I am a teacher because of my teacher

I first met my teacher when I was in the first year of my undergraduate engineering. He was our department’s head. After a year, he left for another Institute, to take up a prestigious assignment in the US. After his return to India he joined another institute. I joined him, as his doctoral student. My teacher was known among his students a hard task master. He did, however, exchange niceties, more often than not. There was so much warmth in those informal get-togethers. We looked forward to the lunches and dinners at their place. In those get-togethers, he wanted to come out of his hard ‘Sir’ shell. Often he succeeded. Those were our golden days.
I remember an incident that happened many years ago. It so happened that I was going to get married to his favourite niece, and for this purpose, I applied for a few days leave. Quite reluctantly, after making lots of enquiries, he granted me a week’s leave. But before granting me leave, he handed over to me a ‘galley proof’ for correction. The galley proof was of my research paper with him. He said, “Take this galley with you. Follow the instructions, and correct it carefully on your way to Calcutta. You give it to me when you are there for your marriage.” I dutifully corrected the galley during my train journey from Kanpur to Calcutta by Toofan Express, one of the good trains of those days. My teacher was happy when I handed over to him the corrected galley, even before touching his feet. At that moment, perhaps, he thought, he did not make a wrong choice for his favourite niece.

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