In this blog, I would like to express my gratitude to my dear teachers, who shaped my life.
During my school and college days I was just an average student and never caught the eye of my teachers. Of course neither I ever drew their attention for wrong reasons. I was just a good student – disciplined and obedient. During those days I spent more time playing various sports. I grew up in a typical colony where there was never short of mates of my age to play. So we played many outdoor sports - Soccer, Ball badminton, Kho kho, Handball, Volleyball etc. Of course Cricket had been the main game and I spent ages playing it.
After my graduation, I had decided to join a computer course. In those days the trend was not to do just what you want, but to do a diploma course that would last for a year or more. So I went around finding out courses available in various institutes. Well with father just retired, I had to choose a course that was not too heavy on my father’s pocket. So I chose a diploma course for which I had to pay 500/- per month for 11 months. It contained all languages and topics that were important at that time.
This was the best time of my life as a student. This was when I truly enjoyed being a student. Right from first class till I left the institute for my first job, I enjoyed every moment. I gave up Cricket as I couldn’t afford to spend time on that anymore. All that I did for one year was going to Institute for classes and lab and reading books related to computers at home.
During this period I had the privilege to be associated with some wonderful teachers.
Ravi Varma Sir
My first teacher was Ravi Varma Sir (I am used to calling my teachers with suffix sir. It’s my way of expressing my respect for them). He taught me GW Basic – my first programming language. I still recollect fondly how that classroom used to be and how I used to write programs using if statements and looping structures.
Those baby steps. Little I knew back then that my future was being built with those baby steps. Those basics, those simple programs, those classes made me a programmer. Ravi Varma sir was a learner. While he was teaching us GW Basic language, he was also learning other programming languages. I found his style and language very impressive. I developed good rapport with all my teachers during that period and continued to keep in touch with them even after I myself became a trainer. At times I was teaching in one institute and my teachers were teaching in other institutes.
Ravi Varma Sir later started his own institute. I was constantly in touch with him during that period and used to meet him in his institute on and off. A few years later he left for abroad. Many years later, when I was teaching Oracle DBA, I found him sitting in my class as a student. It gratified my belief that all IT people are students for life-time. There are no permanent teachers and students. Roles can be reversed. I consider myself to be extremely privileged to be able to share my knowledge with the person who taught me what programming was all about.
Needless to say I am highly grateful to him for laying the seeds of programming in me.
He was my favourite sir. He moved very closely with students. My association started when he came to teach GW Basic as Ravi Varma Sir was not available for later part of the course. He taught me most of the courses. He was also librarian. So I had a lot of interaction with him as I used to take as many books as possible. For example, I read all books (5 in number) that the library had on C language during that period.
It was Subramanyam Sir who asked me whether I would be interested in taking up a Faculty position. I said YES. And that was how I started my career as a trainer. Since then I have been enjoying every minute of my career. It was my dream to be a trainer. To be surrounded by books and a computer. I guess this dream took shape while I was doing computer course under the guidance of all these wonderful teachers. So privileged and grateful to these teachers who made my dream come true.
Subramanyam sir also later started his own institute and had a roller coaster ride. I was constantly in touch with him. I used to meet my gurus once in a while. It was because of my respect for them and also my keenness in learning from them all through. I also had the privilege to be Subramanyam sir’s colleague for a few years later in my career.
Though we don’t meet often, whenever we meet, I talk to him with utmost respect and gratitude for what he has been in my life. The reason for writing this blog is to express my gratitude to these wonderful teachers loud and clear (though I always feel it deep inside).
Malleswar Rao Sir
He never taught me any course but assisted me a lot in Labs. He was always there to help me. He was in-charge of lab and took interest in programs that I was writing. We both had common favourite language – PASCAL. I had no system at home, so I had to depend on systems in Lab. He was very important to me as the amount of time I could spend on system directly depended on his allowing me to work on system.
There used to be night lab from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. Night lab was once in a week – Saturday. It was when I could get some 6 hours of time to write programs. I used to put my ideas on paper and implement them during those night labs. Malleswar Rao sir used to give ideas regarding what could be done and also showed his programs to me. That inspired me to write more.
I continued to work all through Saturday nights for many years. Malleswar Rao sir later worked for some other institute in Vizag and I was in touch with him in all those days. Later he left for abroad and settled there. He has been a simple man and succeeded by sheer hard work.
In early 90’s ‘C’ language was an advanced language. It was taught as the last module in one year course. In a college or institute, we would find only one or two faculty who could teach it. So it was Murthy Sir, who could handle C in that institute. He was specialized in C and took only C classes. He was considered to be advanced programmer by peers and students. He was generally lost in his own world. He didn’t seem to enjoy teaching much (of course that was my opinion). But he played pivotal role in my teaching career. He used to give exercises and I would always complete them. He used to give chalk piece to me and ask me to write program on the board. I always enjoyed writing program on board especially as it was in his presence and in front of my classmates. He made me a teacher in a way, while I was a student.
He spoke very little and as a person, very closed. Personally I never had a lot of interaction with him, but I am very grateful to him for opportunities he gave me and also for believing that I could write programs correctly. His confidence in me made a world of difference.
Ram Kumar Sir
He was calm, very composed and very hard working. He came from some part of Tamilnadu to Vizag. He always had a book in his hands. He was always eager to learn and never wasted a minute. He was the one I looked up to when I needed inspiration to work hard. He was always there to clear my doubts with a trademark smile on his face. He was known for his grit.
It has been many years since I met my teachers. I never heard about or met Murthy sir and Ram Kumar sir since then. But I can recollect their faces very clearly. I remember my teachers with respect and gratitude. I enjoyed being their student. I enjoyed my association with teachers. Murthy sir doesn’t know that his student, whom he made to write on board, kept on writing on board. Ram Kumar sir doesn’t know I adapted his habit of reading books so much that I learnt everything on my own through books.
That’s the way teachers go. They may not have any idea about what kind of positive impact they can create on students. They play their role in our lives and exit. But their impact remains for lifetime.
It is unfair to say many other teachers who taught me a lot from 1st standard onwards didn’t play any role in shaping me. But at the same time it is a fact that teachers I mentioned really impacted me the most. My heartfelt gratitude goes to all my teachers in my life.
Being a teacher is a huge responsibility. You can either positively or negatively impact students. So, being a teacher, I try to give my best in my profession.