How my mathematics professor introduced me to the world of writing

Our teachers or guides have an important role in shaping our educational careers as well as motivating us to achieve some of our aspirations in our lives. This article is about the encouragement I got from my Mathematics professor.


Teachers have got a very important role in our lives especially those teachers who can motivate and encourage us for doing something which we even didn't know that we were capable of doing. Some teachers have got a great quality of inculcating confidence and courage in a student for doing something extraordinary in one's life. It is natural that such teachers make a great impact and imprint in our minds and we remember them for our lifetime.

The inherent ambition

When I was in high school I got the opportunity to become a student member of the local district library and that opened a big ocean of knowledge and learnings to me. At that time there was no internet, no mobile, no TV, and nothing of that sort and the only thing with which we could engage ourselves was either study or read some books. Some students prefer to play games and participate in sports but unfortunately, that was not my cup of tea.

So, the reading of books started early in my life and I was doing it by borrowing books that were available there in the library. It was a fully Govt aided district library and had a large collection of books ranging from children's books to books written by great literary persons like Tagore, Premchand, Gurudutt, etc. I went through a large number of Hindi novels written by different writers. With my little knowledge of English, I also ventured into reading English books especially the children's books in the beginning and slowly within 3-4 years I was able to pick up novels by great writers across the world and was able to enjoy the theme and language therein. By that time, I had completed my class 12 and then took admission in B.Sc. in Science stream.

Reading so many books sparked an idea in my mind that couldn't I also write something like that. But there is a big difference between thinking and doing. Whenever I tried to write something I couldn't do it more than half a page as I was not getting any idea to convert my thoughts into writing.

My Mathematics professor

When I was in my B.Sc. first year, I was approaching, time to time to clarify my doubts and confusions in Mathematics, to one of my mathematics professors. He was very kind enough to help the students whenever they approached him to clear their doubts. One day when I was seeking help from him, he asked about my hobbies and other things. When I told him about my reading habits, he became very happy and impressed. I came to know that he was also a voracious reader and he was having some interest in writing.

The encouragement

One day when I went to my professor for clearing one of my doubts, he casually asked me whether I ever tried to write something. Did I make any attempt like that? I simply told him about my failed attempts and my inability to write more than half a page. He smiled but afterward told me that if I wanted to write something then first I had to read about that a lot and refer to the literature and concerned books and then finally consolidate my ideas and thoughts in a structured way and then write them in that order. At that time I was not able to comprehend much of what he was telling me but today I realize that how he was trying to motivate and encourage me to start the real writing action.

He told me many other things also related to writing and suggested that I should do this thing or that thing. The result was that after 2-3 months I was able to jot down my ideas, point by point, and then was trying to elaborate on those points and then I showed him some of my writings and he told me that I was going in the correct direction. I got motivated and encouraged by his suggestions and guidance and then I wrote a science article in Hindi language and sent it for publication in a very reputed magazine of that time. After 3 months I got it back by the return post in the self-addressed and stamped envelope that I had enclosed there and I found that there were so many corrections made by the editor and it was mentioned by him that the article would require reworking, reformatting, and then only it could be resubmitted. Seeing so many corrections and suggestions from the editor I was not in a position to redo that article and I just kept it aside. When I told about this to my professor he told that it was a normal thing. He very clearly told me that there will be many rejections like that before I could establish myself as a writer in the world of writing. He also told me that it will require sustained efforts and he would be guiding and helping me whenever I required that type of help from him.

A big writing project

It is said that when something has to happen then conducive circumstances are created in our lives. Call it destiny or fate, it happens so often in the lives of many people.

One day my professor called me and told me that he had started a big project and he wanted me to contribute to that if I agreed to the proposition. He continued and told me that he was writing a book on Hydrodynamics in the Hindi language which would be the first attempt of its kind and as his handwriting was not good and there was no typing facility for typing the complicated mathematical formula, he thought to rope me in for the writing part as I had good handwriting.

I was a bit surprised in the beginning but also felt honoured by that offer. My only worry was that my studies should not be suffering because of that massive project. I politely told my professor that I would have to talk to my father regarding this and then I would come back to him.

The project completed

When I intimated these developments to my father he told me that I should not take up this project because if my studies were hampered then I might lose my score in the graduation and that would be a big jolt to the family. After great difficulty, I persuaded my father that I would be doing that extra work only for two days a week and that also one hour per day and not more than that and by doing so my studies will not be affected. My father still insisted that it was a risky proposition. I informed my professor that we could start the project but I would be able to do that very slow pace. He told me that there was no problem and I could take as much time as I wished and he was also not expecting the project to complete before 7 to 8 months. Hearing this I took a sigh of relief and then he gave me a few draft pages to start my writing job.

Hydrodynamics was one of the papers in our syllabus and in any case I had to prepare for it for my exams. So it was natural that while writing it in a fair way from the draft I had to study the chapters and the questions and the way they are solved. I did that writing job for about 7 months time and the book was completed. My professor was very happy to see the completion of the project and was preparing it in final shape for sending it to the publisher. Meanwhile, I was busy in my studies of other subjects physics, chemistry and other papers in mathematics and then when B.Sc. first year exam was held I got very good marks in mathematics especially in the Hydrodynamics paper, I got almost full marks in it.

Great motivator

Today when I recollect back then I find that my professor was having great foresight in respect of his students and could identify the strength areas which the particular student possessed. He then inspired and motivated the student in that direction.

Today whatever I am able to contribute in the world of writing is all due to the initiation and inspiration of my professor who always encouraged me to try and try hard to eventually get success in the field of writing. I bend my head and with folded hands offer respect to my Mathematics professor.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao14 Sep 2021 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

That's true. Some people help others and try to bring them up by encouraging them and motivating them. Some teachers will try to help the students by finding out their interests and weaknesses and they suggest and follow up with them and see that they will become good and come out of those weaknesses.
When I was in my M.Sc final year, I was encouraged by my Professor to join me for my PhD. Based on our financial background I thought I should go for a job. But my Chemistry professor worked on me and mentioned the advantages if I complete the PhD before joining a job. But I told him about the responsibilities I had and also told him the necessity I have to earn. But he never gave up and even offered me financial help from his pocket for completing my PhD. Really his motivation only made me go for a PhD. He himself called my father and made him agree to his proposal. But luckily I got a fellowship from CSIR and completed my PhD under his guidance only. we see such teachers very rarely these days. A teacher offering financial help to a student for his studies is really an encouragement which can't be denied. Such teachers deserve much appreciation.

Author: Umesh16 Sep 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 0

Dr Rao, you have also mentioned a rare case in which the professor was ready to even help the student financially. This is really remarkable and praiseworthy. My father once told me about his teacher who helped him in paying his High school fee 2-3 times. As my father was from a poor background and was one of the few students from his village who could reach High school in the school in the nearby town so one of the teachers wanted to help him to complete high school and get a job. At that time due to poverty and other limitations many students did not go to school and even if they went there they left after class five or class six or class seven and like that. Just because a teacher helped my father to complete his schooling, he was able to get a job in the local post office and was able to survive and make a career in that organisation. I am talking of the time when Britishers ruled India and the qualification of high school meant a big thing especially for an Indian student.

Author: Dr. Sanchita Ranjan16 Sep 2021 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Such kinds of cases indeed used to happen in early times where teachers used to help students financially. Now, the situation has changed where the teacher doesn't take any extra classes without payment. In present times, the poor student has to drop out of school because of financially weak. Even today this kind of teacher may be seen but an exception is there. The dedicated and selfless teacher is very rare in modern times. I have also met such kind of teachers who dedicated their life for the sake of students. I pay salute to these teachers.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha16 Sep 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 0

Umesh Sir,
Though you started your project of writing Hydrodynamics with a little bit hesitation thinking that it would affect your ongoing preparation of your B.Sc examination, but the result was otherwise. Your success was mainly attributed to your clarity on your approach. You had the clear concept of your steps to be taken at different time. Such an approach with the disciplined way led you to success. Involvement in different projects is not bad unless you have cleared strategies to the different assignments. Those were the days when there were plenty of teachers who were truly inspiring providing you sustained motivation in your project. Such motivation is rarely visible as of now.

Author: Swati Sharma24 Sep 2021 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

This is true, there are some hidden talents in many students, which are sometimes not recognized by the students themselves or even their parents, but the teacher is the mirror to which his student is an open book. . A student spends a large period of time with the teacher so he also knows the real learning process of his students. If the teacher is really honest and sincere towards his student, then he can definitely help him to understand the merits of the student and show him the right direction.

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