My teachers at St. Xaviers School, Jaipur

Author: 
Kamal Kant Kothari

Kamal Kant Kothari passed BSc (Honours) in Physics from Rajasthan University with a First Class First and was awarded four gold medals. He got his management degree from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (1972) Kamal is also a recipient of National Merit scholarship. He has served in several top notch firms including ICICI, now a bank, and Shipping Corporation of India. He has also been a Government of India Scholar at Harvard University. He is a co-author of a book titled ‘Stealing from Our Children’. At present, he spends his time researching possible future developments and their impact on mankind.

I am what I am because of people who taught me-in school, in college, in professional courses, in organizations and ultimately in life. Brick by brick they built the edifice of my being. And the teacher’s day is a good occasion to thank all my teachers. In this write-up I will mention the contribution of only some of them.

When I joined the school Father Wilzbacher was the Principal. As a six-year-old I was ushered into his office. After admission, I told my father that I wanted to go home. Father Wilzbacher looked at me and said 'Of course you can go home! But if you stay there is an ice cream waiting for you.' And I stayed. What a wonderful teacher! I think today if you take a child to school most principals would think that they're doing a great favour by admitting the child.

In the summer of 1964 Father Wilzbacher took some of us to Shimla for a month to teach us English. It was a great trip. I wonder how many teachers would do that now! A man of great compassion he worked amongst the poor. Even after leaving school, for a couple of years, Rajesh Vaish and I assisted him in distributing baby food amongst the poor during our summer break.

Father Ryan was another great teacher. Kind, compassionate and yet a no-nonsense guy he would go straight to the heart of the matter. I kept in touch with him for several years after leaving school.

And who can forget Father Totuvelli? (I hope I have spelled his name correctly.) He taught science in a way that was fascinating. His sharp comments sometimes put students off but his expressions and gestures served as the icing on the cake. Sometimes he would even lash out at unsuspecting students who, in retrospect, came up with extremely stupid answers to his questions. In me, he ignited a lifelong passion for science. And I am indeed thankful to him for that.

Shri N. L. Jain was another great teacher who taught science and math. His way of teaching, his dedication and his ever willingness to explain and clarify can never be forgotten. He was an institution.

Shri G. G. Brandon was another fascinating teacher whose stories were what all of us waited for. But his specialty was that he never completed his story and the next time he would start with a new one!

Pandit Hakim Narayan ji was another unforgettable teacher. Calm and quiet, he taught Hindi with a passion which cannot be easily matched.

We had many more dedicated teachers like Miss Sarkar who taught in the first standard and Father Wilmes.

I cannot forget Father Pinto's way of teaching Calculus and Father Extross’ jovial ways and his bend-overs.

It was not easy for me to write this. Despite Father Wilzbacher and Father Ryan’s stupendous efforts I just managed to scrape through English. Their efforts were commendable but I just could not live up to their expectations. Perhaps, a case of irresistible force meeting an immovable object. But all of my teachers and many others shaped my life. On Teachers' Day, I thank each one of them.

Comments

There is a story about FR. Willmes on this site. http://www.inourdays.org/home/teachers-day/585-father-willmes-my-gentle-...

I think the correct name of the science teacher is Fr. Thottuvelil. He was my science teacher too. Learned a lot. Still remember some after 50 years, though I dropped Science after school.

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