My first batch…

… 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.

Thank you?

Update: Only comments on the post will be allowed on this post!! Don’t embarass me!

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12 Responses

  1. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Anup, I wish I could have kept at least part of your comment – want to try again?

  4. This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. All posts with the word ‘thank you’ in them will be deleted!

  6. Fine then…you’re a (not-so-gentle) bully and dictatorial to boot
    And I’m guessing this gets deleted too…

  7. She admittedly hasnt heard of 19(1)(a) of a certain document we keep referring to when it concerns her blog. has feudal notions of ownership when it comes to her blog. will soon have to deconstruct my knowledge of taxation.

    She believes her rocket-making of project proposals will become part of nalsar folklore. true to her dictatorial colours, made us shit scared of writing research methodologies. And my god, how much we had to convince her to come to shankar for tea. it was wonderful trooping off along with her to shankar. regret not having done it more often.

    – anup

  8. Thou shalt not write on those lines, not when some of us insist… leaving law school shall be a waltz out, without snivellings… hey but you know what… true tax ain’t all that bad… better than what we hoped… but better still was a new perspective to law school teaching… a generation of profs, we, those who so aspire, will like and try to belong to…

    won’t try to thank u… don’t like understatements šŸ˜›

    but try not to scare with ur notions of research method… though believe me they saved a lot of rough draft work… its nice to have a prof who’s not on pedestal but a human… lets see if u stay that way… best of luck!!!

  9. Well, I refrained from commenting on this post yesterday, thinking it warranted comments like the first two and how I shouldn’t step in on the student-teacher bonding, but now that you have comment moderation enabled, here goes…

    Pinwheels, never had them :(. Where can I get some? They sound interesting.

    Also, I wish one of my professors at college had said something like this. I mean not that I ever attended classes, but a lot of them still got to know me and could have said something nice, instead of seeming shocked that I had actually graduated.

  10. Anon, Anup, Nemo – Thank God you still can do more than write ‘thank you’! AB – I don’t know where you can get pinwheels…I bake my own!

  11. you tend to forget in the ‘worshipful’ atmosphere, that one can only truly figure out the goods and bads of things if one approaches them with a sense of irreverence and curiosity. that way, it’s nice being taught by someone from almost the same generation. you take back with you the reminder that laws and taxes can go hand in hand with cookies and movies and silly jokes and fun. yes- even IF “her” dictatorial censorship instincts kick in every now and then. bah! humbug! hahaha i’ve always wanted to use that term

    -shreya

  12. Yo blog is cool. I like the design!

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