Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: school

Remembering a great teacher

1995 was a difficult year for me. I had finished the 8th grade at Indian School Muscat. However, instead of joining the 9th grade with my friends, I had to move to an entirely new school, Indian School Al-Ghubra, which was much further away and worse, was our arch-rival. My first few weeks at the new school were horrible. I missed my friends terribly; everyone was a stranger and I had a hard time adjusting to the way things were done at the new school. My first mid-terms were a disaster. While I had consistently scored in the 80’s to 90’s in my old school, here it was a different story. My grades were pretty bad. Looking back, I think it was mainly due to the stress of moving to a completely new environment. I was unsure of myself and I simply wasn’t used to the way things were done.

I still remember when I got my Math paper. I had scored a dismal 37.5 out of a 100. I was shell-shocked. I had never scored that low on a math paper. As I stared at the paper, tears welling up in my eyes, I heard a gentle voice tell me, “It’s only the first exam. You’re new here and I’m sure you’ll do better next time…” I looked up to see my Math teacher, Mr. Vida, looking at me with a little smile on his face. I didn’t believe him then, of course. More urgent things were at hand, namely soon-to-be irate Indian parents whom I would have to answer to, at home. It seemed rather insignificant and pointless to me at the time. But looking back, I can see it for what it truly was: a concerned and kind teacher taking the time to comfort an obviously-distraught student.

Over the next few years I became very familiar with Mr. Desmond Vida, and his wife Mrs. Pushpa Vida, or as they were known around ISG, “The Vidas”. I used to go to after-school tutoring sessions for Math at his place, which in addition to being extremely helpful were also quite simply, fun. A lot of my classmates were there and our study sessions regularly had less-serious interjections were we all laughed and joked, along with Mr. Vida. Those four years at ISG were formative and extremely important since they played a huge part in molding me and shaping me into the person I am today, and the Vidas were a huge part of that.

Mr. Vida didn’t simply teach us Math. He did more than that. He was a mentor and a guide who helped his students realize their potential. He consistently encouraged us. This was especially poignant to me, a student who never really fit in with the “learn-by-rote” mentality of the Indian system of education. Oftentimes while I was wondering if something was wrong with me, he would remind me that no, there was nothing wrong, I was a smart kid, and that I was simply better at applying knowledge than regurgitating it (an opinion that was vindicated years later when I finally moved to the US for college and started acing my Math classes).

After 10th grade, Mr. Vida taught us English. He was as effective in English, as he was in Math. He didn’t limit himself to the syllabus, but deliberately went outside it. We would hold long discussions in class about the subtleties and nuances of the prose or poem we were examining. To help us understand our lessons better, he had us present plays on some of the subject matter. I fondly recall those after-school rehearsals, still.

I graduated high school in 1999 and Mr. Vida was there to congratulate me and everyone else. He told us how proud he was of us and that we would all go on to do great things. That was over 13 years ago. Over the years we kept in touch intermittently through email and eventually, Facebook. Mr. and Mrs. Vida moved to Australia and continued doing what they do best: teaching.

Then this morning I found out that Mr. Vida had passed away due to an accident. I read the words, but they didn’t register. The kind, intelligent, jovial man in my mind’s eye didn’t jive with what I was reading. I was shocked. Fate snatched an exceptional man away from us, before his time. Like I said before, Mr. Vida wasn’t just a teacher. He was an exceptional human being. He guided us without telling us what to do. He encouraged us and helped us along when we faltered. He was never one to patronize either. Even though we were still somewhat childish, he understood that we were on the cusp of young adulthood and treated us with respect, and without passing judgement. He was always there for us to turn to if we needed help. When I heard the news, long-dormant memories came flooding back: the laughs, the jokes, late-night Math tutoring sessions before exams, and especially before the 10th grade board-exams. The play rehearsals where we’d end up fooling around (much to Mr. Vida’s consternation) rather than doing anything useful. Cruel irony then, that these fond memories were now tinged with sorrow.

Mr. Vida, you were a wonderful teacher and you were an inspiration. I am honored to have been taught by you. You will be missed, but not forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cruz and Mrs. Vida in this difficult time.


Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha

Translation:
Guru is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance.
I salute such a Guru.

Elite

I got an A in CSE 521. Wooohooo!

Semester Done

The semester is over. Had my CSE 421 final yesterday. I’m a true CSE major now. I really miss that class. It was an awesome experience. Got CUPS working on my FreeBSD machine. I can print to my Windows shared printer. I also have OpenOffice installed. Trying to get the CrossOver plugin to install Trillian. Leaving for California on the 19th. After that I leave for India on the 21st. Can’t wait…

I am back

I’m back home. It feels great. I left Virginia at 4:00pm for Pittsburgh. I got there at 5:15pm. Interestingly, my next flight (PIT – PHX) left Pittsburgh at 5:15pm. When I got to the gate, I found out that it had been delayed. It wouldn’t leave till 7:10pm. So I just sat there and listened to music and finished up a book I had been reading. When it was 7:00pm, I looked at the time again and this time it said 7:30pm. This was starting to piss me off now. But there was nothing I could really do. So I sat there and listened to some more music. Finally we left. The flight was four hours and fifteen minutes long. I slept during most of the time. The inflight movie was something retarded called the “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”. So I slept. I was tired and time passed quickly. Reached Phoenix at 9pm MST. This was an interesting situation because I was 20 in Arizona, but I would be 21 in Virginia. So I wouldn’t be able to drink in Phoenix, but I would be able to drink in Virginia… Just seemed kind of cool… Anyway, my roommate Michael was there to pick me up. We took all 3 of my extremely poorly packed and heavy bags back home. Oh yeah, I had to pay $80 to check in an extra bag – how lame is that? Pretty lame… I think. I’m glad to be home. It feels weird being back here… but its a “good” weird. Reporting in to my unit today and I’m talking to some of my professors – expecially the ones who said they wouldn’t go over what I missed… I’m in my Class A’s and it feels weird walking around school like this. It feels weird not seeing so many BDU’s around… But I’m glad to be home…

Everything Sucks

Work is boring. There is nothing to do. Everything sucks. I have so many things to take care of. I am leaving for training on the 3rd. My roommate Michael might be moving out, so I have to look for a new place. On top of that, my AIT training is 12 weeks… yes 12 WHOLE WEEKS! I’m in MAINTENANCE … GOOD LORD! 12 weeks to learn how to fill out forms? It better be more than that… When I’m done I’d better know how to build a nuclear weapon from sand and grass. Oh yeah, the worst part isn’t done yet. I’ll probably be back after school has started… OH GREAT! Isn’t that LOVELY? I’m taking CSE421 too! I love this! I completely LOVE THIS! Jeez… I hope everything works out… Life sucks. I hate it… Pool party on Wednesday… yaayy! Life still sucks…

I’m DONE!

Woohoo! I’m DONE!! I actually got done yesterday, but I was having so busy doing nothing that adding a journal entry was the last thing on my mind. This feels SO GOOD! I got a little les than a month here before I leave for AIT… June 3rd… There goes another summer…

I hate school

School sucks. It really sucks. I hate school. My last exam is tomorrow – Sociology 315: The Sociology of Courtship and Marriage. Pretty interesting. I have to read this book about Dating Delights, Discontents… blah blah something and everyone thinks I’m reading a book on how to date. When I tell them its for a class, they don’t seem to believe me… whatever… it is for a stupid class… I hate school… Here is a link to some pictures… I’m still trying to get Cookies to work… Gravey was nice enough to send me some code… Let’s see if that’ll work… Oh yeah, the pics are here… Check ’em out… later…

My website sucks

Ah… Yes… Nothing on this page. You know what, this page SUCKS. This is the suckiest page ever. I don’t think anyone should even be here… GO AWAY! I haven’t done anything on this page… and I don’t think I’ll ever be doing anything… Ohh… I had so many cool ideas… I still have them, but I can’t get around to doing them… Even though this semester is my easiest (ASU didn’t give me any classes… @%^$@!%!)… They got me all busy at work… building webpages… pretty cool ones… Yeah so don’t expect anything here… It’ll never happen… lalala…

About Me updated

I changed the About Me section. I wrote some new stuff there because I didn’t like the old stuff I had… That’s all… Semester is coming to an end and I’m glad it is…!

Malaika is back

Ok! The Malaika section is back up! My exams get over on the 13th… I can’t WAIT!!! I’ll be done with this stupid semester…

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