Friday, September 07, 2012

A Letter to a Guru...

I sent this letter to Vikas Sir who coached me in Physics and Maths (among many other things in life) during my 10th, 11th and 12th grade in response to one of his Facebook posts on Teachers day. I've written it after a lot of thought and with deep feelings and I'm posting it here in the hopes that it might inspire others to let their teachers know how deep an impact they've had on their lives. The letter has been edited for content but it contains most essentials. If any of your teachers has affected your future in such a deep way, let me know in the comments. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Sir,
Please bear with me: This message is extremely long, but I hope that you will spend the time to read it (and maybe come back to it years later and still cherish it). 
There are many things for which I'm indebted to you - from Maths and Physics to Computers (remember my Napasoft intern in 2007? That was my first official internship and the "paycheck" handed to me was my "first paycheck").

There are just too many incidents to count and many of them have been erased by the sands of time, but among them, there are certain things that stand out. Many others on the thread have already related tales of events in your classroom, I'll do something different and remind you of things outside of the classroom... 
I remember that one day my Mom had come to talk to you about what I should be doing to improve my Maths (she knew it was my Achilles heel) and I don't know if you remember it but you'd told her to enroll me with Natarajan Sir for tuitions - that one piece of advice was crucial to get me to work on my Maths. The patience with which you talked with her and gave her those words of wisdom - I'm extremely grateful to you for doing that. Those few minutes that you spent with her cost you your time, but they yielded benefits for me that make me indebted to you far beyond the cost of time incurred - for without doing that, I wouldn't have worked on my Maths with Natarajan Sir, I probably wouldn't have cleared the 2006 Maths cutoff, there wouldn't have been any JEE rank, no IIT CS, no Google and no California...

Thank you sir for those 2 minutes of sound advice. They helped shape my life in unimaginable ways...

Another incident that you might or might not remember: I was one of your first students to choose Roorkee CS. At the Valedictory function, you asked me what I was planning to take. When I answered Roorkee CS (v/s other IITs and NTU), I don't remember your reply but I still remember the reaction on your face - it's hard to describe the feelings hidden behind your slightly surprised face and the smile you gave me before replying, but for some reason your face and reply made me realize that your tutorship had finally come to an end and that your guiding hand would no longer be available to shape my future in as direct a way as it had been in the last 2-3 years and that I was now responsible for making my own choices to shape my future... That was a major milestone in my life... You helped me grow up. 
I don't think I ever got the chance to tell you all this, but I am extremely grateful to you for doing all that you have done for me - both during my +2 and afterwards. I cannot thank you enough for it... For, as my Dad says - "A man's livelihood is earned from the teachings of his gurus..." You have been my guru and I hope you will appreciate that whatever I may do in life, wherever I may be, you are responsible in no small way in helping me be there. Please do take the credit due to you for that. This credit is due to you not just from me but from every other student whose heart you have touched in your years of teaching and I'm sure that even though they might not express this in as many words, but they are very grateful to you too...

The wishes that you've received on Teacher's day are but a small measure of the impact you've made on the world. As a teacher, you've invested time and effort in the future generations of this world and the world is and will remain grateful to you for helping train capable engineers that will shape its future and touch the lives of millions in many many different ways over many many lifetimes. On behalf of these millions of silent souls, I send you a sincere thanks. We all are very grateful to you... 
Best wishes and do keep what you're doing for as long as you enjoy doing it. Your contributions are deeply appreciated. 
On behalf of the extended Prerna family,
With respect and deepest regards,

Yours sincerely,
Divye