This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC)'s themed series - Salty Saturday initiated to keep the spirit of blogging alive and challenging.
It was a breezy afternoon, Shubadra was in her office. The
sky was slowly getting darker, anticipation of showers brought smile to her
lips. Office work was less taxing that evening, she had called for an informal coffee
meeting in her office. Her colleagues were walking in their coffees and
pastries from the canteen. Nicolas had picked up her favorites from canteen – Cinnamon
Cappuccino with cream and white chocolate donut sprinkled with chocolate chips.
A group of seven sat around her table, started their routine chatter. Topics zoomed
from various topics right from the office gossips to international problems,
remuneration setbacks and personal lives were shared in these meet-ups.
In her table, was found a white bowl filled with 10 pebbles.
None of them knew why it was there. How much ever files were kept over her table,
the bowl never left her eyesight and always remained there. She washed them clean
and had them well preserved. Puzzled, Nicolas asked her why it was there. She narrated
a small incident
**Back in years, I learnt an important lesson. I had huge
problem with mathematics back in my elementary schooling. I remember staring at
the blackboard endlessly, while the teacher scribbled numbers on the board. They
used to work out complicated addition problems. The complications were that
they were already adding three digit numbers when I could not even understand
why or how the numbers are being added. My IQ did not fancy the concept of
subtraction either. The root cause was lack of understanding the basic behind
addition and subtraction, when it was taught using single digit numbers.
Initially the teacher tried to sit down with me, started to
teach me using fingers. I used to go through the routine of finger exercise for
an hour daily. It used to hurt my fingers but it didn’t bring in the added
advantage of knowledge. I soon got bored of math and the teacher could not
spare anymore time just to tutor me finger exercise. I became a sluggish
student in math class and soon it began to take over me in other classes too. From
a bright child, I became the lethargic one.
Time went by, one day my math teacher could not come to
school. So a substitution teacher came in, she was wearing a white chiffon
saree, looked very young, she had a very long, black hair which was braided
beautifully and she looked very simple. She gave us handouts that were to be
completed by us in that hour. It contained a few problems. As expected I didn’t
know how to solve them, soon I slept off. As the bell rang, she came around
collecting the sheets and found mine blank. She looked at me, and then the
paper, she smiled and sat next to me.
“Did you feel sleepy?” she asked. I nodded my head.
“Can you complete these now?”
I shook my head whimpering a silent no.
“You didn’t not understand them?” I again nodded a yes. I
She looked at me with care and asked, “What is your name?”
I whispered, “Shubadra”
She smiled, “Shubadra, do you like playing in the garden?”
with a swift nod from me she asked me to come out with her to the garden. She
asked me to collect all the pebbles found there. I ran from pillar to post and
ultimately found 10 of them.
She asked me to pile them on the bench. She got down on her
knees, matching my height.
“Shubadra, look at these, count and tell me how many are
“Ten” I quipped
“Good!” she kept two stones side-by-side and asked, “count
how many are there”
“Two” I said pointing out to her. She added three more to
the pile and asked, “And now?”
I counted them and said five.
This process went on for a while, I soon understood what was
addition and realized how simple it was. She told me the pebbles were our
fingers since we cannot move around with them always. She taught me addition,
subtraction. The beautiful angel was Monica – the Substitution Teacher, she removed
my fears with a simple gesture and taught me many a lessons that day.
The most complicated things became easy when I understood. That
day changed my attitude in class. I was never a topper and I never aspired to
be on, but I wasn’t a lazy one either. That incident changed my perspective of
lot of things. I preserved these pebbles ever since then.
Each time I look at it, it motivate me because till that day
even though I was educated I never learnt.
Education without learning is like food without salt –
meaningless and useless. **
Shubadra, looked at everyone who were staring back at her in
awe, they proposed a toast to Monica – the Substitution Teacher - the angel who picked up a kid at the right time - Education was indeed useless without Learning!
Image of glass bowl with pebbles - Internet
Image of girl playing in garden - Internet
Image of girl playing in garden - Internet