“To all my teachers, good, bad, worthy, or simple nuisances – I stand before you, head held high, a song on my lips and a wish – May all your dreams come true!”
As I sit ruminating, I think about the many teachers in my life. My love for languages can only be attributed to Ms. Dinshaw and Ms. Jagos my two parsi teachers. My love for reading to my father who read non-fiction from Galbraith to Nietzsche and my mother who avidly obsessed over Mills and Boon, James Hadley Chase, Agatha Christie, and Billy Bunter fictional paperbacks. My sense of discipline and desire for perfection to my Kathak dance teacher Srimati Prabha Marathe of Kala Chhhaya. My idiosyncrasies to my siblings, my street smarts to my neighbors and life’s adjustments through thick and thin to my friends.
Which brings me to – then who enhanced my dark side? (face it we all have one). Teachers who played favorites (obviously, I did not make the cut)! Uncles and Aunts that used me as a sounding board against life’s discrimination (as if I had all the answers). Not to forget cousins who taught me the fruitful use of white lies when sneaking off on ‘frowned upon adventures’. Oh, and the collegiate fair-weather friends who brought home the solemn fact that ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ was not a nursery rhyme. (Innocence fled from the steps of the Phi beta Kappa Sorority commons, never to be found again)
Then I grew up and learnt the intricacies of surviving in society where the community taught me the art of hypocrisy with all the subtleties required to be an upstanding citizen. A novice at the game at first, I now consider myself the Socrates of political correctness. To survive in the cutthroat world of business, my colleagues taught me the fine art of ‘sycophantism’. A confession I was a D- pupil at this art and several jobs later (some of which lasted less than one paycheck), I accepted that I would never make it on the Forbes Career Woman of the Year list – ever!
As I grew older, wisdom kept a rather healthy social distance. By which I mean that when I said six foot was legally sufficient, it looked askance at me and tailed it to another galaxy. Not to be discouraged, I started hanging out with the homeless and the decrepit and finally life’s meaning came to roost. Newspapers provide warmth on a chilly night. If you are hungry, you will eat anything – even the leftovers from a garbage dumpster. Showers are for the finicky. Plus, ample other things that give you an unholy perspective of who you really are.
As I gaze fondly upon my colorful past, I realize that material wealth, luxuries, an occasional dining experience at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, a new car every three years, a heated pool in the backyard, being finely groomed and comfortable with the extra pounds around my waist are my mettle. Anything else that comes my way in the way of life lessons from con artists, bad choices in friends or a panache to acquire a Guru cannot erode nor polish this diamond in the rough. All learning must come to an end as perfection is not what I seek, neither do I wish to teach, as it is but folly to suppose that one can. So, to all my teachers, good, bad, worthy, or simple nuisances – I stand before you, head held high, a song on my lips and a wish – May all your dreams come true!