Writing prompt: Write a letter to a teacher in your high school who gave you a hard time.
This is Swathi, one of your students in Kotak Salesian School in 2001. I joined the school in my 9th standard and you taught us English. As you know, speaking in English was mandatory in the school, and although I had studied in an English medium school before, I was not very fluent in the language.
I know it is hard for you to recollect who I am. So I am going to narrate an incident in my high school that I would never forget in my life. It was the first unit test after I had joined the school. You were our invigilator. You handed over the question papers to all the students, and asked us to only go through the paper. You told us very clearly not to start writing until the bell rang again after five minutes. Since I was busy reading the question paper, I did not hear what you were saying, and had started answering the paper before the bell rang.
You spotted me writing, and said, “Hey you! What’s your name? Didn't you hear my instructions? Why does the school take students who cannot follow simple English?”
That was it. The last line hurt my ego. Although you misunderstood that I did not follow your instruction, the fact that I was poor in English was embarrassing to me. That day I made a silent oath that I would master the language. I read lots of books and referred to the dictionary plenty of times. I spent some time each day reading good literature. That was how I built up my vocabulary.
As a next step, I forced myself into a few elocution competitions. That improved my speaking skills. By the time I got into 10th standard, most of my friends and teachers appreciated my English. I felt proud.
Right now I am a Technical Writer. Again, that’s a profession that requires you to have impeccable communication skills in English. It was you who triggered this movement in me. I wanted to tell you this a hundred times, and I am glad that I have done it finally.