The bond between a teacher and a student is perhaps one of the most profound relationships that can exist. Such a relationship transcends time, space and the commerce of give and take. When a teacher is not a mere transmitter of information and knowledge, but one who is interested in helping a child see the vastness of life, he creates a bridge between two souls; a bridge on which the student can walk across the surging currents of samsara, to discover that which is true and eternal.
When I left NML Kerala Public School – Jamshedpur as it’s principal, Suhani was just in Std.5. Together we might have managed just a couple of personal conversations. But like every student of NML Kerala Public School, she used to hear me speak about life in the morning assemblies; and get a more personal glimpse of me when I used to take daily rounds in the classes. Yet this much was enough to forge in her a bond between us, a bond so strong that it would bring her back to me and NEEV after a gap of a decade; a decade with not a single interaction between us. The bond between a student and teacher does not rely on words; it is a communion in which one feels and understands the other even without the need to speak.
The last that I remember about Suhani was a slim girl with bob cut hair and dark, shiny eyes. She still retains those dark, shiny eyes but now enhanced with a lovely smile.
All of nineteen years, she did not bat an eyelid taking classes for Std. 8,9 and 10 students who are just two or three years younger to her. When she speaks, she does it with a devastating confidence. Many a times, while she would be taking calsses on Civics with Std.8 to 10, I would just park myself in a chair in the corner of the class and gaze at her dreamily, glowing with an inner satisfaction to see that the spark I had cultivated a decade ago is beginning to crackle into a fire.
A fire she is. For who else would give up a seat in Engineering College to pursue her passion in Law? Treading the footsteps of her teacher, she showed the rare courage to give up a socially esteemed career in engineering to follow her inner calling. Suhani is moved by the plight, injustice and dismpowerment suffered by women in India. Through her degree in she would like to stand up for the women and assist them to get justice through law which exists on paper but is woefully absent in practice. Like any Indian she had to battle through all the disparagement she received from all quarters for giving up a lucrative career and devote her life to a path filled with uncertainty and danger.
A ship anchored in the harbor is always safe. It does not face the danger of drowning in the storm. But this ship never crosses the shore to the other side. I am glad that Suhani has taken up the challenge to unanchor her ship from the harbor and face all the storms. The NEEV (NEEV is actually a hindi word which means ‘foundation’) has been laid for another adventure, for a story worth sharing 🙂
I am pasting below Suhani’s first journal of her experience with NEEV !
Suhani’s First Journal
It’s always very interesting to work under the person who had taught you, the one from whom you have learnt the basic ethical values, who was once your teacher, who was once your a guide. Working under such person is always full of excitement, knowledge and curiosity. When I was told in my college that we have to do internships right from the first semester and that too in a NGO since we are not exposed to the constitution law and IPC & all, I had decided that very moment only that I will be interning in NEEV under Anurag Sir. It was about twelve and a half years ago, when I had first seen him and had a small conversation. Unfortunately, that conversation did not last long. I had only spent about three and half a years under his shadow and guidance. I had learnt very few things. I wanted to learn from him more. But, destiny wanted something else. Due to some unavoidable reasons, I lost the guidance and shadow of sir. I was broken up.
But someone has very correctly said that if you are searching any person with full dedication, love and affection, then this whole universe helps you in meeting that person. Same happened with me. The very first day I had joined Facebook, the first person had searched was “ANURAG JAIN” because I was very desperate to know about sir. All thanks to Mark Zuckerburg because had he not launched Facebook, I could have never ever got the chance of contacting sir. And as a result, I would not have got the golden opportunity of interning under him.
After giving my first semester examination, when I returned back to Jamshedpur, only one thought was there in my mind and that was joining NEEV. Along with my mother I visited NEEV on November 20th 2015 to meet sir. I was very much excited about the meeting. I was also very happy. My eagerness was gradually increasing. I was also quite nervous. Since, I had not visited the school before, I was told by sir to wait near the auto stand where he will be sending his staff member to receive me. I waited for about ten minutes. And, those ten minutes were like ten hours for me. But still my wait was not yet over. As sir was taking a class, I had to wait for him in office. He came after 22 minutes. The moment I saw sir, I was frozen up. For a moment I could not believe myself that my dream of meeting him again has come true, that my wait is finally over. Honestly saying, I had really wished if the time could stop for a while. Sadly, it’s not possible. When the conversation started with sir, I was actually not understanding of what to tell and what not. I was nervous. I was stammering. Then sir took me to the senior most class of the school where I was introduced by him to students. I felt so overwhelmed and happy when sir said, “she is Suhani, my student from NML KPS.” I don’t know why but I was really very happy. There in the class, sir gave me the chance of expressing my views and opinions with the students. While I was interacting with the students, sir said that whatever I am telling, it’s all the values and the knowledge which I got from him. I am happy that I was successful in imbibing those words within me till now and I will try to maintain them. I spoke for an hour. And how the time passed, I was wondering. It was Friday.
My internship was starting from Monday. The first day I attended the SWADHAYA class. SWADHAYA class is a period where we have a dialog session with sir where we talk about the need of self enquiry and awareness. The first day we had dialog on “THE PURPOSE OF DUCATION”. While the dialog was going on, I realized that how much more I have to learn from sir. And this realization kept on increasing every day. There was a time when I was feeling jealous of those students due to the fact why am I not as lucky as them; what good deeds did the they had done in their last birth that they were living under the guidance if sir from such a long time. I had also taken some classes. The first class I had taken was in class II where I had taught them Mathematics. When the bell rang for lunch, I was wondering where and with whom should I have the lunch. Then, suddenly a teacher approached me saying that I was being called by sir for having lunch with the staff members. I was relaxed. I thought why I should not respect this person who understands the queries of everyone without the confession of the query by the person to him.
Right from the teachers to the students never made me feel that I was a newcomer. All were very helpful, good and friendly. The atmosphere if the school was very encouraging. When I came back to my home, and when my mother asked me that how was y first day, I said it was very good. And the days passed. On Thursday, we had a dialog on HURT. During the dialog when I was telling everyone about the distance of thoughts between me and my parents I was about to cry but somehow controlled myself. This dialog was very touchy to me. During the dialog, all the incidents which had hurt me were coming to my mind. I was unable to concentrate. And, the whole day I was disturbed. Another thing which I have learnt is how a person does not open up himself in terms of expressing their views, annoyance or any feeling because that is afraid to accept the reality. They think about the consequences and the SELF IMAGE. It is just because we are not accepting the truth because that truth is not according to what we desired for.
On Friday, I got the chance if attending the CIL camp at NEEV SOAPS UNIT where I met Shikha ma’am after a long time. I was happy to know that the products made were all chemical free and the unit provides a platform to the local women to become independent. There we had two dialogs. And I liked the first one more than the second one. In the first dialog, we talked about the intention and devotion of us towards our vision. I also went for a walk to the riverside with sir where I had discussed bout my dream with sir.
My experience has shown me that no one needs degrees to create a change. What one needs is their spirit, devotion, hard work. Overall, I am happy interning here.