– Guest post by Dhanno

ammu looks

Love at first sight.
We have heard of it. We have experienced it. And I am sure that many are even married to it.
What is love at first sight?
My interpretation of it (as this is the first time it has happened to me) is that when you see one person and are so awed by his/her aura that you decide in your mind that minute, “I always want to be in his/her good books.” That person not only becomes very important to you but also you have such immense respect for them that you feel, “yes, I feel I am lucky to have them around.” You feel bright around them, and they bring out the best in you. I do not always associate it to the opposite sex. Like my mother always said, “you can even have a crush on girls. If they inspire you, and you love their company that is exactly what having a crush means.” At least in my books a crush is a meaningful infatuation.
And love is simply awe.
It happened to me when I was waiting for her to arrive. When she finally came we smiled at each other. Apart from my mother I have never seen someone smile at me so freely. I feel that to make your smile comforting and effective, you must always show all your teeth. At least the stranger knows that you don’t have any extra long canines that are meant to hurt.
I think my teacher thought the same. And she too followed this religiously.
Her voice is sweet and powerful. Powerful because it has so much to say. When she sang I felt my insides melting. That is what happens to me when I hear good music. It is just fuel to my mind and soul. Even though she sang a simple ‘sa re ga ma’ I could feel that with every note I could hear her express her love for teaching. Her love to carry forward what she knows.
In my third week or so, I was at the door of the class when I saw her standing and blessing as every student bowed to touch her feet. We touched her feet every day and we were blessed too everyday, but she always sat behind her harmonium and smiled ceremoniously at everyone.
I asked one lady who had come to drop her child, “Something seems to be special. Mam’s birthday today?”
“No, you don’t know? Today is gurupurnima.”
I went in and touched her feet and ended it with an awkward “happy gurupurnima, mam.” Something for which I felt awful. It was even worse then calling all your relatives’ uncle and aunty.
But most people wished her that way. She then declared that this year she had strictly asked everyone to not celebrate it for her. There had been issues. She explained to us how gurupurnima was important in earlier times. How students were supposed to do things for their guru not because it was required but because it was a need to express their thanks. She even told us how she did all the house chores for her guru ma. I was frankly ashamed. My habit of pleasing everyone did not help either, my eyes were filling up, but I managed to hide it. I just felt so sorry for our generation. That we will never learn how to value what is supposed to be valued.
I felt disengaged from my own roots. Why were valentine’s days, teachers’ day, and father’s day important? They were just the out come of a very good marketing scheme. Gurupurnima is ancient. Why did I not even know about it?
For the person who smiles at her students even when she is singing aalaap.
For the person who believes that music lies in everyone.
For the person who embraces each variety of student.
For the person who I adore.
For the person who thinks that the best gift to her would be if her students sing better than her.
For the person who can wear a sari and come to class even when it’s pouring outside. (Trust me that is huge).
If you want to learn something, you have to be open to what a teacher thinks of you. In fact you have to end it at that. You need to see yourself from the same eyes with which the teacher sees you, only then you can grow. You have to respect their opinion and appreciate their input. And take the responsibility of giving them something back in return. And that responsibility should come from within, not stimulated by anything but your awe.