Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Talking (Rant One).

Browsing through facebook yesterday, I came upon a lovely picture :


It cast me right back into the days of St Stanislaus. I could very well picture the same expression on the face of the man who made the post: Karan Sinroja . And I also remember the number of times we had teachers tearing their hair, throwing chalk pieces, dishing out slaps, making boys slap themselves and a whole host of other things teachers in boys schools regularly do when confronted with this vicious activity in which young minds will insist on participating - talking.
I particularly remember two instances when my mother (whom I never enjoyed seeing around my school because, well, apart from a few Rushils and Thomases, the school presence of a mother is extremely embarrassing to the young male mind) was summoned to the school to be encouraged to chastise me for this terrible habit of mine. Time one was in the third standard when my class teacher was Angela, a young teacher who called my mother 'Fleur' . "Fleur" , said Teacher Angela "I don't know what to do, he's talking so much" , while my mum looked disapprovingly at me. "I've made him put his finger on his lip, I even gave him a slap in front of the class, but he refuses to not talk!!" And my mother continued to disapprovingly shake her head; I think she even tried to fake an angry expression.

While writing this a thought occurred to me - in these ridiculous days it is very possible that Teacher Angela would be hauled up by the state for  subjugation of the will (placing my mouth under finger arrest), torture (slap) and if I were in the United States of Americanism , trauma (public slap) . Nevertheless those were more sensible times and Teacher Angela was politely informed by my mother that she'd get my father to speak to me.

Fast forward three years and my class teacher is one Teacher Neeta who entertained notions of one Darryl D'souza following in the footsteps of Anu Malik as chief composer of the Bollywood film of questionable quality. This Darryl, however, has one composition of merit to his name; I remember it like it were my very own admonition-of-the-discourteous-while-studying-Maharashtra-Board's-'Value-Education'. Here are the lyrics:

"Dirty clothes and uncombed hair
Make people say, 'He's so uncourteous!'
But clean clothes and combed hair
Make people say, 'He's so courteous!'
And that is why we say
'A clean and tidy person
Always finds success' "

For the music notes, you will have to contact me in person because I am too lazy to score them and upload them. Nevertheless, while Darryl's melodic line began to lose it's way at 'And that is why we say .. ' , up until then it was of sterling quality and I have a good mind to petition Philip Glass to write a minimalist composition entitled 'Variations on a theme by Darryl D'souza' . Remind me about that in case I forget.

Teacher Neeta, however, was shabbily disappointed by this piece of music. Like a raucous critic, she sent Darryl's composition straight back to the bench on the front row from whence it came. She then petitioned yours truly to 'teach him no ... to write proper song' . What did I do? Involved mummy of course, who plagiarised a popular hymn (and personal favourite of my then principal) "Oh Give Thanks To The Lord For He Is Good" and modified the lyrics with the help of a few of her friends which satisfied Teacher Neeta's lofty tastes most completely.

Anyway, I have rambled considerably, but the point I was making is that Teacher Neeta, after services rendered and brownie points with principal earned was in no mood to show gratitude towards yours truly. Oh, no. She met my mother on the school stairs (and there was my mother, just waiting to be met I tell you) , shrugged her shoulders, thrust out her eyes and exclaimed "HOW MUCH HE'S TALKING!" with the last word taking on an unusual sort of inflection which a particular brand of teacher at my school was very familiar with.
And again I was thrown reproachful looks at, TV watching was threatened, and all the usual results of such a situation descended. All because I engaged in that one activity : Talking .
                                                                                                       [To be continued ........]


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