Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was always a bit skeptical when everyone told me that “you cannot put a price on knowledge.” Considering the fact that most well educated people spend practically the first 30 years of their lives in school, dishing out pockets full of money, I was hesitant to believe this. But in the famous words of Smashmouth, “Now I’m a Believer.” True knowledge is something that remains a part of you forever, and it can only be obtained by means of an exceptional teacher.

I’ve had some pretty incredible teachers in the US, who have taught me so much. So I was a little worried when I found out that my parents wanted me to get physics tuition here in India. I have absolutely no Physics background and am taking Advanced Placement Physics next year. So basically I’m being thrown into the deep end of a pool filled with vicious bloodthirsty sharks. But here in India, I was hoping to get the opportunity to slowly practice in the “kiddy pool” before I had to enter the daunting deep end. But I’ll admit, I was not particularly excited about the idea of attending Physics class during my precious summer, especially in India. For those of you who’ve seen Three Idiots, the Indian education system isn’t exactly appealing to most students. The constant competition and brainless memorization is not my cup of tea. I was worried that I would have a physics tutor like the tyrannical “Virus” from Three Idiots, but my previous assumptions about Indian teaching styles were erroneous. I managed to find a wonderful person to teach me Physics.

It all began when one of Ammama (grandmother) inquired to her own students about someone who could provide physics tuition. One of her very resourceful students said he did, and he immediately whipped out his cell phone and called Dr. Bahugana Saradhi (Head of the Physics department at Wesley College) and set it up right then and there. That’s what I’d call some awesome networking skills: on my Ammama’s and this students part. So we had a meeting with Dr. Bahuguna , and I actually had my first class at this meeting. I was absolutely thrilled with how great the first class went. He made me realize that a lot of the concepts in Physics I already know. For example gravity, all things are pulled down. He managed to build on this simple concept and actually showed me how to derive all the formulas in a way that made sense to me. After this first class, I was a total Physics nerd. It was so interesting the way he taught it, and I found myself feeling like it wasn’t a class, but rather a riveting conversation about Physics. I went to him every day for a few hours. In fact, he even joked that I was becoming a part of his family because I spent so much time at his house. Although at times I had to drag myself out of Ammama’s house to finally get there, I am so grateful for all that he did. He truly went out of his way to make sure I learned all of the material and that I had a good time while doing so. He was also sensitive to my different moods during the class. If I appeared bored or tired, he would crack a few jokes or change the subject to something that was not physics related. It was these small things that he did that made me really enjoy the class, and I am so fortunate to have found such a great teacher. Indian heritage stresses the importance of a Guru or teacher. “A guru is equivalent to god” and the validity of this statement was confirmed by my fantastic experience with this physics teacher, who refused to take a penny from us. His passion for teaching was so impressive, and his quirky sense of humor and extreme intelligence made him an all around outstanding teacher and person.

Me with Dr. Bahuguna's family!

Me with Ammama and Dr. Bahuguna's family!

1 comment:

  1. Love your observations about the difference in teaching styles. Having a good teacher makes a world of a difference and I am so glad you were able to connect with Dr.Bahuguna. A good teacher with a passion for the subject and a desire to teach (and not just get students prepared for an exam)is quite rare. It is also nice that you understand the importance of the guru.
    I was lucky that I had very good English teachers while I was at school in Hyderabad and I am very grateful to this day for their patience and love for teaching. It made school fun and taught me things I will never forget.
    Hope you have fun in your physics class and enjoy the learning when you are back home. If you do I know Doc Bahuguna will be very happy!!!!
    Te Queiro