Dearest Mrs Dinshaw

The English teacher who touched the hearts ,hopes and lives of countless students of St Helenas Girls School Pune .

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I remember that day so clearly when I first set eyes on Mrs Dinshaw .She was so awe inspiring and grand, that it was difficult to ignore the electrifying impact she had on the entire classroom .Here was a teacher who could teach. In every sense of the word. Through her words and non verbal gestures, she oozed passion and panache in plenty .Mrs Dinshaw was not a personality whom you could ignore even from miles .She radiated the aura of a person who was passionate about what she was doing .When she entered the classroom you watched her with riveted eyes, lest you miss some part of the performance .She did not resort to any such theatrical behaviour, and pardon me if I use the word performance, but she elevated the art of teaching to a level we had never experienced before .Her verbal and non verbal gestures were a treat to watch ,listen to and absorb, because here was a master craftswoman who knew every inch of her craft to perfection .

She loved the subject she taught, and this was apparent from the way she explained it, leaving us in awe of the rare audio visual treatt that we managed to experience through her teaching .Wether it was Shakes pear or Oscar Wilde ,Gerald Durrel or Rabindranath Tagore ,Alfred Lord Tennyson or Tolstoy, their pathos and values came alive, and we listened with rapt attention and rising emotions, as we travelled the corridors of the minds of the great under Mrs Dinshaws sublime guidance .She invoked every shade of emotion that the writer or poet must have envisioned his work would .She didn’t teach us how to study literature but to love and live it ..

We knew Mrs Dinshaw was about to enter the class from the whiff of her delectable perfume, followed by the clickety clack of her matching stillettoes,the soft swirl of her beautiful chiffon saree and then the thump of books on the table !. She would look at the class in an all encompassing gaze and with her well manicured fingers, and impeccably painted fingernails run her hand through her softly permed and well cut hair. Oh! She was a treat to watch .Then she’d lightly touch her shoulder as if giving herself a cue that the lesson had begun! Now was the time for pure magic, as we travelled with her on a journey called literature and which we never ever wanted to end .

There were very rare moments that she ever lost her composure as the class always gave her it’s fullest attention, but in case such an occasion did arise when she lost her cool and got angry with us ,it would mean the end of the world for that particular student .I know .I’ve been through that excrutiating time when she was once irked by some joke, I and my classmate had found more interesting than her teaching .Oh was I shattered ! l thought to myself, “What have I done?” !! How will I be in the good books of my demi goddess again? I had cried endlessly for what I had gotten myself into .Such an unimaginably horrifying situation! She wasn’t a tyrant or any thing like that. Far from it.She just wanted the same level of involvement from the students which she poured into her subject .Nothing less would do .

With a very heavy heart and sad mind I am reconciling myself to the fact that she is no more .She was unique and unlike any other teacher I ever met .She loved her subject and injected this same love in all her students .She opened the doorway to a great world of learning and imagination for her students .She understood that literature was an extension of life, and she extended the same zeal and enthusiasm she had for life into the subject she taught .This celebration of life was remarkable .It was this infectious enthusiasm, that we all fell in love with, and carried in our hearts long after we left her classroom She may have left this world, but the love that she had for life, lives on through the countless students she taught and infused this love with .It will stay till eternity and be transmitted from generation to generation for the intensity of her passion was immeasurable and the effect she had on people’s lives irrefutable .Mrs Dinshaw may you rest in peace, for you truly lived your purpose .


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