"Joshi you are late again, disgraceful! How could you be so disgusted, just get the hell out of my class.
"I ....I ....I am sorry sir .....
"Do hell with your sorry, child you say sorry but you don’t feel sorry...get lost and remember ....'Still there is time'
This statement became mundane for me, for every morning I was late. I always knew that I'll b late, I knew Mr. Bhargava my Physics teacher will surely rebuke me like he does every day and will certainly throw me out of the class, but one thing I never knew - why did he say - 'Still there is time' ?
It was my high school (2002) from St. Francis College Lucknow. I was in the best of my spirits. I was agile and my age 'fragile'.
I was an average student; at times better than the average when it called for Sports, and extra curriculum, but my participation in everything was beyond 'the best' of my class. Life was fun and synergized by both exuberance and enlightenment.
Being late got into my bad habits and everyday I was severely castigated for the same.
Mr. P. Bhargava was my Physics teacher then, a young man of late thirties, with spirited and sharp features, and his royal moustache scored him 10 on 10 above all. I also heard that he happened to be a soft crush of a few female teachers. It was said and believed that his 'eyes' were so powerful that he could frighten even the count Dracula. He was a man of knowledge and potential. 'Physics' - haah it was a roulette for him which he could play even in his slumber.
For me he was a true mentor. He was a genial genius. At times he was very tough, he bashed some of my fellow mates manually for their misconduct, but I was sure that he liked me :).....that’s because I always scored well in Physics.
Everyday Mr. Bhargava would come to the class and would say something moralistic ... everything he spoke was with finest command and authority and I could easily relate to whatever he said, I drank and often sank into his explanation and I used to start imagining. One thing I never understood why did he always say 'Still there is time'? Is he a crank or what - like those nutty professors who get fused up with the highest priority of time and then start explaining how important it is for us!
Alright I understand but had he felt the same...why would he say 'Still'. This question troubled me throughout the year.
It was my first day in high school. He came to the class and explained the importance of Physics in general life and life in high school and then said at the end "Students it’s high time you must learn what you have to earn, pull up your socks and prepare for the battle. I looked at my socks they were loose ....it’s the first day and so you must start preparing from today onwards. 'Still there is time'!
That day it sounded great...however there was more to come
A quarter passed away and we wrote our first term exams, after the results were announced ... I was happy... I secured 60 percent, and that was cool for me. I didn’t study at all. I was planning to pack my bag as it was the last period and as soon as I stepped out of the class , I heard "Joshi where are you going ?’
Sir..... I was... Sir I was going to the toilet.
What? With your bag along ...child you need to understand ....you need to take things seriously...I appreciate you because you have scored pretty well in Physics....remember 'Still there is time'.
Oh god not again ....why would he say that again and again. I mean I knew still there is time, day after day. His part was a mystery although it was still normal.
After October I got over with my half-yearly exams. Mr. Bhargava appeared again like an apparition to the class quickly after the results were announced and said "I feel some of you would never learn....work hard and harder remember - 'Still there is time' .......I stood there with a stiff lip, as i knew he would certainly say that.
Some of mates said that he is actually frustrated with his personal life and that’s why he has gone bonkers, some estimated metaphysically that his wife must have died due to lack of time. No wonder he never changed and he kept on saying that 'Still there is time', but now nobody bothered.
Finally the board exams were up. It was a real challenge, for the first time in my life I felt so prepared and ready for a gauntlet thrown by the Education system as well as my parents.
A month was left for the boards, he had just written our pre-boards and we got to hear again "Still there is time" and we retaliated "yes Sir we know ".
The D day came and I went to school. My school was my exam centre. I was delighted that today I'll write my destiny.
Out of the blue Mr. Bhargava appeared and announced, "Your paper will begin within fifteen minutes, the duration is two hours and thirty minutes, make sure you have nothing in your pockets, arms which might debar you from the examination ... and remember 'Still there is time'.
I wondered, but I was positive that time I construed the statement in the right sense I knew he is telling us to finish the paper within the given time limit.
I also got to know that he was the invigilator for the exam that day ... I was wrong.
I wrote the paper well and finished the paper in two hours and fifteen minutes. While I was revising the paper I heard - "Students kindly tie-up your sheets...no extra time will be given for that". It is fifteen minutes to go now... "Still there is time"
Again ... "there is no time, its finished its just fifteen minutes, how can you say that" I was sure now that he was a gone case. But the mystery was still mysterious.
Hope never dies and it was always alive within me, after a trauma of haunting results - which I saw in my dreams, I finally secured more than just a 'first division' I was one of the rank holders. I worked hard. After a few days I went to school to collect the mark sheets and the moment I entered the staff-room I encountered Mr. Bhargava. To my shock he greeted me with a smile, first time in my life I saw him smiling, he looked better, I touched his feet, he said "God bless you my child, I heard you score well, I always knew, you are a gifted chap, so how is life?"
I was on cloud nine, just imagine your teacher asking you "How is life?" that part was happiness for me.
I didn’t know how to reply all I said was "Sir it was all because of you"!
Ok dear God bless you, take care
"Thank you Sir!"
And as i was about to turn and leave ....
He said "Joshi ... always remember still there is time"
I seriously never understood, why he said that now, what did that mean, is it a code or something which he might want to tell me, or is it just a lampoon of my performance. I was stupefied. However I smiled, it was my courtesy and i said "Ok Sir take care".
I never heard from him anymore. I went to Francis but never got to meet him anymore, I found Mr. Bhargava engrossed with his class and his subjects, also I overheard some students of his class strangling hard to understand the meaning of "Still there is time?" I smiled in derision and fled.
Today I’m a teacher myself, interacting with students and getting their doubts cleared is one of my jobs , today I fall short of time, I wish if I could have more time out of the 24 hours I get.
and now when I think ...what did it actually mean?.....what Mr.Bhargava wanted to say?.....i wonder , its so easy i smile when i think about him.
I got the answer finally... Mr. Bhargava never meant "Still there is time" ....he meant "Still - there is a time", he meant if anything went wrong you can still correct it, he meant if you are the worst performer that’s the best thing because you still have time to improve or improvise, he meant a lot many things I can’t explain here. I hope the reader understands it.
And remember ... "Still there is time"