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Mr Eleven

In high school, we had a Kashmiri Pandit English teacher. He used to take great pains to maintain his handlebar moustache, the two strands of which were twirled upright to be vertically parallel to each other.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2006 02:13 IST
PTI

In high school, we had a Kashmiri Pandit English teacher. He used to take great pains to maintain his handlebar moustache, the two strands of which were twirled upright to be vertically parallel to each other. I had nicknamed him “Giara Sir” as his moustache looked like the figure ‘11’, and the name stuck.

A stickler for manners, he was unique. Tall and lanky, Giara Sir was a hard taskmaster and a no-nonsense guy. He wouldn’t tolerate any form of delinquency. If he was an embodiment of all that was good, he did have some characteristics that made him a butt of jokes. He would get angry at the slightest misdemeanour and wouldn’t ever spare the rod. In summer, we would have classes under the deodar trees near our school. A stick from the nearest deodar would come very handy for him.

During prayers, Giara Sir would never miss an opportunity to deliver sermons and also lectured us on how to keep away from stress and tension. When I recently read a book on stress management, I could feel Giara Sir on every page.

Giara Sir was particularly obsessed with time management and being punctual. When a student was late, he was made to act and bray like a donkey, much to the great amusement of all. The nearby Himalayas would give a resounding echo of this braying.

Giara Sir’s favourite quote on time was a line by Napoleon: “The reason I could beat the Austrians was that they did not know the value of five minutes.” Giara Sir, sorry for going ‘off track’.

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 02:13 IST