Tuesday, January 16, 2018

928. When fence eats crops

Chelliah Sir Tuition centre used to be a famous place in Nagercoil for class 10 students. He was a science teacher and he was known for making students score 100 out of 100 in class 10 public exams. Back in those days, it was not easy to score a centum in science. But Chelliah sir made the almost impossible, possible for many.

In Kanyakumari District, if 20 students had scored a 100 in science, 15 of them would be Chelliah Sir's students. Well, in the year 1996 when I was in class 10, I also wanted to score a centum in Science. I asked my parents if I can join Chellliah Sir's tuition centre. They readily agreed. He promised to present a one gram gold coin or a ring if I scored a centum.

My Dad and I went to meet Chelliah Sir at his house. He was a strict man. We were asked to pay Rs 1200/- for a year. We were given the option to pay the sum in two instalments. He also told us that we had to buy our own chair because all the seats were already filled. 

So the tuition classes started. Monday, Wednesday and Friday Mornings - 5:30 to 6:30. There were 100 boys in that thatched roof class. I immediately did my math. 100 X 1200 = 120000. He had three other batches. The Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday girls batch and the evening batches. I understood that Chelliah Sir was roughly making around Rs 5 Lakh per annum just by taking 2 hours of tuition every day. In 1996, that was huge money.

He never wanted the girls and the boys to be together in the same class. His logic was that we won't study well. I had no qualms about that because all I wanted was to score a centum. He would read through 4 pages of our science book every class. We were supposed to underline each sentence with a pencil. Whenever any word like photosynthesis, bacteria or mitochondria appeared, we were supposed to highlight those words with the marker. That was his way of teaching. It was mugging up of the first order. 

He hated people of other faith. Early in the morning, a particular place of worship near his house will make a loud sound with the call of worship. Every time, he would curse the people of that particular religious faith with the Tamil word " Thevu#!^@ p@!#@" (Bastard). My friend Ashok, who was sitting next to me said" Sir! Don't use such words". Even though I was 15 at that time, I never knew the meaning of that word because there were no vulgar words spoken at home.

By the end of that one year, my vocabulary of cuss words in Tamil increased multifold, thanks to Chelliah Sir. I ended up scoring 97 marks. The point I am trying to make on this blog is, that in the quest for scoring good marks, we end up going to the wrong places where we are fed up with garbage. When I look back on those days, I regret attending that tuition, because, in addition to not teaching the logic behind the subject, he was responsible for planting some cuss words in my vocabulary.

Advice to parents: Don't compromise on your child's future in your quest for excellence.

- Chronicwriter

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