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Surekha Kher, the language co-ordinator for French at the Pune University talks about her love for the French language and the country called France that she calls ‘Maher’. Surekha Kher has experienced just about everything that makes a single life silhouetted against the rest. From an indulgent childhood in Pune, to the euphoria of Paris, from a contended motherhood to a teaching career of over thirty years. Being born in a family of doctors and educationists she was on her way to becoming a dentist when she felt that it was time to do something about her strong love for French.
She decided not to spend her life, dissecting insects and found it not quite so appealing. In Fergusson College she was delighted by a French teacher, whose perfect accent captured her interest even more. She finally realized that it was a must to visit France,and learn more about the language.
Her French friend Joel, made it possible for her and organized every detail for her. Surekha fascinated when the students rebelled against the anarchy. She was a part of it, of the barricades, the helmets ET all. Though she was often homesick, her French friends made it a lot easier.
Hmm, the irresistible French men? Surekha says that she was always safe and protected as the aura of sari and kumkum was something that the charming Frenchmen with all their compliments could not break. Her weekends were made to backpack all around Europe while the weekdays were spent pouring over French.
Soon after she returned, she accepted a job in the university. It has been 28 years in the same and there are absolutely no regrets. Her husband who was in the army, wanted to leave his job and she therefore knew that it was necessary that one of the two should hold a steady job. She states that she loves being wit young people and has made it easier to handle her own two sons! She is a teacher who is different from the tribe, as she does not believe that ‘a teacher knows best’. Drawing parallels between the two countries, Sujata remarks that everything about the French is very methodical. When they come down to Pune, they have hundred and one questions on their mind. Her connection with the French is so strong that she wishes she had a French sounding name. She feels that nothing can compare to the romantic sounding words of the French Language.Even with the increasing popularity of Japanese, French is not losing out. According to Surekha, the French people are very proud of their language and will go to any length to make sure that the word spreads all around the world.
They work peacefully along with Alliance Franciase, all for the promotion of the language. As for future plans,she wants to carry own teaching and maybe write a little more or perhaps translate notes from Marathi into French. Reveling in a simple life,peopled by her husband and two sons and a never-ending stream of students- Surekha is definitely enjoying hers to the maxim.


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