Sir Roy and Deepali Miss
One of the goals for this trip has been to meet some of my teachers from school days that I have not seen in a long time. First and foremost was to find Sir Roy. He was my math teacher for 9th and 10th grade as well as my class teacher for ninth grade. Not that I was particularly great at math but it was undoubtedly one of my most favorite subjects (and still is). (Geography and Physics were the next two). I still love the logical thinking required in math problems and puzzles. Sir Roy and Sir Nandi were the two teachers that I remember the most for instilling in me the love for math.
Sir Roy, to all of us, was not just a math teacher. He was our go to person anytime we got into trouble in school and almost always could count on him to be our friend, philosopher and guide. Two of the lasting memories I have of him was his constant smoking and always reading an English novel. He was undoubtedly one of the most voracious readers I knew.
In the circle that life is, last year, one of my classmates’ (from school days) twin daughters had called me from India with a math problem. I was driving (in US) and promised to look into it when I reached home. Funnily enough, before I put the phone down, I had suddenly remembered a method (of elimination) Sir Roy had taught and was able to solve it for her verbally over the phone. My wife thought I had gone crazy drawing triangles on the steering wheel while standing at a traffic light!
I had fixed the time and place to meet Sir Roy. It was not his place but rather where he still teaches his students (he is retired from school now). The best news he gave me was that Deepali miss was there too. Mrs. Roy – who we always called “Deepali miss” was one of the first teachers I had met in fifth grade after joining my new school (St. Xavier’s). In fact, I think sequentially it was Miss Lakshmi Dutta, Sir Donegan and then Mrs. Deepali Roy. So that would have been precisely at 9:55 am on 10th of January, 1977 when she walked in and introduced herself as our Bengali teacher.
I remember her being very sweet to all of us and not being very strict with us (as opposed to Miss Dutta and Sir Donegan from the previous two periods 🙂 ). Certainly, we were not above taking advantage of it 🙂
One amusing incident. Miss Dutta taught us math and was very strict. In our math test, I remember that I had made a error. And so had my friend Shounak. But my friend had smartly answered one question more than he needed to. (we had to solve 10 out 11 problems and he did all 11). He got credit for that and beat me in that test. Not to be outdone, I tried the same trick in our Bengali test. Except that Deepali miss promptly canceled my last answer and told me that I should focus on revising my answers instead of wasting time on questions I did not answer!! Boy, was I confused that day!!! 🙂
Both Mr. and Mrs. Roy left indelible marks on me and in many ways has shaped and formed me who I am today. It was energizing to see them after such a long time (some 33 years) together and talk about our old days in school and get caught up on a few of the other teachers.
Roy Sir taught us maths in the 10th grade (1983). I have fond memories of his classes. His sense of humour had to be appreciated. If a student attended his class without having worked out a math problem that he had given as homework the previous day, sir would shoot questions like “Ki holo? Chheler asookh?” or “Biyer baajaar korte giyechhileesh?”
His craze for cricket would see him bring a small transistor radio to class, much to our delight, for then we could have regular score updates.