Top of the town: Mr. Prem Mehta, Principal City Vocational Public School
Who was your inspiration in Childhood ?
I think in my childhood it was the national leaders like Gandhi ji and Nehru ji who inspired me the most because our exposure at that time was almost zero beyond them.
Which great leaders from history or your contemporaries influenced your thought process?
Here I would say that Dr. S RadhaKrishnan and Swami Vivekanand. These were the people who gave me awareness and I started thinking on my own.
When did you start working on your ambition?
Right in the first year of college, that means class XI, I opted for Science. But within a couple of months I realized that Science is not my cup of tea. I used to watch my English professor with great admiration and wish to become someone like him. So, right from next year, I changed my stream from science to humanities, planned to go for MA English and become a college professor.
What do you do in your leisure time i.e. your hobbies?
I love to travel, read books and watch nature. I like to read anything that touches heart or have something poetic about it.
Quick bites of favorites?
- Holiday destination – Montreal
- Book – Tuesdays with morrie
- Movie – Kaagaz ke Phool, Roman Holiday, Mughle Azam
- Food – Anything well cooked
- Actor – Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh bacchan, Naseerudin shah and Om Puri
- Actress – Madhubala, Nutan, Madhuri, Deepika
- Singer – Jagjit Singh
- Song – “Kissi ki muskurahaton pe ho nissar, kissi ka dard mil sake to le udhar”
What is your fitness regime?
I drink a lot of water to stay fit. I also go for a half an hour walk in the evening.
Who all are there in your immediate family?
My wife, she is a principal. I have two sons with their families. The elder one is an IT engineer and settled in US. The younger one is in Airtel.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
In the modern terms probably I am not a very fine professional. Even in workplace I would like to give them a kind of a family atmosphere. For me all my 140+ faculty members are like my kids and I address them mostly as Beta. I feel that if they are happy and they get that kind of atmosphere in school, they can contribute more. If they remain happy and at peace with themselves, naturally they will love the students better and they would teach them better. Say to have good teachers; I need to make them happy teachers first. And after bringing smiles to a few hundred kids whom I meet in the morning and whatever number of teachers I meet, when I reach home I feel satisfied, happy and contented. This helps me to maintain and create the right kind of balance between my personal and professional life.
Who is your best friend and his/her good qualities?
I have couple of friends. But one of my friends, Mr. Arvind Garg is really special. He is established in New York but we have been friends since 1965. He did his MA English with me and then did MA in American Literature from university of Leeds, England and started teaching. But later on he left teaching and pursued his hobby as a photographer and made it a profession. I love the way he looks at life. He has a knack of enjoying life. For him material possessions do not mean anything and believed in living life the way one wants.
What one thing makes you very angry?
Normally I am not very angry but sometimes when you watch some students and come across somebody who is really disrespectful and not bothered about his parents who are supporting him with a great difficulty. Some parents are working as a driver or laborer and still paying the fees for the studies of their children and their kids do not behave properly with them. This really bugs me.
Similarly if a child is really disrespectful to a lady teacher, it irritates me a lot. Though I do not show anger but I still try to make them understand politely for their ill deeds.
What one thing makes you very happy?
Smile on the face of somebody make me very happy. I am happy with small things in life, may be just a casual compliment, and may be somebody has written a few words on a simple piece of paper. Small things can make your day. Big things are normally not in our hands so why wait for them to happen to be happy.
I was born in an economically weak family, had a very tough childhood and studied with great difficulty but these things never bothered me much. Now I have all the luxuries that are required to live life comfortably. Suppose I have a car but I would not mind to travel in a rickshaw if I need to even today.
What accomplishments of your life you are proud of?
I feel that I have received lot of love from lot of people. That probably is the greatest accomplishment of my life. And the day that I consider the best day of my life was when I retired from DAV public school. That day I received so much love from all the students and teachers. The whole day was devoted to my farewell. Every child had something for me whether a card or a flower and all those 2500+ students and 100+ had given me the most memorable send off in an open jeep and loads of flowers is unforgettable. The idea that so many people are loving you and shedding tears when you are leaving is the biggest accomplishments.
I have got many awards but I do not consider them a big accomplishment but being loved by so many students is definitely the biggest accomplishment of my life.
What are your contributions to your city Meerut?
I have been here since 1995, almost 22 years. Whatever number of students I have met, if I was able to change the thoughts or life of even one percent of my students in a positive way, I consider that as a contribution to the city of Meerut.
What are your future goals?
I think whatever life is there, I want to spend it in peace and wanted to contribute for the welfare of the society. I wish to die in harness, i.e. die working.
One line that defines you in totality?
My personal slogan is my favorite song “Kissi ki muskurahaton pe ho nissar, kissi ka dard mil sake to le udhar”