 metre sprints (in the time it takes you to stop panting after the sprint, Usain Bolt could have circled the globe, like, five times) and throw this one tonne iron ball in a fun little game called shot put. And if it isn’t already interesting, this is where it becomes just that: there are two practicals, one per term.┬áLike after barely one month, we’re going to be able to jump longer, run faster and throw harder. Dammit, I haven’t been able to improve in the physical department that fast in all the sixteen years I’ve lived. If you could do that, you’re a living legend. Or you were doping.

I did fairly well the first time around, but the second time, which was yesterday, I didn’t care that much. So I got a little lax on the sit-ups (more so because they really make my thighs pain and then I can’t sprint as well as I could have without them) but I did run hard and I did throw the one tonne iron ball farther than I think I did last time.

We had to go to college for an hour yesterday just for the practicals and then I had to go fetch my younger sister from her drawing class about half an Usain Bolt minute away from college. But I had about forty minutes to waste before her class ended. And going home and then coming back didn’t make sense. So I decided to take the opportunity to do some of that slowing down I’ve not been doing enough of.

My description on Twitter says I enjoy the little things in life. And that’s just how I was when I took a very slow walk. The right earbud in my very expensive but apparently over-priced earphones is non-responsive so I was forced to look at things, and people while on this walk. And I happened to catch some pretty interesting things.

Not to get too morbid or anything but I stumbled into a dead crow stretched on the pavement right across from a dead rat. I like to think they had a duel to the death. For unknown reasons. But they’re knights of their respective species.

You wouldn’t be ill-advised to take a little break now and then. Even if its just for about half an hour, like the one I took. Provided your heart and head are both in the break while the rest of your body is in it.

But don’t get carried away too much or you’ll be sitting wrapped up with a sweater, cooped up in bed, because you had something cold to drink and caught the flu, like me. Also wearing a pair of gloves (not because you’re cold but because they’re really comfy).