Jalsa , Mumbai July 3 , 2012 Tue 8 : 30 PM
D Madhuri birthday greetings for yesterday .. all happiness and joys of life for you ..
On this auspicious day of GURU POORNIMA, may I take the liberty of wishing all that connect or have disconnected with us, our blessings and wishes and the glorification of those that have been our inspiration, our teachers, leaders and from whom we have gained knowledge and our sense of senses !
They tell me through various different kind worded messages, to look outside and view the moon, as its brilliance shines through on its fullness. I may remind in all earnestness that I reside in monsoonic conditions these days. Stepping out, one encounters the sparks of crazed lightening, dark clouds, bursts of much needed rain and the full moon hidden somewhere behind them. Librans go crazy on this occurrence. The only way we can know it is a full moon night therefore, is to observe as many Librans as one can. Their attitude and manner shall describe to us what the shape of moon must be !
But guru poornima has its other more refined gifts. It is the day when we pay our respects to those that have in some way placed themselves in our lives for what they have imparted in our growth. It could be an elder, it generally is, or one that has been responsible for that moment of learning, a word of advice that gave us vision and direction – a guru, the Hindi word that has now manifested itself into the English vocabulary or the dictionary, the way it is. Much like a few other words – monsoon, juggernaut, mogul, maharaja and the like !
Gyaan, or knowledge is so worthy and of invaluable standing. It is what we teach that then becomes the basis of all that we gain. Our respect for teachers, in school, college or university never ever leaves us. In our tradition we touch their feet and seek their blessings. In other cultures we address them as ‘sir’. I doubt very much if we ever forget the names and what our teachers were known by, throughout our living days. It is remarkable how even in advanced age the little oddities and encounters we had with them still remain with us. In my Boy’s High School, Allahabad, where I studied from an early class and age, we still remember all those that came in our curriculum, even though more than 60 years have gone by. Our Principal, Mr Richard Dutt ( pronounced Dút ), spectacled and with a loud booming voice, and his call for attention on Sports Day when he would conduct the Tug-of-War event – two teams on either side of a thick rope pulling in opposite direction to see who would win by crossing a given mark on the ground. A handkerchief would be tied at the central point, loosely and Mr Dút would get the teams ready on either side and the command : ‘Take the strain … heave’ !! And the competition would start. Our Mathematics teacher, smart and always most elegantly dressed, with not a crease anywhere on his jacket or trousers, shoes shining polished and each strain of his dark hair greased into position. he played a good game of hockey I remember and not a hair on his head despite the physicality of the game, would move. They had not invented the gel then, so it is a wonder how he managed to keep them in place. We have a modern equivalent in Ronaldo of Portugal whom we saw in the just concluded Euro Cup 2012 Football games, moving heading running dribbling scoring goals, and not a hair on his lustrous head moving out of place.
In Sherwood College, Nanital the memories are even greater. Our Principal, the Rev RC Llewelyn, tall, long armed, Cambridge Tennis blue, with that bubble of a flowing nose in winter months, hanging precariously on the tip, his dark gown flowing in the breeze as he would walk the corridors of the School and the social evenings he would spend in his warm cottage drawing room with the school seniors, listening to music on winding gramophones. Mr Thomson or ‘Than’ as we nicknamed him, a man of few words, extremely strict and with the most powerful pair of binoculars in his possession, which he judiciously used to catch errant boy students, crossing out of bound in the valley beyond, to sneak in a gentle very refined chat with the girls from All Saints, our sister school. A master pianist and a great composer of the humorous ditties that we played out at the end of term concert, and almost simultaneously bring great reverence in the school Chapel, on Sunday’s when he would play the organ to our hymn singing. Mr Tiwari our Hindi teacher. Mr Pratt, his wife being the head nurse in the school infirmary and who would bear child almost every year, on the delivery of which we would get a school holiday, a moment that we all relished and hoped would happen every 9 months, or earlier if nature allowed. Rev Bentinck, our Chemistry head, Mr Theoffilus, or Theo as we addressed him privately. Ma Fordi, or Mrs Fordam, our dorm matron, whom we all loved because of her motherly care and concern … the list goes on to Delhi University and Mr Frank Thakurdas, who introduced us to theater and dramatics, Mr Kaul our Math professor and also in charge of the Hostel, where I spent some months and took tuition from him. Apart from this some other learned gentlemen that were not directly associated with the college, but came into our lives all the same – Mr Noonan from the USIS, a very keen theater enthusiast, and who had wanted to produce ‘Abe Lincoln’ the play on stage and had auditioned me for the main part of Lincoln. The play never happened, but time spent with him and other colleagues were fascinating.
And in the movies the greats I admired and then had opportunity to work with them – Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, my first director, Hrishi Da, who became our godfather, Dilip Saheb an idolatry admiration, and those whom I never could work with, Bimal Roy, GuruDutt, Raj Kapoor now related to me through Shweta. Prakash Mehra, Salim-Javed, Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangaeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, SD Burman, Pancham RD Burman … it just goes on and on ..
All guru’s , all more than worthy of respect and seeking blessings from … but ..
The most important and most valued .. my Father and my Mother, for making me the way I am …
Happy Guru Poornima …