Sunday, 22 July 2012

On Poetry- from an exceptional teacher.

Sheila ma'am was my teacher during my post-grad days for 3 out of 4 semesters. Ma'am is loved for all that she is, and anybody who meets her might notice her silent strength, her passion towards writing and words, her humility, her kindness and her love for nature. She has a strong personality and a lot of love to give away generously. Recently, I had mailed her telling her how much I missed her classes on poetry and she was kind enough to mail me a reply that had the following text.
"Poetry is contained in the touch of breeze,the opening out of leaves and flowers,the twitter of little birds, the laughter of a child, theKeatsian idea of the pressure and impact of people on you. Thelandscape affects you in many ways. Recall the Mariner's journey orthe million atoms bombarding a writer in Virginia Woolf's ModernFiction. It is about stimulus and its impact."                                                                                          (c) SM

That's roughly the way ma'am taught us- drawing from various sources, bringing them together, all the while remaining honest to what she said. She's never spoken a sentence that's made me think "but of course, it's easy to pretend that you like it." She's honest when she speaks or teaches. She's one of those rare teachers who teach by example; they are already what they expect of others. 


Ma'am's sensitivity to words and the world in general brings out beautiful ideas and amazing thoughts that can leave anybody listening to her wanting to hear more. She's taught me the need to be humble, to be constructive when offering feedback, to work hard, to never say something I am not entirely sure of, and that kindness is essential when interacting with the world.  She's of course, shown all this by being that way. She never spelt out any of these in her classes. You'd just have to observe her!

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