The phone rang.
I dreaded phone calls. Phone calls portend work. Working the tongue to engage in the sameness of the ordinary chit-chat or an intimation of work that needed to be completed within a mentioned deadline. I didn't want to engage myself in any of those.I didn't want to work this weekend. I was tired...of everything.
It had been a busy week altogether. In the midst of the alternating dry and wet weather, I had been racing against time to complete my work within the given schedule. What do I do for a living? I am a teacher by profession. Yes, a boring and uninteresting person stuck in the job meant for grey-haired folk who teach for recreation and not out of the passion for something exciting. Most people presume that it is one of the easiest professions to opt for. We have seen hundreds of parodies of teachers either dozing off in the class or struggling to stay awake in the middle of street-smart and mischievous students. But all that's rubbish. Far from the truth our clan survives everyday. I need to get my lessons ready,employ innovative techniques to add zing to the dull chapters, assign loads of homework(which apparently proves how serious I am about my work) and correct them carefully too. Around 200 copies get corrected every week. Red pens turn into a fearful weapon, inking the fates of hundreds of hopeful students. In the manner of gossip mongering old ladies, the time when we are free(usually the 20 minutes of recess), we leaf through the brown-paper covered copies and wag our tongues by way of multitasking, discussing either the way a particular student misbehaved or how bad our current education system is or worse..in-laws. The chatter insipid, the days weary..I feel tired by the end of the week. Teaching today has turned into a thankless profession, for all demand a show of work....parents and administration alike( and nothing is very noble about that).Nobody really bothers about the quality of work till the quantity(equal to copies corrected and students passing the examination) is sufficient.
And then the phone rang on..and on..It wanted to put my reverie on hold and probably scream something important. It wanted to shake me out of my numbness. It trrrringed its way to put my limbs to action, to answer the phone and get it done with. The quiet had already been broken. The stillness of the room had politely taken its leave. I tossed and turned in my bed and took a look at my mobile phone once again. An unknown number flashed on the screen. I lost all the remaining will to receive it. It had to be either one of those telemarketing calls or a crank call. I finally did answer it and put the ringtone out of its misery.
"Hello....Miss? I'm Manisha...Do you recognise me?"
"Aaaah..yes ..yes..Manisha...So...how are you..?"
"Miss...I am fine...We miss you here a lot...Nothing's the same after you left school...Miss you were the best..Please come back Miss...Miss where do you teach now?...Come back please Miss..." and it went on for sometime.
Well, it is not everyday that one is appreciated for his or her hard work. It is not everyday that one gets to create an impression on the mind a child. It is not everyday that you are given an opportunity to shape the thinking mind of a young one, trigger his or her imagination, challenge the child to think out of the box.
And it is not everyday that you're told that you are the best, that all your effort was not in vain.I smiled to myself after concluding that phone call. A pessimist might have said that this girl was simply oiling my heels to get the better of me. But then, had the pessimist heard the excitement so obvious in her voice? To me at times my job appears to be dull and monochromatic. But it is this very 'me' again who can turn the tables around, and make my life worthwhile. Good things just don't happen, but one has to make them happen.
That phone call gave me that much-needed push. That phone call made me rediscover my lost self again. It made me rediscover the reason why I had taken up this profession. It made me relive my love, my passion for teaching.
It brought back colors to the jaded routine of my life...and those colors have not faded since then.