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#ThankYouTeacher – Teacher's Day Special on NewzHook

September 5, 2019

Every year, 5 September is celebrated as Teacher's Day across India. We asked our readers to share their memories of teachers/mentors who stepped into their lives to make a difference at a critical point.

Smitha Sadasivan, Winner, Javed Abidi Public Policy Award 2019

"When I was diagnosed with demylinating disease in college soon after I was confirmed to have Multiple Sclerosis, I had to discontinue my studies. It was my professors who collected money for my treatment, supported me with attendance. arranged a scribe, and motivated me to complete my undergraduate exams. They got permission for me to write at a separate exam hall where I could lie down and dictate my answers to the scribe, pursue my post graduation thereafter despite severe weakness, fatigue, and extreme physical inability."

My tutor Sasirekha ma'am even went to the extent of selling her bangles to meet my treatment expenses. She also motivated me through phone conversations every day so I could overcome the hardship. After I gave my undergraduate exams, another professor Kanthi ma'am recommended me to the NGO Vidya Sagar and it's founder Poonam Natarajan, who is a great mentor in disability. This facilitated my journey into the disability sector and rights-based movement.

"All my professors motivate me till date, including Mangai ma'am through her interest in my work and support for my treatment which is very expensive."

Nipun seated on a wheelchair along with Anish.

Nipun Malhotra
CEO, Nipman Foundation

"It was around 5 years back that I first met Anish Chandy. I was entering a writing competition and mom introduced him to me to help edit my entry. Anish had just quit Penguin as the business books head and started a literary agency.

I eventually lost that competition, but we ended up staying in touch. Anish was the first person who really drilled into me the importance of writing in first person, of actions speaking larger than emotions and the power of a story. These are skills that I have used not only in my writing but in my activism and other spheres of life. Soon, he became a confidant and a man I could bounce ideas with. One who instilled in me the need to focus on process (which is in my control) and not care about result (which is not in my control).

However, I think the biggest learning from him is to think through every decision rationally. I have a habit now of mentally making pros and cons of every operational, tactical or strategic situation I face in life.

"A good teacher gives you the tools and empowers you to take on the world and make your own destiny while being in the background. And that is what is Anish to me".

Dr. Navjeevan Singh and Dr. Upreet Dhaliwal seated on a bench in a classroom.

Dr Satendra Singh
Disability rights advocate

"The guiding life in my life is this couple. My mentors and my colleagues. I am what I am largely because of them" - Dr Navjeevan Singh and Dr Upreet Dhaliwal.

Vidya Menon, Teacher/Trainer, v-shesh

"I had a few good teachers in India, the United States and Australia. In the US it was Mr Tony, Mr Roy and Mrs Natalie in Australia and in India, it was Ms Nalini. They had made difference in my life and encouraged me to aim higher in future. I am glad that I have achieved many things in my life and now am a teacher for deaf students so that I can make a difference in my students life".

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