Tuesday, January 27, 2015

There are gifts ... and there are gifts!

That CD with the note on the content will not mean anything to you.  But, to me, it is nothing but a wonderful story.  A story on why it is so awesome to be a university teacher; did I ever tell you that I love what I do? ;)

The day began on an awful note though.

There was a book in my campus mailbox.  Which puzzled me because the publishers' representatives know that I don't use formal texts in my courses and a long, long time ago they stopped sending me their sales pitches.

Let me put it this way--that book was a "gift" from a colleague but it was really not a gift.  Well, ok, it was a gift if you think that this scene is also about nothing but a friendly gift ;)

But, by now I am used to bizarre things said and done.  After all, that is academia.  And that is how most faculty apparently want to behave.

I went about my business.  I had an awesome lunch that I had brought with me--a panini that I made in the morning (grilled ciabatta with garlic-infused olive oil, swiss cheese, fresh black pepper, leftover chicken, and spinach leaves) and a honeycrisp apple to finish that off!  I brushed my teeth (am afraid of my teacher!) and kept the door open for office hours with students.

A student walked in.

Correction--a young man who was a student in one of my classes four or so years ago walked in.

He was pleasantly surprised that I recognized him.  "I wanted to stop by my superstar professors and say hi" he said.

He made my day.

We chatted for more than half an hour.  I would have spent more time with him, but for an appointment that I had.  During that conversation, I told him that I still have at home the CD that he had burnt for me to listen to a couple of "Radio Lab" segments--which itself was a result of a chat that we had had in class.  "That is a tangible piece of evidence that I have not forgotten you" I told him.

Those are the kinds of gifts that I cherish.  I retain them.  I love those memories.

The "gift" that was in my office mailbox?  Return to sender, of course ;)


Anne in Salem said...

To make a difference in someone's life - nothing better! Congratulations.

Sriram Khé said...

Thanks ...


Ramesh said...

I completely lost it on the gift in the mailbox, but totally floored by the "superstar professor" - you are in a lucky profession ; you can have that sort of effect on people. Bravo.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, it was a cryptic note on the gift in the mailbox ... will blog about that some day, I am sure.
Hint: it was a continuation of the theme discussed here:

Sriram Khé said...

So, I returned that gift to the sender ... that resulted in email exchange ...
Here's the interesting closing comment in that email from the gifter:
"I do not share my social science colleagues' disdain for your input and perspectives and I think the record of our personal interactions should bear that out."

It made my day to get a confirmation that it is not in my head. It is not my imagination. Now there is even a word for how I am treated all because of the different non-union road that I travel: "disdain" ... "Disdain" ... what a powerful sentiment! How tragic!!! :(

So, there, you right-wing friends of mine, happy now? ;)

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