Last Friday, I attended a meeting of our Alumni Pune Chapter, arranged to meet a retired Professor of our Institute who was visiting Pune to attend a wedding.
Dr. V.L. Mote was among the first members of the faculty when the institute was set up and he taught Quantitative Approaches to Management.
The subject was way over my head as my education in mathematics was basic up to school level and I had gone on to graduate in Liberal Arts. I believe that I was selected for admission to the prestigious institute due to my earlier work experience of 6 years. No one had warned me of the level of proficiency one would require in mathematics to study in the institute and I was very depressed.
Dr. Mote, apart from being a founding member of the faculty, was also my tutor during our first semester. I therefore took courage to call on him and explain my difficulty in following his classes. He quizzed me in detail about the level of mathematics that I knew and suggested that I take extra tuition from him to bring me up to the standard required. He took extraordinary care to teach me the basics over a number of one on one classes off the regular classes during the first semester, which enabled me to successfully complete not only his course, but the other quantitative subjects that followed in subsequent semesters. He held the one on one classes for me in his office as well as at his home on some week ends, when his wife would fuss over me and insist on feeding me home cooked goodies as she was convinced that the hostel food was just not good enough for a young man like me.
The two of them left a lasting impression on me for their generosity with their time and hospitality. While I had thanked Dr. Mote after graduation and before I left the institute, I had not had an opportunity to meet with him till a few months ago, when I got his telephone number by providence and rang him up. He instantly recognised me despite the gap of 44 years and was very happy to talk to me. He promised to meet me when he came to Pune in January and the meeting that the Alumni chapter arranged made for an excellent venue away from his preoccupations with the family wedding.
In the meeting, I was able to publicly acknowledge my debt of gratitude to him, much to his embarrassment. It also gave me great pleasure to escort him to the wedding reception after our meeting which gave me some private time in the car.
Great teachers leave lasting impressions on students and Dr. Mote did exactly that with many of us alumni. Thank you Dr. Mote.