I’ve been having interesting conversations with Mr. Shukla; the last few mornings.
Our conversations have mostly been about Hindi. No surprise there, Mr. Shukla did his Masters in Hindi literature, from his hometown, near Kanpur. He was also a teacher in the local school, teaching Hindi up to Class 5. We’ve duelled a couple of times with beautiful verses from various poems in Hindi. We’ve discussed the structure of the language, and argued about the value of learning and teaching Hindi in schools. Once in a while, he talks of his experiences in school. His students, his hometown. Once, we lamented the side-streaming of the language in society. Mr. Shukla also knows Sanskrit. Quite well, I’d say. He rattles off Sanskrit verses with equal ease. In those instances, I turn listener. Hindi or Sanskrit, the conversations have been interesting and educational.
Next week onwards, I’ll miss him, because I am moving away from this guest house. He’ll continue his work here, as a security guard, long after I’ve left.
He moved to Delhi a few years ago, when being a teacher became unaffordable. This person, who would have otherwise be securing our future and our children’s future, is now securing just one lifeless building.
Happy Teachers’ Day, Mr. Shukla.
And, a Happy Teachers’ Day to all the teachers in this world. Never mind, whether you are working as a teacher or not.