Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gurudakshina on Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is celebrated in honour of the great sage Vyasa, considered as one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions and also a symbol of the Guru-shishya tradition. Shishyas have been known to give a hefty guru-dakshina to their gurus – we all know the story of Eklavya who cut off his right thumb for his guru Drona. Incidentally, Drona was also offered Guru-Gram (known today as Gurgaon) by the Pandavas for teaching them archery.

Since it is Guru Purnima tomorrow and I have neither a gaon (village) to offer nor do I wish to cut off my right thumb, via this blogpost, I would like to pay obeisance to my Gurus – people who have helped me along the way to become what I am today. Henry Adams rightly put it when he said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

The first Guru in every individual’s life is naturally the mother. The mother consciously and unconsciously teaches her child how to behave, how not to behave, and introduces her to a whole new world that is out there waiting. I, too, have learnt a lot from my mother; more through her actions than her words. She has taught me to be an independent woman who is not afraid of anything or anybody. From her, I learned the value of helping those not as fortunate as us.

My school teachers are someone from whom I have obviously learned a lot. My Chemistry teacher Ms. Nagpal made me fall in love with science and the wonderful properties of various chemicals. My Hindi/Marathi teacher Ms. Lavande and my English teacher Ms. Sybil ensured I appreciate the value of literature and have largely contributed to my getting enamoured with the world of books.

In college, my Maths professor Mr. Patil was a strict disciplinarian. When I got 99/100 in 12th Standard Maths and went happily to tell him, he just looked at me and said, “What about the 1 mark?” In retrospect, I realize he wanted to push me into being the best. Mr. Sahuraja, our Economics professor, was a happy-go-lucky fellow who taught us Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy and Adam Smith’s market forces with a lot of passion.

During my CA days, Mr. Haldipur played an important role in shaping me professionally. He always exhorted us to unlearn what we already knew to learn something new and taught us the value of learning how to learn. It is courtesy him that I have a fabulous typing speed without ever joining a typing institute.

My first ever boss in the corporate world – Mr. Swaminathan – told me one thing 10 years back which I still remember, “We can teach anybody the skills you have. But not your attitude.” My second boss, Mr. Shah, believed in me when nobody did. He gave me opportunities to shine at the workplace which enabled me to develop my confidence. In a sense, he was always there for me.

I salute all these fine men and women. It is because of their dedication and commitment towards their tasks that I am today an independent, book-loving, data-crunching freak who holds Bill Gates to be her idol because he developed Microsoft Excel and who, when people say to me, “But, you have an attitude”, actually take it as a compliment!

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