We once had this period in school, called Resource Center. Obviously wasn’t a proper subject, it was a part of the co-scholastic areas, but yes, we did get a grade for that and it was mentioned in an obscure part of the report card, but you know, it mattered.
I joined this school in the seventh grade, and am now in the twelfth. The teacher who took this period left school at the end of my ninth grade. She is now the head of the English department at another school.
Well, let me explain what we did in this period. Here, we were given assignments that taught us to look deep within ourselves, to think out of the box, and to basically make us think in a nonconforming manner. We were encouraged to write from the heart, and put time into our assignments. At the end of each year, the best assignments would be displayed beautifully on the main boards – that are the soft boards lining the main lobby’s wall.
As one can imagine, making the board was a DREAM. The teacher was quite picky, and quite fussy – I want this like this, that in that way… It was a lot of hard work just penning down the perfect piece! And after your writing was selected, she would tell you what to change and what not to. Basically, help you with the editing process. And once that was done, she’ll tell you how the final thing should look like. OR, if you already have ideas about that, you’ll need to run them by her. There was this thing about her though, she always wanted computer fonts for the heading. It was weird. Well, can’t say much on that. Thanks to all that, I write really good Times New Roman. Anyway, she was quite helpful when it came to helping us out. She would give us hints, so that we could come up with the answers on our own.
Now, she was a no-nonsense sort of person. I know she might sound like a pretty cool person (which she totally was), but she was also very mean. I remember her scolding people for things they never did (ME ESPECIALLY), and I remember disliking her a lot and even crying once or twice because of her. She was quite loud and rude, and really obnoxious at times, and she was disliked by more than 75% of the student population.
But you know why I liked her?
She had the ability to see the raw, unpolished potential in you. It did not matter if you sucked at writing (I know I did), because you could always take suggestions on how to make your writing better. She identified writers in the sense that they knew what writing was about, even if they did not realize that at that moment in time.
And you know, that is just it. Writing is not merely scratches on wood. Writing is not just about stringing words nobody has ever heard together in complex formations. On the contrary, writing is everything. The coolest thing is, it is unique to every person. Writing is taking that one single idea and turning it into a beautiful arrangement of a few thousand words. Writing is transforming the mundane of the everyday mess and into the hip and fast paced chaos of the occasional. Writing is imagining that intense emotion, and making people who read it, feel it too.
Anyway, this teacher prized a select few students. They were her favorites, primarily because they did not take the assignments with a pinch of salt, they actually put some thought into doing it.
I miss her, I do. But also, I don’t. It’s just that you look back and think, oh, that person was not all that much, but they were something. And yes, she was something. She made me believe I could write something worth reading. And let me tell you – having a piece written by you up there for everyone to see – well, it is everything.
So, for that, I thank her. And with this, I sign off for today.
P.S.: Yes, she was also the one who signed me up for the workshop on journalism with the Times of India that started my whole reporting for the newspapers shebang.