3. Teacher’s Quest!

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The Maths teacher waited for story time. Eagerly. Anxiously. Excitedly. Happily. Ravi reached Thatha’s tree at the same time as the Maths Teacher and gave him a happy smile.

“Thatha, I have a questions for you”, said the Maths Teacher. “Can I ask you now?” Thatha smiled,”I think we should eat first! Ravi’s mother has sent us nippatus today and I love them”. Ravi chimed in,”And after nipattu time, it is story time and then you can ask your question”.

The Maths Teacher ruffled Ravi’s head kindly. “As your highness decrees”!

After lunch time, Thatha took his chutta out and lit it. Ravi was delighted. Now Thatha would relax, and through the puffs of smoke, a great story would emerge. The Maths Teacher was close to bursting with his question, and though normally he was enraptured by Thatha’s story, today, it only served to increase his agitation.

Finally, the grand tale wound to a close and was packed of to Kanchi, where all stories go! And the Maths Teacher had the entire attention of the twinkling eyes of the wrinkled brown face. The Maths Teacher blurted out his request. “Dear Thatha, you have had all those wonderful adventures because you had a quest. You knew what to look for. I, on the other hand, have no quest. I have no idea what I want or where to look for it. I too want a wonderful life and a great many adventures but all I do is teach little children mathematics. Nice children, loving children, smart children! But my life lacks that little something and I miss it so badly, you can never guess”. He looked so woeful!

Thatha called up the Maths Teacher and took out his magic grain. He put it on the teacher’s head and his eyes and his nose and his hands and his feet and shoulders and even on his ears. “I think you have many talents and succeed at whatever you try!” he said. “Yes Thatha”, came the response. “And he is the bestest teacher we have” the children added. “You are kind hearted and generous. And you are full of magic. All you need is a purpose, a meaning. So that you won’t drift through life, and so that life won’t pass you by… You need a quest! Hmmm”, said Thatha.

“Would you like to find a princess?” he asked. “No, Thatha, not a princess. She would never marry a skinny bloke like me, I am sure of it. And one as poor as myself! No! Not a princess”, said the Maths teacher. “Would you like to find ‘the water of life’, it will make you immortal?”, came the suggestion. “No Thatha, I would definitely like to live for a very long time, but not forever, not after all my friends have moved to heaven. Immortality is lonely business and probably boring too…!” That was the answer.

“Ha, a fellow with no illusions”, thought Thatha. “What would be a quest for him? He is kind and selfless. He would like to do something that would help others. He is intelligent and loves to think… Ah, I have it!”

“Maths Teacher! There is a mountain, I have heard of and read about. There is a field of very shy plants, who will hide and run, when they see new people. They glow by day and by night and there is a kind of music about them. If a sick man sniffs them, he will get well. A blind man who hears them, will be able to see and a deaf man who sees them will be able to hear. And the mutest of people will burst into song when they are near. If you found the way to that field, and sent someone back to tell the others, well people would only have to go there to have their troubles taken care of. What do you think? Will you find the field and tell others how to find it?” Thatha paused and puffed on his chutta.

The Maths Teacher’s eyes shone. “I will let the school know about my new mission and start as soon as possible” he said and walked over and hugged Thatha. “Me too! I want to go too”, shouted Ravi, jumping up and down with excitement, “Thatha, please come and tell amma.”

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Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved:  Satya Sarada Kandula

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