over decades


At a time, when love is pretty much in the air in the form of celebrations and the revelry around it, the true essence of love is often misconstrued as only a boy-girl attraction thing. The realm of love is all encompassing, as it weaves together various forms of genuine emotions which could also be one sided at times. Let me draw your attention to a unique form of love between a teacher and a student… ‘Guru and Shishya’ as we’d call it, not long ago! The role of a teacher in shaping impressionable minds comes second, only to that of parents and that sums up the impact, that it has on a student’s inclination or the lack of it towards education. The Coffee Bytes team had the privilege of a rendezvous with Mrs. Renubala Samantaray, a senior school teacher from St. Joseph’s High School, Bhubaneswar. An immensely loveable and admired teacher, she encourages her students to utilize their full potential. Majority of her students, spanning across 3 decades, idolize her as a good friend, philosopher and guide. Her affable smile, her warmth, her modest demeanour, it all contributes towards making her approachable, which in itself is a vital quality that a teacher should possess. The other important aspect is, how far the teacher goes to reach out to the students. There too she scores heavily! Interestingly, as a child, Miss Renu wanted to become a doctor till her father, influenced her to take up teaching. Hailing from a vernacular school she preferred teaching in Hindi medium schools & was reluctant to teach in St. Joseph’s High School (SJHS), which was renowned to produce ‘fluent inEnglish’ products! In December 1987, she joined SJHS as a Maths teacher for primary classes and is still serving there as a class teacher for the higher classes of the school. Soon SJHS became an extended family for her where she was the universal mother. “Parents are the 1st teachers and teachers are the 2nd parents” said Miss Renu with her usual flair. Recollecting her first batch of students and her favourite student, she fondly remembered Anshuman Rath, currently settled at Muscat. Anshuman was always an average student but, with the warmth and guidance of Miss Renu, he became a top scorer and had his name printed in the ‘Running Shield’ of the school. She modestly attributed the transition to Anshuman’s intelligence and ability to pick up fast. “Miss Renu was one of the most inspirational teachers ever (still is). She made learning enjoyable, challenged each of us to think beyond numbers and have fun. She is so down-to-earth and unassuming that you have no choice but to make her your favourite”, says Saurabh Mahapatra from the ‘94 batch. One day, Miss Renu asked Saurabh to sit down so that she could talk, since he was a tall boy. Saurabh replied “Ma’am, you will never keep your head down while speaking to me, I feel good when you talk to me with your head held high”. The simplicity and affection of the teacher has shaped many minds and allowed their personalities to blossom. She commanded the respect of her students. Her affection & dedication earned her the ‘Best Teacher Award’ of the school in the year 1998. We were amazed to find the memories of every student,etched so vividly in her mind. She has fondly preserved all school batch photographs, scoring sheets and special occasion gifts from her students, with great care. It is no surprise that Miss Renu has been a special invitee to private functions and celebrations of most of her students. Delving little into her personal life, we learnt that she is an allrounder who took equal part in academics, sports and extracurricular activities including Scouts & Guide. She got married in 1994 to Mr. Sushanta Chandra Badu. A very supportive husband, Mr. Badu took note of her involvement, affection and dedication towards her students & their studies. “I didn’t like to change it” he said. While her son too studied in SJHS, she was completely impartial towards him, to an extent where the school,

She is a person who is young at heart. Carrying the experience of several years on her shoulders combined with her ability to mingle with her students like a friend made her one of the most wonderful teachers at St. Joseph’s. Her inspirational one liners conveyed immense values to us. One such line “Give the world the best you have and the best shall come back to you.” still remains etched in my mind !
Vivek Swain, Batch of 2015

by upagupt Mohanty

principal advised her to stop thinking about the entire batch and start focusing on her own son’s board exams! “Even till date, when I go home her warmth always brings a smile on my face, which is extremely comforting! A tight hug follows which is most reassuring. This is my mother!! ”, shared her son. There can be no better way to sum up her ardent love for her students and the mountain of respect that she commands. Miss Renu shared “My house which is under renovation, will soon have a special room dedicated to showcase all the gifts, received as a token of love from my students during my teaching journey”. Dare we say again, love is only about the attraction between a boy and a girl! The Coffee Bytes team salutes Miss Renu!

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