Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Higher Secondary Examination March 2011

As I entered the examination hall
A class of blue and white checks
Stood in revered silence,
Not knowing if to wish or to sit,
Responded positively to my greeting;
The eerie silence was broken
With the rumbling of foot steps
to keep their precious bags out of the hall.

Answer scripts were distributed;
Along with it, a string of dos and don’ts,
Made the boys and girls confused
With trembling hands wrote some
“hIGhir soConDary ExamINaTiOn macH 2011”
Which was an eye opener
Of their ignorance to the teacher and that was I..
Confidently wrote they, their register numbers,“Sex” for six,
“For” for four, “Therr” and “thiri” for three: And “faif” for five.

My frustration grew leaps and bounds,
Standing there I cursed the authorities,
For allowing the standard of education to deteriorate;
Yet they falsely claim of cent percent literacy
In ‘God’s own country’
With ‘Devil’s own People’,
who makes the lives of students a game
In their hunt for political gains.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The reminiscence of my guts

Last night I hurt my thigh. It was a slightly big wound and while dressing it up I saw that mark on my leg. The same old mark – the reminder of my Dad’s first and last whack (I guess :)) I gently caressed that mark and took me back to my school days.

It was the time we had come to settle in India. Since Hindi was new, tuition were arranged for us.

The teacher arrived. She was a slim (I would say thin) fair lady with protruding teeth. If it were not for her teeth she should have been beautiful. She had curly hair, oiled and neatly combed with a red rose. She was a teacher from a very poor family. Her father lived with another woman and being the eldest she had to take care of their family. This teacher went from house to house to teach children. She charged a meager fee for each child. She would borrow money quite frequently and most of the times she never repaid it. Her economic condition was pathetic that most of the times it would be waived by parents.

This teacher had a particular interest in us. She felt that my brother and I were fast learners. She told me that my Hindi was good and that I was good enough to take up the Pradhamik examination. So she was training me for it. We had weekly dictations and most of the time I got full marks. For the pradhamik examination training I had to go to her house. Once it happened that I made a mistake with “बिल्ली ” meaning cat. I was asked to write it 10 times.

I made a mistake. I was unhappy. I did not get full marks. Anyway I wrote it 10 times, five on one side of the book and the next five on the other side of the page. I was being ‘economical’. After completing it I went to the teacher. The teacher took my book, had a glance at it and pinched me hard, that too under my arm. The normally tall I became taller and I realized that I was standing on my toes writhing in pain.

“10 praashiyam ezhuthan alle paranje, ummmh???????” (“Didn’t I ask you to write it 10 times???????”) she looked at me and asked enquiringly.

“Njan 10 pravashayam ezhuthi. Dee avide….” (“I wrote it 10 times. There…..”) I said with tear filled eyes.

“Oh, kandilla,” (“I didn’t see,”) she said apologetically

I was cursing her. It was not my fault that she didn’t see what I wrote. I felt that she was very unfair in insulting me in front of other students. My ego had burst like a balloon. I wanted to teach her a lesson. I looked at my brother. He gave me a sympathetic look and showed me some pacifying gestures.

After tuitions both of us went home together. I showed my brother my arm. It was red with a tinge of blue. I cried shamelessly when I was alone with my brother. He consoled me and he told me we would find a way out.

This teacher lived behind a professional college. We would go exploring the college like the Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. I would pick up chalk pieces that were thrown out by the professors. I collected quite a lot of pieces. I decided to vent out my anger in words. All over the college I wrote
“ഹിന്ദി ടീച്ചര് കള്ളി
കള്ളി എന്നെ നുള്ളി"
(“Hindi teacher liar
The liar pinched me”)

and finally I wrote my name Xina.

I wrote it on the walls; I wrote on their pump house; I wrote it on the road until my anger was vent out. Scratch my skin and you’ll find a rebel in me.

Along with my brother I went for Hindi tuition the next day. I sat like victorious Caesar. What could she do to me again? I wasn’t bothered. I saw Hindi teacher’s sister coming and telling her something. The teacher called me and asked

“Xina ano avide muzhuvan enne kurichu ezhuthi irikunne?” (“Xina is it you have written about me all over there?”)

“Yes,” I replied not looking into her eyes.

“Xina ye njan entha cheythe?” (“What did I do to you?”)

I told her what happened the previous day. She had forgotten the incident. How could I forget it when my arm was still blue black.. She told us that she would tell when our next class was and she never did that again and that was the end of my Pradhamik coaching. I felt cheated. Fees were already paid for the exams. She never bothered to teach me again. No ordinary human being would dare to teach a rebel (a communist according to my grandmother) like me.

I was angry that I did not take up the examination. I was waiting for a day to strike back. On that fateful Sunday I was with my sister in the terrace and I saw her. I screamed out
“Kalli, Kalli, Kalli.” (“Liar, Liar, Liar”)

I kept on screaming until she disappeared from my sight. I was elated.

My happiness did not last long. I saw her walking into my house and I knew I was in deep trouble. She complained that I had called her a liar. Dad was here for his holidays. I saw his face go red. As soon as she left I was canned left and right. Mum was adding fuel to the fire by saying that I was an imp. I did not cry. That made dad even angrier. Finally he stopped hitting me. (Guess he became tired :)) I went to my room and wept uncontrollably. My leg was hurting me. I found my leg was ruptured with the canning. It was in fact bleeding. I did not utter a word that my leg was hurt. I dressed it up myself and was careful not to expose my thigh until the wound healed. I did succeed in that. Nobody knew about it.

Now when I think of it I feel I was much more than a rebel. I never thought about others feelings or emotions. I definitely humiliated that teacher. How could I go and write all over the walls of that college????? My daughter keeps telling my husband,
“Mummye kondu mudravakiyangal ezhuthan kollam achaa” (“Can make mummy write slogans, father”)