The teacher is the lynchpin of society. He is the harbinger of change and the compass that guides and helps navigate through the stormy course of life.
Like a hardworking gardener, the teacher waters and prunes plants to enable them to blossom and spread their fragrance. Like a banyan tree, he gives both shade and shelter.
He is an oasis of hope in this arid desert of disillusionment. He teaches us how to face the challenges of life from cradle to coffin. God creates man but it is the teacher who instills humanity in His creation.
Lucky are those who have had the fortune of being taught by committed teachers. To be in the company of a great teacher is like getting a slot in the rainbow of joys that runs through the vast expanse of sky after a spell of rain.
I was fortunate to have had one such teacher who taught us English at Khalsa College of Education, Amritsar. We called her Madam Thukral. More than the rules of grammar, she instilled in us values to live by.
Once she called me to her office and enquired about the reason for my long absence from college.
On being told that my father was in hospital, she patted by head and put money into my trembling hands. I reluctantly accepted the cash.
When I came out of her room, my friend, who was waiting there, told me that she knew the reason for my absence and also that I had not cleared the college dues yet. She wanted to help without hurting me. Tears welled up in my eyes.
In another incident, she taught me the lesson of honesty. Having submitted the practical examination file for checking, I was about to leave when she asked me to meet her the next day. When I entered her room, she politely asked me to submit my file again within two days. I came out crestfallen.
Basically, I had submitted a blank practical file, taking her for granted as I had hoped she would not realise and give me marks even for a blank file.
The next day when I went to hand over the completed assignment to her, she told me that all students were equal in her eyes but she did not like a dishonest student. I apologised and promised to stay honest for life.