The Dawn of my Goal

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In 1941 I was studying in the 5th standard  at Rameswaram Panchayat Board Elementary School.  The events that happened in that class,  the lessons I learnt and the teachers who taught them all these have remained as a foundation stone and support in my later life.  They were great lessons, leaving an indelible mark in my mind.

A student  of 5th standard, in general, must be 10 years old. Village ambience.  Rameswaram is an island, moreover it is a holy place.  The Ramanatha Swamy temple is very famous.  At that time the Second World War was going on.

It was British regime in our country during that time.  At that war time, everything was inadequate everywhere .  No ration rice for all; everyone had to cook wheat and eat.  That was the food.  To go to school at this time . . . gosh, my God!  At this trying condition, forgetting their difficulties and sufferings, with heightened emotions  the beauty of their teaching . . . one cannot describe it!  The teachers used to take classes so wonderfully well.

My teacher Sivasubramania Iyer  was excellent in handling his classes.  Teaching clearly without any doubts, leading an illustrious life and guiding others lives with these three objectives Sivasubramania Iyer conducted the classes.  I too had been a teacher.  These three aims lingered in my life also.

Teaching was not a duty to him; he took it as his ultimate goal.  He would go to the next lesson only after assessing whether the students had understood and learnt the lesson properly by asking questions to clear their doubts.

I remember my boyhood days.  I think of that teachers demeanor and habits.  He led a life not only as a teacher but also as a role-model.  He taught us good behavior and practised it in the everyday life.

Monday every week between 8 and 8.30 am,  in the section The Great Men of the World,  he taught us about Mahatma Gandhi, Adi Sankarar, Jesus Christ, Einstein and Sir C.V.Raman and also spoke on the Sacred Koran and Bhagavad Gita.

One day he was teaching us how the birds fly, by drawing diagrams on the blackboard.  He asked us. "Do you understand?" Silence in the classroom.  I slowly stood up and said, " I don't understand."  He pointed out here and there and asked the other students whether they had understood the lesson. Out of the 40 in the class,  10 to 15 students gave a no answer.

He was a good teacher and would not be angry if the students said that they had not understood the lesson.  He told us, "Okay! This evening I would take you all to the seashore and show practically how the birds fly."  We all went to the seashore that evening.

The roaring waves of the sea, the bright white sand expanse, the birds in groups perching here and there, flying rapidly. . .  Our teacher asked us to look at the birds tail part.  He instructed us to keenly observe how the birds integrate the tail and wings and take a flight to their required distance.  He explained in detail the birds power to rise up and float in the mid air, and also how they balance themselves the gravitational force.

He asked us,"Where's the engine of the birds?"  He explained that the life force was the engine of the birds.  I came to a decision then itself, when the bird lesson was going on.  I became quite keen to do some studies related to the Aeronautical Science that make men fly like birds whatever be it, I must do something of this in my life.

I anxiously asked my teacher Sivasubramania Iyer: "Sir, please tell me, how to study Aeronautical related studies." He showed me the way, to do the olden days SSLC and Intermediate studies and then how to pursue Aeronautical studies.  I found out my goal, the pointer and indicator to my life that day.  Today as a Rocket Engineer, I am standing before you and exchanging my views with you.
Today, when I look backward, I feel that the day 'Birds' lesson was taught by Sivasubramania Iyer was the day of dawn of my lifes goal.

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