“LIFE IS A GREAT TEACHER” – Shamali Gupta Bose, Principal, MET Institute of Mass Media

Shamali Gupta Bose, Principal,MET Institute of Mass Media talks to Shraddha Kamdar about her inspiration and her students

Not one to stay still and waste aminute of her restless self, she ignored a health problemfor a long time for devoting herself to her work. It is no wonder then, that the lines between teacher andmother often blur when it comes to supporting and encouraging hermany children – all her students. That is what Shamali Gupta Bose, Principal,MET Institute ofMassMedia (METIMM) ismost comfortable with. That she can be of help to nurture her students to becoming successful human beings.

“I feel that it is the most important aspect of all, to be a good person,” she says over an informal lunch, a little away fromthe college atmosphere where loves spending most of her time. She adds that the best thing to do in life is something that you really love. She fondly
remembers how she was taught this by one of the nuns when she was in school. “She used to teach us a lot of things, including what we now termsoft skills, but she said one thing that stuck withme forever. That we should engage ourselves and our lives in something that we find immense joy and satisfaction,” she reminisces over the thought.

Owing to this, Bose blatantly told her daughter, who cleared her class 10 exams last year, that if she is thinking about medicine or
engineering, she will receive an earful from her mother.While I stare in shock at this revelation at Bose, she smiles expectedly, as if this is not the first time she has shocked someone with this statement. Which mother does not want her child to become a doctor or an engineer?

“It’s not that dramatic. I amaware of her sensibilities, likes, dislikes and aptitude. I know that she would have not done that well in either of those streams, since she is not cut out for it. So, when she opted for arts, I was really happy!” shares the joyfulmother. She suggests that all students should look at their own strengths and weaknesses and accordingly choose their career paths, and parents should help guide themalong the way. She knows this out of experience, even though she has the only  daughter, she talks to students all the time.

There was a time when Bose could have become a successful journalist, but she knew what her first love was. Or rather, is and always will be – teaching. She cites a few childhood incidents to prove it. “Once,” she says, “when I was about eight or nine years old,my father walked uponme talking to the grills in the balcony of our house. He wondered what I was doing, when I said that I was the teacher and the squares of the grills weremy students. I had been playing this game for a long time, I would teach the squares whatever I had learnt in school.

I knew back then that I wanted to be a teacher, and I know it now that I cannot be anything but a teacher!” She adds that her  father was also curios about the scale (ruler) in her hand when she was teaching, and asked her about it – since he thought may be that is something she picked up from one of her teachers. Bose’s answer was simple – “No,my teacher does not have one in her hand, but theses students (squares in the balcony grill) are not answeringme, that’s why I got one!”

Bose’s foray into the journalistic word remained limited as a free lancer, as she started devoting more and more of her energy into teaching. Before joining MET-IMM, Bose worked for 15 long years with Ramnarain Ruia College. She moved on from the position of the Head of the Mass Media Department, which she held for four years. Numerous of students trained under her tutelage in the Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) programme, most of them successful in their fields of work. So one way or the other, her connection with the world of mass media remains strong.

Before that she was a lecturer with the English department at the College. She is proud to say that the students are but a phone call away, should she ever need to talk to themor vice versa. The gleam in her eye shines as bright as a diamond when she talks of the loving messages she receives from her students over social media on a daily basis.

Being popular with her students comes naturally to Bose, since she knows where they come from whenever they say something. She is able to make the connection with Gen X and Gen Y, which is one of her strong points.

And one of her equally strong points is articulating the practical factors of the field to this ‘air-conditioned’ classroom generation. “I want to get them off their fat behinds from these ‘cool’ classrooms into the field, out in the sweltering heat, so that they learn how to stop complaining! Imagine, they want to be media persons without being out in the sun!” she exclaims.

It’s not that she does not appreciate adequate and modern infrastructure in a mass media institute for the students to learn on, in fact she rooted for such facilities herself at Ruia College. But, she also wants them to taste a slice of real life.

In a bid to bring this slice of life to her students, she is encouraging them to work on live projects in mass media. The recent one her students are working on is one for the National Centre for Performing Arts, where they are shooting and editing promotional videos, which will soon be uploaded on the internet. It is these short-term, but real-life projects that give students a glimpse of the real world, and what it takes to make it in there through the competition, she feels.

Bose does not lay too much importance on competition per se, but feels strongly about being the best that one can be. She feels that life is a great teacher, and an effective one at that.When I ask her about what students who are not so privileged can do about bettering themselves, she feels that life will teach them whatever lessons they have to learn, as long as they stick to their goals and work relentlessly towards them.

On that note, after a sumptuous lunch finished off with the perfect bite-sized cupcakes, we end our tête-à-tête in a crowded yet cosy cafe, and decide to move on for the day. She to her students’ presentation and me to the next edition of Knowledge.

Shraddha Kamdar

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