I went to a boarding school in high school. That meant you would see your classmates 24 hours a day and you would see most of your teachers for almost 14-18 hours a day.
Yesterday, our Hindi teacher Mr. N Bhima Rao, who was close to 75 years, passed away, fortunately, without any health issues.
I did not have Hindi, as a language to study. And so I did not have any teacher-student relationship with this man directly. I could only hear the second-hand jokes about him. I did not know him well enough to make imitations and recite any funny things about him! When I started getting WhatsApp messages, I realised the impact this man had on my life.
Most of his students remembered him for sticking strictly to Hindi in the classroom…not a word of English or Kannada. And then the funny side of his classes…my classmates would beg him to tell them the latest updates on Buniyaad (the mega serial that was very famous during those days). They would beg and convince him that they would study the lessons well and he would go about giving his story of Buniyaad and his interpretations, all in Hindi. I feel that he did that intentionally, as he must have figured out this to be a better way of getting these teenagers to listen to him and listen to good Hindi!
As far as the influence on me, I remember him for his advice on the day we filled our Tenth Standard (SSLC) board exam applications. He was distributing the applications. He took time to explain first name, surname and other things and how this application would have long lasting impact on how our names would be officially used after these exams.
Being a South Indian from the south of Karnataka, I used to write my name as M N Shreenatha. If I had blindly expanded this, my first name would have been the name of a royal city, now renamed Mysuru! My surname would have been Shreenatha. All thanks to Mr.NBR, I filled the application as Shreenatha MN and avoided having a funny first name called Mysore!
It is amazing how your old teachers affect your lives and shape them!
RIP Sri NBR !