Teachers Day. It may sound like any other annual celebration for namesake and may start losing its relevance, but it is a very significant day for all teachers and students. It is a day very close to my heart for the reason – my life changed because of a teacher and continued guidance from my teachers, lecturers and professors and also because I started my career as a teacher.

Teachers shape the lives of the children. They build societies of responsible and humane citizens. A child learns his first bits from home, but most important indelible lessons from his/her teacher. If one gets a good guide in a teacher and follows their directions, one definitely prospers in life. Teachers are the pillars that keep you grounded and still enable you to build castles. Humanity would not have prospered, had it not been for influential role of philosophers, teachers and guides. They mentor you to face any struggle and not to give up, despite facing hurdles themselves.

Teaching is a beautiful profession. It shapes the future of a nation. There are teachers by passion who change the whole world and there are teachers by chance, who choose to take up the profession as a last resort. Whatever it is, by choice or by chance, teachers are to be revered for the knowledge they possess, the direction they give and handholding they do.

I still remember that day in Kalarabanka that changed my life as it gave me an opportunity to study. Once when I was playing with my friends in a school playground, making noise and whiling away my time while my friends were plucking fruits, one master came shouting and running towards us.

“Stop now. I am going to teach you a lesson”, he said. By the time he came out of the room, all my friends ran away. And I being shy, was caught by him. He took me inside the classroom. And asked what I do and why was I not in a class during school hours. I told him I don’t study. He is the one who asked me if I wanted to study.

“I don’t have slate and chalk”; I replied.

That day, the innocence of a child who wanted to learn appealed Shri Nrushinga Nayak, the headmaster of the school.

He enrolled me to his school and gave me materials to study. When I told this to Maa, she was happy and asked me to study well and perform. As I was born in the midst of extreme poverty and the challenges for survival were daunting, I had been deprived of the need of a proper name. It was he who christened me as ‘Achyuta’, the name the whole world knows me with today. He changed the course of my life by enrolling me in his school in grade one at the age of five and selflessly supporting my education. I shall never be able to pay back for all that he did except my deepest gratitude and obeisance. Today, when I look back, I feel contented that I have been able to live his life’s ethos and dedicate my life in the service of the society.

On a lighter note, while writing this, I remember another unshared page of my life. Though I am very handsome and charming, my handwriting is almost illegible. I could not afford to buy a cursive handwriting practice workbook. Students of my class used to practice on these books so their handwriting improves. My teacher could notice it and would tear few pages from workbooks of my friends to help me practice. But it didn’t change my handwriting. The point of sharing this story is that the teacher knows who are weak and always want to handhold and protect them, even if they have to extend special favours.

I have been a blue eyed boy of my teachers and always proved my leadership as a monitor of the class. I respected them and they loved me. Some teachers like Dr. Kusha Nanda, Nrushinga Nayak, Prof RK Nanda have left an imprint in my heart. I am also very close to all who are still alive and leave no opportunity to express my gratitude to them. At KIIT & KISS also, we have started tutor mentor system, understanding the importance of a mentor.

Teaching as a profession has undergone a massive change with availability of information with the children. Teachers have also become more friendly, just like a colleague with the students with the changing times. But the respect for the profession and teachers remain evergreen. I wish a very happy teachers day in advance to the community that makes us better human beings.