Teachers' Day special: Celebs look back at their favourite mentors
Teacher’s Day is right around the corner and all of us have in some way or other been inspired by our teachers, be it in school or in life. And, while all teachers leave their own imprints on us, some truly selfless ones stand out owing to their innate kindness and goodwill. We caught up with some of the most pathbreaking names and asked them about the greatest teacher in their lives and the naughtiest pranks they ever played.
Rituparna Sengupta, actor
There is no single teacher that I can point out. There are several of them from my school, college and cultural institutions, who have all contributed to my development and growth. I have made decisions based on my learnings and my family is my greatest teacher since a lot of practical things were learnt from home and I keep learning new things every day. Some of the greatest leaders and philosophers have also been an inspiration. I can’t remember the naughtiest prank but once there was a fancy dress competition where I imitated our geography teacher and got away with it. Later she told me I was pretty good in the act.
Arpita Chatterjee, actor
The biggest influence on me has been that of a very special teacher in my life. He has taught me the lessons of life and opened my eyes to a whole new world. Thus, it is a rebirth for me and my soul and I have started seeing life in a different light and living the same to the fullest.
Nusrat Jahan, Actor
There’s no one in particular, but for me, life has been the biggest teacher. Every situation that I have faced in life since my teenage years, whether on the professional or personal front has been a learning experience. Also, I believe in the mantra —observe and absorb. I observe people I meet and try to inculcate positive things that I get to learn. At my school, once we had planned to play Holi after classes were over and I mixed tough-toremove deep colours in the ordinary gulaal. So, when my friends went home and took a bath, all the colours started dripping out. That was a funny episode.
Tnusree Chakraborty, actor
There were many teachers in our school who I used to admire but our Bengali teacher, Joyeeta ma’am was the one I looked up to. Later, my directors were my teachers and I learnt a lot form Arindam Sil, Kamaleswar Mukherjee, Kaushik Ganguly and Srijit Mukherji. And life above anyone else is the biggest teacher. I was not a very naughty student. On the contrary, I was very obedient and despite being an average student, my teachers were very fond of me and invariably I was made the monitor of the class.
Priyanka Sarkar, actor
Since my father was a teacher and taught commerce, I have grown up in a family where I got to see a teacher’s life up close and personal and always had a lot of respect for them and the profession. My father has been the greatest teacher in my life. Teacher’s Day has always been a very special occasion for me. I used to wait eagerly for the gifts that my father would bring back with him.
The students used to give a lot of flowers, hand-drawn cards and pens and I used to eye those beautiful pens the most. We too used to make special cards and take flowers for our teachers during this day. I was never a naughty student but I remember that a few times we used to talk amongst ourselves only to be thrown out of the class by the teacher so that we could enjoy half an hour talking to friends.
Bickram Ghosh, percussionist
The greatest teachers in my life have been my gurus. First, my father Pt Shankar Ghosh, followed by Pt S Shekhar, who taught me the intricacies of Carnatic music. And thirdly, my guru Pt Ravi Shankar who taught me about the accompanying tabla instruments.
As a child I was very naughty and once I was playing tabla on the desk while a class was going on. My friends joined in as it was groovy and that rightly infuriated the teachers further. Our teacher B K Mukherjee pulled me up to take me to the Principal’s office. On the way, he asked me what I was trying to do. I told him I was playing tabla and then he inquired how I knew how to play it. I told him about my dad and his anger vanished in thin air. He was my father’s fan. I will always remember the way he sweetly forgave me.
Urvika Kanoi, owner, The Daily cafe
The most important teacher in my life has definitely been my first restaurant, Bodega. It gave me so many life lessons and when it shut down it taught me even more. It showed me that failure is okay, and that it doesn’t define us. It showed me that when one door shuts, another one truly opens. It gave me the courage to rebuild myself and also helped me focus on what I really wanted to do.
In school, I was caught bunking a class and hanging outside our home science lab, because something smelt amazing around the space. But one of my favourite teachers, Mrs B Roy, forgave me and also let me sample some of the treats!
Avantika Saraogi, local partner, Monkey Bar & The Fatty Bao, Kolkata
That would be Shastri ji, my Hindi tutor. In class 4, I was scoring quite poorly in Hindi when my mom found him. He made me fall in love with the subject, and he cared for me like I was his own daughter. If I was tired or sleepy, he would write my notes for me.
Sohail sir, my maths tutor, too, left a mark. He was strict, yet fun. He just knew when I was lying. Once I overslept and was an hour late for his review test. I made up some silly excuse involving my grandparents being unwell. He saw right through it. I had to complete the review test in half the time, but I still did well.
Abhishek Kajaria, Owner & Founder, Avama Jewellers
My father, Mr Suresh Kajaria has inspired me the most in my life. He has always been my mentor and a guide. The best way he inspired me was to be holistic about every sphere of my life. Moreover, he helped me find my strengths and purpose. He always steered me in the direction of great opportunities that can help me get better. His most valuable lesson was to teach me to be compassionate to others without allowing other people to walk over me.
When I was around 5 and my dad used to come home from work, I used to quickly run and hide and wait for him to find me. I used to put out my hand and he used to come running and embrace me in his arms. I will never forget those moments. My father is my superhero and I feel today is the perfect day to thank him for all his sacrifices and unconditional love. I know that his guiding hand will always be on my shoulder and no matter what, his confidence in me will help me face any situation bravely.
Rishi Bajoria, Chief Mentor, Royal China
Mr. Indrajeet Dasgupta, he was my maths Tutor and I owe my number skills to his teachings. His classes were always fun and the relationship he shared with all his students was very friendly. He is one of the few teachers who are still in touch with me, we have been on picnics, get-together several times. I took his tuitions for almost 6 years and he has been a coach and tutor to many family members and friends.