Saturday, December 1, 2012

PARALLEL LIFE





                       Every youth of our times should have passed through a golden period in their life in parallel Colleges. Cambridge, Nalanda, Milton etc were the cute names given     ( No international registrations were required!)  In fact they were the training ground of the youth of the times. For teaching in a parallel College, no teaching experience is necessary. No one will verify your credentials. No recommendations are necessary. The only asset required is the ability to stand before a huge assembly of glittering eyes. Yet the experiment proved to be very perfect. Many raw graduates taught excellently well as if they were teachers for years.  The only problem was that , as no certificate was required, a BA failed rogue could teach for MA. The acid test for existence was your ability to teach. Hence there was tight competition and surveillance of the Principal behind the curtain. If some of the students complain about the classes, the next day, before proceeding to the class with a chalk, the Principal will call the teacher back and dismiss him on the spot. There was no Union. He will have no other option but to go to his last less attractive job. If On the other hand, one excels in his classes offers will come for him from other big institutions with a high pay packet. The Principal will always skeptically watch a good teacher with the ability to canvas the students for he will try to become a pied piper and will desert the Institution with the students. 
             I was initiated to this ritual by the late Jeevarajan who was at that time teaching in Nalanda, Pazhayangadi. I was a novice and the students were very experienced to handle a novice. They tried to intimidate me with no avail. I had to teach Physics and Chemistry for High School students. This I did with much ease. There were also three batches of failed students appearing for SSLC supplementary exams. There also I survived with some difficulty. Soon I was asked to teach PDC students which I did exceptionally well. I thought I was being accepted by the teachers as well as students.
            The greatest difficulty was getting salary. The monthly salary fixed was Rs. 200/- which was not bad for a beginner like me. I had to travel to Pazhayangadi from Payyanur and also to meet other expenses for food and cigarettes ( I was a chain smoker at that time). I soon understood that getting salary from the Principal is a bit difficult and what one can do is to sit at the Office in the morning and collect fee directly from students so that the same can be adjusted towards salary. The Principal of the College was Thampi master, a famous English teacher who will occasionally invite us to lunch with him. The expenses for that will be met by him.
            We used to stroll through Madyi hill in the evenings. The memory of those evenings will remain in my memory for ever. Madayi is a historical place and you could smell the antiquity of the place. The place witnessed several wars. The new temple at vadukunnu was still in ruins. At the top point the scenery is just fantastic. Arabian Sea could be seen glittering in the evening sunlight in the western side and pazhayangadi river on the eastern side. As I used to commute the evening passenger train, we used to sit at the top from where one could see the approaching train. There is a short cut to the station from the top.

            There was teacher of Chemistry who is a great fan of cine actor Jayan who used to take classes in jayan’s fashion. “What did you say ? Coolies- We may be ………………………….”     
When a vacancy arose in National College, Taliparamaba which was a well paid institution at that time I moved there. I was very impressed by the College under Purushothaman Master.  A very attractive salary of Rs. 5/- per class was offered. I used to reach there at 9am and worked until 9 pm (there was a night class for the  over aged ) I used to return only by the last bus. I remember those nights on which I walked from the town to gramam through the lonely road completely exhausted.
It was then that we ten friends of Gramam decided to start our own parallel College. Collecting Rs. 100/- from each (it was very tough at that time) we raised a huge  capital of Rs. 1000 and started Cherussery College with the help of Scanda Dasa Samajam at Mundoommal School . We worked free initially for meeting the administrative expenditure. Gifted teachers like U K Surendran, Sasi KU, KU Mohanan, Rajeevan M, Rajan CM Balan ., CH Mohanan and CH surendran Nambiar took classes. Soon the College flourished. That was indeed a golden period of my life. My intellectual horizon was widened because of the company of these friends. K U Mohanan and I used to walk though the moonlight night to Surendran Masters house at kandangali and we used to sit together and discuss all matters under son. There was a huge Library in the house filled with classics. Surendran Master and Mohanan gave me the first lessons in aesthetics. It was under their insistence that I read all Shakespearean tragedies, Kazantzakis, Tolstoy, Garcia Marquez and several others during a vacation for the simple pleasure of reading.  We used to play tennis in the evenings. We also convened several symposiums at the College
C H Mohanan was very good at that. We also formed a team and contested in many competitions. We used to sit above the wall of the Well of the College in the evenings till late night.
Parallel college has its own merits. K U Mohanan and M Rajeevan selected their life partners from their students. Today all of my friends including them at the College have scaled great heights. The experience gained at the College helped them shape their future life 

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