“Cracking Contraptions”

Last three evenings of mine were utilised (yes, not just spent) in doing something interesting, so I thought of sharing the experience. The outcome was not cent-percent what I had originally planned, but I would say I could achieve eighty percent of the task I had set out for.
I am so keen on sharing this, because after a long time I could get back to things which I loved to do as a kid (and beyond)….which somehow got lost in the oblivion, mostly because I’ve always had so varied interests that it’s difficult to pursue each of them.
Anyways, enough of groundwork, let’s get to the story.

Continue reading ““Cracking Contraptions””

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.


Ramadan brings with it some fond memories. Though, I admit, I’ve never fasted for more than a couple of days, purely because of my laziness…going through the ordeal of waking up in the wee hours of morning, and stuffing yourself up. And it’s not that one cannot fast in the absence of this early morning grub….it’s just that I never did.
Anyways, so, Ramadan was a whole different time back home. In the local marketplace….almost all the shops seemed to gear-up for it. You could see street-vendors with loads of dates, sweetmeats, snacks and what not. Then as evening approached hoards of people flocked the market…preparing for the much-awaited Iftaar in each home.
The small market was decorated during the whole month with criss-cross ribbons, and small flags. Some enterprising vendors decorated their wares with aluminium foils, which glittered in the sunlight. Then as technology improved, people started decorating there shops with flickering lights. The spirit, however remained the same. The whole aura used to be different. It was surprising to see how the hustle and bustle before the Iftaar time gently got replaced with an awkward silence of about half-an-hour when the devout broke their fast.
Coming back to the original topic of my fondness for Ramadan…the reason was totally selfish. I didn’t fast, but my sisters did. Sometimes for the whole month. And at home it was a protocol that everyone in the family has to be at the Iftaar…whether or not you’re fasting.:). Umm…I’m still reminded of the awesome food mom used to prepare. On an average, I guess, I used to gobble much more than my sisters, or anyone else in the family.
Then as we grew up, Iftaar parties at friends’ place became common. And we used to wait for some specific Iftaar parties…..at friends’ whose moms were awesome cooks. 😉
Miss it, I do.