1. At the age of 11 - 12 , me and my mom used to visit the Laxminarayan temple. Frequently there were lectures by kathakars - story tellers of the epics, Puranas, Shrimad Bhagwatam : the life of Lord shri Krishna and the Ramayana. We had a Guruji named Amardasji who used to narrate the Ramayana interestingly , with lots of funny incidents thrown in and musical Bhajans too. It was a great treat, fun and laughter, music and devotion. The mixture was both and intoxicating, one needed to rush to sit next to and reserve the place nearest to the Dias. Many times I had paid the other brats some money to get hold of a convenient place to sit. This katha made my faith in Hanumanji permanent and strong. I believed he was real and indeed always was with me. Lord Shri Ram and Hanuman, entire cast were living beings for me. This was made possible by the Kathakars.
.Amardasji was my first Guru, he spurred my interest in reading the Ramayana and then lots of other books , finally I got the reading habit due to him and his skills. I owe him and for the first time I realised what was faith. We have lost this tradition, though many things of these are available online.
2. What I write today because of my school teachers, I would like to remember two of them: Mr Oochavbhai Parikh who was also the library boss to issue books , not the librarian, but the authority to allow the books to lend the books to whom and he was generous. Two titles I remember distinctly Krishnaawatar by Kanhaiyalal M. Munshi and Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle.This paved the path for my interest in crime and detection stories.
3. The writing habit and the motivation of writing came from my other teacher. Her name was Sarlaben who taught us Gujarati. She had the longest hair, reaching below her knees. We sniggered and joked that one could make a swing out of it and swing playfully. I told my friends it would be painful for her. However she praised me for the essay on : At the SeaShore, that motivated and inspired me to write and started writing for the school newsletter. It was fascinating to create a new world with my imagination and the command over language. She had buck teeth but knew how to treat her students, but I would die to meet these two mentors now.
4.The best person I could mention easily was my maths teacher - Mr Tickumal Shah, he was a math teaching genius. He plodded me to work harder in math. His methods for motivation were unusual. Let me relate: the passing marks then for a 50 mark unit test were 16 1/2 and they rounded it to 17 to pass us in the test. I frequently failed in the 7th standard in math and in pre- Diwali test I got only 16 marks. I was surprised as I had worked harder this time. But when I saw my answer paper it was all rubbish, I went to him and begged to give me 1/2 mark to pass me ( he had the power to give marks for neatness) . He refused : saying if I give it to you now you will never work hard enough to reach the full potential. Three times I requested through various friends and teachers him to do it , but he dissapointed me. This disappointment and frustration led me to work harder and smarter, The I became the best performer in maths in my division. I owe you Sir.