September 14, 2008

In loving memory...

In the 1980's nearly fifty students thronged a particular house in order to write a serious entrance test. Only seven out of the fifty would be selected; only seven, no matter how many recommendations would come for a particular candidate or how much ever influence was showered upon Sir. All seven of them made it into the IIT's and this trend continued for fifteen years.
Nothing short of excellence. That was Bhat Sir. The passion he had for mathematics extended well beyond conventional barriers; beyond what other professors could only talk but never believe. For, he taught with such rigour, with such ease, that it was simply impossible to overlook his efforts to make the students understand the concepts. At the same time he was also curious to hear any point the students have to make. His logic was crisp. A practical and direct approach that could tackle any kind of problem and indeed build newer applications. There were loads of time in the classroom you could hear the students marvel at sir's ideas, by taking sharp breaths or making sudden gasps. Simple yet powerful he would say.

His library

Books. Books. And even more books. From the first edition to the latest edition; books from over an entire century, he would never miss the chance to search for a newer book and work out every problem from it. We had an opportunity once to see his library. On first sight it looked like a small room lined with a row of books. A closer look: In fact, it was a room lined with three to four rows of books, piled neatly from top to bottom and there were even written notes. They looked golden in the light of the bulb with his neat and precise writing.

Some of his favourites

The batches really close sir were the ones whom he had coached for IIT entrance examination, there would be altogether around two hundred students. There were many a students who have achieved great things and continue to do so. He told us that what took them ahead was commitment towards the subject and to the task at hand.

He had once advised us from his own experience:
When you want to leave a bad habit, you cannot get rid of it gradually over a period of time. You need to realize why it is bad and then leave it once and for all.

Unforgettable moments

Sir was very fluent with jokes and he believed that learning cannot take place without some breaks in between since that would refresh the mind and relax it. There were many a days when we used to recollect the jokes and roll on the ground with laughter, many a times we would want to have recorded what sir said, it was never to be.

Sir might never know how difficult it was to fight back tears on hearing he was no more, but the respect and concern we have for him in our hearts will never die. He would definitely be happy knowing that there are students out there he had taught, who have understood and appreciated mathematics....
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