Thus my life was transformed as a rocket engineer, aerospace engineer and technologist. That one incident of myteacher teaching the lesson, showing the visual live example proved to be a turning point in my life whicheventually shaped my profession.
Teacher becomes a family friend
I remember Rev Father TN Sequiera teaching Shakespeare in St. Joseph’s college, Trichy where I studied. Thestudents used to say even Shakespeare would be moved if he hears his lecture. Teacher knows what the studentneeds. It was true. He was also our new Hostel Warden. Every day Father Sequiera used to make a night visit tothe hostels. It was called Father’s visit. One day, I recall, my room mate M Sachithanandam was not well. WhenFather Sequiera met him he asked him what the problem was. He told him that he was having headache. Forimmediate relief, Father took aspirin from his robe and gave him the tablet. With concern, he immediately senthim to the doctor. In another incident he gave an inland letter to my friend in the next room and asked him towrite to his parents, because Father Sequiera came to know that he was not writing to his parents. This is abeautiful experience and learning for me. Students saw in Fr Sequiera with parental care. In St. Joseph’s CollegeLibrary, Father Sequiera used to take special English class between 6 to 7 PM in the evenings for students whocame from language medium schools. He also initiated us to read novels and biographies in simple English in sixweeks time we were all comfortable in all English medium classes.
Teacher who loves teaching
Another great teacher, who is a living legend now is Prof. Chinnadurai. He taught me physics, particularly nuclearphysics. The way the Professor taught, many students started loving physics, particularly nuclear physics. RevFather Chinnadurai, when he was taking lessons used to give reference articles and good reference books, whichthe students can read. And the physics teacher ensured that we all refer physics textbooks during the lectureinstead of only reading the notes. This widened the horizon of the learning of the students on a particular topic.In his 90’s Fr Chinnadurai is staying in Dindigal and I meet him whenever I am in that area. The method of teaching of Fr Chinnadurai is important for making the student a life long autonomous learner, which is essentialfor continuous contribution for the growth of individual, and thereby to the nation. The best learning takes placewhen the teacher infuses a creative learning habit in the students and makes it an enjoyable part of life longquest for knowledge. Even today whenever I meet him, he radiates his sense of enlightenment.
Teacher radiates knowledge
Now I would like to discuss about my mathematics teacher Prof Thothadri Iyengar. As a young science student, Ihad an opportunity at St. Joseph’s College to witness a unique scene of divine looking personality walkingthrough the college campus every morning, and teaching Mathematics to various degree courses. Studentslooked at the personality who was a symbol of our own culture, with awe and respect. When he walked,knowledge radiated all around. The great personality was, Prof Thothadri Iyengar, our teacher. At that time, ‘Calculus Srinivasan who was my mathematics teacher, used to talk about Prof Thothadri Iyengar with deeprespect. They had an understanding to have an integrated class by Thothadri Iyengar for first year B.Sc. (Hons)and first year B.Sc. (Physics). Thus, I had the opportunity to attend his classes, particularly on modern algebra,statistics and complex variables. When we were in the B.Sc first year, Calculus Srinivasan used to select top tenstudents to the Mathematics Club of St. Joseph’s, whom were addressed by Prof Thothatri Iyengar. I stillremember, in 1952, he gave a masterly lecture on ancient mathematicians and astronomers of India. In thatlecture, he introduced four great mathematicians and astronomers of India, which is still ringing in my ears. Theyare Aryabhata, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya. Let me discuss one. Prof. Thothatri Iyengarexplained, based on his analysis, that Aryabhata was both an astronomer and mathematician, born in 476 AD inKusuma-pura (now called Patna). He was known to represent a summary of all Maths at that point of time. Justwhen he was only 23 years old, he wrote his book ARYABHATIYAM in two parts. He covered important areas like