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Archive for August, 2016

Lasting impressions

Posted by Pepper on August 20, 2016

Some people touch your life only for a brief period, but leave behind such a lasting impression that you end up remembering them forever. She was one of them. The first thing I did when I walked into college on the first day was to go through the list of professors who would be teaching us. And I saw her name there. Luku Sanya! She would be teaching us Effective Communication. Wow.

I was elated. When I told my mom this, she was as impressed. Ms. Luku Sanyal was one of the earliest faces of Doordarshan and one of the first English news readers of our country. Of course, she was a familiar name and my parents held her in high regard. She was the one who read the news to the whole country when Indira Gandhi was arrested. She gave news updates about the ‘Emergency’ in our nation.

I was terribly excited by the mere idea of being trained under her. Communication is my most favourite subject. And to have the fortune of learning from such a legend was too good to be true. I waited with baited breath for her to arrive in class on our first day. I distinctly remember the thump of my heart when she walked in. What an astounding personality.

I learnt from her later on that an “ordinary looking person can SCREAM personality”. Her words. She was the one who made me realise that it wasn’t about how good you looked or how pretty your physical features were. It was all about the way you carried yourself. And needless to say, she carried herself remarkably well.

Luku ma’am as she was fondly called, taught us Effective Communication for two semesters and Radio Studies for another. Since I have always been so much in love with the field of communication, I used to hang on to every word she said in class. I know I owe a lot to her. She greatly fixed my accent, diction, speech and language skills.

She taught me how to pronounce words like ‘jewelry’, ‘pronunciation’, ‘product’, ‘Wednesday’ and more the right way. Words that have a seemingly simple pronunciation but ones I realised I had been messing up all this while. Her constant reminders of “there is a difference between how you pronounce V and W” and that we should ‘Cut our lips when we talk’ to pronounce each syllable correctly will always stay with me.

I was intrigued by her life. She almost always had a cigarette in her hand, which she would duly finish in the department office before entering our classroom. For a woman in her late 60’s, I thought she was brave. She hardly discussed her personal life, but I knew she had been in a violent marriage.

A few weeks ago, I saw an FB post put up by one of our department heads that said that Luku ma’am was critically ill. A week later, we heard she passed away. Very soon, it was all over the news.

Times of India carried a piece.  “News reading legened Luku Sanyal is no more

DNA carried another piece. “Tributes pour in as legendary news reader, writer Luku Sanyal passes away

There were other articles floating around. I read all of them. I went back and read her earlier interviews too. For days, I couldn’t shake off that feeling of remorse. It still hasn’t left me completely. I think of her time and again. But now, that feeling of remorse is slowly being replaced by pride and gratitude. She was such an amazing person. She helped me build my skills. I take such pride in saying she was my teacher.

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