Guru – Creator of Ideas, Preserver of Sanity and Destroyer of Ignorance
Yesterday, [since its well past the midnight] happened to be the Teachers Day (traditional one of course, not Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday) an Indian cultural festival dedicated to teachers and to pay them respects. Although the Anglicisation of the word ‘Guru’ has made it much lighter in the regular usage which refers to an expert in a field or a spiritual evangelist, but literal meaning of it (as I learnt) has a lot more weightage and splendour. Guru, one who stimulates the creation of ideas; one who preserves the sanity of disciple (or the student) to use the knowledge for betterment; one who destroys the ignorance and leads you in the right path.
What else could be a better reason to rewind back into good olden days I thought, sat down thinking about all the teachers I had in my life both in academic / professional and social streams. Memories started branching from one end to the other right from my primary school days my first academic teachers an Anglo-Indian couple to high school teachers to Professors during my post-graduation days to the mentors I had throughout the career. I was startled at the ability of recollecting many of their faces some of them vaguely though and many names right from the schooling days. [Whoa! What a lasting impact they had]
While the first ones to cross the mind were obviously the best ones who put their soul into teaching as if their lifetime achievement was only to make the students learn and do well in their lives, while the next whom I could either remember were the teachers who were good at their subjects and their association with the class was only to deliver the lecture and get the subject in the heads to pass the exam. And the last set were nearly someone who either had an incident associated with them like in ridiculing me in front of the whole class for drawing the solar eclipse from in the reverse order. This was not a pleasant incident but still it helped me to remember the order of things in the way they are supposed to be. After many such recollections of both good and not so pleasing ones. When I look back everyone was good and helped me in their own accord and abilities be what I am today.
I deep dived into why some had such a lasting impact that after so many years can still portray image, recollected something one of my favourites, Professor Subbarao quoting, “A good teacher is someone who will make you understand the subject while the best will inspire you to dwell into it and make you explore the nook and corner of it”. I reckon reading somewhere that the neural networks suggest the brain functions like a linked list (Thank you Maniza ma’m) which makes you traverse from one node to another with reference to the image captured at the moment and the more you recollect that image the more you tend to remember them in your cache. Well, I guess that sums up the whole gist of it, Guru is someone who resides in cache of your brain. Someone who tells you from the back of your head how to approach the solution to the problem. It could be derived with implementation of eight queens problem or a simple addition of numbers. Every decision we take has some reference point to the past learning which we have learnt, if we draw an image there is someone (with personification of world wide web as Tim Berners Lee :) ) whom you can associate it with.
Invariably, academic teachers are the ones officially recognized under the category, but it goes without saying that everyone plays the role of Guru in one way or the other to someone.
[Dedicated to the most inspiring 21st century Guru of India who passed his legacy to a billion people to live the dream and be humble enough after you have achieved it].