April 7, 2009

Ek Bachpan Aisa Bhi

I am in a playground. It is huge, with very many trees. My friends are frolicking all around me. I am not at all interested in the games. Is it not ‘Hide and Seek’ they are playing? Yes, they are… I busy myself in looking up at the next building’s terrace. The building is much taller than my two-storey school building. There are some faces I love, looking down at me, waving at me. Gargi Ma’am asks “Those are your parents, aren’t they?” I nod and reply in positives, with my chest broadened and my eyes glistening with glee. I am sure not many have the privilege of attending a school right next door to their homes. “Dola Ma’am surely has none of her parents so close to her at the moment”, I note with some amount of self-satisfaction. My pained heart is soothed at the very thought of this very misfortune of the lady who had minutes ago told me off for dropping water in the classroom.

My sister and I don’t get along with the children of our colony. We think we are much too superior for their standards, which we are… We both have our perfect playground just at the back of our home, within the bungalow territories. It is our Enchanted Wood, a wood with bonmurgis, squirrels, goat kids(the occasional one that has strayed into this territory), peacocks(common in the early mornings) and foxes(once in a month?) The only things that prevent it from being our perfect Enchanted Wood is that the trees don’t go ‘Wisha Wisha’ here, neither does any of the mango, jam, jackfruit, guava, or the numerous other trees have Lands visiting its top. We don’t complain though. We are satisfied with the serenity, the tranquility of this part of our home. The only disturbance is the ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’ songs from the just-released superhit movie coming from the distant outhouses.

I am sitting under the ‘kaamini’ tree. The dew on the grass all around me glistens under the small-town December morning sun. The garden is not very maintained really. Its quite dangerous and is infested my numerous poisonous representatives of my garden ecosystem, especially during the rains. The kaamini flowers have the notoriety of attracting the snakes with their aroma(probably the best smell in the world) and hence I can hear my mother warning me not to choose that spot for myself. I don’t pay heed. The (bungalow-type)quarter is quite far away, anyway. I know Ma can’t see me from there. I lose myself, far away from the ‘real’ world with the possible perils of reptile-fangs piercing into my skin. I am transported to the world of Georgina Kirrin. I prepare myself to meet three new kids. Julian, Dick, Anne they are… Very soon we become good friends. Not after long, I am exploring weird ship-wrecks and discovering ingots of gold in some hidden dungeons in a tiny island called Kirrin Island. I think I hear a bell. Is it Anne’s alarm clock? Couldn’t possibly be … The ‘Famous Five’ have just hit their beds after solving a mystery and earning accolades from the local police. I look up. It is the lunch bell ringing.

Sir Fernandez ,our Class Teacher,and Geography teacher is the art-director for Teacher’s Day. He is not going to come to class. Rahul Aggarwal doen't have to tell me what we are to do. We rush out of class. Our classroom is the classroom in a secluded corner of the school, just beside the bookstore. So it doesn’t really come under the surveillance of the school administration heads coming on rounds. Today it is raining hard, and the rain water has created an artificial stream that leads straight out of the school premises. We tear pages out of our Science notebooks. Fifteen or twenty sheets. Then we create paper boats. (Leeza helps me with mine). We choose the unusual colors out of Rahul’s 101 color felt pen set… We use them on our boats… the Magenta, Cyan, Holly, Plum, Straw etc color boats are divided equally between us. We set them sail on the artificial stream. My first boat sinks even before I can wish it ‘Bon Voyage’. Almost similar fates make my other boats their victim. However, I see ‘Malena’ sailing smoothly past Rahul’s boats, most of which are still floating. It wheezes past them all and soon becomes the first one to go out on the streets. I jump up in joy, and Leeza stands beside me clapping at my victory. Rahul, with a pained expression on his face, explains the circumstances under which his ‘Magellan’ slowed down at the last moment. Leeza booes him. I suddenly notice how beautiful she is..

The Chemistry class is on. Mrs. Bhattacharya is explaining to us the circumstances under which the anode sludge settles down at the anode, and the pure silver rod, acting as cathode, goes on thickening. She is a strict ,but an expert teacher. I am not paying attention though. Sneha Kedia is holding up an interesting looking box and waving it at Nancy Rakhroy. I can’t understand what could be inside the box, and why Sneha wasn’t showing it to me(with her having the habit of presenting one gift to me everyday, all ‘Best Friend’ ones). I take it from her hand, almost by force and open the lid. I find numerous colorful easily-put-onable rings inside it. I get working. I put two rings on my lower lip, three each on each ear,one each on each eyebrow, and one on my nose. To avoid attracting Mrs Bhattacharya’s attention, I hide my face behind the ICSE Chemistry Part I book, and start making weird faces at my classmates. Rohit, Kunal, Ria, Mohana and Kankana break into suppressed giggles. I try desperately to make them stop. It’s too late. My favorite teacher throws one of her favorite students out of class. I stand on the corridor. My dearest mom is teaching Biology in the next classroom.

The Economics teacher asks the other students, “Does he smile all the time?” A mousy looking classmate, whose name I don’t know, replies, “Yes sir, Always. Even when he’s being shouted at. Or being made fun of.” Some intrigued eyes turn towards me. I feel uneasy. I’m not enjoying my time in this fifth school.

It is three in the morning and I am recollecting random moments from my eighteen year old life, not necessarily the most favorite or most important. My school final exams are over and I have absolutely nothing to do. I am severely bored, and hence type down these thoughts. Who says people can’t predict the future? I can! I know what character of the PC keyboard will be used after three words? A full-stop.

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