The Victor and the Victorious

In the seventies, in West part of Delhi, emerged a new residential colony called Janakpuri which happened to be another hub for South Indians.  Not being approachable to any of the existing six DTEA schools, the local Tamil community in Janakpuri acquired a land of their own, erected few wooden sheds, and started teaching children in an informal way.  A handful of teachers, not all of them qualified, drawn from the immediate neighbourhood were employed on an ad hoc basis.  The school was however recognized in a few years but was not qualifying to receive government Grant-in-Aid.  There was no infrastructure per se, no administrative staff, no telephone, not even a fence around the school.  Anybody could walk in / out at their free will.  A time came when the school was taken over by the DTEA, at the request of the community in Janakpuri, which turned out to be a unique experiment, as never before had the DTEA taken over an existing school with its attendant problems.  However the philosophy of MEA/DTEA being to serve the Tamil community with their educational needs, the DTEA agreed to take the Janakpuri school under its wings.  Those were the circumstances under which the DTEA Janakpuri school came into existence.

For the DTEA, the first priority was to bring the new school to the Grant-in-Aid status like the other schools.  In order to protect the interests of the 12 existing teachers at Janakpuri, the common seniority rule that existed among all other DTEA schools could not be applied, as endorsed by the Delhi Government.  Instead, the Janakpuri school was given a special status where existing teachers would be retained, while all new vacancies were to be filled by open recruitment only based on merit, and not by transfer from other DTEA schools.  The management was keen on finding the most competent candidate to take charge of this upcoming school, so first and foremost, the DTEA advertised for the position of Head of school, for which any qualified candidate could apply from inside / outside of DTEA.  Your guess is right – I was once again recruited to take up this leadership position in 1981.  This time I was riding my scooter, rain or shine, all the way from Lakshmibai Nagar where I lived, to 20 kms away to a neighbourhood in Janakpuri.  I was the only “outsider” while the staff and students were local residents.

Unlike my previous experiences with Karol Bagh and RK Puram schools where the community welcomed me and accepted me, the circumstances at JKP were rather adverse and unique.  Some “prominent” members of the local Tamil community were not happy with my appointment, as they had perhaps wanted one of their own candidates chosen.  On not achieving that, an environment of hostility and prejudice was built right from the beginning without even giving us a chance to work together.  Unfortunately, some members of the existing staff also joined the campaign against me.  It seemed their only goal was to see that I did not succeed in this new role, thereby hinder the progress of the school.  I could only attribute it to their ignorance of my real standing in the DTEA, or inability to accept that a candidate of their choice was not offered the lead position – one can only speculate.  What I do know is that never before have I seen (or imagined) a section of the community, or teachers as a matter of fact, working against the interests of the school & the children it served.  They were attempting to oust me and prove the DTEA wrong, while I was on a mission to transform the whole school, upgrade it to 12th grade, and establish it as a model DTEA Senior Secondary School.  What a sad irony!  Regardless, I was determined to prove myself one more time and was confident that with all my experience spanning over 25 years, I would turn things around tactfully and intelligently without antagonizing anyone.  My PR skills were indeed put to a severe test as I had to combat negative forces on a everyday basis.  No other Principal in the history of DTEA had ever faced a challenge like this one.  Full of optimism though, I moved forward relentlessly, prioritizing my jobs on hand.

First I arranged a telephone for the school.  Next was selection of administrative staff for the school office.  Files had to be opened afresh and things organized.  Some 30 – 40 teaching staff had to be recruited for various departments involving a lot of planning and coordinating with the Delhi government.  I was very particular that only meritorious teachers were selected and no compromises were settled for, rather I would leave the position unfilled if I didn’t find the right candidate.  Even class IV staff positions needed to be filled in.  In the midst of all this, I could not afford to neglect instruction to Class X students who would be appearing for the CBSE Board examination in March 1982.  As usual I took to classroom teaching work for Class X amidst other hardships.  That paid a good dividend.  The results spoke for themselves and parents were happy.  In fact, the students were the real “ambassadors” to carry the message home and obviously the parents were becoming increasingly happier by and by, at my taking charge as the Head of school.  Instilling confidence in the minds of existing and new parents was topmost on my agenda.

The DTEA Management being fully aware of the circumstances under which I was placed to head the Janakpuri school, was very supportive of me as I inched up the hill.  Though I would love to mention names, I am restraining myself from doing so, not wanting to leave anyone out inadvertently.  I have enjoyed close and respectable relationships with so many office bearers of the managing committee and so many wonderful parents who have stood by me during my 36 years and I hope they are viewing these articles to exactly know whom I mean.  Unlike the assistance I got from some of the senior teachers at Karol Bagh and RK Puram schools, there was none other than me to guide even the secretarial staff with routine work.  I ended up working 12 hours everyday.  When everyone had gone, I would still be working all alone until 8:00 PM.  Sometimes, the parents who had by then started building a rapport with me, would drop by at the school on their way back from office, at those late hours after spotting my scooter from their chartered buses.

principal-janakpuri-1991-1

Right from the time of admission, I developed a cordial relationship with the families, particularly the children.  I would interview every child to understand first hand their strengths and weaknesses to be able to provide them with appropriate help during the course of their school years.   The morning assembly time was put to good use by emphasizing on the value of good morals.  I would address the Primary school children separately in Tamil making it endearing for them.  That set the tone of the school practically everyday.  I always encouraged the children to come meet me directly if needed and I insisted that they talked in English with me.  As an administrator, I was strict in enforcing discipline, both at students’ and at teachers’ level, in order to establish dignity and decorum as an educational institution.  At the initial stage, I encountered some resistance as they were not used to conducting themselves formally, but by and by, everyone had to fall in line to meet the expected standards.  The children responded splendidly well to my instructions and it became a joy to see them well behaved and cheerful all the time.  They were absolutely outstanding in their character and conduct.

My next job was to develop the teachers – both existing and new.  The section of existing teachers I mentioned about chose to remain non-cooperative, but I moved on with the rest that were willing to support and grow with the institution.  I started cultivating scores of new teachers that I had recruited.  They were very bright, qualified, and enthusiastic to work with me, some were even fresh from college.  Inspired by my leadership, they gave me their full co-operation, allowing me to groom them into becoming effective classroom teachers.

By now, the parents came to know of my abilities at revolutionizing the upcoming school.  They felt comfortable and came forward individually to interact with me, sometimes sharing their concerns.  They were visibly happy and I could tell they counted on me.  In the periodic PTA meetings, a record number of some 200+ parents would attend just to hear me talk on various topics.  As is usually the case everywhere, there would sometimes be a parent or two who would want to use this forum to ventilate their complaints but I would never let the meetings go out of control.  I made sure everyone’s interests were always protected and things were handled decently.  On one occasion, I was educating the parents on the National Policy of Education which was a lecture that lasted about 1.5 hours that everyone listened to with rapt attention.  At the end, a parent commented, “Sir, this will beat the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech”!

Next, I wanted to improve the infrastructure.  The parents were always ready to offer any help (including financial assistance) and I got the PTA to augment resources in this direction.  I gave top priority to raising a boundary wall to the school as it was absolutely essential.  I came up with an idea of BBC – Buy a Brick Campaign.  All the children were asked to sell coupons in their neighbourhood @ Re 1/ brick.  The children who made record sales were given prizes as incentive.  This was a tremendous success, and in no time, the school had a beautiful boundary wall with iron gates.  The PTA took the cue from here and started canvassing for a humongous fund collection drive for the completion of the school building.  It goes to the credit of the parents who managed to get a sizeable donation (of Rs One Lakh) from the British High Commission towards the corpus of the building fund.  Seeing the enthusiasm and drive of the community, the DTEA too came forward with a substantial share of their contribution and further took the responsibility of undertaking the building work.  It took about a year to complete the building.  Side by side, the school had to function normally amidst inevitable dislocations all round.  As Principal, I had to supervise the building work also round the clock, in addition to my already overloaded work schedule.  How can I forget those stressful days! 

With a beautiful building in place, my next project was to develop the library, the playfield and the laboratories so as to get ready for upgrading the school to senior secondary level.  The Board results at class X had been consistently good, the school had made an image for itself, the parents were extraordinarily cooperative and my leadership was established beyond doubt.  It was decided to open class XI with all the streams – science, commerce and humanities – at one go, for the first time in the history of DTEA!  All other schools had been developed progressively depending upon the facilities available.  Lots of formalities needed to be observed to open +2 level classes and to receive Grant-in-Aid from the government.  When everything was ready from our side for the take-off, the Delhi Administration put a spoke in the wheel, informing us that they could only approve the opening of +2 classes but would not be able to provide grant owing to paucity of funds.  What a blow!  We were in a tight spot, nevertheless, we took the plunge and opened all 3 streams in class XI.  The next challenge was about recruiting senior level teachers but who would pay them?  For class XI, we managed with some of the existing staff and recruiting some new teachers on condition that they would be paid ad hoc salary (some fixed amount) till we started getting grant.  But it became really difficult next year when class XII came into being, especially for the Science subjects.  It was truly a testing time for my leadership and I could sense the grim reality.  At that time, four people came forward offering their professional services free of cost in the interest of the community and the DTEA should always be indebted to them for their timely voluntary service.  They are: (1) Prof. S. Ramamrutham, an author, a free-lance engineer,  and former Vice -President of DTEA, for Physics; (2) Dr. J. Krishnamurthi, a parent & senior lecturer in the PG DAV College, for Mathematics; (3) Dr. Meena Natarajan (my daughter), an alumni of MEA & senior lecturer in the Kirorimal College, for Chemistry, and (4) Dr. Neeraja Chopra, a former student of my daughter’s & Scientist at DRDO, for Biochemistry, who came all the way from South Delhi to teach at the JKP school.  The first batch of class XII students was thus finally sent for the Board exam and the children proved themselves victorious bringing excellent results.  Subsequently we started getting the Grant-in-Aid for the +2 classes and everything was in place from then on.

Alongside this saga, based on my services as a resource person for training English teachers from all over Delhi and conferment of the Best English Teacher award, the CBSE nominated me as a Paper-Setter for Board examinations.  So I got involved in that confidential work which was an additional responsibility and honour.  Year after year after year, my paper would get selected for release by the CBSE confidential committee.  My school would be used for workshops by CBSE, so that brought an added benefit to our teachers and students.  The Board also sent me on weekends to various cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati etc to train prospective examiners in evaluating answer books of final year students.  After the exams, all answer books from the entire country would come to me for central evaluation in Delhi for which hundreds of senior teachers from various schools were deputed.  As Paper setter & Head Examiner, I was responsible for the publication of results in my subject at All India level.  The CBSE further selected me to serve on the Courses Committee for two terms where policy decisions were taken.  There was never a time I was not busy.  I don’t recall having taken a single day’s casual leave in my entire 10 years at the JKP school.

I, for one, did not believe in declaring a child “failed” at the end of the academic year.  To me, it is a sad reflection on the school if a child is not motivated even to merely scrape through the annual exam.  Every parent admits his ward in the school in absolute trust that the child’s interests would be taken care of by the school.  At the end of 10 years schooling, how can the child not pass the public exam?  That was unacceptable to me.  I instilled such ideas in the minds of teachers repeatedly and gave them the concept of “crash courses” to help every child pass the exam.  By constantly motivating the teachers and guiding them at every stage on how to take care of backward children in particular, I succeeded in producing 100% results in Board examinations continuously for a number of years, a record of sorts!.  The Delhi Government awarded a trophy and a letter of commendation to me in recognition of the spectacular results year after year.  The performance of the JKP school was the best among all DTEA schools with the sincere efforts put up by the teachers and hard work of the students.  We became the envy of everyone in DTEA circles!  The DTEA, in recognition of my services to the community, conferred on me, the DTEA Diamond Jubilee Award in a special function.

diamond-jubilee-award-1988

While I remained a role model to other teachers, I expected them, on their part, to be role models for the innocent children under their care.  I would make sure no child is humiliated under any circumstances, be it corporal punishment or otherwise.  I believed the teachers should bestow parental affection on the children and be a Guide rather than an Instructor.  Quite a number of teachers working with me were inspired by what I preached and practiced, and have benefited in the long run.  I truly believed in the pledge that I framed –

This is my school

Make me proud of it

Make it proud of me

Each morning in the assembly, the Head Boy/Girl administered the pledge to the fellow students, which proved very efficacious.  Every student passing out of Janakpuri school cannot ever forget the essence of this pledge.

After completing 10 years at the JKP school and not having taken a break, I went to visit my children in USA during the summer holidays of 1991 when I brought back souvenirs for the staff & children – pens for all the staff, and pencils for the 300+ Primary department kids.  On my return, I went to each classroom and distributed the ‘Made in USA’ pencils personally to each child.  What a pleasure it was to see the little ones so happy!  By the way, long after my retirement, a student called on me to inform me that he had just then passed class XII exam and wanted my blessings again.  He added that he still remembered the occasion when I gave him “that” pencil personally long ago, and he’s still keeping it safely.  How touching indeed!

By the way, since the Janakpuri school had come of age and become, in a period of 10 years, a full-fledged senior secondary school with adequate infrastructure and full complement of staff numbering over 50, with a track record of excellent Board results, the DTEA brought the school at par with other 6 senior secondary schools with respect to common seniority.  This completed the circle and everybody’s interest was fully protected thereon.

In September of 1991, I took a major decision to take voluntary retirement from service after discussing with my children who wanted me to visit them more often.  The school was functioning smoothly and things had been streamlined.  I had done my job!!  I served a notice to the DTEA Management to relieve me of my responsibilities by the end of that academic year.  It was nice of them to have agreed to my request and processed all my benefits intact.  I sent by postal mail, a personal letter signed by me, to each individual parent of the school, by way of personally taking farewell in 1992.  The teachers have visited me since then, on Teachers’ Day, year after year until this day, to pay their respects and share fond memories that I appreciate so much.  Many, many students right from the 1950’s to 1990’s have always met me with great regards and affection.  It is so gratifying that the students have reached good positions in life and love their alma mater from the bottom of their hearts.

principal-janakpuri-1991-2

I truly believe, every child has the potential to make a difference in this world and it is the solemn duty of the school to shape the child along right lines, according to their abilities, without prejudice.  It is every child’s right to grow in a healthy environment during his/her formative years.  To that end, I have done my utmost during my tenure with MEA/DTEA in different roles as assigned by the Management.  Mine is a professional life fully lived, to my utmost satisfaction, and for the noble cause of education.  I cherish every moment of it even today.  Over the years, the original flavour of the erstwhile MEA might have started undergoing a metamorphosis, and I believe, given the right leadership, any evolutionary change can be galvanized towards the victory of the common good.  I wish Good Luck to all the alumni wherever they are and my sincere thanks are due to them without whom my purpose of teaching would not have been fulfilled.  I am thankful to Kamesh – an alumnus of DTEA, also a friend and classmate of my daughter – for his interest and initiative in asking me to write about my experiences with the MEA/DTEA, perhaps the first of its kind.  Adieu!!

< for my response to comments, please check the tab Author’s Response >

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24 Responses to “The Victor and the Victorious”


  1. 1 V.Thirumalai November 4, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Dear Sir,

    This is truly a very captivating account of the build up of the 7th branch of the great institution. I am sure this must have been a very satisfying experience. Few in the current crop can boast of similar achievement.

    Hats Off.

    Respects

    Thirumalai

  2. 2 Kamesh November 4, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Sir,

    A truly amazing account of an awesome achievement.

    I trust the ‘adieu’ is only for this post… as the old Hindi song goes ‘kabhi alvida na kahna…’.

    Looking forward to more…

    Pranams

  3. 3 S. Raghavan November 6, 2008 at 3:47 am

    I was a student who passed out in 1960. For those like me, it is indeed gratifying to learn of the relentless work done by you. It is so well written that one feels like being in the ‘school’ itself.

    I wish that many teachers of the modern times read these articles and learn from your in-valuable experience.

    Raghavan
    1960 Batch

  4. 4 Pradeep February 27, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Dear Sir,

    Greetings.
    I am an alumni of DTEA R.K.Puram, 1998 batch.

    It was quite interesting to read the account of your struggles, challenges and subsequent victories.

    It seems the general reaction to your blog has been to heartily applaud your indefatigable efforts (which are truly gigantic) and to bemoan the lack of such commitment and drive in today’s teachers. This second part is definitely disheartening.

    D.T.E.A.Schools even today possess the finest of teaching talent in the country.
    But somewhere down the line in the last few years two things seems to have changed dramatically –

    1) The quality of students, and their value systems. It’s all very easy to say that it is for the teachers to inculcate the values, but then that cant be an excuse for the parents to wash their hands off their child.

    Education, one has to realise, is not any other purchasable.

    You pay good money and you expect your kid to get a good shirt, bicycle, video game – this principle can’t and shouldn’t be applied to education and value-education even more so.

    2) The management – somehow they seem not just to have lost the vision, the focus, but their very integrity and sence of service to the schools.

    If there is anything left of the old glory of the DTEA schools, it is the teachers.

    My venerations to them.

  5. 5 Radha Ganesh March 18, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Dear Sir,

    I have the privilege of studying in the JKP branch , having interviewed by you for my admission in the 5th std., and passed out in 1991.I very much remember the wooden shacks with dripping roofs during rainy seasons and yet we all used to have such a great time having fun and studies.

    the jkp branch stands tall amongst all the branches of dtea for the humble beginnings and its growth to a respectable position , all thanks to the dedicated teachers and principle like you sir.

    whenever i go back to delhi to visit my near and dears, i make it a point to go and see my school , posangi pur, the krishna temple etc… i am already nostalgic..

    the teachers… rukmini teacher, shanta teacher.. srinivasan sir, ramsubramani sir, mythili teacher.. my chemistry teacher in 12th ( i am forgetting her name .. ,, but an iyengar,, what a teacher she was!!) , ..and others

    its difficult to find such dedicated teachers nowadays.. if given an opportunity , i would enrol my kids into dtea JKP.. i still have my uniform intact!!

    it was lovely and heart warming to see your message on the blog sir..
    and stumbling upon the dtea alumni site made all the memories rush back.. indeed a great effort! i hope to find some of my friends here.

    thank you

    radha ( 1991 batch)

  6. 6 Bharathan January 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I graduated from the Mandir Marg branch of DTEA in 1965 and had the personal privelege of having been taught by Shri. S. Natarajan.

    I was moved by the excellent blog put out by my teacher and guide.

    I am working as a Children’s Librarian in Lakewood, NJ.

    Because of the excellent education I received at DTEA I enjoyed several wonderful positions in India and US and look forward to meet with Shri. S. Natarajan.

    My phone number is 732-534-5695

    Bharathan

  7. 7 vivekanandhan S February 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Sir i, S.Vivekanandhan, had the previlage of being your student from your first appearance at the JKP school till 1984, when i passed Xth std. Also when i got admitted to XI std in PUSA Road, you were there as Principal (Additional charge i think in 1984). I do remember your scooter. And i cannot forget the prayer oath, “This is my school….. Makeit proud of me”. Now i am working Inspector of Central EXcise in Sivakasi, thanks to the education i got at JKP school. I still remember you taking English lessons(sometimes beyong lunch hours also) in the wooden shed. Then we , for the first time, moved to and attended classes in Concrete building in XIth std.,.

    Yours Faithfully
    S.Vivekanandhan

  8. 8 Nagarajan April 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

    A excellent blog indeed. I passed out of DTEA Lakshmibai Nagar. I now work in publishing house called Orient Blackswan (formerly Orient Longman) in their Head Office in Hyderabad. I look after the Examination Division. We conduct Spoken English on behalf of Trinity College London for children and adults. Thanks to teachers like you and DTEA for what I am today.

    Nagarajan

  9. 9 Parthiban Vijayaraghavan May 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Sir,
    I joined DTEA Janakpuri in 1985 and passed out 1993. We friends still talk about good old days and cherish those moments. You have certainly done a commendable job! when we were studying never knew there was so many challenges until I read the blog today. Thank you for making us feel proud about our school we studied.

  10. 10 Raghu Bharadwaj aka Raghu Balachandran May 20, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Dear sir,

    What an interesting article…who would have thought all that was happening in the background while we were at DTEA…I personally was only concerned about the new class room in the new building and playing football out in the field. 🙂

    I was at the “Madrasi” school for a couple of year only(1984-86) – but once you have been there for even a short period – you are always left with the everlasting tag of being through the DTEA system.

    Raghu

  11. 11 Ramaseshan Balachandran October 30, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Dear Mr Natarajan

    I used to live in Janakpuri from 73 to 86 until we migrated to Australia. My wife, Maila Balachandran, is well known to you and your wife who, I believe, taught her. Our children, Divya and Raghu [whose response appears earlier to my note] studied for a little under two years in DTEA JP and they have fondest memories. Both of them have done exceedingly well in their studies and career and work in responsible positions. Divya teaches at a private college in Portland, OR and Raghu is an account direct for an MNC in Melbourne. Inspite of not having studied in DTEA for a longer period,they have the highest respect for you, your colleages and the school in general. Do let me know your e-mail as I would like to send a mail to you later. Cheers…

  12. 12 Archana Nagarajan November 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you for the amazing posts!..I am from DTEA JKP 1999 batch. I have studied all my 12 yrs of school in DTEA JKP. I remember u so well and I still remember the pencil which you gave and which was my prized possession for a year!..one of the fondest memory i have of you is that you were always immaculately dressed, which was not so often in school environments.
    My whole family is from DTEA and is amazing when we sit and discuss teachers, as we have members from JKP, Lodhi estate, RK Puram and Reading road..My parents fondly remember Mrs. Patammal, Ganju sir and Surya narayanan sir.
    I was lucky enough to be taught by some amazing teachers at JKP. When you are in school, you have your favourite teachers and not so favourite ones but, now when i look back, each one of them instilled in me a part of my character. My primary school teachers..Usha maam, Rajagopalan maam(may she rest in peace), Raman maam, Maheshwari maam were such wonderful people..teaching with love and passion.
    my favourite teachers from middle and high school were Rajeshwari maam (Sanskrit teacher…she used to teach us not only the subject but used to tell us the importance of being a good human being), Prema maam( English teacher…she is my fav of fav..she gave me a ramar-sita moorthy which i have till now), Mythili maam (she was so sweet and gave us a card when we were leaving school in 12th class wishing us for exams and had actually tears in her eyes!), Mamta Aggarwal maam (amazing Chemistry teacher and went always a step extra in teaching the concepts…whatever she taught of inorganic chemistry is still in my mind), Mallika maam (she taught my favorite subject-Biology and I am pursuing a career in that!), Swamy maam and vijayalakshmi maam( i fell in love with history when she taught us history as if telling us all a story)…I also want to mention Mrs. Madhu Chopra…she was the PT teacher…and since i was part of sports team in school, i can vouch for the fact that she gave her heart to take us to all the big competitions happening…. and many many more teachers…who made it all a beautiful place to be…
    I wish the present generation also gets to study in such amazing intellectually stimulating environment.However, I have heard the school has sadly deteriorated a lot, which is very sad..but, a recent group of Alumni are trying to work really hard in restoring the former glory. I hope they succeed in their endeavour.
    Thank you sir for all your dedication and love towards education.

    Best Wishes
    Archana

  13. 13 V.RAMANATHAN February 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Dear Sir : I , V. Ramanathan, too had the previlage of being your student from your first appearance at the DTEA school till 1984 when I passed Xth std. I still recollect and remember those golden days when you took extra classes for English Grammar and you Grammar book which you published and distributed to the students of 9th and 10th classes. I still remember your Morning slogan and has made my child recitate the slogan everyday i.e. “This is my school. Make me proud of it. Make it proud of me.” I carry forward the slogan a step further and made the same applicable in my all walks of my life, whether it is office, Society, public places, etc. Presently I am working as Manager in the Asia’s First IT Software company “TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES LTD”. I feel very proud that I got the education, guidance, blessing from DTEA School, Janakpuri (and Mandir Marg -11th & 12th) and thank you and all the teachers i.e. Rukmini teacher, Swami teacher, Pillai Teacher, Rajeswari Teacher, Madhavan Teacher, Srinivasan Sir, Ramaswami sir, Mythili teacher, Usha Teacher and the list goes on and on including the Junior teacher starting from 1st Class onwards who made me to reach this height in my life.

    My salute and Hats off to you all.

    Yours

    V. Ramanathan
    First batch to study from 1st to 10th Class and passed Xth Class in 1984

  14. 14 Krithika Venkatesan March 14, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Dear sir:

    I had the privilege of studying in DTEA Janakpuri under your leadership from 1984-1988, and was a student of the first batch of Std XII graduates in 1988. I vividly remember your determination to bring Std XI to our school and your dedication to see it through successfully. While a lot of my friends moved to other DTEAs in apprehension and uncertainty, I am glad my parents chose to keep me there. In fact, the two years being the “pioneers”, were the most memorable of my school life. Being in a small class of under 10 students, enabled us to get individual attention from the teachers, and forge strong working relationships.

    I still remember Ms. Meena Natarajan as the best teacher I have ever had in my life. I never thought I could love chemistry so much until I had her as my teacher. She has great talent, and being your daughter, that is no surprise. I also fondly remember Mr. Ramaswamy, our maths teacher, and Mr. Srinivasan, Tamil teacher, whose dedication and individual attention to students reflected their passion for teaching.

    I am currently in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the process of embarking on an entrepreneurial journey – in education! I plan to open a Kumon Math & Reading center in a few months. If you are ever in this part of the US, please let me know, so I can have the honor of thanking you in person for everything you have done.

    Sincerely,
    Krithika

  15. 15 Malini Ravi (Venkataraman) March 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Dear Sir,

    I too had the priviledge of studing in DTEA Janakpuri from 1984-1988 and was a student of the first batch of Stad XII graduates in 1988. As Krithika has mentioned those 2 years are the most memorable years of my school life.

    I still remember the efforts you took to give us the best. Our early morning classes of Maths with Dr. J. Krishnamurthi and Prof. S Ramamrutham and your probability classes. I remember Dr Meena Natarajan, but as I was a commerce student did not have the priviledge to study chemistry from her.

    Yours sincerely,

    Malini

  16. 16 S Vaidyanathan November 26, 2011 at 4:58 am

    I got this link just a couple of days back. It was very interesting to read the unfolding of history. I can imagine the determination & dedication that would have been required by the likes of Mr Natarajan in the early days. Fantastic.

    I was in MM and then in LE during 1963-67. Though a relatively short stint, those years made a telling difference to my life & career. I can, of course, boast of belonging to a family of MEA alumni. I particularly am proud of my grandmother, Jaya Venkataraman – popularly known as Jaya Teacher – who was part of the school for many years.

    I am in touch with some of my ’67 batch class mates and each of the meetings is enjoyable.

    My last visit to the LE branch a few years back was as full of emotional surge of past memories as it was disappointing to see only the ghost of the old glory.

    But what an Institution and what dedicated teachers! I was lucky.

    S Vaidyanathan

  17. 17 Vidhya Venkatachalam January 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Dear Sir,

    I remember the days in DTEA where i studied from Class 1 to 12th. I still have the pencil, which you had given us after yor US visit and i remember how you compared the Roads of USA & our schoolg ground. Its a pleasure to read your article and refresh our memory about our school. Thanks for making us what we are today.

    Regards
    Vidhya (1999)

  18. 18 K S Ram Mohan April 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Dear Sir
    I am Col KS Ram Mohan from DTEA RKP 1980 batch.

    I read thru all your articles and must say made a great reading- a trip in nostalgia about the School. I was not lucky to be your student but certainly by a number of others groomed by you when you were at RK Puram.

    The photo gallery was very interesting. Sir most of them were of Staff in a particular year or students of a particular batch. I wonder if you will have in possession some photos of my school when it was in tents or some other photos that reflect school life in general those days.It will be so very special to us

    The origins of our group of Schools was in Shimla. i am posted here. If you can provide me a bit more details it would be my pleasure to trace out the exact place of origins of our School and send it across to you for the benefit of countless others who will be as keen.

    With regards

    K S Ram Mohan
    Col

  19. 19 P. Vijay Raghavan August 27, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Respected Sir,
    I was a student of MEA, Reading Road from class 3-5. I was in the same class with the now famous ‘Dream Girl’ Hema Malini. I left the school as my father was transferred to Allahabad. I was very young at that time, but I still have vague memories. I am now settled in Ranchi and pursuing journalism. I would be interested if someone from my class would become my friend on Facebook, so that we can remember the ‘good old’ days!.I am planning to visit the school during my next visit to Delhi.

  20. 20 shivakumar January 28, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I was a Branch Manager of Indian Bank JANAKPURI Branch during 2007-10 and had the privilege of associated with this Guru/Sir (as a Pensioner ). He is not only a very valued customer of this Janakpuri Branch, but also an Ambassador of Indian Bank. Eventhough,he moved to Dwarka, he continued his banking only with Indian Bank Janakpuri. During his every visit, he used to spend little time for me and shared his experiences in Delhi. I have seen a real Motivator and would continue to get his motivational messages even now (though I am away)

  21. 21 Kannan March 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I was one of your early students who passed class 10 from janakpuri in 1982 along with Ramayya sunil nagpal and Jaishankar to name a few.
    My brother karthik passed class 12 from jkp along with his friend Hari and Meena
    I am really proud of the legacy of DTEA and hope we can do more to get the school to shape.

  22. 22 priya s November 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Very inspiring read sir. Just by going through this I could sense you were a majestic leader ahead of your times. It would have been an honour to have studied under you. DTEA needs many more legends like you!

    Priya
    Ex DTEA pusa road alumini

  23. 23 prof s ram sarma December 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Sir Natarajan has brought us alive what we as students lived through his memories.Even today he corrects me to better my English-writing.In fact wherever/whenever we read/write good English we can always see our English sir.
    I was fortunate enough to learn English from him, in R K Puram school between 1967-72.
    Long live Natarajan sir.Long live good English

  24. 24 Anak7 April 21, 2016 at 2:29 am

    Dear Sir,
    I’m a student of DTEA Pusa Road and came across this blog post by sheer chance. Thank you for such a detailed account of such dedication and determination. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring true story.

    Best regards
    Anasuya Kesavan
    Vancouver, Canada


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