When in school, there is always only one God. The class teacher, especially in early years. If the teacher has said it, it has to be done. It is only when you get closer to teens that you discover a rebel streak. However, during your pre- teens, there is no questioning the almighty i.e the teacher.
Moral science classes were the most delightful ones in our day and age. In a convent school one would always find joy in napping, or participating in skits, that actually delivered nuggets of wisdom, which you rarely registered. However, the real wisdom came to me in other classes, somehow. My favourites were definitely the computer science class, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Much devoid of logic, learning language did not come easy to me in early years. In hindsight, the teachers did take a lot of trouble in making me learn, and their classes were usually layered with wisdom of the practical world.
One such memory is completely etched in my mind. I am almost transported in time. Some fabulation obviously. We were just beginning to write long form when we were 8 / 9 years old. When I say long form it means an essay of about 500 words :). This was largely picture based thinking and composing essays and stories. Ms Divya Raj, our class teacher of grade three, was a charismatic woman. I remember her as a tall, fair woman, with a red bindi, and a smile that would brighten up the day for anyone. She had very beautiful eyes, which when angry could make even Hercules shudder.
In one of her lessons, she asked us to speak up on the first thought that we got within 15 seconds about a picture she showed us. To our utter bewilderment, more than half the class had the same thought.
“If you go with your first thought, it’s probably what half the world is thinking.” she said.
Ensconced in my own secure world, this terrified me. Half the world knows the first thought I have, about practically anything.
So what should we do. Really.
“Always override the first thought you have. Think of what you will think next,” she said.
Hmmm. “The second thought,” I thought to myself.
In that tender moment, I found a new me. If there was one moment in time, that made me more creative, it was that. It unleashed my creative side. I became aware of the power of the second thought and beyond.
*There is a deeper meaning here*
Ever so often, I have observed that most of us run our everyday on first thoughts that come to our mind. The real problem is that the first thoughts are conditioned by the circumstances that we are in. It is a very deceptive approach, and lacks empathy. However, the trick is not to get straight into the second thought. It’s about clearing your own biases first and then finding more meaning in your subject. It continues to guide me in thinking campaigns, products, having opinions on someone or something. And, the devil inside me always laughs at the thought of knowing what half the world is thinking in their first thought.
To get on the second thought and finding deep meaning, your magic spell is ’tufuo’. Tufuo is Igbo for ‘override’. Override some of your thoughts, and dive deeper, to find the ones not so obvious.
On this teacher’s day, this article is a thank you note to all the teachers who not only taught me but shaped me and made me what I am. Thank you.