Mahatria Ra on Dr. Clement Felix
I studied in Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School, Chennai. During my 9th standard, as a part of the Teachers' Day celebrations, encouraged by my class teacher Mr. HVR and in the presence of my Headmaster, Dr. Clement Felix, I performed mono-acting by imitating the mannerisms of some of my teachers.
Though the program was a mega success amongst my classmates, some of my teachers didn't appreciate what I did. My Math teacher made me stand outside the classroom for a few days. Another teacher slapped me a few times in front of everybody. A teacher, who had no connection to what I did, called me to the staffroom and caned me a few times.
The humiliation and the trauma that I underwent during those days cannot be put in words. I used to tremble with shivers at the very sight of anybody coming to my classroom, assuming someone will call for me and punish me. What I couldn't bear was the fact, I did whatever I did encouraged by my class teacher… so I didn't know what I did was wrong. And, my performance also had the endorsement of my Headmaster. I felt victimised.
But of all, I suffered the worst with my Tamil teacher. He didn't allow me to sit down for the rest of the term. Almost every day, he would first abuse me for a few minutes, and only then begin the class. He expressed his malice in the way he corrected my test papers. As such I was a borderline student, and it was easy for him to fail me. It was beginning to dent my self-image.
My classmates persuaded me to complain to the Headmaster. My class Teacher too felt that it was the right thing to do. With my legs trembling in nervousness, for I had lost my confidence of being treated justly by the teaching community, I approached my Headmaster. I was in tears as I reported what I was going through. Remember, I was still a boy in 9th standard, and a fraternity of teachers were acting against me. I felt so fragile.
Dr. Clement Felix responded, "So what if he fails you in your tests. He won't fail you in your annual exams. Always remember, 'Even if a teacher thinks against you, you should never think against a teacher. How you see the teacher is going to make all the difference in your life, than how the teacher sees you. Even if your teacher's feelings towards you are not right, your feelings towards a teacher must always be right.' I don't mind if my teachers are wrong, but I don't want my students to be wrong. Do you get it?"
And as I wiped my tears, he added, "Adult behaviour is when you handle the troubles of your life all by yourself, and do not run with a tone of complaint to another. Display some adult behaviour and face these situations in life all by yourself. Complaining, once it becomes a habit, it will ruin your life. Behave like an adult, even when you are still a boy. Go to your class. God bless you."
Ever since, I don't remember I have ever complained in life. I have vaccinated myself from the ruining habit of complaining. Today, I face anything with the strength of FAITH - Face Anything In Trusting Him. Ever since, I have never ever entertained a single thought against a teacher. My feelings towards my teachers have always been one of reverential gratitude, and that has made all the difference in my life.
- Mahatria Ra in Infinitheism, February 2012