My brief experience of teaching at Churachandpur Govt College

Khelsoril Wanbe *

My brief experience of working as a guest lecturer at Churachandpur Govt College in between the beginning of year 2008 to the beginning of 2010 was quite a memorable one. Initially, I was quite excited to think that I was going to embark on a new teaching career at a prestigious Government college at Churachandpur. The college was said to have been founded by SP Vaiphei and a renowned academician, late Dr TS Gangte, who was also the founder Principal.

As I can remember, Dr Gangte was well acquainted with my father as they belonged to the same Church that worships on Saturdays instead of Sundays. However, my joining the college had nothing to do with that old acquaintance. If Iím not mistaken, when I went to the college, Dr Gangte was no more. His son, Lienchungnung Gangte, was a senior lecturer and HoD of History.

I was appointed through an order of the Directorate of Higher Education and University. However, unfortunately, my salary was never sanctioned and the college managed to pay me a meagre amount while awaiting the arrival of fund from the Government.

I was supposed to get Rs 8000/- per month. My job, of course, was not a permanent one; it was only an ad-hoc post, which could however have been converted into a permanent one, if lucky enough. Concerned friends encouraged me by saying I could one day become a regular Lecturer, but I undoubtedly was having a hard time as I already had a family by that time.

Despite the hardship, I tried to enjoy life as much as possible, so whenever I reached Churachandpur parking, usually on Mondays, I would be quite hungry and straightaway go to one of the Chaak Hotels to have a nice refreshing meal. The rest of the week, I would stay at a mission compound at the quarter of a Pastor.

The Pastor was good enough to let me eat with his family for about four days every weekófrom Monday to Thursday. On the weekends, I would come home. Being a mere Guest Lecturer, I could have taken fewer classes and stayed fewer days at the college every week, but, as I was happy to get to work at that popular college in town, I willingly took more classes and tried to contribute as much as I could. It was quite unfortunate that I wasnít paid the full amount of salary that I was supposed to get.

If I had enjoyed the promised salary, I would definitely have continued serving the college and my job might even have long been regularised, somehow. But at the first place, I didnít get what I was supposed to get despite waiting and enquiring so patiently for many months. Perhaps, it was all due to my being unaware of how things worked and so on.

I now feel I shouldnít bother much any longer about the sad part of the story but dwell more on some of the memorable moments of those two long years. One thing I enjoyed much was the classes where I had to present my lectures. Of course, only small percentage of the students was regular in class attendance, but the regular ones were quite attentive and co-operative.

Whenever I see eagerness and earnestness to learn in the eyes of my students, I felt motivated to teach more heartily. I wouldnít claim to be the most ideal teacher, free from faults, but as a teacher, I always feel itís my responsibility to inspire and motivate the young people to become conscientious citizens. I always wish that my students would one day become leaders in the society.

Later, when I was given a room to stay at the college campus itself, a new arrangement was made for me to eat with a staff family. As it was still not possible for me to manage my own kitchen because of an obvious reason, I had to bravely face the inconvenience. But hope of getting what I was supposed to get was receding and I began to lose my patience, so, I finally decided to call it quits.

The memory of how I felt on Monday when I had to leave my wife and kids to be away for four precious days for the sake of earning a modest living still lingers in my mind. When I look back, I canít help but feel a bit of anger though and wonder if what happened to me was something normal or acceptable. Today, Iím only narrating a brief segment of my lifeís long story.

Was my unfortunate experience comparable to that of screaming in a nightmare, when no one hears your voice ? I even feel somewhat amazed that I didnít seem to have any feeling of bitterness; could it be because of the humour that Iím composed of. I still donít know for sure what type of humour I belong to. I guess Iím slow to anger but I can slowly recollect what had happened long ago.

I still remember the bus journeys from Imphal to Churachandpur and vice versa, although I am no longer sure of the amount of time each journey used to take. One thing I still remember is that in every trip/journey, for about half an hour, the bus would slow down its speed, perhaps to adjust the parking timing with other buses.

One day, on my journey back home, as usual, slowing down of the bus speed began, when one impatient passenger shouted and threatened to beat up the driver for not driving fast. The driver immediately reacted by bringing the bus to a grinding halt. He alighted from the bus and said, ďI thought I am serving the people driving the bus; if Iím going to get beaten for driving the bus, I had better stop driving.Ē

The passengers began to buzz on hearing that. At that very moment, one of the passengers shouted, ďPlease continue driving. No one threatened to beat you. No one said anything against you.Ē It was a bit funny, but the driver was cooled down. He got up into the driverís seat and resumed his driving, to everyoneís relief. The one who threatened to beat him was hiding and was never found out. It was an amusing and refreshing journey because of the brief drama on the highway.

One day, after a long vacation, when I went to the Chaak Hotel on reaching the bus parking, the hotel lady said to me, ďYou havenít come here for quite a while.Ē I answered that I had been on a vacation. They didnít know who I was as my business there was to have my occasional meals at their hotel, but as I dropped in every Monday morning, they came to recognise me.

The Pastor and his wife knew me as someone who loves hot chillies, so one day, a handful of riped king chillies were kept on the table and the Pastor told me those were for me. I told them I did love chillies but I wouldnít eat too much. The Pastor and his wife were kind and hospitable enough to let me eat with them four days a week. They told me we were like a family. All I did was take little rice or vegetables from home as my contribution to the kitchen hah.

The Pastor was a bit worried about his eldest son, who was indulging himself a bit. I did share my concern with them. By the way, years later, when I enquired about his son, the Pastor said his son had changed so much and was living a normal life.

Later there at Churachandpur, when I had to have my meals at a different staff family, it was quite a different case. The couple were totally new to me; it was a bit embarrassing too. It wasnít a hotel, but some concerned colleagues were arranging that for me as there was no better option in sight yet.

I was thinking, maybe, one day, when I get my salaries, I would start cooking myself and would visit the Pastor family; but, before that ever happened, I decided enough was enough. Those days bandhs were frequent. If that happened on Thursday or Friday when I was to come home, it was quite worrisome. What I would do was go to the parking and enquire if the buses were going to Imphal.

More often I was lucky than not as the drivers were willing to somehow manage to reach Imphal by taking a different and longer route; but the fare would be more than double the normal price: Rs. 100 instead of Rs. 40.

When the time was drawing nigh for me to leave the college, I asked my students if they could show me some of the interesting places in town. I was thinking of walking around on foot but one boy offered to take me on his bike. He said it would be a little tiresome to walk as it would be some kilometre distance. So, we went to the museum. It was not so big but some interesting objects were on display.

We also went to Khuga dam. Like other dams, it was amazing. We also visited some of the important educational institu- tions in town. I recently heard from a friend that one of the girls that I taught at the college had become an Assistant Professor at a college. Time has been passing smoothly. Among my students, there were few Meitei students too who were born and brought up in Churachandpur town itself.

I got to talk with them too. I talked with them in Meiteilon. I donít know for sure but someone told me that Meiteis were the second largest community in Churachandpur town, coming second only to the Paites. The locality I stayed, if Iím not mistaken, was known as Salem Veng and close by, there was a Meitei locality, whose name I can no longer remember.

Before concluding my article, I just want to add this that my joining of that college in 2008 was my first time to be at Churachandpur. Before that, I had never been to that town although I had heard a lot about the town being second only to Imphal in terms of size and development in the whole of the State.

I was amazed by the good private schools and large shops and buildings in the town. I only wished I would work for a long time at Churachandpur college, but that dream did not come true.

* Khelsoril Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 02 2022 .

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