To Elsie Teacher…

It is common knowledge that teenage is a rather difficult period in life. From parents to the teenagers themselves, the thirteen-going-on-thirty age is that of rebellion and poor grades and what-nots. But I beg to differ. My teens are some of the best years of my life. It was the time I learned to live, to have fun, to be a reasonably confident human being with dreams and aspirations and the will to work for them.

A trip to your past is always a tad bit painful, especially if you aren’t all that proud of who you were back then. But there are some episodes and a few guest actors who made the journey seem a lot easier than it was. Like Elsie teacher.

She taught me Geography in High School, Elsie teacher did. Now how do I describe her? Hmm…remember Molly Weasley? Well Elsie teacher was the desi-version of Mrs.Weasley – the mommy-bear with that uncanny ability to know, just KNOW, whenever you were about to do something that you shouldn’t. It is common knowledge that Elsie teacher has eyes on the back of her head (nope, I’m not kidding. Ask anyone!). Add in the fact that her English was impeccable enough to give actual English teachers a run for their money and has a disposition that made mugging up ‘Which crop was harvested where’ fun, Elsie teacher was truly everyone’s ‘El favorito’.

Which is why I feel compelled to jot all of this down when I read that Elsie teacher was retiring this year. Frankly I’m a bit shocked. Elsie teacher is to Bhavans what Sachin is to India, and I don’t say that lightly. This woman has single-handedly reduced six-foot-tall, tiny-moustache-spouting, offensively-argumentative boys that reek of unauthorised-football-matches into teen-boys who double up with laughter at her razor-sharp wit and good-natured digs at the excuses they come up. And no, no one bunks Elsie teacher’s Geography class. As if…!

I can go on and on about her. Truly, I can. But there is no way that I can put into words the gratitude I have towards her for helping me decide who I want to be – and I don’t mean professionally. My definition of “me” goes beyond the “engineer” that I am to the pretty decent (Ahem…:D) human being that I have grown up to be.

To Elsie teacher who told me that I “speak well”, which lead to a slew of Extempore-participations that ended up with me blubbering on like an idiot. But no regrets!

To Elsie teacher who was my class teacher in 9th and Geography teacher in 10th, to the lady who taught me to be comfortable in my skin, to stick to your beliefs when you are right as long as you don’t get your ass on fire (and no, she wouldn’t mind me using that language. Told ya she’s cool B-)

Now I realise that there is a very good chance that she don’t remember me and an even better chance that she has no idea how important her role has been in grooming not just me, but at least 49 others like me, and yet I have to write this down, if not for me, then for the hundreds of kindred spirits who had been blessed enough to be touched by the Elsie-magic.

Dear Elsie teacher,

               It is pointless, wishing you all the good in the world, for no bad can befall you when you have the prayers of hundreds/thousands of students who adore the ground you walk on. For all that you said and did, and for all that you didn’t. For never EVER yelling at us, for teaching us it’s okay to lose a game or two as long as you enjoyed playing it. For that lovely, if slightly naughty, smile that you always ALWAYS had, muah!!

You were, are and will always be one of the BEST teachers we ever had. And we freaking love ya to death 🙂

Inspired by Usha teacher’s (another one of those cool teacher’s from school. Told ya we have quite a few of them!) post titled “Elsie Abraham, Teacher Extraordinaire!”


6 thoughts on “To Elsie Teacher…”

  1. Thank you very much Navmi for what you have written. My thoughts go back to those good old days when you were in my class. I do remember all my students, only thing is I may forget their names not their faces.

  2. Strange, I have shared this link when you wrote it first, and later read and read again, most especially today- but did not check the comments section- to find I have not written in.
    Perhaps I was meant to read and write in today- to know and to think of what a rare human being she has been. She is. She always will be that, to all of us who have been touched by her grace, her fun-loving spirit, her love.
    I am at a loss for words, today, to describe what she has meant, and will always mean to me. Truly. Hugs and love. The bewilderment and the shock is what we at school have been going through too.
    In class today, the condolence meeting it became, I got the kids to share what they remembered as being the most memorable moments with her – pat came the reply – “Grandmothers” and “MLA”!! Laughter laced with tears came. I got choked up. The kids too. We spent time talking of her. We held her close in our hearts. Her family too, through this troubling time.
    Sigh. Life.

  3. i don’t know you, but I am a student of Elsie teacher too and great to see this article. Yes we all feel the same about her and yes can never forget her class, her sense of humor and you are right, she does influence you and who you become and a great human being!

  4. Oh navmi it’s your blog!
    I opened this when I saw the words Elsie teacher.
    I had one at school, but not the same one.
    The name is however just as special, n I wondered suddenly who else remembers her like I do. Maybe Elsie teachers all over the world do that.

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