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Making a difference to a child..with just a word

In a teacher-student relationship, a little belief can do wonders, writes Vishal Sharma.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 22, 2013 11:22 IST
HT Cafe
HT Cafe

As she stood in front of her fifth grade class on the first day of school, she told the children she loved them all the same. That was impossible. In the front row, slumped in his seat, was Vishal Sharma.

Past records Mrs Bhaskar noticed that he did not get along well with the other children and his clothes were messy. Mrs Bhaskar had to review each child’s past records and put Vishal’s off till last.

She wasn’t prepared for the surprise. Vishal’s first grade teacher had written that he was a bright child with a ready laugh and did his work neatly .

His second grade teacher wrote that he was well liked by his classmates, but he was troubled because his mother has a terminal illness.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest in him.

“His home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.” Vishal’s fourth grade teacher wrote that he was withdrawn and didn't show much interest in school.”

Teacher’s pet Mrs Bhaskar realised the problem. She was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Diwali presents, wrapped in bright paper.

Vishal’s present was clumsily wrapped in brown paper. Some of the children laughed when she found an American diamond bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume in it.

She exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was and put it on. She dabbed some of the perfume on her wrist. “Today, you smelled just like my Mum used to,” Vishal said After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. From that day on, she paid special attention to Vishal.

The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, he had become one of the smartest child in class and her favourite.

Lifelong bond A year later, she found a note under her door, from Vishal, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by He’d finished .. high school, third in his class. Four years after that, his letter said he’d soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.

Four more years passed by and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to study more. The letter was signed, Vishal Sharma, MD. His next letter said he’d met the girl of his dreams.

Happy ending His father died a couple of years ago. He wondered if Mrs Bhaskar would sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the groom’s mother.

She agreed. She wore that bracelet.

They hugged each other, and Dr Sharma whispered in her ear, “Thank you for believing in me.” Mrs Bhaskar, with tears in her eyes, said, “You have it all wrong. You taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(This piece was forwarded to us by Lizia Batla, a tarot card reader).

First Published: Apr 25, 2007 15:24 IST