Big lesson

My next session of studies in grade one started at St Roch’s Convent, Trivandrum. As I told earlier, it was near the sea and airport. On the first day of joining, I unclasped the hand of my uncle and ran away from school. He ran after me to catch me. But I was quick enough that he could take hold of me only from the seashore. I never remember this, but my mother used to tell others even when I grew up.

Vimala teacher was my Malayalam teacher, and I was very poor in my language. I used to get zero for test papers. She asked me to “show this enormous egg to your mother”. I was so innocent that I take that paper and give to mother telling that teacher told to show the enormous egg she drew on my paper. But I was fond of that teacher for one and only one reason. One day, I wore a green shirt with full of buttons stitched on it. She liked that costume and called me to the front and told everyone how handsome I am. From that day I realized to get attention you have to be different.

My mother usually warns me not to do any mischiefs at school. I don’t remember doing any mischiefs at schools. I used to walk alone in intervals around the campus. But when my mother reminds me about not doing mischiefs, a thought came to my mind. It is lucky that there is no camera or TV like thing in school through which mother can see. I knew about camera from studios and TV displayed in Trivandrum museum.

From grade 3, we have red, green, blue, silver and gold star as ranking. They award red to failed students, those up to 50% green, up to 60% blue, up to 75% silver and the highest scorer gold. If you get gold in all examinations, you will be the best student of the year. I had a competitor- a girl. She is from my neighborhood. I was not consistent in my studies. But my friend was very brilliant, she scored gold in all exams. But occasionally I would score the highest mark and will drop her chance to become the best student. So she would not talk to me. To be very frank, I talked to her only at my age of 45.

We were also school bus mates. One day while returning from school, a film celebrity Umar of Kerala overtook our bus. He waved hands at students. Many waved back. I didn’t. But on next day my rival girl friend raised this complaint to the Class teacher. She alleged me and my friend put our hand outside and waved at this celebrity. Class teacher reported to head teacher, and she came with a long cane.

She beat me for this mischief. I do not remember how many times her cane swiped across my thigh. But not a drop of tear came from me. I told myself. I had not done this. So this is not for me. It is for her. It is for her.

From that onwards I disliked girls. Girls will tell lies for their advantage. This was my perception.

I must also admit another girl came to me during interval and told.

“Don’t be sad. Did it pain?”

I said “No”

She said.

“I was crying”

Another day our head teacher realizes we both are still rivals. It was on her birthday. She was distributing chocolates to all. The moment she gave the chocolate, I said: “No, I do not want your chocolates”

She again complained to the head teacher. Again the cane swipe came. I did not cry. I was passive. More passive I was more I got. She wanted to make me cry. But she failed.

But she did one thing. She changed our seat. Next day onwards teachers forced us to sit on the last bench.

She would move the farthest end and I to the other farthest end. I was naughty enough to wait for a moment to come. Suddenly I unnecessarily stood up for asking a doubt. Since all her weight was on one side, bench overturned. I intentional with my leg slightly pushed in further. She fell down.

My mother told. “You are cruel”

I retorted. “I will be with only those put down by others. She misused the trust of the head teacher and got me punished”

My father told. “Be just and fair to those who punish you too, like you are with those who are down. That makes you different.”

This is the big lesson I learned during my childhood.