Today again I thought of him and cried. I wonder how different my life could have been if I had had a different teacher. I have tried hard but struggle with forgetting him. His dislike for me lives on and colours my interactions.
Why did he dislike me so much? It wasn’t as if I was ill-mannered or a bad student. Rather just the opposite. Was it because of Anil, his landlord’s son? He never liked Anil. But why dislike me? Perhaps because I was friendly with Anil. Or was it because I did not take tuition from him? But many other students didn’t either! So why target me?
I wonder how and why teachers can be so cruel. Don’t they realise the impact they have on their students? My life may have turned out so differently if it hadn’t been for him. I might have been a doctor or engineer or scientist. I have no way of knowing now. His sarcastic comments and his overt dislike created guilt within me. I felt guilty for no reason. I wish I had known how to handle his dislike or had asked for help as my grades fell. But instead, I avoided the problem and struggled with my studies for the first time in my life. That feeling of not being worthy, of being found wanting and not good enough, is something I struggle with even today.
One good however did come out of this experience. It was only after being in his class that I struggled to score good grades. That experience gave me empathy. Before that, I had never understood how students could study yet not do well in exams. But after my experience with him, I understood how a nameless anxiety could get the better of you and take over your entire life and derail it.
This was all long ago. It was wonderful to be free of him once I graduated from school. But as I get older, I realise that I am not yet fully free of him. I still allow his dislike to undermine my confidence when I meet new people and wonder if they will like me.
I wonder if it will ever change.
Perhaps one day…
Until next time,