Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Teachers at Hindi Vidya Bhavan

Being a huge fan of the late Behram Contrator, the founding editor of Afternoon, I have read many of his legendary column, 'Round & About'. In one of them, he makes a poignant irony: that although teachers are our torch-bearers throughout our school and college days, give us education and make us capable of facing and surviving in this world, they would always remain in that one place, while their students would go places in thier lives. Like a teacher would still be at the bus-stop waiting for the bus, all throughout thier lives, while the child will grow in status and stuture and pass by in car. I found that to be very true, so I look back - the least I can do, and appreciate the teachers who have taught me and have a hand to make me who I am today. And while I am at it, let me also tell you about some of them who, unfortunately, I did not like.

I did my schooling (SSC)from Hindi Vidya Bhavan (HVB), Marine Drive, Mumbai. I passed out my school in 1992, so this post will be of teachers who have taught me.

On top of my list is Alzira D'Costa, my 4th std class teacher. In my school, teachers up to 4th std would teach us all subjects, while from 5th std onwards, they would teach thier specialised subjects across various classes. So D'Costa taught me all subjects in her class. She was an angel. Even though she used to shout at times to keep us in control, she had a heart. You could tell. Never the one to raise her hand on anyone. Just her voice was enough. The most striking part about her was that she was most systematic. She always had the right amount of chalks - a complete set of 10 coloured ones to differentiate various words that needed special attention from the rest of the notes she'd written on the board, was never out of a duster (some teachers used to make us run to fetch them dusters) and was very well organised. I like systematic people and those who are neatly organised. She used to engage everyone when she used to teach. Nobody had any incentive to not to pay attention to her. And even though D'Costa used to fill the entire black-board in our class, from one corner to another - and black-board at school were very wide, strecthing from one wall to another - you could still easily make sense out of everything she had written, and never get lot. Such was her system.

Zarine Patel is another favourite. In my 12 years at HVB (10+ 2 kindergarten years), she has not taught me a single subject. You'd wonder why she is on my list then? Because she was one of the most gentle of them all. All students, junior and seniors alike, used to call her "mummy". She was the one that came closest to our mothers; caring, always smiling, never the one who gets angry or hit us (well, mothers do, but they don't mean any harm) and always sympethetic to us. No teacher at HVB commanded that much respect, like she did. Even the notorious of all students would be on thier best behavior in front of her; such was her aura. Teachers like Patel do not come into our lives everyday; it was our priviledge to have known her in this life. I hear she is living with her sister in Jogeshwari, Mumbai and is now well into her retirement years, like most of the teachers of my time. I would like to meet her and D'Costa someday.

Mrs Raghavan, my chemistry teacher, I fondly remember. She passed away around a year or two back. I have the fondest memories of her and the very thought of her brings a smile on my face, even today. Actually my bad habit of not being able to control me laughter in her class, landed my in trouble one too many times with her. In terms of teaching, Raghavan was the worst. I never understood a word of chemistry she taught; perhaps this is the reason why Chemistry is one of the two worst subjects I feel I have ever studied. But she was very funny (strictly unintentionally). Her pronounciciation was damm hilarious and her 'T' was always silent. Her favourite word was "stupid" which she used to promounce as "tupid" ('S' silent). I used to try to control my laughing, she used to catch me and used to get me very angry. She used to make us maintain two books; classwork (CW) and homework (HW) books. Strangely, she used to make us take her notes in class in HW book, and make us do our homework in CW books. Why? Because she felt that when we are at home, we tend to open our HW books, so that way we would open her notes, when at home, and study!

Once, she was correcting our home-work notebooks. One smart-ass mate of mine wrote in my book on the front page "Elle est a grand fille" or something like that. That's french for "She is a fat woman". When she saw that and got it interpreted, she was ballistic and flung the book (in the most clumsiest of fashion that I can still close my eyes and play the scene exactly as it unfolded) at me and blasted me! May GOD bless her soul and I am glad that I knew her in this lifetime.

Mrs Freny Panthaki, my English and classteacher of Xth standard was the best English teacher I've come across. Although she was middle-aged at that time, she was very tall, had a well-maintained figure and had the grace and poise that would put even a Miss India to shame. She was also the head of Tagore house to which I belonged. The house started to do much better when she took charge of it. I will always look back at the times I spent with her, with fond memories.

From the best English teacher to the best Marathi teacher - Mrs Asha Wate. Surprisingly, I was better at my marathi than Hindi. And i think the credit should go to Wate. She was a passionate teacher, always teaching from the heart. Very clear and consise in teaching, even an idiot would understand what she taught; she was that good. I was one of her favourite students and she was my class-teacher in 6th standard, i think. Or was that 8th? Her assistent teacher, Mrs Namboori, taught me Maths briefly in 5th and 6th standards, and she was also very good.

The Dhage couple: One of the senior most teachers at HVB, they joined in 1964, a year after HVB started. Mr Dhage taught me Elocution while his wife Mrs Dhage taught me history, Civics and Geography. I am glad to say that I am still in touch with them. They came from humble beginnings and they still have not lost the simple way of life. They always took care of thier students, and like Wate, taught us from thier heart. Never the one to raise a finger on us and that is why ex-students like me still remember them with fond memories. Ditto for Mrs Singh (French), Mrs Baijal (our late Hindi teacher who had 11 fingers), Mr & Mrs Desai, Mr (late) Rane, Mr Venkatraman, Mrs Daruwala (Principal), Mrs Rajan, Mr Mishra.

So much for teachers that were kind. There was some unpleasent teachers also. Let me dwell into them.
My physics professor comes topmost on my mind. In all fairness, he was not at all great as a teacher. Infact he was a very ordinary one. Since he was the only Physics teacher at HVB in my times, there was no escaping him. He beleieved in capital punishment. He hit his students very hard, slapping and pinching them at will. Very disorganised, he used to command us to fetch him all sorts of things like chalks, dusters, etc. If those things were not on his table when he arrived, he would randomly pick students sitting on the front benches, like me, and start slapping them indiscriminately. I always hated this part, it was very scary sitting in his class, you never knew when he would hit you. I thought it gave him sadistic pleasure. He used to feel very happy when parents of some my colleguyes used to give him petty gifts like table-calenders, diaries, etc. In return, he was very kind to those students. In 1993, he was caught accepting a bribe and was thrown out of the school. Good riddance to heaped rubbish. I never respected him, I never will.

Another teacher who never earned the students' respect was a very senior ex-vice principal who taught me Geography. I am not saying this because she was strict. Even D'Costa and Mrs Dhage were strict. But what separated this smiling terminator from them, was that her strictness was very disrecpectful of students. She was unjust and biased in framing opinions against students - me included - without any justification. She often wore an artificial smile and when i saw Harry Potter-V, reminded me of her in Dolorius Umbridge of Hogwarts! Her teaching never rose beyond the ordinary, so students got no excuse to like her on account of her significant attitude problem.

The other two teachers who I would vaguely and hesitantly put in this list would be Miss Sharma and Mrs Chowdhary. Both these teachers were very good at thier subjects. They knew how to teach and put thier teachings across in a manner that the most duffer student would understand. Chowdhary was a Phd - I presume in Hindi since that was her subject- but I could be wrong about the subject. And Sharma was also very good at History and Geography. Their only fault, especially Sharmas', was that they used to spank a lot. We used to terrified of Sharma. Even thier appearances made them out to be stern. Sharma had a heavy built and looked menacing when angry; no wonder her slap used to terrorise even the most notorious of students, Chowdhary looked like a wicked saas in Ekta Kapoor's serials. Thankfully TV was not taken over by her in those days, but I can draw references now.

Anyways, no matter how good you are as a teacher, I object to capital punishment and believe that you would never figure at the top of your students list in years to come.

All in all, I am glad that I passed out from HVB. In hindsight, I would not have liked things to be any different. The best part of life is that the good as well as the not-so-good things teach you a lot and are responsible in shaping you. I will always be grateful to my teachers.


  1. Hi!

    I know this comment is a couple of years late, but I am happy to have read this blog entry. I too have fond memories of life in HVB.

    Our ex-principal, Mrs. Daruwala, passed on recently. She was a strict disciplinarian, but one of the best people I've come across. I was invited to the school twice after I had passed out to judge elocution competitions and she was a completely different person then from the stern lady we thought her to be. I can still hear her saying: "Good Morning. May I have your attention please..."

    The art teachers Mr. Nadkarni and Mr. Telore were very talented, though extremely strict.

    I remember the ever-present Pilu ma'am in the 2nd floor office...

    Mrs. Ramaraju, the senior school supervisor...

    Mr. Venkataraman the Algebra teacher...

    The librarian Mr. Choughule...

    Mrs. Mona Purandare, Mrs. Mehra...

    I was in the Vivekananda house. It was always exciting to spend time in the AV room after school hours, rehearsing for the school plays.

    Really pleasant memories! Thanks for writing this entry.

    All the best!

    Himanshu Agrawal.

  2. Hi Himanshu, yes those were very pleasent memories for all us ex-HVBites. Mrs Ramaraju and Mr venkataraman were truly nice teachers too, though they used to be very funny in the thier mannerisms. Remember Mr Rane? he passed away in a road accident some years back. i feel very sad when i hear about my teachers passing away. and speaking of ms Piloo, i still meet her sometimes. she looks exactly the same as before. very sweet woman!

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  4. Wow . Didn't know about Mr Rane. Bless his soul.
    Anybody remember the cartoon character "BHADE" ?
    & Yes, just to make a couple statements, Telore was always an assehole, no other way to describe him.
    Nadkarni was always biased, If anybody remember "Extra Classes" ?

  5. Yes, I heard from Mr & Mrs Dhage that Mr Rane died in a road accident some years back, presumably near Navi Mumbai. God Bless his soul; he was a very kind man and a very good teacher.

  6. Actually some of the students have put togather a fund for our HVB teachers and keep up with them. Although I dont entirely agree with the entire idea its still a good one. Nikhil Harlalka is the one single guy behind this teachers fund. (

  7. Was reallllly delighted to read this blog.
    As I too passed out in 1995, I knew most of the teachers mentioned in this blog.
    I couldnt have agreed more to your column on Mrs. Raghavan, I still hate chemistry! ANd yes, may she rest in peace.

    The other day we all school freinds met up and went through the 8 floors of the school building at ten in the night. The top three floors are getting renovated as the school intends to run IB and ICSE under one roof!

    Kapil Shorewala
    Batch 1995

  8. Hi Kapil, thanks for your comments. It was great to know you went inside our school and went up to 8 floors. I too would like to do that some day. Maybe some day soon I shall. Our school is now co-ed and ICSE. A lot has changed. The green colour facade is now no more and everytime I pass by it, something or the other- be it classrooms or floors or renovation- is always getting repaired. You too should write here something about our teachers who taught you, your experiences, etc., it'd be interesting to know...


    That being said, i also thank all of you, for creating this blog, and commenting on it.
    This has brought tears to my eyes.
    I had met Mr. Nadkarni once, on my way to work, on a train. He had then said he will be retiring soon, due to his knee problems.
    i used to take tuitions from Sanjay Lad sir. he had exited school, as he had slapped a fellow student real hard, and felt sorry about it. his contact nbr, as i vaguely remember is 24111284.
    Mrs. Reuben, without doubt was the most hated teacher, in our time.
    so was Mrs. Menezes, from 2nd std.
    I had a tough time dealing with many other teachers : venkatraman, ramaraju, Mishra Sir, Vasvani....
    wow...those were the times.
    Mrs. Shaikh, who taught us english, used to tell us, WHEN U GUYS LEAVE SCHOOL, U WILL MISS THESE DAYS BIG TIME, AND WOULD WANNA COME BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD. how true!

    1. Any idea where is mrs.sheikh ?
      M trying to get in touch with her.This is vishal tanna 2000 batch hvb.

  10. Hi Vishal, I am in touch with only a couple of guys from my batch, and one of them is in the US. I am glad to read your experiences about HVB and your encounters with various teachers.

    Mr Nadkarni taught me arts and crafts for a number of years. He and Telore sir were the only ones in that subject. Both of them were quite strict, but Telore was a walking - talking terror, though he never laid a finger on me. I do not know about prof Sanjay lad; he was not there during my time; I graduated in 1992.

    Reuben was there in my time, she had some funny mannerisms. Venkatraman and ramaraju were also there in my time, very strict teachers, I will never forget the tightest of all slaps i have ever had from any teacher; I got one from Venkatraman. But he was nice man at heart, he often used to give me lifts on his scooter on the way to school, he used to stop himself without me having to wave my hand at him at my bustop. Ramaraju was unnecessarily strict i felt, always wore an angry face. I never respected Mrs Waswani and i never will. I never really thought she was a great teacher and many other students used to feel the same for her. She was very disrespecting of students, but then I felt the feeling was mutual...

  11. Hi Guys,
    This is Tapan Shah again.
    Its entertaining to hear those feelings again. So many of them are mutual. I was in the batch of 87' and there is actually a pretty big group mostly from our batch that does get togather along with the teachers that remain.
    Nikhil Harlalka is the man to talk to. He just organised a party about juat a month ago with many of the teachers mentioned above. I saw pictures of Chowgale, Vaidya, Nadkarni, telore, dhage, Ms. Zarine Patel. & Vaswani oh yes also Desai & Om Prakash on there along with quite a few of my friends. Most of them , I actually took a while to recognise.
    Nikhil is very active in keeping this group togather. His email address is
    I am sure contacting him will be of a lot of help Vishall.

  12. hi this post actully reminded me abt my time.. i wld like to mention abt Gokhale mam.. the strickest teacher ever i seen.. ppl use to shiver like any thing looking at her.. i hope every one who have seen her agree with me

  13. Hi Guys
    This is Hitesh Mehta.
    I graduated in 1981 or 82 I have to check this out I have Some Pictures i will dig them out post next time
    I have lots of memories to wrte about
    Mrs Lobo the French Teacher if i am not mistaken
    was very helpful
    see you soon

    Hitesh Mehta

  14. Hi,
    I am a son of a Hindi Vidya Bhavan 1974 graduate of the name Hemant Udeshi.
    Would it be possible for someone to give me contacts for batch mates of this year or anyone who knew him as I am planning a surprise party for dad in which I would like it if someone of that time could contribute.
    Email id:
    Dhayvat Udeshi s/o Hemant Udeshi

  15. hey really nice .... and sad to hear about few teachers passed away ... according to my experience i could never forgive gokhale acting vice principal my time as she expelled me from school for doing nothing on wrong charges ..

    miss ya school

  16. Hi to everyone by seeing blog really did not thought that after leaving school we will miss all our school time.

    Left school after Sixth Standard but still remember old school so much specially all the school time.

    Manish Doshi

  17. Kayezad Adajania,
    you are doing a great job but we gotta mobilise people we are in touch with from our batch and otherwise and do something for our teachers...

    Kapil Shorewala
    Batch 1995

  18. Hi,

    My name is Deepak Sawlani. I passed out in 1980.
    I feel very sentimental about reading about teachers of HVB. Would lik eto meet every one again.


  19. Oh the good ole days at HVB. I was the class of 1980. I wonder if Mr. Venkataramana ever stoped drinking....Mr. Nadkarni i think we called him kerosene (ghaslate)....Mr. Vaidya the pakka ghati...Oh and the good old mota Omprakash....

    1. LOL...Dude Right On. Who can foget Mr Desai (ade up), Mr Asgaonker (Playboy), Also Motu Mr. Sharma (Vice P) and the list goes on... Honestly some of these teachers were on a power trip. So glad to be out of there....

  20. I remember Mr shukla our sanskrit teacher very much

    1. Mr. Shukla passed away approximately 10 years back. He used to stay in Desai Bldg. in Girgaum

      where I also reside nearby. Contact me: 1985 batch

  21. I passed out in 1976

  22. Hi, This is Samir Shah. Class of 1976. (SSC). Came across this site. was surprised to see so many reviews. I got happy memories of my school days. This places is too short to recount my nostalgic memories of my school days. Still remember and love my teachers. God Bless.

  23. Hi, once again this is Samir. I forget to mention that the last time I met my batch mates was at silver jublee gathering in 2002. Any of my batchmates see this kindly call me on 9890333598. Thanks.

  24. Hi, friendz,
    I am Darshan Shah I passed out in 2001.I was in Vivekanada House.
    I remember
    Mrs.Dias- Nursery,L.K.G class teacher
    Mrs Sadhna Gupta-4th std class teacher.
    Mr.Venugolpal sir-dance teacher
    Mr.Dinde Sir-marathi teacher
    Mrs.Lata Mam-marathi teacher
    Miss. Nilima Gupta mam-History teacher
    Mrs. Malti Baijal-Value education
    Mr.and Mrs. Desai-P.T teachers
    Mrs. Gurjar-Craft teacher
    Mr.Telore Sir - Art teacher
    Mr.Pandit Sir - Art techer
    Mr.Chougle Sir-Library teacher
    Mr.Irani Sir-french teacher
    Mrs.Mishra-Hindi teacher
    Mr.Mishra Sir-Hindi teacher
    Mrs.Raghavan-Science and my 8th std class teacher
    Mrs.Shaikh-English and my 10th std class teacher
    Mrs. Mona Purandare-Maths and my 6th std class teacher
    Mr.Ramakant Gupta-Maths teacher
    Mrs.Wankhade- 3rd std class teacher and all the teacher who were there in my time.

    Missing you All.....!

    I am missing my school days....The Golden period of my life......

  25. hello evry one!
    I am Chando, Chandoba , as I was known and a name given by Miss Zarine Patel to me Rajiv Agarwal.
    I came to school in 1965, I had my first idli paise 10 there and was in school till 1971.
    I get dreams.
    "Walking back to School in Half pants! Dats what I dream some times! ! come to gether!!!"
    September 16,2012 I request All HvB exstudents have to meet n make my dream come true. CU ALL

  26. WOAH .... blast from the past.

    I passed in 1994 and 19 year after that, reading this post and the names of the teachers and remembering them and the classrooms, the big hall for assembly, the second floor, the AV room .... quite a nostalgic ride !!

  27. That comment was written by me. You're welcome Kayzad. :)

  28. Hello..I passed SSC in 1985. Miss. Mizaan was our English teacher and she also used to teach French. Very noble and gentle lady. Mrs. Rouben was a terror and very biased.

  29. Hi. I am Hemal Bhagat passed out in 1987. Nicely written kayezad. I don't if u guys remember mrs. Munim, and Mrs. Asha Gandhi.
    Mrs. Gangly, Ms. Mehra. Mrs vengurlekar

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  31. This is Vishal Siroya. This is very special to me because hvb my school was very close to me and even after so many years I have got lovely memories of my lovely school. Although I was in the school for just 4 years and left school in std 4, I still have great memories of my lovely school. All my class teachers.
    Mrs.Jhaveri (Std I), Miss. Manorama Jain (Std II), Miss.Aloo Patel (Std III), Mrs. Fernandis (Std.IV), Mr.Nadkarni (Craft Teacher),Mr.Talore (Arts). Mr.Omprakash and Mr.Desai (Physical Training and above all our best and respected Principal Late. Mrs.Daruwala were great and worlds best mentors.
    I bow to them.

  32. Hi
    This is Vishal Siroya, This is a very special moment for me as my school Hindi Vidya Bhavan is very close to me. Although I was in the school for just first four years and left school in 1980 in Std IV, but ths school still holdz a special place in my heart and it is and will always be very very special to me.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every teacher of the school starting from our lovely principal Mrs.Daruwala, My class teachers Mrs.Zaveri (Std I), Mrs. Manorama Jain (Std II), Mrs. Aloo Patel (Std III), Mrs.Fernandis (Std IV), Mr.Nadkarkni (Craft teacher), Mr.Talore (Arts Teacher), Mr Omprakash and Mr.Desai (PT instructers). All the teachers were lovely and great mentors.
    I bow to them and thank them for giving a great foundation. MY SCHOOL WAS,IS AND WILL REMAIN THE BEST SCHOOL.

  33. Hi
    This is Vishal Siroya, This is a very special moment for me as my school Hindi Vidya Bhavan is very close to me. Although I was in the school for just first four years and left school in 1980 in Std IV, but ths school still holdz a special place in my heart and it is and will always be very very special to me.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every teacher of the school starting from our lovely principal Mrs.Daruwala, My class teachers Mrs.Zaveri (Std I), Mrs. Manorama Jain (Std II), Mrs. Aloo Patel (Std III), Mrs.Fernandis (Std IV), Mr.Nadkarkni (Craft teacher), Mr.Talore (Arts Teacher), Mr Omprakash and Mr.Desai (PT instructers). All the teachers were lovely and great mentors.
    I bow to them and thank them for giving a great foundation. MY SCHOOL WAS,IS AND WILL REMAIN THE BEST SCHOOL.

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