Three celebrities pay glowing tributes to their teachers, who have shaped their character and contributed immensely to their lives.
“I owe my success in life to many teachers. They have impacted my life greatly,” says Dr Vasudha Kamat, Vice Chancellor, SNDT Women’s University. “They shaped my thoughts, and my way of life!”
Dr Kamat talks about Professor Pratibha Deo, Head, Department of Education, Mumbai University, who had left an indelible mark on her. Soon after Dr Kamat finished her M.Ed, she received a note from her teacher. “M.Ed is not the end of education,” she wrote. “It should be the beginning of research. You must do your Ph.D now.” Dr Kamat could not believe her eyes. For Professor Deo was a stalwart outside whose chamber people queued up for Ph.D registration. And here she was herself goading her to do Ph.D.
Professor Deo had all the qualities of a true Guru, says Dr Kamat. Mastery over the subject, teaching style that matched with learning style of the learner, commitment to the field of knowledge, were a few of her cognitive excellences! But she went beyond this. “She inculcated in me several values useful for a balanced researcher; loving teacher, committed learner, and a professional,” says Dr Kamat. “My years with her gave me rich and fruitful experience.”
Dr Kamat also considers her father late Dr Vasant Kamat, a medical officer, and mother as her most revered teachers. Her father taught her social commitment, dedication to one’s profession, honesty, and transparency in work. He was punctual, a perfectionist and a workaholic. “I have inherited all this from him!” And about her mothers she says, “To observe her is an every day lesson for me!”
Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is another person, who attributes his well-moulded character to his late father. A person, he says, gets his learning from various sources like school, college, home, friends, society, religion and self. Learning never ends and continues till the last day of your life. One should have an open outlook and understand that everything around you has something to offer.
“I have been a good student throughout and as such was not very choosy about my liking for any teacher. I found all of them very good,” he reminisces. One, who impacted him in his growing years however, was his father Surinder Kapoor, whose influence still continues. “He was the most straightforward and transparent person I have ever come across. He taught me the small lessons of life. Whatever I am today is all because of those teachings,” Kapoor says feelingly.
Kapoor senior taught him to be grounded in every situation, focused; to do one thing at a time but give your 100% to that and not to waste even a moment over what is not right. “He told me to not wait for the best to happen or cry over failures but to use failure as the right excuse for doing something new.” Respect all, he said, look at the people’s strengths. Be upfront and be happy. “Those who know you will not mind and others don’t matter.”
The celebrity chef says he thinks about his father daily before he starts his day and things start falling in place as he feels his father is around to clear all the confusion. It is his teachings, he says, that have kept everyone in the family emotionally well connected. “He deserves a special salute from me this Teacher’s Day; I can see him smiling up there!”
Obesity expert and author Dr Girish Gadkari says teachers are a great support system after parents. They understand and mould their students and help them to become good citizens.
Dr Gadkari, whose latest book ‘The Family Doctor’ has just hit the stands, recollects how his primary class teacher `Raut Bai` had selected him for a doctor`s role in a small skit. Perhaps it was her appreciation of his talent and encouraging words that he would become a good doctor one day, that had led him into this fulfilling career, he says. She was the first person he met after his passed his MBBS to seek blessings.
Another teacher was a strict disciplinarian. His sharp and piercing stare was enough to send shivers down students’ spines. He dealt with latecomers sternly. Sometimes students had to stay back even after school hours and write lessons from the text books five to fifteen times as ordered by him. While students disliked this military discipline, it nevertheless had a positive impact on their minds- to be punctual and disciplined. These qualities have helped him in his life, says the author of the bestsellers ‘The balancing act- A win over obesity’ and “The balancing act- know your heart’.