Times have changed .I am sitting on a panel for selection of teachers and I often see the keenness in getting the job . A far cry from my own personal experience.
I remembered when I walked into the gates of a big Convent ,soon after giving my Masters, the gate security stopped me,” Appointment hay?”I remember telling him, Haan.Interview hay (when they were none).Today I recall”my interview”so well . The Nuns asked me in a rather firm tone,”Why do you want to teach ? We have only experienced teachers here. This is not a training ground”.A rebellious young thing fresh out of college that I was,I almost retorted instantly, ” Sister,I am not sure if I am here for the job , but I certainly know that I am here for the love of something I wish to explore.If the school trains me , may be you would have contributed to making one good teacher who will serve a 100 students.” I didn’t think that nuns appreciated my reply ,at least their expressions didn’t have any signs of approval. I was pleased with myself ,for no reason. I took a little stroll before I headed back home.A man stood at my door with an envelope in hand -I had to report to school at 7a.m the next day! I could not believe what I saw and read. I haven’t looked back in all my 28 years!!!
Being a pragmatic person, I feel it is not only talent but also the opportunities and the environment that makes us be!The schools we attend , the home ,the family,the friends we make has an impact on our thinking.I still remember the Pandara road residence portico where we lived in Delhi as kids, was always a mini -theatre. A group of friends discussed a book we read , wrote the script ,wrote lyrics, designed costumes on newspapers, brainstormed on variations for the story, designed invites and then went door to door inviting uncles and aunties to watch us perform.The portico was the stage. The guests sat in the lawn.We collected chairs from every household.We made nimbu-pani ourselves, which we served our guests ourselves after the program. We were all children in the age -group of 7 to 13. Oh yes! we had to manage the car-parking too! We all learnt to perfect the art of staging over time.It was hard on us but passion drove us.Since most of our friends were the kids of senior Defence officers, they would move on ,only to be replaced by the new entrants and they needed to be trained.The large circle of friends remained connected with each other for more than 10 years ,poring in ideas for plays and sharing experiences.What could not be discussed over trunk- calls (they were expensive) were written out and sent through the blue envelope called the inland letter.
Whatever I have learnt and acquired have, come from those childhood experiences , my friends and my school . Since our parents gave us nothing on a platter , we struggled. Our families were good critics and supported us in our acts. Today, we want everything to be near -perfect so that it receives appreciation , applause and public acclaim.We feel that since we have the facilities let us give it our kids ,The joy of creation comes from doing it ourselves. They are invaluable lessons for life .Much of my whole involvement in every presentation of the school comes from my early days. As friends, we hung out with each other discussing happenings in the world ,our scripts , movie-making ,designing on a day to day basis .The long week-ends were spent going to museums and other places of interest which we discussed with friends.That created a thinking space.
That is the experience for many of you too . Let’s take a look at celebrities.Bill Gates had comfortable early days and spent much of his time with his friend Paul Allen at Lakeside.They hung out in the computer room . On the other hand,Steve Jobs belonged to a middle class family in California. The Silicon valley was a place for engineers and he spent a lot of time discussing electronics with them.He went to the flea markets where a lot electronic material was available cheap.He attended talks by experts. Both of them acquired knowledge and expertise in their fields from the environment and culture they created.
Opportunities don’t come knocking inviting us and asking us to be a part . We must create them by cultivating friends who will and make spaces for creativity,problem-solving and thinking .Small efforts go a long way in providing extraordinary achievements later in life like it did for Gates and Jobs. Most times having a high IQ , money or power will not help people travel far and beyond because they do not see the trivia.Neither have they experienced it.
The Sisters at the Convent spotted a teacher in a young girl,trained her to be capable of not just serving a hundred students but many ,many more with joy.
I am back on the panel for selection looking for the spark.