The First Teacher

img_20161209_014347_309A review:

In the wee hours of night I sit thinking of the best way to write down my thoughts on the book I read recently. The book is “THOLI UPADHYAYUDU” (The First Teacher-Duishen), written by Chinghiz Aitmatov (a Russian writer) and translated to Telugu by Uppala Lakshmana Rao garu. Although I’m predominantly a Telugu speaker, I find it hard to read a Telugu book. I guess it is because colloquial Telugu is way different from literary Telugu. Of late I chose to overcome this problem because I would miss many classics in Telugu if I held on to my weakness. That is when I got introduced to the world of Chinghiz Aitmatov. His books got translated to various languages across the world and fortunately, Telugu is one of those languages. I will forever be grateful to Uppala Lakshmana Rao garu for this.

After reading ‘Talli Bhoodevi’ (Tales of the Mountains and Steppes) and ‘Jamilia’ (the other most notable works of Chinghiz Aitmatov), I could not wait to get my hands on ‘Tholi Upadhyayudu’. I bought the book few months back but could read it just recently.

What is the story about?

The story revolves around a school in a village called Kurkurev in Russia. It is a story about how an orphan girl who was treated brutally by her aunt, who led a normal village girl’s life, transformed into the most renowned scholar of Russia. It is the story about a man who was a disciple of Lenin, who believed earnestly that the beautiful future Lenin dreamt of can be achieved by educating the present generation. It is the story about the man who believed that he could transform the lives of the children of the village and who believed that they had immense power that has to be channelized to make wonders. It is the story about how he established a school in Kurkurev, all by himself and how he worked relentlessly on educating the children with absolutely no help from the villagers. It is the story about how a pure smile and kind words of the man made the girl believe in him and his endeavor. It is the story about a teacher who transformed the life of a student.

Why should you read it?

Chinghiz Aitmatov’s style of writing is unique. Of course, everybody has his/her own style of writing. But the way this man describes things is subtle and exquisite. The books make you experience all kinds of emotions. He chose to write on most common topics that people can relate to. The most remarkable thing about his books is the character he chooses as narrator of the story. We can relate so much with the narrator that it will be as if we are experiencing each and every part of the story by ourselves. The stories are short like the ones you could complete in a day. But as you come closer to the end of the story, you would not wish to finish the story. It is like a tour you would never want to end because the travel is more beautiful than the destination. You fall in love with the story in a way you can never imagine.

This book, Tholi Upadhyayudu is beautiful in all the aforementioned ways. I don’t encourage spoilers, but would like to share just this one with you. In the story, when the girl goes through a disturbing time, the teacher gets two Poplar plants and plants them near the school along with her to keep her cheerful. The trees grow to great heights much like the student-teacher affection. The trees stand tall at all times. At one point in the story, the narrator describes that when he reached the top of one of the trees, he realized that there is so much to the world than just their village and that he could not help but wonder what lies beyond the horizon. When the teacher planted the trees with the girl, was it not his intention to make the girl realize that the village is not the whole world and that there were vast opportunities if only she could look beyond the horizon of the village?

Do read this amazing book and share your ideas with me.

Link for eBook (English): http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/Duishen.pdf

You can get the Telugu copy at Hyderabad Book Trust.