Not-so-fond memories…

I have a very few fond memories from my school. I hated it. I’ve never gone back to it, once I got out of it. I have the ugliest memories from my school. Though, the friends I made there still happen to be the amongst the best of my friends.

It was a convent, and I remember in kindergarten, I had no clue what was going on, what am I supposed to do. No one bothered too. With a class of 75, cranky and as clueless kids, it was difficult. I was amongst the slowest students in the class. I discreetly remember my class teacher made me sit in the front-bench, and was telling a colleague of hers “ye weak student hai.”
I flunked in kindergarten.

When the session started again, the first sentence that my class-teacher said to me on the very first day was…”arrey tum phir se yahin ho?” (oh…u’re here again?) I didn’t know what to reply, I just nodded in affirmation. That year, somehow, I cleared. I remember getting 73rd rank or something like that.

I got a beating in almost every class in the 12 years of my schooling.

In standard 4th, I got used to beating so much, that there was one time, that my class-teacher thought that I’d not done the homework, and came towards me. I didn’t protest and brought my face forth her to slap. But I don’t know how she glanced at my note-book, and said…”why’re you getting ready for a slap when you’ve done the homework.” I didn’t say anything.
In that very year, she once made me stand as a punishment once, and I was not feeling well. So I told the girl sitting next to me, that I think I’m getting dizzy. That nutcase informed the teacher, and the teacher became panicky. The next moment my punishment was overruled, and I was given cold water, and moved to a seat below the fan. Her name was ‘Mamta’ Jain. Totally misfit a name I think. 🙂

In standard 2nd, I remember the class-teacher talking about my religion in not a very nice way. She said that “‘they’ are merciless, keep killing innocent animals for food”. I didn’t protest, but someone else did by trying to provide a logical reasoning. He was mocked-at and asked to sit down. That evening I told my dad about it. He didn’t say anything either.

In standard 6th I got punished by a temporary teacher, and I was asked to stand outside the class. The principal was passing by and saw me punished. She shook me so hard by the ears that my book tore and fell on the ground. That’s when she stopped. I got so frustrated I contemplated jumping from that third floor, where the class was, and die. I used to think it was the only way to teach everyone a lesson. I never tried that though. Her name was sister Isabella.

In standard 8th, the usual trend of getting beaten almost everyday was on. But in the parents-teachers meeting, my class-teacher who used to beat me found out that my dad was her teacher when she was doing B.Ed. The beatings completely stopped after that. I was given extra attention, and never beaten, thereafter. She used to teach us Physics. I remember having scored the very good marks in Physics in the class tests because I started liking Physics, and the Physics teacher was obligated to like me. 🙂

In standard 6th, we had a new computer teacher. He was a frustrated, plump, chunk of a man. He used to beat everyone just like that. It was a typical case of ‘power in the wrong hands.’ In class 6th, on some petty matter, he shook me by the hair, I don’t remember if he slapped me. But I think he would have had. When you’re shaking someone by the hair, you’ve to end it with a slap to complete the procedure I guess. It’s like a sign-off.
I felt very bad, because he did it in front of the girl I used to like. Anyway, I used to like computers, so I scored well in it. To his surprise, I guess.

Outside of the class, there were other people, who, I guess, didn’t want their status to be undermined by the fact that they were not actually “subject-teachers.” They, therefore, highlighted their presence, and their definition of respect by thrashing students.

One such person was “Veera Khan.” When we were little, she was the Physical Training (PT) instructor. Apart from that, she also checked nails, shoes etc. When I was in standard 3rd, I remember her caning the entire class on the legs, because we were “creating chaos.”

Okay, the cause of this sudden blurt of not-so-fond memories is because I watched “Taare Zameen Par” last week, and there were so many things in it that I could relate to when it comes to school. “Terror” and “Humiliation” were the tools that were most often used to mould us into becoming better students. Never worked for me though. Also, I wasn’t dyslexic.

Do watch the movie.

Zalim Chai

In Singapore since sometime now…and nothing impressed me more at this place than a refreshing cup of tea. Yes, the good old tea — just like the one that I used to get at home (Aligarh.) It’s not like the overly sweetened and milky versions that we get in the Iranian restaurants (or Udipis) of Mumbai. Nor is it like the Cheeni Kum/Paani Zyada/something or the other kam or zyada that you get in Mumbai tapris. It’s just right!

You get this kind of tea almost everywhere. Our favourite hangouts happen to be places like ‘Toast Box’ or ‘Kaya Toast’ where people come for a quick breakfast/evening snack of a toasted bread — accompanied by various options of bread and jam or Kaya with half-boiled eggs. Accompanied with tea it becomes a zalim (no, no other word suits better, if you don’t know what zalim means, ask someone!) combination. 🙂