Dear Mr. Khan,
I first attended your class when I was in standard-III.
Somebody told me once “A true teacher would teach you, and you’d never know that you’ve been taught. You’d think he’s telling you a story”. I, for instance, didn’t have a clue that you were a teacher. Till the time I reached the tenth standard. Then, just before the pre boards, Mohabbatein happened.
I was around sixteen years of age, mugging the entire ICSE syllabus, (which generally happened with all of us who had better things to do than study throughout the year) preparing myself for the pre-boards. The air had a faint chill, the sun was mellow, and the theaters in Calcutta were covered with painted fig leaves. Love was in the air. Literally.
I had been studying sincerely enough to leave my mother shocked (sincerity and I have never been the best of friends), so she decided to shock me in return by allowing me to go for the movie.
The rest, for me, is history.
“Mohabbat bhi zindagi ki tarah hoti hai … har mor aasaan nahin hota, har mor par khushi nahin hoti … par jab hum zindagi ka saath nahin chhodte … phir mohabbat ka saath kyon chhodein”
I realised I was seeing the greatest teacher ever, in action. A part of me was getting pissed with the three on screen couples cavorting around screwing things up like dolts, the other part was trying to explain “unless they screw up matters, why would they require lessons?”
I knew I could not afford Gurukul. I knew I was born to be a violinist. I knew that oval and thin framed specs would suit me best. I knew sweaters were invented to be worn like a cape. I also knew if I had a stuck up principal in school, I’d screw his happiness and then say
“Main yahaan par suraj ki roshni itni tez kar doonga … ki woh aadmi joh pachaas saalon se suraj ko ghoorta aa raha hai … usse bhi apni palkein jhukani hogi”.
I realised how you, sir, had been teaching all along and I just didn’t know.
I remember how after having studied for the entire night before a paper during the university exams, I had to watch that sequence in Dil Se where you kept slapping yourself to stay awake. I was sure that it would help me stay awake too. You know what? It did.
The specialised course that you teach is of course, love. And if Love is the course, the numerical problems given at the back of the chapters are known as heartbreaks. I have told this to so many people, so many times “You want a solution to a particular problem and you think it’s different from your friends’, refer to Mr. Khan’s notes. He has a unique answer to your problem. And your friends’ problem. And to all heartbreak problems in general.”
I have had a lot of teachers who have shaped my life. However, you are the only teacher who has been teaching me from standard lll till date. You have always been there for me, sometimes as Raj Aryan Malhotra, sometimes as Rahul, sometimes as Mohan Bhargav, sometimes as Kabir Khan.
I can never thank you enough for:
“Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai….kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaynath tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”
“Sattar minute hai tumhaare paas…
shaayad tumhaare zindagi ke sabse khaas sattar minute..
Aaj tum achchha khelo ya bura
yeh sattar minute tumhe zindagi bhar yaad rahenge
toh kaise khelna hai, aaj main tumhe nahi bataaunga
bas itna kahunga, ki jaao aur yeh sattar minute jee bhar ke khel lo
kyun ki iske baad aanewaali zindagi mein,
chaahe kuch sahi ho ya na ho..
chaahe kuch rahe ya na rahe, tum haaro ya jeeto
lekin yeh sattar minute, tumse koi nahi chheen sakta, koi nahin!!”
.. And so much more.
Here’s wishing you, Mr. Khan, a very Happy Teachers Day!
Hope you keep teaching me forever!
A devoted student.