I had taken a couple of days off to go to Coimbatore on ‘Business’. I like putting it that way, it makes you feel important. Anyway, I was out there on project work, and on my first evening there, I was with Seetha at Gautham’s place for dinner. Gautham’s mum teaches languages and we got talking about her profession. I could relate to whatever she way saying because I used to do some teaching myself, ‘part-time’, for some extra pocket money. Those were the good days, man. Somehow, after I started on the MBA, there was no time to teach, and the vocation just fizzled out.
The first student I took in was Shoaib, who was then in class XI. He wanted help with French, and suddenly, I was a French tutor! Shoaib had his Quarterly Examinations the following week and he did not want to flunk French. But he did not know it too well, either. So we started with the alphabets, and moved on to the conjugations, and Shoaib passed. You have no idea how smug I felt. These classes were a lot of fun, because I was hardly older that the boy and it was not like a teacher-student relation at all. But they say there is strength in numbers, right. We were in a one-is-to-one ratio then, and Shoaib was a good boy. After he passed the darn exam, he became the ‘Boy who passed’, and I got popular overnight, as the ‘Girl who can make you pass French’. Such popularity is directly proportional to increase in the number of students. Soon enough, I had two more minds to ignite- Jason and Vivek. Now it was three-is-to-one, and I was doomed. A typical day would go thus:
Jason (J), Shoaib (S) and Vivek (V) arrive 30 minutes late. I’m not complaining, because I get to catch up on my beauty sleep. They trio saunter in, complaining about the sun or the traffic or football- They were all football players, National or State, I don’t remember.
J-What Gita, its Sunday afternoon, and we have tuition! We had practice all morning too!
Me- And exams next week right?
(More grumbling. I’m grinning, though. I won, right?)
S- Hey, I got a new phone, see.
Me-Whoa! Super cool man! (Anything compared to my camera-less, FM-less, MP3-less Nokia 2600 was considered super.) So, shall we start? What are we doing today? Passe compose? What has your teacher covered?
(At the same time)
S- Hey my sister is getting married in two months!
J- We are leaving to Vellore next week for selections!!
V- Hey, I am doing a solo dance for Farewell!!!
You get the general idea, don’t you? They would follow various strategies, the buggers J If everything failed, they would make up some non-existent boyfriend and watch me blush. But they were such sweet boys, and they did study! Shoaib scored a rank in French too. And then, all too suddenly, two years just flew...And we were done. They were my first ever batch of ‘students’ and they will always remain close to my little heart.
I even tried my hand at teaching Italian for three guys. In this case, they were all older than me. The moment they heard that I was a student, they all had these identical grins, and I knew this was going to be no better than my first batch. These guys were all working professionals, and one of them was even married. Twenty minutes into the first class, one of them, had a doubt.
“Gita, what’s for Fuck you in Italian?”
Now I did not know what was Fuck you in Italian. In fact, I did not know any swear word in Italian. I told them that the swear word session comes much later, not this early into the course.
Phew. It sure was fun too, though. And it was good for the pocket money. And I did learn a lot. These boys were good students too, and asked sensible doubts later into the course. And they gave me a glowing appraisal at the end of the course, and the boss kept offering me courses over and again.
Then the MBA happened, and I was cut off from civilization for two whole years, and did not take up any more ‘teaching assignments’. But every time I think about the good times, I can’t help but grin widely. And if any of you guys are reading this, thank you J You were all just too good! Cheers!