Back in school, teachers' day for us was like a chocolate day. Apart from birthdays of any classmate, the only other time chocolates were distributed in the classroom was on Teachers' Day. I remember directing plays each year for our teachers, I even participated once in a play at the time of Annual Day, but that's a different story (rather a post) altogether.
In school, we treated each teacher at par, greeting each of them - whether they taught us or not. I lived in a small town, where everybody knew everybody. A smallest of misconduct and your parents would know even before you reach home. Thus occasions like Teachers' Day, Independence Day, Annual Day etc. were the times when I tried my level best to be in their good books so that my "not doing homework" routine was taken care of within school premises itself. I was too lazy in this case by the way. 4 days a week I spent outside my class or outside staff room as I never did my homework. But well, I was an intelligent student (ahem!) and managed to secure second rank each year (ahem ahem :P), so most of my teachers just gave me "not so severe" punishments like throwing me out of class for 15 odd minutes or speak with Vice Principal and take his permission for attending the lecture, or write the homework three/five times (ah, they were always so hopeful :P) and such; but nothing worked.
School life got over and college life began. Different city, different environment and different attitude. In the five years of my college life, I hardly knew a few professors. I rarely attended, second rank was forgotten long back. Passing the year was the only target. I didn't even study for my 12th board exams as I knew I would not change my college, thus scoring never mattered there. But somehow, Teachers' Day was never forgotten. I used to wish my school teachers, couple of professors in college and classes I attended. Ah, call it the "school effect", but I did believe in this day a lot.
Change in the scene yet again. Now I was working and no college for a year as I didn't know what to take up as a career option. Actually, there was M Com for which I had enrolled; but it was purely to be a part of my college for two more years. Now, to be honest, I have no idea why I decided to take admission in a law college, but well, you can say that Law happened to me out of nowhere. No inspiration, no family background, no interest and no knowledge whatsoever, but I was doing law. The scenario more or less remained the same when it came to attending lectures. Here again, even though I knew the names of three main professors (there were more, which I learnt in the last year :P), out of the three, two loathed me due to various reasons. But they passed me each time in internals.
Now I am doing my masters in law. I do attend more regularly than I had ever attended in college. I do have a professor whom I really respect and I wished her first thing in the morning. But this Teachers' Day was special as I was wished too. Yes, I am a professor now and my students wished me "Happy Teachers' Day". To be honest, I wanted them to wish me and I was hoping that they do. The moment I entered the classroom, they greeted me with the wish. It was an overwhelming experience. I know it will sound stupid to many of you, as this is not something one should go ga ga over or flaunt so much. But to me, it really mattered as it was a kind of respect that I got and that usually matters to me more than the "other" benefits of teaching.
In the evening, I went to Tea Centre where we spotted a small group of a few junior college students and two professors enjoying tea and snacks. It felt wonderful to see them together celebrating one of the most special days for them at this stage. I do not believe that college life is all about celebrating valentines day and rose day, chocolate day and traditional day. There are other occasions too. And no, I have not realized the importance of this day after becoming a professor. I wrote a post on this day last year around too. It has always been important to me and I will try and make it all the more important.
We all have favourite teachers at some point in time. I have one too, Professor Chandrakant Saave, my math professor in school. I always looked upto him. He was a very strict professor, but never with me as I was his favourite student. I still remember him well though we have not been in touch with each other. He was made my school principal a few years ago and now retired. But I will soon go and meet him. It's been on my wishlist for quite some time now. And I hope to meet him soon.