Sir Usman- A GEM OF A PERSON
Wow, this was a new low! ‘D’ Grade! For a person who feels disappointed with even a ‘B’, the experience of getting such pathetic marks was something new. My whole body felt numb, and the thought of achieving a similar grade four months into the future, while sitting inside a Cambridge Examination Hall was truly daunting. Well, there were some positives as most of the other students got similar grades and the teacher was adamant that he can change the course of how our destiny was to pan out. Nevertheless, I had decided I will be dropping “Additional Mathematics” as my O level subject and went to visit our teacher, Sir Usman Zaka, to inform him of my decision. After elaborating on how miserable my state was in his subject, the teacher took a deep breath and began a long speech, renewing my hope, eventually ending it with his trademark statement, “Beta mehnat nahi chorni, Allah khudhi help karay ga aur Aik din tum bolo gay kay yeh kya bachon wallay sawal thay”.
From January onwards, until our papers were conducted by the start of June, the teacher played a pivotal role which inspired us for years to come. His level of commitment and dedication for his students was parallel to none as he grabbed our hand and led us to the destination we all dreamt of. The journey behind the success of a class consisting of 26 students, out of which 24 achieved ‘A’ grades, was long and hard but we made it at the very end after our teacher served as our inspiration.
You may be well aware of how most teachers aim to maximize their income by forcing their students to attend their evening academies with a hefty fee, but here, the situation was the opposite. Our teacher used to invite us to his evening academy classes, every single student was welcome and would attend all of his Math/Add Math classes without even paying a penny. So after investing hours with us at school, the teacher would be more than willing to teach us afterward without earning a dime for himself. Honestly, I have never seen such people despite my vast experience. However, it was an academy and eventually, the management got angry at this generosity and asked him to charge us the designated fee. Even then, our teacher convinced us to only pay the amount due to the academy and forgo the portion he had to receive from every student. Massive respect for such acts!
With time, turns out we needed more help than just academies and extra classes at school. We would send all of our questions at a WhatsApp group, a considerably large number of questions, and our teacher would patiently not only solve all of them but also send along voice notes to elaborate on them which always ended at, “I hope there’s clarity now with zero ambiguities”. Moving on, there came a time when the schools and academies were closed due to official preparation breaks. Sensing our dire need of his support, Sir Usman did not even hesitate for a second as he invited all of the class to his home, where we would spend good 2–3 hours, eating his head with our stupid and lame questions. Regardless of how basic our questions were, he never showed the slightest irritation as he answered all of them with a thorough explanation while elaborating on his stance, “You have the right to ask me at every place where you doubt yourself”.
How many of you are met by teachers outside the examination hall? How many give you tips? I mean they only arrive for moral support, right? However, Sir Usman Zaka was present outside the Examination Hall before the exam, with a notebook and pen, revising the whole chapter of “RELATIVE VELOCITY” as all of us were worried sick with the prospect of having to face its question in our exam. Moreover, his kind acts were not confined to only his particular set of students. The teacher was more than willing to answer the questions of other students outside the hall who considered him as an angel in disguise, clearing the misconceptions they had before entering the examination hall.
It is wrong to just focus only on his academic side as he, as a person, is a thorough gentleman. Ranging from his love for cricket to his big heart when it comes to giving treats to his students (Halwa Puri at school before the papers and Ziafat dinner post result), to his ability to bear all our jokes and mockery as replicating his style of erasing the board and his quotes were one of our favorite things to do in banter sessions. Finally, his firm belief in Allah accompanied by the ability to attract those around him to the religion. While we were his students, we developed the beautiful habit of offering almost all of the prayers with him as the Imam as Sir had a firm conviction that eventually our prayers and duas would make a difference.
Within a small period of 4 months, the teacher managed to convert my ‘D’ grade in the send-up examination to an ‘A’ in the Cambridge Exams and I wasn’t the only one who achieved this incredible feat. Ask Momin Ayaz about his journey for further validation as for us, Sir Usman was without a doubt one of the best teachers we ever came across. Despite all of his achievements and us crediting him with our success, the teacher was so modest that he gave us the credit by saying, “yeh sab tumhari mehnat hay aur Allah ki marzi”.
I hope you all get such teachers who hold your hand and carry you through the storm towards something better!