Now 31, Tarang Writes A Letter To The Teacher Who Guided Him Into Isolation
- IWB Post
- September 5, 2017
She would shame me in front of the class, she would make me stand in the sun till the bell rang, and then she would come to me with a big steel scale and hit me hard on my palms.
IWB’s section, “Censored,” features real women/men narrating real stories. Stories, which are usually censored by the society are given a platform.
There is absolutely no room for judgment or condemnation. Women/men can open up about their personal issues, reach epiphanies, inspire people all around the world, and seek an expert advice. Read on, and get your dosage of empowerment.
Two days prior, we got this strange request from one of our readers. Tarang (name changed) messaged us on Facebook and asked us to share his story on Teacher’s Day. He wrote:
“I know for most, a teacher is their first guide, one who shapes their lives for better. But, mine just made it a living hell. And, I still have to live with the pain she caused me when I was just a child. This Teacher’s day, I want to let out my truth and be free. Be free of her mean looks, be free of the deep scars she had given me, be free of what she had made me into. With this letter, I hope I can begin my life again with new hope and confidence in self.”
This is his story!
Dear Kamla Maám,
I hope you remember me. I’m the one who used to sit in the third last row corner seat. No, not on the last bench, not on the first. Somewhere in the middle! It was the second day of Class 7th and our first Maths class. Before your class itself, all the boys and girls were talking to each other in hush-hush voices, discussing how strict you were. You see, nobody talked to me and I had no friends because neither was I academically ahead nor was I a popular child. Again, I was just somewhere in the middle, a mediocre, and it seemed that I was invisible. I saw my shoelace was untied and I had bent down to tie it when you entered.
Everyone got up at once and said, ‘Goodmorning,’ and I, quickly get up to greet you, too. But, I think you noticed me before I did and you shouted, “Why were you sitting, no manners?” Everybody was looking at me and I said, ‘I was tying my shoelace.’ But, the words came out as a mumble. You shouted again, “Answer me! What’s your name, stupid?” Shivers went down my spine and tears rolled down on my cheeks.
“Oh don’t cry now! Go out and stand!” you BARKED!
Yeah, that was my first day, and it was only a start. Little could my little brain have comprehended then that I had triggered your rage the very first day and that I would be the one to suffer the wrath of it for the next two years. Yes, unfortunately, you were not done shaming me, bullying me for one year that you came back again as our Maths teacher in Class 8th.
Let’s not just jump to Class 8th. Let me remind you of a few horrors that you made me go through in Class 7th. Every day, it was a torture for me to attend your class. I would make excuses at home to not go to school whenever your period was there on our timetable, which was 5 days a week, unfortunately, because Maths is an important subject, right? In every class of yours, I held my head down and clenched my fists and prayed to God to let me be invisible to you also like I’m to everyone else. But, most days, you would find a way to flog me, punish me, slap me, and shame me in the class. And, thanks to you, I wasn’t invisible to my batchmates anymore. I was the new clown of the class. As soon as you left, they would laugh at me, murmur about me, and mock me. To them, I had become an amusement and I could see in each of their eyes, how much they enjoyed when you punished me.
And, then there was this one day which is ingrained so deep in my mind that still, I get sleepless nights, dreaming about it. Now, I think it was this day when I was changed forever. As usual, I was sitting frightened in the corner when you came. It was the last period of the day. You, too, looked tired and uninterested in teaching, but, you continued anyway. You were writing something on the board and I was copying it down, my hands shivering, as usual. You turned and asked, “Who knows the answer to this question?”
I started praying that you didn’t notice me and I was relieved when a girl raised her hand and your focus shifted to her. I don’t know what happened, but I have dozed off while copying down the math problem. But, I clearly remembered what happened after you ‘caught’ me sleeping. You had thrown a chalk at me and had shouted, “Tarang, get up! This is what you do in my class. I am tired of you. Today, I’ll settle it once for all. Get up!” I woke up in a shock and tears filled my eyes.
“These tears are of no use today. You won’t be spared this time. Come here, I’ll take you to the principal and get you suspended. Come here, I said.”
I was shivering from head to toe and I was crying profusely. I begged you, “Please Maám, Sorry Maám, Please Maám, Sorry Maám….”
You came to my seat and took me by my collar and looked me into the eye, “You are going to the Principal’s office today. If you don’t walk by yourself, I’ll drag you,” and you did.
You pulled me and started dragging me, I was kicking my legs and begging you with folded hands, but you didn’t listen. And, then the unthinkable happened. Halfway, I wet my pants. You looked at me in disbelief and I was shocked to the core. You left my collar and shouted at me, “You are useless, Tarang. Useless!” And, you left me there. All the kids came running with their bags as the school was over and they saw me there lying, with my hands in between my legs. But, they all saw what happened, they knew what happened. Seniors, juniors, everyone who were on the porch saw what had happened and most of them were giggling at me, doing, ‘Hawww, Hawww.’
I ran away as quickly as I could and I begged my mom and dad to change my school that day. I told them that I didn’t like it here. I told them that my teachers were very strict and the kids made fun of me. But, like most parents, they didn’t take me seriously. They thought it happens to every child. On my insistence, they came to school and met my class teacher. However, I didn’t know that I was a ‘troubling’ child of the class as my class teacher quoted me to be. She said that I never participated, never gave attention in the class, and was always quiet. Apparently, every teacher was tired of me and my ‘tantrums.’
I kept begging my parents to change my school but to no avail. They thought I was running away from my studies, my problems. Another year went by, and the punishments only became severe. And, your rage spread across like wildfire and even other teachers looked at me disapprovingly. Somehow, I had become the most hated child and I didn’t know my fault.
But, I think there was one who heard my prayers and all my incessant cries and begging. My dad got transferred to another city and my mom told me, we were shifting with him.
I think I must have smiled first time in those two years.
“Agra has much bigger schools. And, it will be better as next year, you’ll have your 10th boards. So, it’s good, no?” I nodded and started imagining my new school and how things would become better for me.
However, what I didn’t know then was that I would forever become this lonely person, quiet, shy, scared to talk to anyone, and would get startled by any loud noise. Yes, it was your effect, Kamla Ma’am, and it would stay with me for the 17 years.
I’m 31 years old and I work in a very big telecom company in their finance department. Yes, calculations, maths! Yes, I took up finance because of you. No, not because you made our ‘neev’ of maths, strong! Because you ruined me so badly, that it’s the only subject that I could take up. In finance, you don’t have to talk much like in sales. In finance, you don’t have much interaction with other people, like in HR. In finance, you don’t have to build strategies and hold up too many meetings, like in Marketing. In finance, all you have to do is stay at your desk and immerse yourself into numbers. That’s the best I could do for myself.
I have only one or two friends, and with them also, I don’t (cannot) share my personal things. My parents have arranged two meeting with two different girls in the last two years, but, I cannot bring myself to talk to them. Ask them their likes and dislikes and get really nervous and sweaty when they ask me something.
Reading this, you and people might think I’m a weak person and that I have let this one aspect of my life control my being. But, that’s not true! I’m not weak, I’m vulnerable. And, I have tried many times to come out of this. Yes, I have taken counseling, too, and in fact, it was my last counselor, just a couple of months back, who suggested me to write down the pent up emotions in me and release them.
So, here I am. Writing down all that has bothered me for all these years, with a hope that it’ll release me of the agony, pain, and the bad memories I have been living with for 17 years. I’m writing this not to shame you, Ma’am, but to let the world know how crucial the role of a teacher in a person’s life is. How their behavior can affect their student’s behavior and life. With hope, that tomorrow, I’ll wake up as a new person with a clear and clean mind, I thank you and all those who helped me to learn my lessons myself. I thank my life and myself, for being the best teacher.
While these are the independent thoughts of a person, IWB strongly disapproves of corporal punishment of children as a way to discipline them. It may trigger unwanted behavioral patterns and lead to emotional and mental trauma in children which could have a long-term effect on them.