“Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three” – Confucius
Today on teachers day 2011 I commence a nostalgic trip down to my school days and write reverentially on my high school teacher Sir Amaranth Fernandes. My school St. Francis De’Sales High School (SFS) Nagpur was founded way back in 1870 a school known to be the best in the town in sports, extracurricular activities and academics. Our school motto ‘Sapere Aude’ is a Latin phrase which means ‘dare to be wise’.
Horace the Roman lyric poet articulates – Dare to be wise! Begin now. The man who puts off the day when he will live rightly is like the peasant who waits for the river to drain away. But it flows on, and will flow on forever”.
His Inspirational Traits
Teachers like Sir Amaranth are indeed rare. They not only teach brilliantly but make a lifelong impact on a pupil’s character and personality. Sir Amaranth was a ruggedly handsome and had a tough guy image – a real Master who also happened to be a Old boy of our school. I was lucky to have him as my class teacher in the final years of school. A stern demeanor belied his kind & understanding nature. In class he was always on the dot immaculately attired in a suit. He was a gifted teacher with an open mind who shared fascinating anecdotes from his personal life. It brought us closer to him & inspired us to vibe with him.
Sir Amaranth was amazingly versatile – he majestically commanded our entire school drill and annual march past rehearsals himself demonstrating to us the correct movements. In the evenings he transformed to a ‘tough fierce boxing sir’ to train our budding boxers. His class discipline was always perfect as he inspired awe and respect and the long canes kept in the classroom corner were never ever used 🙂
What Students Say
While writing this blog I rang-up a class mate and namesake Dilip a a daredevil fighter pilot and war hero of the ’71 war and asked him to share his thoughts on his best teacher. His immediate response – “we are indeed blessed to have our lives touched by a teacher
like Sir Amaranth” and went on about how Sir had made a difference in our professional as well as personal lives.
I then called up another classmate Ravi (always a topper) presently in Delhi who said all our school teachers were ‘truly great teachers
but Sir Amaranth was someone very special. His board work was meticulous and he taught math’s with absolute clarity’. Next was Duggy Vaz our senior and an outstanding natural athlete, a center-forward in football and hockey he too fondly remembers – ‘Sir Amaranth as an organizer par excellence be it our annual concerts, sports meet or elocution competitions. Sir led from the front. He was a teacher who stood out among all’.
A Global Mindset
Sir taught geometry – the theorems and the riders almost like an artist. His geography class was mesmerizing as he shared rare insights from across the world – a preview of the globalized world.
Good Bye Sir
Many years later I had a chance meeting with Sir who was on a visit to Pune to meet his sister. He had just retired. He recognized me instantly and met me with great warmth and affection. Sir Amaranth’s eyes sparkled with pride when I told him I am in the Army. After a long chat I saluted Sir Goodbye – that’s when he blessed me.
Sadly Sir passed away a few years ago – leaving with us ex-students his ideals and his vision.