The class XII results are out and once again all the pwhy kids have cleared the dreaded Boards! This is now the nth time in a row! There was a time when I remember spending a sleepless night before result day and pacing up and down till I was given the news. In those days results were not on line and one had to wait for the teacher to come back from the school where they were posted.

This year Naresh our secondary teacher just came to the office with his list of roll numbers and a few taps on the keyboard and we knew that all the kids had once again passed. No sleepless night, no angst. Just a feel of deja vu!

Naresh sat with paper and pencil computing the marks to get the percentages, a number essential to chart out the future. Gone were the days that a simple pass was enough for jubilation. Now it all depended on that extra half percent that could make all the difference. As I watched his serious face bent upon his sheet of paper I realised that all this could not have been possible without him. It is Naresh who has almost single handed, year after year, with rare dedication bordering on obsession ensured that pwhy kids have cleared their Boards!

The words of the title song from the movie To Sir with Love came to my mind: But how do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume?It isn’t easy, but I’ll try. Every year we congratulate the kids, eat the sweets proffered and organise an outing. But this year kudos need to go where they are due: to sir, with love!

In the winter of 2001, when a deriding remark from a school Principal about the impossibility of a bunch of class X students to clear their Boards had led me to throw the gauntlet and accept the challenge of ensuring their success. That year we simply had a small spoken English class and helped a few primary kids with their studies on an ad-hoc basis. The bunch of boys were students of the spoken English class and the reason for my trip to the school was to find out why one of them had been beaten without apparent reason.

The next day the boys came, huge smiles on their faces and hope in their eyes. We had no classroom, no teacher, no funds. But what we had was the determination to win the challenge. At that time Naresh had just finished his college and was looking for work. I had hear that he use to give tuition to school kids. I asked him if he would help us and he accepted. Classes were held the pavement in front of our single class room, in the biting cold at 7.30 am with many cups of tea! That was how our senior secondary section began.

Naresh is a born teacher and teaches with compassion and unseen commitment. For him it is matter of pride to see his students do well even if that means extra classes early morning or late evenings and even on Sundays. He handles his section almost single handed as no teacher ever meets his expectations. And his students are infused with the same passion, as they often come well before time and wait for him with eagerness. Naresh has turned many failures into toppers and is always there for his students as a teacher, mentor and above all a friend. That is what teachers should be.

So today it is to Naresh that I say: hats off or chapeau bas!

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