When I look back down my memory lane, my days in high school are the greenest in my memory.
Even the mention of school days, will bring back memories of that tender and formative age, when all of us are filled with youthful zest for life..
However, after fifteen years of passing out of school, completing education and being employed when life throws newer and greater challenges, we sometimes tend to forget the life and times of our school days, and I was no exception
Until one day, while driving through the city, my car had a flat tyre, just in front of the school where I studied. I just got out of my car to see what I could do to fix the flat tyre. Even before I could make my decision, I heard a voice, “Sir, May I fix your tyre”. It was a young lad who worked in the tyre shop just adjacent to the school gate. “What a blessing”, I thought to myself.
I gazed at my school with nostalgia, while the boy worked on my tyre. I noticed that the gate was still open at 5 PM. I hesitatingly sauntered in - the small saplings that we had planted as part of the afforestation drive, had now grown into huge shady trees. I walked into the entrance of the building which had the Administration block. On the notice board, there were instructions to the students of Class X to collect their certificates from Mrs. Prabhamani.
I was suddenly reminded of that great teacher. She taught us Mathematics and Physics. She was like our “surrogate mother” in school. She not just taught us subject but also imparted great values, ethics and morals that became our guiding principles in life for many students like me and helped us to become men and women of character.
But unfortunately, over the years, being bogged down by the rat race of my work and in my quest to make a career for myself, I had forgotten about my school and this wonderful teacher.
But with my unexpected visit to the school, all those happy tidings and memories gushed back into my mind like a torrent. My heart was filled with nostalgia.
I was gazing at the School Notice Board with various information and work of the kids on display.
Suddenly a voice behind me broke my reverie, “Yes? May I help you?”
“Do you work in the School?”, I asked.
“Yes, I am the Principal” he said.
Soon we exchanged pleasantries and he ushered me to his office. I told him of my visit to the School after fifteen years and of my experiences and appreciation of my favorite teacher. He advised me to visit the school and meet my teacher.
The next day, I went to the school again. I met the Principal and my teacher. She had gone old, but still had the same sparkle in her eyes and the same enthusiasm. I expressed to her all that I had felt about her help and support, all those good things I felt about her but had kept bottled deep within and could never express.
When I met some of my schoolmates and narrated my experience, I realized that I was not alone. Most of them shared the same warmth for her. I brought all of them under one umbrella – our Alumni Association. We started working on many aspects of improvement for the school.
I am proud to state that today the Association is now fully functional and are conducting several useful programs like Career Counseling Camps, Medical Check Camps, financial support to needy students and the list is endless....
In the year, 1999, while I was the President of Rotary Club, I invited my teacher to be felicitated for her valuable contributions as a Teacher during the Vocational Services Month.
It was a grand affair, which was attended the Member of Parliament of our city, the Post Master General and many other dignitaries and public figures.
It was my small gratitude for the big favors I received.
My teacher had tears of joy welling in her eyes. She told me, “This is the proudest moment in my life.” “Madam, I am so proud to have had the opportunity to make you feel proud. It is my humble gratitude for all that you have done for me.”
Yes friends, gratitude is the mother of all virtue.
It is a magical elixir that unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns animosity to friendship, denial into acceptance and confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
In the arithmetic of life, it is only your gratitude that matters.
Let us foster the virtue of gratitude and help our posterity to develop this virtue!!
It is indeed a noble virtue.