Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A 'To Sir With Love' Moment - Thank You Students of Department of Dance, 2016, SNCPA

I remember watching 'To Sir With Love' as a youngster and was mighty thrilled with it. I especially loved the ending where the students thank their 'sir' Sidney Poitier, a lovely moment in the movie, and it has remained a favorite movie of mine ever since. In the same lines I also remember our Hindi teacher from those Intermediate years, Janardhan Tiwary, breaking down in class and sobbing, tears streaming down his face, on his last class in college. We were a rowdy bunch and we never really understood why he was crying to see the last of us. Maybe something deeper touched a chord for him but it was an unforgettable experience. Of course the farewell parties after my tenth class were favorite teacher-student memories. All of them were tinged with the familiar sadness of inescapable endings. It must be a difficult space for a teacher surely, those teachers who have taught for a lifetime, to see little fledglings grow wings and fly away to different destinies.
Post-lunch - Tejaswi, Shiva, Me, Anusha, Radhika, Sridevi, Vaishnavi
These days I teach a bit - something I never thought I would. I enjoy the experience (though perhaps teaching would be a wrong word, sharing would be more appropriate perhaps). I do like interacting with young minds and sharing what I know or what makes sense to me. My teaching expertise has mostly been used by the University of Hyderabad so far - the School of Management Studies and now the Department of Dance. Some random experiences otherwise.
A thoughtful gift

The course assigned to me, 'Arts Management' at the Department of Dance came out of the blue. From what I heard, the department was considering shunting the course out that particular year so it was a last attempt of sorts. I had done one workshop - 'The Champion's Mindset' at the Department of Dance, a few years ago thanks to the faith and initiative of Dr. Jyothi and Dr. Anuradha Jonnalagadda. Last year they invited me again to teach a full fledged course. I know nothing about dance being blessed with two left feet, but I think I understand the troubles of someone who has to both create and present a work and then, market it. I faced and continue to face these issues as a writer, and having been a salesman, a marketing student, a general student of life, I could add some value. It was also challenging - who would have thought I would be teaching a course in the Department of Dance.
Guess what?

I was sure students would benefit from perspectives of marketing management, the 4Ps, understanding themselves and their art as a product, looking at it from the consumer's perspective and also bits about the ideal mindset, preparation, skill and expertise, success, goal setting etc. The faculty was quite supportive and let me teach the way I wanted to. My first year, last year. was a greatly challenging and fulfilling experience and I think we did a decent job and perhaps achieved certain goals and objectives we had set ourselves. This year was my second.
A finely crafted wooden fruit basket (with fruit)

The Masters of Performing Arts class 2016 comprised of 12 students - Ardra, Athira, Vaishnavi (all from Kalamandalam Kerala), Vaishanvi P, Anusha, Tejaswi, Sreedevi, Chudamani, Radhika, Kavitha, Shiva and Srinaiah. Though I could not share as much as I did with the earlier batch, owing to constraints of time, I did what I could in the time we had. I found the students highly receptive and enthusiastic and in the end we did manage to achieve most of the goals we set for ourselves. (Being more secure as people was one, knowing the process of taking the art form / career forward was another and a third was to take 100% responsibility for one's career and life.)
All 12 in class with Dr. Aruna Bhikshu who consented to be the expert in the 'Meet the Experts' Sessions
To cut a long story short, the students gave me a 'To Sir With Love' moment by inviting me out to lunch and then completely floored me with a finely crafted, thoughtfully chosen gift - a wooden basket. I do think thoughtfulness is the best form of love, and the effort showed. I plan to gift them a copy of my '50 Not Out' as a small gift to repay their thoughtful gesture.

Thank you all. Wishing you a wonderful life and highly fulfilling careers.


Rajendra said...

Nice moment.

Harimohan said...

Thanks Raja. I am sure you must have had many such. :)