I was in my ninth standard. The distribution of computer weekly test paper was in progress. Few of the students surrounded Mr. Rituraj Pradhan, our computer sir. He was fairly new to the school and had made a pretty good impression on us students. Even though I struggled in computers and Java was way beyond my limited scope of Computer understanding, I put in lot of effort. The students negotiated with him for some increase in marks, and few of them even got into an argument for his corrections. It was the usual scene which all of us would have experienced during our school days. Everyone discussed about their scores. The toppers complained about getting 21/25 or 22/25. The lesser lights were happy with a 10/25 and some did not care about their single digit scores.
I had scored a very decent 19/25 in my paper. I went up to our sir for enquiring about the correct answer for a question. As I went near he turned towards my face and shouted on top of his voice commanding me to get back to my place. I shivered a bit shocked by his rage. Everyone who had been trying to get the scores added up took a step back and graciously returned to their seats. I was back at my place trying my best to calm myself. The period got over soon. The 10 minute short break followed. I went out of the class to get a breath of fresh air outside. A friend shared his Tiffin with me. It was roti and chana, and it was tasty. We got back to our classes and eagerly waited for the lunch-break. I enjoyed the football in the afternoon. It refreshed me from the morning showdown. I felt much better after that.
The afternoon session had a computer practical period. The post-football fatigue made it very difficult for me to stay awake in the first period after the lunch. I looked at my watch wishing for the class to get over soon. The next class was the computer practical and I wanted to sit inside the air-conditioned computer lab which would help in relaxing my overworked calf muscles. I was looking at the monitor trying to understand the piece of code when Rituraj sir tapped on my shoulder. I greeted him formally. The next few lines he uttered were completely unexpected. He genuinely apologized for shouting at me in the morning class and there was no pretence in his words. He sounded very sincere and I was overjoyed by this action of his. A deep sense of respect grew for him, even though he was not the best ever teacher but his best efforts never seemed fake.
Apologizing is the sign of a strong character and Rituraj sir was one. I have never forgotten that act of his, a teacher saying sorry to a student for shouting at him. Teachers with nature like his can really move the students in the forward direction and certainly make them better human beings. The last time I heard of him was when I paid a visit to my school during the summer vacation after my 2nd semester of college. He was suffering from a kidney ailment and there was a notice which requested the staff and students to contribute for his treatment. I have no clue to where he is now. I wish and pray that he is healthy and still making a positive impact on the people around him.