My first assignment with Azim Premji Foundation as soon as i joined was to understand the education system in India. Having given this piece of information, did a lot of research about various schools and confidently sat in front of my boss who gave a smile the moment I put across my views. Yes, in all my supreme confidence was all set to dazzle her with all the facts about schooling systems - private schooling system. Well, the next couple of days I spent reading everything and anything that's available about our government education system. This was just a pre read for the Schools that were being planned across the nation.
In this whole process, we met hundreds of interesting teachers who broadly fell into the 4 categories mentioned in my quote. I was humbled beyond my usual self to meet some stalwarts in the Indian Education system who have done some remarkable changes in their own unique ways and am going to be writing about a few of them in my posts every now and then. But this post is dedicated to Mr. Mahesh Kumar Mourya who was one of those difficult to find teacher.
I had initially spoken to him as a part of the pre screening process for our test and he was one person in Jaipur who was constantly in touch with our team through out the entire process. When we met him in person after a series of tests and demo classes, we knew he was there to stay with us and those were similar sentiments that he had too. I personally had spoken to him in length about the way our schools are being planned, expansion, his travel, learning, knowledge sharing and he was as excited as we were to be a part of the pilot team for the Azim Premji Schools. Every now and then when the core team came back with feedback, there was always this thought that despite the fact that he had less experience when compared to a few others in Rajasthan schools he nevertheless was promising. All was well.
The last conversation I had with him was sometime in Feb this year when we had spoken about a resume he had sent me and was chatting for quite sometime about his work, travel everyday of 100kms, his son who had just completed one year. On a hot April afternoon , we received a call from the Tonk team saying that Mahesh ji had met with an accident and was no more. Stunned, all a colleague and I could do was to just sit shell shocked - guilt on each other's eyes. So many ifs , buts, could haves and would haves just flashed past the both of us. While I was the one person who had convinced him about joining Tonk which is about 100km from Jaipur, she had spoken a lot to him about the hardships he undergoes on the travel everyday.
There has not been a single day that's gone past without me wondering what if I had not called him, he would have still been alive and would have seen his son grow somewhere. I still couldn't get myself to call his folks at home and speak. Hoping that sometime soon I get the guts to pick up the phone and speak to his family. For once am praying that and forcing myself to believe that time indeed heals even the hardest and toughest wounds. We at the foundation have lost a good teacher who was on his way to become a greatest one in a flash and have left a vacuum..