‘You don’t know Marathi? Shouldn’t you know how to read and write in your mother tongue?’ Sunita Mam, my music teacher seemed miffed with me. I had just refused to attempt my third level classical music exam as this year onwards the exam had a theory paper that would be conducted in Marathi/Hindi.

It was ages since I had either read or written in both those languages. I preferred English. I had done all my studying with English as a medium so reading and writing in English seemed more convenient and easier now.

I always asked for English books/translations and found them, so I never felt the need to brush my other languages skills. Well, the challenge was before me if I wanted to attempt the higher-level exam.

I somehow managed to placate my angry teacher and left for home. But on the inside, I was wondering how do to go about it? I felt an innate resistance to reading those languages as I hadn’t done it in a long time.

s I reached home, I found a Marathi flyer in my mailbox, well I thought for the first time here is my chance. So instead of discarding it in favor of an English one as I would usually do I began to read it. It was a restaurant menu, not bad I thought.

Thus, began my journey of reading Marathi and Hindi. I began with small things like – flyers, advertisements, small booklets, magazines and slowly progressed to small books. I was pretty happy and content with my progress. And so was my teacher looking at my attempts.

Luckily enough the exam was announced to be a MCQ(multiple choice question) so all I had to do was just tick the answers. I was very happy to know this and performed my exam very easily.

I continued with my practice and began reading spiritual books written in Hindi/Marathi by Sirshree my Guru and a few months later my confidence levels really rose. Reading in Hindi/Marathi was now easy, my vocabulary had increased too! So, I volunteered to do translations in English for Sirshree’s Hindi books. It was something I could never have imagined earlier.

As my volunteering work progressed, I began writing in English and that was the beginning of my writing journey. Teachers – inspire, motivate, encourage and educate students. So, on this Teacher’s Day I would like to dedicate my writing to my music teacher Sunita Phansalkar who was instrumental for my writing journey. Thank You Mam!!!