Monday, October 13, 2008

Learn while you can

It’s difficult to get good teachers, the real kinds.
Who, with their very passion, can make learning a joy. In their presence, syllabus escapes out of the boredom of books and starts dancing merrily about you. You catch all their words awestruck, sometimes not without a dumb reverence for which friends chide you. Many teachers shaped the course of my life in their own special ways. Like my aaji, or Fr., or Ishwarbhai or Joseph Pinto.

Of the two years I spent in Pune, I owe a lot to his teachings. Pinto has decided to take his experience beyond the restrictions of a classroom. He has started a blog where he intends to discuss what his students and friends wish him to. But he has a condition.

In his own words:
You will have to ask. As the good man says in the good book, "Ask and you shall Receive. Seek and you will Find. Knock and the Door shall be Opened."

Be it editing (how to write a crisp copy), features (typical blog material), reports (the nearly extinct species in newspapers today), or media ethics (a classmate declared journalism selfish- "I write about the ill and poor, get a byline and forget,” she fumed. Pinto called her to the dais, applauded her and talked about journalism activism) --- if you have a question related to journalism, drop in a comment on his blog, Against the tide.

Recalling my student days, Pinto thundered with a fanatic insistence on how words should be used and we wriggled uncomfortably initially. He was unpredictable in his insistence for accuracy. One day he would rip us apart while discussing reports- get furious on seeing any adjective or adverb thrown in a report. The next day, in a feature writing class, he would censor the staid language, lament the loss of imagination; the extinction of innovative adjectives to describe a situation. We thought the man a tad too eccentric when he insisted 'write it down' in response to any raised hand to answer a query. Here's a chance, for everyone to benefit from the expertise of a seasoned editor, a real teacher. Learn while you can.