Saturday, 14 March 2015

People - Him and Physics

When it comes to people in my life, I've met a lot of touchstones.And the more I met of them, the greedier I got. The lessons of life (and I've yet had only a few of them) were often tough, but more often, I could handle them, only because I had those holding my hand.

This is about a man, I've admired, looked up to, held in high regard not because of what he did or at what phase of my life he did it to me, but how he did it.. He started with things that had something to do with Physics and it's now about to my entire life

And what did he do? Really what? He taught me physics!

This man, the man I'm talking of, tried to not even accept me in his tutelage to begin with because he said that he taught boys and he didn't have a girls' batch. And I was fine with that. I, who hadn't spoken to any boy except brothers, cousins and family friends, was sitting in an all boys' batch, completely at a loss when it came to vectors and physical mathematics and calculations.

I didn't even feel nice about being there any longer. I wanted to vanish and go into hiding somewhere underground when he asked me if I knew vectors, I refused and he facepalmed himself.

"Now that you don't know it, let me teach you vectors before anything else. Actually if you ask me it's real simple!"

  • The Dot Product
  • The Cross Product
  • The Vector Addition
That was it ! I who was phobic of physics, was now sitting with H.C. Verma volume 2, competing against myself to finish off 50 problems a day! And that might not be any achievement for any of you who prepared for IITs and made it to those good colleges out there, to me, at that time, it was !!! :)

And eventually he stopped teaching me physics. But he had already started teaching and had taught me life THROUGH physics. His atom was not the circular Rutherford diagram I saw in books. His atom was  Shaktiman coming to life ! His heat and thermodynamics wasn't that wiered set of formulae, it was the warmth I felt in my heart ! Semiconductors were no longer some geek-looking stuff, but was actually a concept that put me in awe of what the world could be like, if not for these tiny looking atoms.

His tutelage was not physics, it was the protection from an anonymous stranger who stalked me, it was a set of words which said "Is it the first time a guy approached you? It's OK, you'll get used to it. Relax!"

His tutelage might have stopped after a year or two, his nurturing never did. At least not as long as we were in the same city. Not even when I started teaching physics with the same passion on an individual one - on - one basis to students. He gave me that passion for physics that I would have otherwise lost and the passion for life as well and that I have till date.

And the best compliment I've ever received from him, "She's a friend who used to be a student", in front of some juniors a few years later.

And one of the most precious signatures I've retrieved in my life is a piece of paper on which he wrote "Excellent" for solving a Physics problem he didn't expect anyone to solve.

In fact, while I will be eternally grateful for some forces even stronger than his to force me to think, analyze, understand and link a concept to another, I truly believe that had I not learnt physics from him, I wouldn't have loved philosophy the way I do!

It was never just about physics, it was also about poetry, it was also about music, my singing, my dad, my brother, it was always about everything. And I'm editing this post again on 19/3/2014. Because an incident today is the living proof of the fact that his nurturing hasn't stopped, his affection hasn't ceased, and it never will!

It is nice to see a picture of him recently on FB. Here's the man I'm talking about :

If you're reading this, all I want to say to you is:

Thank you!

Thank you for being who you are!

©Anupama Garg 2015 March