Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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How do you feel when someone says: ‘I am sorry…’? Do you believe him or her or think that the person is merely being formal without meaning it! Some could be using it as a cover to hoodwink you. Some could be laying a trap for you so that you may lower your guards and then fall with a bang. Actually, these  tricky three words are often heard being used by those who wish to make amends for some grievous blunder that they have committed. They are also used when a person, who commits a fraud, is discovered.  Strange are these three words. You just accidentally nudge a person in a crowd and merely say, ‘I am sorry’. You defraud a friend of millions; and when cornered, you again say, ‘I am sorry’.  The wide applicability of these three words is astounding. Murderers, rapists, abductors, cheats—all use this expression when they are in compelling circumstances.
But I cannot forget  Prof P.C.Jain, Head of the Economics Department and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Allahabad University He used to get wild if any one said, ‘I am sorry’, after committing a big mistake . Normally, Prof Jain was very jovial, supporting, sporting and extremely kind in his dealings with students. There are innumerable stories about his generosity. Once the Proctor had  caught hold of a boy on suspicion that he was indulging in eve teasing—which actually he was not. The Proctor seized his identity card and threatened action against him. The boy, a student of Prof Jain, went up to the Professor and told him about the incident, convincing him that he was being falsely implicated. Professor Jain took him along and went to the Proctor who was his ex-student too.  If that young man was to be believed, Prof Jain pulled up the Proctor and said, ‘Kya tum ne apni jawani mein laundiyon ko nahin chherra thaa ? Let him go’. The Proctor blushed. Apparently fearing that  Prof Jain might even remind him of the girls he had chased, the proctor immediately returned the identity card to the boy. Prof Jain told the Proctor: ‘I have come all the way to tell you that I have closely been observing this boy. He is not an eve-teaser. He is a book worm’.

That was one side of Professor Jain. The boy told him, ‘Thank you sir’ and the Professor lovingly patted him and the matter ended.  But I recall another instance when Professor Jain was disturbed while he was delivering a lecture on the history of economic thought. This student intercepted him to say something unbecoming. When the Professor gave him a menacing look, the boy said, ‘Sir, I am sorry’. Professor Jain flared, ‘Sorry kehta hai ghoonsa taan kar ?’ He said, taking off his coat and almost rushing to the rude student(he was stopped by students), ‘You say sorry after committing a crime ? You say sorry after aiming a blow at me ? I will not take it lying down. I will return a blow for a blow. I will not stop there. I will kick you…’ That was a very, very frightening sight which I cannot forget at all. But it was a lesson for all. In Professor Jain’s class, they must behave. If they do make a slip let them not say, ‘I am sorry’ but  keep quiet, listening to his rebukes. In no time he would cool down. And if you apologetically faced him, he would even pat you, invite you for a cup of tea at his Beli Road residence and treat you like his own son. But the unwritten condition was: You must appear to be apologetic and not say, ‘I am sorry…’

But  Prof J.K.Mehta was made of different mettle altogether. The same student was rude in his class too. In fact he got up when Prof Mehta was in the midst of a serious discussion, referring to his own theory when this young man got up and said, ‘Yeh to aap ne khoob uchchala…’ The class was stunned. Students recalled how furious Prof Jain had been and had even almost taken off his coat to thrash the lad. But Professor Mehta just looked at him for a few seconds and said, ‘Well, that is your point of view’ and then proceeded with his lecture as if nothing had happened! Subsequently this outspoken boy became a hero worshipper of Prof Mehta. Now, if I have bored you, I would also like to say, ‘I am sorry!’ Would you believe me?





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