Archives / August 2019

TP Sreenivasan
The Teresa coffee I shall never forget

Some years ago, as Vice Chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council, I used to visit one educational institution or the other virtually everyday to learn about the educational system. I was entertained everywhere, and against my written instructions, put my picture on flex boards, gave me  flowers covered in plastic, delivered long welcome speeches and gave me souvenirs in plastic and glass. They served over sweet and cold coffee or tea and served lunch for the whole community. By the time my turn came to speak, everyone was exhausted and sleepy.

I accepted an invitation from St Teresa’s College (STC) expecting more of the same as I had never been there and I knew no one there. But about fifteen minutes before I reached, an unknown voice asked me on phone as to what kind of coffee or tea I would like to have on arrival. This completely shook me up, but I said I would like a hot cup of coffee without sugar, which was given to me on arrival by none other than the legendary Latha Ma’m of STC. I discovered later that what happened was not an isolated act of courtesy, but a part of the DNA of STC. There started my love affair with STC as I got to know Sister Vineetha. Sajimol and others. I worked with them ever since in different capacities and I am not surprised that STC has been adjudged the best college in Kerala even by NAAC. At the time of the historic creation of autonomous colleges, STC was on top of the list and I chose to serve on its Governing Council during the heyday of autonomy. The only other college I chose was Mar Ivanios where I taught and even found my wife.

I noticed at the time of the visit of the NAAC team, with whom I was invited to lunch though I have no official connection with STC, that the team was overwhelmed by every aspect of the college. It was very clear that they would rate the college highest in the state. Instead of lamenting the state of higher education in Kerala, we should build more STCs and liberate them from the stranglehold of outdated regulations and methods. Then Kerala will begin to smell good coffee in the academic world!

Share :