During my student years, I often questioned authority. Tried to find the rationale behind the rules and regulations that we have all been subject to. Sometimes that has been construed as misplaced rebellion by the very same authorities I was raising my voice against, and I have received my fair share of flak and punishment for it.
I met Mrs. Sucharita Basu (or Ma'am Basu as we fondly call her) sometime in middle school when she started teaching our class History. Apart from being an extremely knowledgeable teacher, she was a keen judge of character, and dealt with every child based on his needs and surrounding circumstances. Within a span of weeks, a lot of us viewed her as a parent figure in school- someone we could approach for advice in matters which were academic, and otherwise .
Ma'am Basu was one of the few teachers who encouraged my questioning antics, and guided me to channel it positively. She taught me the importance of asking questions- the WHYs, the HOWs, the WHENs and the WHEREs. In high school, she suggested that I pursue law as a career. At the same time she also connected me to seniors who had displayed similar interests in school, and had gone on to pursue a successful legal career.
As an attorney today, every bit of work that I do involves asking questions. It's the little things that can change the entire outcome of a case, and one must go through the details and question and argue every aspect of it.
In 2009,under Ma'am Basu's guidance, La Martiniere Calcutta hosted Eastern India's first Model United Nations(MUN) conference. Model UN is an academic simulation of the United Nations which takes place over multiple days. It was the first time I was introduced to the concept of a MUN.
I found this format of debating challenging, and at the same time intellectually stimulating, and pursued it further in law school. During my years at law school, I participated in nearly fifty MUN conferences, winning at NUJS Kolkata, IIM Calcutta, and Harvard MUN India, amongst others, and chairing conferences at several prestigious universities. I have also served thrice as Secretary General of Rotary Indian International MUN (RIIMUN), India's oldest inter collegiate MUN held in Pune. None of this would have happened had I not been forced into participating in a MUN conference by Ma'am Basu, who felt that my skills and behaviours were particularly suited for this activity.
Ma'am Basu has remained a guide, a counsellor and most importantly, a friend since middle school. Even today I consult her when I am faced with the toughest of decisions. I would strongly recommend her to any student who is looking for career guidance and counselling.
- Rajdip Ray