Mr. Kattel and His Cattle

During my statistics class in high school, I used to sit at the back of the class. Not because I was not interested in learning, but my teacher was not interested in teaching.

Please do not feel pity for me. This is a pretty normal circumstance in schools that were and are similar to mine. The teachers come to class, not to teach, but to market.

Let me explain.

Mr. Kattel used to enter the class with a smile. It was not any regular kind of smile. Rather, it was a severely cheeky and sly smile. I had always wondered whether it was just me who was cynical of his curved lips that revealed his pearl-white teeth. After the first few weeks of classes, I asked my desk-partner Subin about his opinion on Mr. Kattel. “I get chutiya vibes from him,” he had said before re-joining the banter with Suravi and Manasi.

And chutiya he was.

One fine day, I had asked Mr. Kattel how the Poisson distribution was different from a normal distribution.

He looked at me like a lion looks at its prey. “This is a difficult question,” he started. “Come to my tuition and I will explain in detail. I don’t want to take too much of your peers’ class time”

The only catch was that he spent the entire class time using the same dialogue, albeit worded differently, to convince his students to… you get it – join his private lessons.

I do not blame him. He needed to survive in a market that underpaid teachers. But I still believe that he was more of an excellent marketing guy than a decent teacher. How? The evidence that some of my peers were taking classes with him three years in a row for a two-year course acts as a bitter testimony.


chutiya: (in this story’s context) a person that is sly and cannot be easily trusted

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