… of cookies. It was years ago. They were pinwheels – you know, the concentric circles of chocolate and vanilla that crumble into yumminess in your mouth? With the help of a dog-eared cookbook, running out every few minutes to buy ingredients that we didn’t have, trying really hard to roll the dough out evenly without it crumbling on the countertop, finally taking a hot tray out of an ancient electric oven, only to have them disappear in minutes to the laconic comment “Not enough chocolate in the chocolate parts, but they’re quite nice.”
And my first batch of students. (Yeah, that’s what I meant to write about all along…) Leaving in – what? – eight? days.
I was going to go on in the vein of “I hope you’ve learnt…”, till I realised that I don’t hope anything of the sort. I know I’ve done my job with you – given tax law good enough associations in your mind, so that you won’t wrinkle your nose at the sight of a tax Act. Anything more that you’ve learnt, you’ve learnt. Logical – if I want to keep blaming students for failing exams, I have to admit that you’re the ones doing the work here. So, no hoping.
I also thought of congratulating you. There’s much to congratulate. From the person who’s holding admissions to some of the most coveted post-grad courses to the person who’s happy to have finished the course in five years, each of you has something to celebrate. Even if it’s just the fact that you’re “out of here”.
But there’s only one thing I want to congratulate you on – that’s the fact that you’ve found something to congratulate yourself on. Over the past weeks, I’ve seen each of your faces light up with pride. Pride in yourself. Whatever it was that made your face light up – congratulations on it!
I could you wish you luck, of course. But you’ll have that, whenever you truly need it. My wishing it is not going to make it happen, or vice-versa. And when you don’t need it, which would be more often than not, you’ll remember that it’s possible to reach standards that seem impossible. And that if it isn’t, trying anyway always pays off in the long run.
What does that leave me, to say?
A memory of the first day – disbelief writ large on sixty faces, as they heard me say “Tax is fun!” I looked normal enough – but was I, in fact, barmy?!
A counselling session. I was stunned. I knew it would be part of the job – but so soon? I was also a bit suspicious – was this a trip-up-the-new-one-watch-her-fall?
Then, much later – just before an exam. Two bright and sleepy faces – “you know, it’s like solving a crossword! Tax is fun!” Barminess reigned!
There are many more memories of you, of course, that I’ll cherish, things that’ll make me smile with nostalgia when I see you again. There were lessons I learnt – the rudiments of the art of gentle bullying, the use of sarcasm, when to provide reassurance, when to start a scare. The use of emotional blackmail. The power of honesty. To actually treat you as adults, though you were just as old as LS. And, of course, tax. You’ve taught me a lot. You gave me your trust when I needed it the most.
Update: Only comments on the post will be allowed on this post!! Don’t embarass me!
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