Monday, December 11, 2006

From school days - 1

Upper Kindergarten
I picked up a fight and, we;l, was victorious. I pushed my opponent so hard that he fell over the bench, much to my own surprise. As he admitted defeat with tears, I stood proud and happy but not without a sense of guilt. And then he swore that he would come back with his big brother and take revenge on me. The audience (our classmates) started talking about how big his brother really was. I put up a brave and cool face but the threat had actually penetrated deep within.

Many days later. I'm sitting on a staircase and having lunch. I see my enemy-of-that-day walking towards me and alongside him a fat, tall fellow. From their looks i conclude that they are coming for the promised revenge. I try to summon all courage to keep my spirits afloat holding on to the twigs of hope. They whisper something to each other and i guess that it can be nothing but their plan of action and their pledge to succeed in revenge. I did not want to run away, perhaps i was just too curious, or proud, or optimistic, or maybe there was a feeling of this inevitability that a crime has to meet with its punishment

Below the staircase the small one parts ways while the big one continues walking towards me., My heart beat increases with each step he climbs. I stand up breathless as he reaches two steps below me, preparing for any eventuality. As he takes the next step, he raises his face and our eyes meet. At that moment I lose all my grip and sink. My guilt and my fear start flowing out in the form of tears. The big boy looks surprised and asks some questions, but i just run away.

Some more days pass by. I meet this big fellow again in the same staircase but this time i feel no fear. He asks me why i broke down the last time we met. I just smile and walk away without even bothering to enquire whether he was indeed the big brother who was supposed to size me up. I observe my classmate for any signs of new victorious delight but find none. In fact he seemed to have forgotten even the original episode. No pride, no guilt, no fear, not even the shame of original defeat. I felt jealous.

Needless to say, dear friends, that was the last physical encounter i'd been in as I lost all faith in violence as a means to acheive glory. Ha ha!

First Standard
It was the time when the magnet was the hottest thing in class. It had overtaken the pencil, the rubber, the box and even the bag as the most valuable possession to have. Magnets of different sizes and shapes appeared day after day and their proud owners showed off their magic on window bars, on boxes, and on every other piece of iron we could discover. One day i reach home and talk about it. and my father gets me one from his workplace. It was bigger and stronger than most others I'd seen and also had a nice read paint on it.

The next day at school, I wait eagerly for the morning interval break. The time finally arrives and i take out the magnet from my bag and display it proudly. It becomes an instant hit and the buzz of the class. It passes on from hand to hand and i hear my name mentioned here and there as the lucky owner of this most wonderful material thing. I become the hero of the interval accepting adoration and jealousy and returning pride. I was fast moving towards the peak of glory, when the bell rings loud. Our teacher, Sister Colombus walks in almost immediately. I feel sad - this interval was much too shorter than usual.

I get to my seat and i realize that the magnet is not with me. I look around and spot it in a classmate's hand at the back. I try to signal him but he does not understand, The class begins but i cannot concentrate. Nothing can go into my head until the magnet is recovered safe. I wait for a chance to turn around again. The teacher turns around to write on the black board and i turn and realize that the magnet has moved to another hand. I grow more tense and try to track the magnet's trajectory making use of even the smallest opportunity that the teacher provided. After a painfully long period when the teacher had her attention fixed on us, I turn back again but there is no trace of the magnet. I desperately send my eye to every nook and corner of the class, to every bench and desk, to many a classmate's hand.

Suddenly i hear Sister Colombo's loud question "who brought this magnet to class?". I feel like being hit by a thunder and turn around quickly. I see the magnet in her hand. She had confiscated it from one of the front benches. I stand up with mixed emotions of fear and relief. I get scolded really hard but i do not feel hurt. I believed that i can get the magnet back after the class is over. I see her put the magnet away on top of the cupboard. The class ends and i rush to the cupboard and search for it but does not find it. I feel disappointed and sad but i did not lose hope. I wait for Sister Colombo's class on the next day same hour. Perhaps she has the magnet with her. The interval was long and ardours and the teacher was a bit late. She comes, takes the class and leaves leaving me depressed.

Just a week later I realized that i was no longer sad about the loss for it made no difference to my daily life, though i was self-critical of my carelessness that led up to it. Also the magnet lost its number one position in class, for all it could attract was iron. Unlike the double-decker pencil box with an in-built cutter which attracted every one of us. It even had a misckey-mouse picture on it. Wow!