O Captain! My Captain!


Someone once said that the best art is produced when the artist in question is harrowed and in pain, mental rather than physical. I’m not quite sure I understood that statement then any more than I do now. As humans, I believe we have an innate capability of harping on about what causes us pain and what isn’t quite right (my blogs are living proof of that!), but then how do we produce magnificent frescoes? How do we write stories, which can make the hardest man go back and cry in his mothers lap? How do we produce music that can make us wonder whether we really are sane or not? We can’t all be deprived of happiness. We’d all be geniuses then!

Or so I thought. Pain, sadness, regret they’re all the biggest people killers. But have you ever tried penning down your thoughts when you were bursting with happiness? If you have, you would agree with me when I say that the words to describe that kind of ecstasy haven’t been invented yet. Non mon amie! I kid you not! Mull it over a while- haven’t you ever been in a situation where you’re grinning like monkey from ear to ear but couldn’t find it in yourself to explain the reason for your pearly whites to be on display? I’ll eat my hat if you say ‘no’. And I’m quite fond of it.

We are at our best when we are miserable tragic isn’t it? and all this while we were looking for the secret to our happiness. Poor sods, we never had a chance. Mind though, this shouldn’t be confused with fear. We dont respond very well to that. So don’t think about whipping someone lest then not perform. But if your kids are misbehaving, feel free to remove certain privileges.

But then I wonder, all those painters who would go to France during the renaissance to paint or to train under the great maestros themselves, how did they ever produce anything great? Wouldn’t they be beside themselves with giddiness to know and appreciate that they were working with a brilliant, albeit slightly loony, mind? I suppose that’s why they didn’t do exceptionally well. However, I do believe we underestimate the power of our teachers and professors today.

While some of our professors believe in making our lives completely glum to get us to perform better, others haven’t as yet forgotten what it was like to be a student and spare us somewhat. Parents forget that it is our teachers today who play a very big role in determining how a child turns out. Starting from kindergarten till the time a person completes their formal education; the influence from various educators is incomparable. Today, I want to thank all those teachers who have influenced me, made me miserable so I could be great and pave my way to becoming a better person.

There is a reason why parents try so desperately to get their child into a ‘good school’ in India. You are that reason. You instil characteristics like empathy, kindness and goodness in us. Things that seem to be lost in translation today. When I graduated to middle school, one of my teachers told me, “Don’t be anyone other than yourself.” At that time, I thought it a rather silly piece of advice. Who would I be other than myself? A bird? But today, I understand the implications of that. Thank you ma’am. It is one of the most important pieces of advice I have received till date.

I recently graduated from B-school. Here, we had a particular marketing professor who made life very difficult and very fun at the same time. Before I stared with his classes, I had been present at one of his test lectures. Sir, you are the only reason I decided to stay back in that school. You are an amazing professor and we’re glad you decided to quit working in corporate when you did.

But let me not black out all the other incredible souls who have taught me, tested me, badgered me and loved me thorough these years. I remember each and everyone of you and am grateful that you decided to get into teaching. I can only hope that all those poor bamboozled kids in schools and colleges right now realize how lucky they are. You will always be remembered.


“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won”

– Walt Whitman

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