##### The Lost Teacher

Summer vacations had got over. Arun was happy that finally, after a long break, he would be able to go to school and meet his friends and favorite teacher—Mr. Rishabh.

There were many reasons why Arun liked his math teacher. Firstly, he focused on every student instead of weak or bright children especially. Arun didn't like if any teacher focused on him too much. “ There are other students also ” he says.

It is because from childhood, Arun got a special attention from his math teachers. He hated it when he kept continuing solving a question and suddenly the teachers would ask him another. Firstly, he would forget the numbers of the previous question and secondly, he couldn't answer the new question quickly.

Also, those teachers would just keep looking at Arun throughout the period and pretend they have came to teach only him in the whole class. His friends also knew Arun's problem and would often start explaining a concept to him without being asked to do so.

It's not like Arun had not even tried to improve his maths, but he also practiced at least 50 questions per day and tried to improve his speed. He had improved also but still, he was lacking behind the other children.

Mr. Rishabh gave three questions everyday as homework related to the topic he taught » easy, medium and hard level questions. Because of this, Arun was improving even more. For not doing the homework, he didn't give punishment. Instead, he would just ask the child to do it in the class.

He also taught 2 math tricks daily which made calculating easy.

All this had made him Arun's favorite teacher.

Mr. Rishabh knew Arun's weakness. He sometimes talked to him at the end of the period about what topics he has difficulty with.

Arun quickly packed his tiffin and went to the school. He was impatiently waiting for the 4th period. Soon, the bell of 3rd period rang and Arun's excitement increased. Mr. Rishabh entered the classroom and Arun became more happy. Arun was looking his way untill this day.

Firstly, he taught the tricks and then, started teaching. Arun was listening very seriously and was solving questions with full concentration. He always admired a teacher like him who could make a boring subject also a excitement for children.

Arun didn't even realise when the period got over and Mr. Rishabh started giving homework. Arun's rest of the day went off admiring him.

After reaching home, first thing he bothered to do was his mathematics homework. His mother asked him to eat his lunch first but Arun was dedicated towards it. She was delighted to see that he was working hard to improve his maths.

But, unfortunately, he got stuck at the last question. He tried to solve it by himself but he just couldn't. At last, Arun had to take help of his book. He became very upset after seeing his second question's answer was also wrong.

He ate his food and again took out his maths notebook. The whole day, Arun kept solving questions untill he got perfect. He was very delighted. “ Mother, now I am not making mistakes! ” His mother also got happy.

“ This time, I think you'll bring 90+ in your math final exam, isn't it? ” said his mother with confidence. Arun was quiet. He had nothing to say. He was not quite sure about his results.

Arun was so absorbed in solving questions, that he even forgot there was other homework also. His assessment, which was to be submitted tomorrow, was not complete.

The next day, his English teacher said in the class “ Put your homework on the table, I am coming to check it... also, submit your assesments I had gave you on 5th ” Arun was scared when he realized he had not done the homework and covering the assessment file was also left. The first row was his.

When the teacher reached his seat and asked for homework, Arun said “ I couldn't do it, Miss... ” Teacher frowned “ Submit your assessment and stand up ” Arun was very upset. He submitted his uncovered file and stood up for the whole period.

“ What were you doing the whole day that you couldn't even cover this? ” asked his teacher. “ Miss... I was... doing maths ” answered Arun in a low voice. His teacher was puzzled.

When the maths period started, sorrow disappeared from Arun's face. He gladly studied the whole period and totally forgot about what had happened in the English period.

From then, Arun always completed his homework on time but practiced math also at the same time. Still, his improvement in mathematics was slow. He sometimes imagined, how good it would be if his math teacher teached him for some more time.

Days were passing on like this. Arun's math teacher would teach in his way and Arun would keep improving. Soon, summer season went and extreme winters started from December. All schools got closed and winter vacations began.

Arun's math had improved a lot. His calculation speed had increased and now his answers were more accurate. Arun was waiting for the vacations to get over and start learning those brilliant math tricks again.

Finally, holidays got over and school reopened. He was excited to see his maths teacher. He delightedly packed his bag and went to school. He was waiting for 6th period, i.e, maths period. When 5th period's bell rang, he looked towards the classroom door and pulled his notebook out.

Soon, a teacher arrived in the classroom, but he was not Mr. Rishabh. Arun asked a boy who was he, so the boy replied “ I also don't know much, but he is our new maths teacher, children say ” When Arun heard this, he had a something like acute stress reaction. He was in a shock the whole day. That person was actually the new math teacher.

His mother saw the sudden change in her cheerful Arun. Now, he neither talked much to anyone nor appeared happy like before. However, he practiced mathematics daily for the sake of himself, his mother and his teacher— Mr. Rishabh.

After 2 weeks, he couldn't bear anymore and finally, he asked his class teacher about his math teacher. She said “ Arun... I have heard... he had gone to Nepal... For meeting his sister... ” Arun went back sadly. He thought “ What is he doing in Nepal till now? Doesn't he care about our syllabus... Oh... but new teacher has arrived ”

February was going on... Soon, Arun's final exams would start. Arun thought “ Previous year, I got 71% in Maths. This time, I'll get more than 80%! I will work hard! ” “ If I knew I would never meet him again, I would give him a special thanks before vacations for teaching so fantastically ” “ But, it's ok. Soon, class 9 will begin and we will meet him again as he teaches both class 8 and 9! ” thought Arun excitedly.

Maths was his second last exam. Arun prepared for every subject but gave Maths more time. He always used tricks in calculating and he would do this in exam also. He was really a great fan of his old maths teacher.

He says “ The new teacher is also fine, but earlier, it was finer... ” His mother told him “ I was no reason making a target for you. Don't get worried Arun... Even if you bring 75, I will be glad ” Arun replied “ No mother! This time I won't be left with those 70s! I will get 80+, I promise you! ” Arun's mother was delighted “ Ok, but you have to bring 92+ in other subjects ” “ That I will get very easily mother ” said Arun confidently.

Exams began and Arun did very well in each subject. The day came when it was Math exam. Arun prepared whole day for it. It was 11:00 p.m, Arun's mother came and said “ That's enough Arun! Come sleep! ” “ Just a little bit more ” answered Arun quickly. His mother sat beside and waited till he completed.

The next day, he was counting his items “ Pen, pencils for geometry, geometry box, colours for graph... ” He was fully prepared.

He came back happily after giving his exams. “ This will be the result of your hardwork and sweat throughout the year ” said his mother.

Like this, that session got over and holidays began. Arun got a rest from his studies. He sometimes took out a book, played games, helped his mother in her chores and sometimes wondered about his teacher. “ What he must be doing? Does he remember me? What if teacher gets changed in class 9? Will I ever meet him then? ”

One day, Arun was sitting casually. His mother thought he is getting bored, so she asked “ Are you willing to go to the park? ” Arun thought and said “ No mother. There will be children of 6-7 years. What they will think when I'll play with them like a small kid ”

“ Ok then... Let's go to the beautiful ground near the Milk store ” “ Roaming around the path and doing your work there is very peaceful ” suggested his mother. Arun accepted and they both went to the ground.

His mother was doing some work on her phone, while Arun was sitting clutching his notebook. He thought to just explore the flowers and trees, so he started roaming around. While roaming also, he was thinking about his lost teacher.

Arun was standing near a tree when suddenly a bush moved. He thought there was any squirrel—chameleon or something. Then, he saw it was not a animal, he was a man. Arun was a little scared but strained his eyes to look at the person.

You know what? He was Mr. Rishabh. Arun was like he had saw any angel. He rushed to him and started asking “ Sir, did you come here to meet me? ” excitedly. Mr. Rishabh nodded and said “ Your answer sheet has been checked, Arun. You have got 86 ” Arun was happy, but not much. His mother's wish couldn't be fulfilled.

Arun asked “ Sir did you come so far just for telling me my marks? When did you come here from Nepal? ” “ No, Arun. I have came here to teach you so that you bring 90+ next time ” “ And, I came here 1 week ago ”

“ Sir, but there are many other weak students also, so why only me? ” “ Because I've seen the curiosity in you to improve ” “ Other students won't be able to learn within a month, but you will ” answered Mr. Rishabh.

“ Sir, what is the fees? ” “ What will I do with fees ” whispered Mr. Rishabh. “ Sir what? ” “ No... nothing— I am saying... I'll teach you free of cost whole March ” Arun was delighted to see that his teacher was doing this much just for him—free of cost. “ Thank you very much, Sir ” said Arun happily.

Arun went rushing to his mother and told her everything. His mother was surprised. “ Your teacher is giving you such a nice opportunity, you should accept it ” she said looking here and there. “ Yes... mother, he is not here, don't find him. If you want, you can come with me to meet him ” “ No... You go and study, I am sitting here... And take your notebook from here ”

From then, Arun's teacher came everyday and taught him new, some basic and advanced math of his syllabus for 1 hour. Arun was getting sharp in Maths with double speed. He didn't realise when March got over and April started.

His teacher said “ You have became enough good in Maths to score 95+ ” “ Now, I must go... ” Arun was looking happy, thinking Mr. Rishabh will teach him this year also. He, now didn't need to study Maths more than other subjects and give it special focus.

Now, just practicing a little also everyday would be enough. Arun was very grateful to his teacher.

Do you know? Now Maths was Arun's favorite subject.

Now, you must be thinking— story ended. But it didn't.

New session had started. The fragrance of new books is just amazing. With his new bag, new stationery and of course, new books, Arun went singing to his school.

Again, he was waiting for his favorite teacher. He looked here and there “ 10 new admissions ” He looked at his new class teacher and asked to a child “ What is our class teacher's name? ” “ Miss Dhara ” “ Oh... Thank you ”

He opened his diary and looked at his time- table “ Period 3 : Maths ” he had written. Soon, when the 3rd period started, some students ( including Arun ) started looking around to ensure—Maths teacher was Mr. Rishabh only.

But, unfortunately, he was another teacher. Arun was upset, but he thought maybe roaming through these halls, some day he'll see his teacher.

When Arun came back with a long face, his mother asked “ What happened? Did any teacher scold you on the first day itself? ” “ No, mother. I thought our Maths teacher will be the same... ” “ Oh! Arun, teachers change every year, I know he is your favorite teacher, but he hasn't left the school, right? ” consoled his mother.

“ I also thought the same, mother, but he was no where to be seen ” cried Arun. Thinking for a minute, his mother said “ Don't worry. If not today, then you'll find him tomorrow! He must be watching over the children of class 8 ”

But, months passed and Arun didn't find his teacher anywhere. Frustrated, one day, Arun directly went to the principal of his school to ask where is Mr. Rishabh and why did he leave the school. When the bell for holiday rang, Arun rushed downstairs with his bag.

“ Mr. Rishabh... ah... a Maths teacher, right? ” “ Yes ” answered the worried Arun. His principal asked “ Why do you want to know about him? ” “ He had helped me in learning Mathematics the whole March, he is my favorite teacher from the very beginning, sir ” “ Please tell where is he ” pleaded Arun.

His principal appeared to have a traumatic shock after listening this. He continued “ In winter... vacations... ah... ” “ I know that, sir! What happened afterwards? ” asked Arun impatiently. “ Arun, I think you have a misunderstood Mr. Rishabh by someone else. Due to heart attack, Mr. Rishabh had died in Nepal only. He never returned to India ”

© Apeksha

There were many reasons why Arun liked his math teacher. Firstly, he focused on every student instead of weak or bright children especially. Arun didn't like if any teacher focused on him too much. “ There are other students also ” he says.

It is because from childhood, Arun got a special attention from his math teachers. He hated it when he kept continuing solving a question and suddenly the teachers would ask him another. Firstly, he would forget the numbers of the previous question and secondly, he couldn't answer the new question quickly.

Also, those teachers would just keep looking at Arun throughout the period and pretend they have came to teach only him in the whole class. His friends also knew Arun's problem and would often start explaining a concept to him without being asked to do so.

It's not like Arun had not even tried to improve his maths, but he also practiced at least 50 questions per day and tried to improve his speed. He had improved also but still, he was lacking behind the other children.

Mr. Rishabh gave three questions everyday as homework related to the topic he taught » easy, medium and hard level questions. Because of this, Arun was improving even more. For not doing the homework, he didn't give punishment. Instead, he would just ask the child to do it in the class.

He also taught 2 math tricks daily which made calculating easy.

All this had made him Arun's favorite teacher.

Mr. Rishabh knew Arun's weakness. He sometimes talked to him at the end of the period about what topics he has difficulty with.

Arun quickly packed his tiffin and went to the school. He was impatiently waiting for the 4th period. Soon, the bell of 3rd period rang and Arun's excitement increased. Mr. Rishabh entered the classroom and Arun became more happy. Arun was looking his way untill this day.

Firstly, he taught the tricks and then, started teaching. Arun was listening very seriously and was solving questions with full concentration. He always admired a teacher like him who could make a boring subject also a excitement for children.

Arun didn't even realise when the period got over and Mr. Rishabh started giving homework. Arun's rest of the day went off admiring him.

After reaching home, first thing he bothered to do was his mathematics homework. His mother asked him to eat his lunch first but Arun was dedicated towards it. She was delighted to see that he was working hard to improve his maths.

But, unfortunately, he got stuck at the last question. He tried to solve it by himself but he just couldn't. At last, Arun had to take help of his book. He became very upset after seeing his second question's answer was also wrong.

He ate his food and again took out his maths notebook. The whole day, Arun kept solving questions untill he got perfect. He was very delighted. “ Mother, now I am not making mistakes! ” His mother also got happy.

“ This time, I think you'll bring 90+ in your math final exam, isn't it? ” said his mother with confidence. Arun was quiet. He had nothing to say. He was not quite sure about his results.

Arun was so absorbed in solving questions, that he even forgot there was other homework also. His assessment, which was to be submitted tomorrow, was not complete.

The next day, his English teacher said in the class “ Put your homework on the table, I am coming to check it... also, submit your assesments I had gave you on 5th ” Arun was scared when he realized he had not done the homework and covering the assessment file was also left. The first row was his.

When the teacher reached his seat and asked for homework, Arun said “ I couldn't do it, Miss... ” Teacher frowned “ Submit your assessment and stand up ” Arun was very upset. He submitted his uncovered file and stood up for the whole period.

“ What were you doing the whole day that you couldn't even cover this? ” asked his teacher. “ Miss... I was... doing maths ” answered Arun in a low voice. His teacher was puzzled.

When the maths period started, sorrow disappeared from Arun's face. He gladly studied the whole period and totally forgot about what had happened in the English period.

From then, Arun always completed his homework on time but practiced math also at the same time. Still, his improvement in mathematics was slow. He sometimes imagined, how good it would be if his math teacher teached him for some more time.

Days were passing on like this. Arun's math teacher would teach in his way and Arun would keep improving. Soon, summer season went and extreme winters started from December. All schools got closed and winter vacations began.

Arun's math had improved a lot. His calculation speed had increased and now his answers were more accurate. Arun was waiting for the vacations to get over and start learning those brilliant math tricks again.

Finally, holidays got over and school reopened. He was excited to see his maths teacher. He delightedly packed his bag and went to school. He was waiting for 6th period, i.e, maths period. When 5th period's bell rang, he looked towards the classroom door and pulled his notebook out.

Soon, a teacher arrived in the classroom, but he was not Mr. Rishabh. Arun asked a boy who was he, so the boy replied “ I also don't know much, but he is our new maths teacher, children say ” When Arun heard this, he had a something like acute stress reaction. He was in a shock the whole day. That person was actually the new math teacher.

His mother saw the sudden change in her cheerful Arun. Now, he neither talked much to anyone nor appeared happy like before. However, he practiced mathematics daily for the sake of himself, his mother and his teacher— Mr. Rishabh.

After 2 weeks, he couldn't bear anymore and finally, he asked his class teacher about his math teacher. She said “ Arun... I have heard... he had gone to Nepal... For meeting his sister... ” Arun went back sadly. He thought “ What is he doing in Nepal till now? Doesn't he care about our syllabus... Oh... but new teacher has arrived ”

February was going on... Soon, Arun's final exams would start. Arun thought “ Previous year, I got 71% in Maths. This time, I'll get more than 80%! I will work hard! ” “ If I knew I would never meet him again, I would give him a special thanks before vacations for teaching so fantastically ” “ But, it's ok. Soon, class 9 will begin and we will meet him again as he teaches both class 8 and 9! ” thought Arun excitedly.

Maths was his second last exam. Arun prepared for every subject but gave Maths more time. He always used tricks in calculating and he would do this in exam also. He was really a great fan of his old maths teacher.

He says “ The new teacher is also fine, but earlier, it was finer... ” His mother told him “ I was no reason making a target for you. Don't get worried Arun... Even if you bring 75, I will be glad ” Arun replied “ No mother! This time I won't be left with those 70s! I will get 80+, I promise you! ” Arun's mother was delighted “ Ok, but you have to bring 92+ in other subjects ” “ That I will get very easily mother ” said Arun confidently.

Exams began and Arun did very well in each subject. The day came when it was Math exam. Arun prepared whole day for it. It was 11:00 p.m, Arun's mother came and said “ That's enough Arun! Come sleep! ” “ Just a little bit more ” answered Arun quickly. His mother sat beside and waited till he completed.

The next day, he was counting his items “ Pen, pencils for geometry, geometry box, colours for graph... ” He was fully prepared.

He came back happily after giving his exams. “ This will be the result of your hardwork and sweat throughout the year ” said his mother.

Like this, that session got over and holidays began. Arun got a rest from his studies. He sometimes took out a book, played games, helped his mother in her chores and sometimes wondered about his teacher. “ What he must be doing? Does he remember me? What if teacher gets changed in class 9? Will I ever meet him then? ”

One day, Arun was sitting casually. His mother thought he is getting bored, so she asked “ Are you willing to go to the park? ” Arun thought and said “ No mother. There will be children of 6-7 years. What they will think when I'll play with them like a small kid ”

“ Ok then... Let's go to the beautiful ground near the Milk store ” “ Roaming around the path and doing your work there is very peaceful ” suggested his mother. Arun accepted and they both went to the ground.

His mother was doing some work on her phone, while Arun was sitting clutching his notebook. He thought to just explore the flowers and trees, so he started roaming around. While roaming also, he was thinking about his lost teacher.

Arun was standing near a tree when suddenly a bush moved. He thought there was any squirrel—chameleon or something. Then, he saw it was not a animal, he was a man. Arun was a little scared but strained his eyes to look at the person.

You know what? He was Mr. Rishabh. Arun was like he had saw any angel. He rushed to him and started asking “ Sir, did you come here to meet me? ” excitedly. Mr. Rishabh nodded and said “ Your answer sheet has been checked, Arun. You have got 86 ” Arun was happy, but not much. His mother's wish couldn't be fulfilled.

Arun asked “ Sir did you come so far just for telling me my marks? When did you come here from Nepal? ” “ No, Arun. I have came here to teach you so that you bring 90+ next time ” “ And, I came here 1 week ago ”

“ Sir, but there are many other weak students also, so why only me? ” “ Because I've seen the curiosity in you to improve ” “ Other students won't be able to learn within a month, but you will ” answered Mr. Rishabh.

“ Sir, what is the fees? ” “ What will I do with fees ” whispered Mr. Rishabh. “ Sir what? ” “ No... nothing— I am saying... I'll teach you free of cost whole March ” Arun was delighted to see that his teacher was doing this much just for him—free of cost. “ Thank you very much, Sir ” said Arun happily.

Arun went rushing to his mother and told her everything. His mother was surprised. “ Your teacher is giving you such a nice opportunity, you should accept it ” she said looking here and there. “ Yes... mother, he is not here, don't find him. If you want, you can come with me to meet him ” “ No... You go and study, I am sitting here... And take your notebook from here ”

From then, Arun's teacher came everyday and taught him new, some basic and advanced math of his syllabus for 1 hour. Arun was getting sharp in Maths with double speed. He didn't realise when March got over and April started.

His teacher said “ You have became enough good in Maths to score 95+ ” “ Now, I must go... ” Arun was looking happy, thinking Mr. Rishabh will teach him this year also. He, now didn't need to study Maths more than other subjects and give it special focus.

Now, just practicing a little also everyday would be enough. Arun was very grateful to his teacher.

Do you know? Now Maths was Arun's favorite subject.

Now, you must be thinking— story ended. But it didn't.

New session had started. The fragrance of new books is just amazing. With his new bag, new stationery and of course, new books, Arun went singing to his school.

Again, he was waiting for his favorite teacher. He looked here and there “ 10 new admissions ” He looked at his new class teacher and asked to a child “ What is our class teacher's name? ” “ Miss Dhara ” “ Oh... Thank you ”

He opened his diary and looked at his time- table “ Period 3 : Maths ” he had written. Soon, when the 3rd period started, some students ( including Arun ) started looking around to ensure—Maths teacher was Mr. Rishabh only.

But, unfortunately, he was another teacher. Arun was upset, but he thought maybe roaming through these halls, some day he'll see his teacher.

When Arun came back with a long face, his mother asked “ What happened? Did any teacher scold you on the first day itself? ” “ No, mother. I thought our Maths teacher will be the same... ” “ Oh! Arun, teachers change every year, I know he is your favorite teacher, but he hasn't left the school, right? ” consoled his mother.

“ I also thought the same, mother, but he was no where to be seen ” cried Arun. Thinking for a minute, his mother said “ Don't worry. If not today, then you'll find him tomorrow! He must be watching over the children of class 8 ”

But, months passed and Arun didn't find his teacher anywhere. Frustrated, one day, Arun directly went to the principal of his school to ask where is Mr. Rishabh and why did he leave the school. When the bell for holiday rang, Arun rushed downstairs with his bag.

“ Mr. Rishabh... ah... a Maths teacher, right? ” “ Yes ” answered the worried Arun. His principal asked “ Why do you want to know about him? ” “ He had helped me in learning Mathematics the whole March, he is my favorite teacher from the very beginning, sir ” “ Please tell where is he ” pleaded Arun.

His principal appeared to have a traumatic shock after listening this. He continued “ In winter... vacations... ah... ” “ I know that, sir! What happened afterwards? ” asked Arun impatiently. “ Arun, I think you have a misunderstood Mr. Rishabh by someone else. Due to heart attack, Mr. Rishabh had died in Nepal only. He never returned to India ”

© Apeksha