i'm turning 25 next week. It feels odd, mid-life approaches and i havent learnt enough, loved enough, travelled enough, seen enough, done enough, engaged enough with anything, not even myself.
i woke up feeling disgruntled this morning. this english teacher caning me because i forgot to leave a line between the 2 stanzas in this poem about rains. It must've been around June because school had just started. This was Class I Div C, i think first day at class. But I did leave a line , only the -ves of leaves was on that line and i was scared that if i left another, it'd be 2 lines and no space for end line on the page. Dint know which one i'd get whacked for.
This was one of those 4 line = 1 line books, pink blue-blue pink.
St. Thomas High School, Goregaon East, across the tracks. None of the teachers knew my name, except for when my father met the principal about why his daughter had failed Oral Conversation and Reading + Recitation that year (in class 3). Of course, it was of no concern to the teacher. The kid scored the highest in class otherwise, but we'll overlook that. This Roll number 2 was asked to describe some black and white sketch in book. Looked like a woman with her hand on a box with a window perhaps nearby. The correct answer was "the mother is rocking the baby to sleep". So i failed. I din't see no baby, I din't see no mother. This bad sketch of a lady with her hand on a box, yes. Roll no. 1 also failed. After roll no.4 she changed the image to some large A2 size thing with colorful animals.But, of course, we don't care for the poor kids who're gonna fail for my laziness. Lavina Kamath i think her name was.
Then came class four, I din;t want to go to class 4 for the fear of having class teachers like Lavina and this other lady who wore only black and white ever since she lost her brother. They were both terrors. They beat and slapped everything that came their way. They still did not know anyones names besides the rankers 1 , 2, 3 etc. who were rankers always. And some people who failed - who kept repeating years. None of the teachers could give a !@#$#.
I did not know when annual day came and went, the rankers danced to the staid koli numbers and some arati song.
Class 7, i started taking interest in music. We swapped personal lyrics books, (mine had only sound of music, bombay and rangeela in it till then). Hindi teacher spotted me passing to a boy and picked it up. Opened to "I am 16 going on 17". Said, she;d speak to me after class because all these dirty things i do in the class should not go into the ears of other children. Perhaps because i looked larger than other girls, more 'developed' though i was the youngest in class.
Meanwhile, i got caned plenty of times for reasons i dont know. English teacher read every poem with the same speech pattern, totally uninspiring, math teachers who mostly spoke to the 'smart' boys, but most most wonderful marathi teacher with a nice name, what was it Veronica or something. She dint speak english but would give you a hug to explain "mithi". Saved my soul.
Class 8, i was out of that horrible dungeon. Forever, i thought, but perhaps not.