03 September 2004

My teachers

This one goes out to the three teachers in my life to whom I owe a great deal.

How can I describe this man? I am overawed by him. I admire him. I adore him. I came to know him two years ago at journalism school. I often think I would have lost so much if I hadn’t met him.

His name is Jyoti Sanyal. He taught me all I know about editing and writing. I don’t know if I do justice to his teaching. I hope to, some day.

He made me think critically about the things that we assume in life, to see through spin and bullshit, to be conscious of beauty and appreciate it, to see beauty in the simple things of life. I would sit for hours, listening to him talk. And could never have enough. God knows, in those freewheeling conversations, I learnt what I could never have learnt in any number of classes.

He is so much fun to be with and young at heart. He is so excited about anything that he discovers. I learnt to discover life and love it. He cared for us like a father would. It’s quite hopeless to try writing about him. Words simply cannot capture my sentiments towards him.

Dear Sir, thank you.

Manu Sir
Without this person, perhaps my brain would have gone waste. He was my English Literature lecturer. More than that, he actually taught me to think. The process is not easy. You observe, introspect, criticize, accept, reject, and then defend. He challenged us at every step. Did encourage us, too. But never let us rest. Initially, I was shit scared of him. Each word would come haltingly. Soon, as I understood what he was trying to do, I warmed up to him. But then his challenges only became tougher. The horizons of thought were ever expanding and he went ahead, leading the way. I am still following. I know I will never be able to catch up. But I know the way now. So I am not afraid. I know I owe a lot to him, but frankly, I don’t know how much.

Shridharmurthy Sir
His classes would resemble a ‘house-full’ cinema hall. Many of us would genuinely regret it if we couldn’t make it to his class for some reason. When I was a kid, our family doctor would start up a conversation with me, whenever he had to give me an injection. And after a few minutes, he would say it’s over. I never knew when he actually gave me the injection. Same with SM Sir. He taught us through his life experiences. (He was our psychology lecturer.) Many a time, the hilarious anecdotes he would share with us also made us realize that the funniest things could often be quite sad. He, like Manu Sir, have helped their students in so many ways, it’s very heartening. You realize that there are still people in this world who have the capability to care without expecting anything back. And you get the courage to be like them. He has supported me in one of the worst phases in my life. I am grateful, Sir.


bijoy said...

Jyoti Sanyal took a course for me, too... more of a weekend hangout where he kept us in Saturday and Sunday to teach us writing. And when I met him a year later, he remembered my name. Do you know where he is and how he is doing?

Vijayalaxmi said...

Yeah. He runs a firm called Clear English India (www.clearenglish.in) in Calcutta. I do have his mail ID but do not wish to leave it in the open here.

Pallav said...

Dear friends,

Jyoti is dead. He died on Saturday night in Calcutta. He was my dean in Asian College of Journalism, Bangalore. Sorry for the grim news.

Pallav Nayak,


Nigel Grant said...

I never met Jyoti, but enjoyed my email correspondence with him when I reviewed his book Indlish for Clarity, the organisation that promotes clear language in the law.

I am trying to find a market in the UK for this fine handbook.

Jyoti was clearly a loved and respected teacher. I regret never having met him. I wish Clear English India well as it takes his work forward.

Nigel Grant

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