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The teacher I loved – Sir Joseph Smith

Crush on a teacher

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See, this is Archimedes principle: “If you put an ice cube in a glass of water, the cube floats because ice is less dense than water. So, the ice underwater displaces that volume of water.

To make things easy, we will say that the ice cube is a perfect cube, where each side is 1 cm long. Let’s also say the ice cube is floating so that 0.8 cm is under water. How much does the ice cube weigh? To determine that, let’s go over some calculations” blah blah blah

I was not at all paying attention; damn boring Physics lessons but I still loved his classes. Five feet eleven inches, glasses on – oh how much I loved his glasses. I guess he had myopia; he never looked at me with glasses on when we spoke on that playground, he trying to teach me some stupid equations and me thinking of all the possible ways to propose him.

I was fifteen and had read all Mills and Boon series, some sneaking to Jackie Collins as well, so now it was very natural, nothing wrong in loving my physics teacher, eh!

“Meet in in my room at 3”, I got a note from that idiot Mertha.

Hey, that’s a great chance, he must be thinking of proposing to me. Yak, those filthy toilets don’t have a mirror.

“Sisli, can you give me your geometry box please?” I asked. “Why?”, Sisli said reading that damn boring Geography lessons on rains and forests and deserts.

“Just like that, I want to see that Protractor,” I said. Sisli’s geometry box was brand new and I could see myself in that shining cover.

Continuing her studies, Sisli handed her box and I looked at those tinted glasses. Though the refractory image deformed my face I said, “That’s the problem with the box, I am good looking no doubt about it”.

The next three classes were taxing for me; those days we didn’t have the privilege to wear a watch. “How silly, you want a watch, get lost, concentrate on your studies” my father’s words each time I begged for a watch. “You wretched girl, forget your novels and please concentrate on science, you need to fight out JEE, IIT and then, I will gift you a watch, and I am putting a lock on those novels, all rubbish” my father stormed.

So, I had to depend on the school bell, “Ding Dong, Ding Dong, Ding Dong”, yipppeee it’s three now. Fixing my knee length skirt, brushing my shabbily tied pigtails, adjusting my tie, also my blouse, I walked into his room.

Look this is going nowhere, I didn’t even mention his name – “Joseph Smith”, a Catholic and a single man – that I knew, given to my Sherlock Holmes studies, I figured out he ah well, you see, I mean, you know I just said “Single”. The days he didn’t shave I found him no less than James Bond, but the days when he did I found him like Aamir Khan. Anyways, by all means, he was the most handsome man I had met in my life.

“May I come in sir?”. I almost said “May I come in Joseph?”.

“Yes please,” and without looking at me he said, “I thought you were good in science, in fact your marks in Maths, Chemistry, Biology are all good. Physics too was good, so what is the problem with you now, what is this?” He gave me my exam paper. Good Lord 38.5/100, I just managed to pass.

“And I also see you chewing a pencil stub, scratching your hair and not at all paying attention when I take lessons, I need to complain to your parents. Bring your calendar, let your parents know about your gradually fading scores”. The fact that he did watch me during the classes was more exciting than calling my parents.

“Sir, please give me a last chance, my mother will beat me” I sai,d with tears. Those were genuine because I knew how serious my parents were when it comes to studies. I came from a family of professors.

“Ok, this is the last chance, should you need help in understanding any equations or principles please let me know, you can approach me”. “Yes I have a problem, I need to propose you, to hell with those prisms, theorems, light, sound,” I said to myself.

“Now go, start your studies, work hard, reach your goal. You are a good student and you will fair well, my blessings are with you, and Physics you are very good in it, best wishes” he turned around and continued his paper checking.

I was almost heartbroken. “Blessings? Why he had to bless me? Thank God, at least that note to my parents got cancelled. But ok, all husbands do bless their wives”, I thought, its ok, didn’t I read in Collins “Lucky” about some blessing factor, maybe I am confused.

“What did he say?” Sisli asked. “Nothing, he said I am a very good student of high caliber and he always appreciated me,” I said. “That Cherry Blossom, what else he has to say, my goodness he is so dark, we cannot even see him if there is a load shedding,” Sisli said continuing with her lessons.

“Cherry Blossom! That boot polish, how dare you Sisli. Ok I forgive you; you gave me that geometry box, my friend in distress.”

Back to studies, but dear me, will you please understand Mr Smith, I cannot concentrate when you take the lessons. But no, I have to prove myself.

The only thing I did for next month was work hard on Physics; I neglected all subjects, just Physics.

He met me at the playground where I was gleefully playing that basketball, all covered in dirt, my hair clips had fallen, when he called me, “Hey Rimli, listen, come soon”.

This is not a good time, I am looking so ugly, but ok he is calling, I need to run. Rubbing my dirty hands on my equally dirty skirt, I walked towards him.

With his hands on my shoulder, hugging me tightly he said, “I am so happy for you, you got 98/100. Brilliant! Didn’t I say you are a good student? So keep it up. One more thing, I am leaving within a month. I am shifting to UAE, I need to go for my higher studies. So follow your passions, aim for the sky, just know you are good enough. You need to be little more grounded, keep focus. My best wishes” planting a kiss on my head he walked away.

I couldn’t believe what he said. I couldn’t play. I ran to that filthy toilet and wailed. Rubbing my swollen eyes, I returned my class.

“Hey you know, cherry blossom is leaving, now we will have someone new” Sisli said as if she was saying something great.

“Cherry Blossom”, he is my James Bond, Aamir Khan, he is my world but then again, Sisli is my best friend, so ok Sisli can call him “Cherry Blossom”.

School gave him a farewell, being a member of the choir I too sang,“Sagor Nodi Koto dekhechi desh, ar pahare shonali koto surjoday, ami dekhechi dweep koto ontorik, ar nishuti ratre bone chondrodoi”. It was not a perfect song for a farewell but our music teacher thought so and we sang.

He left, the last lecture he took was not on physics but on his hardships, how he dealt with life, how to break boundaries and move forward, how to have faith, how to be kind. We all listened, we were too young to understand what he meant by hardships, boundaries, kind etc and I was like, “How will I live without you, I cannot even think, and those songs I sang for you – gazab ka hein din, socho zara, ye diwana pan dekho zara, tum ho akele him bhi akele maza aa raha hein kasam se”. I must have fallen in love a dozen times after that, but Joseph Smith was someone special, no not a lover anymore but whom I respect and hold in high esteem.

Sir Joseph Smith I don’t know where you are, but this student of yours indeed loved you, a childhood crush, though all called you “Cherry Blossom” and yes, I too have myopia now. As I type out this essay, I have my glasses on. It was you who told me, “My blessings are with you always”. Yes I need them even more, even more, wish I could say to you once that it was your blessings which helped me go that extra mile.

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