Ali Sir, a fresh post graduate joined my school as a 5th-grade math teacher. I wasn’t very fond of him as math wasn’t my favourite subject. He soon found out that my single mother was struggling financially to provide for us. He took out some of his after school free time to tutor me for an entrance exam to secure an admission into a free boarding school. He was a strict disciplinarian and I would cry every single day and beg my mom to take me out of his coaching class. He left to attend teacher training for a better job leaving me under the care of his friend, a few days before my exam. I never happened to meet him again. My mother later told me that he never took a penny from her even though he was also struggling financially. I could not thank him for his kindness. One fine day I got a letter addressed to the school in my name congratulating me for my success in the exam from him. But there was no trace of his address for me to reply.
The girl in the picture is Sujatha, my classmate from the same school. She called me on our 25th-year alumni meet of the school. She wanted to share with me the good news of her topping the state-level teacher selection test for English. She said she owed a part of this success to me. I was pleasantly surprised and humbled to hear that. She hailed from a rural background and was struggling to follow English medium instruction. All I did was to find small chunks of time whenever I could, in our daily schedule to explain to her the concepts. This helped her in the transition during those 5 years. She shared this picture when she was recognized as the best teacher of English subject in her zone.
Ali sir’s kindness nourished a shady tree, 🌳 which is Sujatha and I was the medium.