Thursday, January 12, 2006

Totaling Mistake

This incident happened when I was in the sixth standard. Ms. Sahani was our English teacher. Sahani was a tall and slim lady who always used to drape herself in a plain saree, usually of a lighter shade. She spoke good English but never took interest in teaching. Somehow, I did not like her. The only time I remember she smiled at me, was during my oral exams in seventh. I was asked to recite some long poem and was asked whether I know it by heart. "But ofcourse", I had said then. Sahani replied, "But ofcourse! Wah!". Coming back to this incident, Sahani was assigned the task of correcting our unit test English papers. She was late as usual with the corrections. When the papers were finally distributed, I got 26 out of maximum possible 30 marks - one short of the class topper in that subject. Imagine my happiness when I found that Sahani had totaled my score improperly. I was getting one extra mark. With a big grin on my face I marched towards Sahani, who was surrounded on all sides by people fighting for more marks. When my turn came, Sahani recalculated the score. It was indeed coming to 27. Then she looked at me and said, "You deserve one less mark for this answer", and swiftly deducted one mark for some answer. My total remained 26. This was the only time I remember that I had a chance to become the top scorer in the class in English.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Holi Bumper

Money is not important. But the way you make money is. I have always liked to make money in exciting ways. Take this instance for example. I was in the ninth standard. After accepting bets on the World Cup(will blog about that later), I found lottery as a good way to make some money. The last pages of the rough book, the only book that I carried to school, were pulled out. Well, I did not know then how to find the centre page(pulling the centre page ensures that your book remains intact). These were then torn into ten chits, each with a number from one to ten on them. And because, Holi was the nearest festival, my lottery was named as Holi Bumper. There was no dearth of gamblers in my class. Each one had to shell one buck for his(no girl gamblers) ticket. Number to gambler mapping was done and the chits were thrown on the desk. Some guy was chosen to pick a chit. ***** (dont want to name him..Hint : He hates me) was the lucky winner. He got five bucks. I got the other five.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Tikekar Sir

In the last post I wrote about Tikekar Sir. He is no more. He passed away last month. A reader of my blog told me this. Here are the contents of the mail that was sent to me "all I heard was that he was riding his bike, when he met with an accident & was rushed to the hospital…..he was not wearing a helmet & later on suffered a brain haemorage. He was only 35 & is survived by his wife & a 1-year-old son. He had moved into his new house only one day prior to the day of the accident.". When in school, I hated him for being a strict enforcer of discipline, but later I realised how necessary that was to manage a school as big as ours. One incident that I remember about Tikekar happened when I was in standard IX. Abhishek and Gurudatt, who were sitting near one of the windows in the classroom, were talking about something, when Tikekar walked by. Stunned Abhishek, shouted "Tikku". Tikekar sir heard that, but I fail to recollect if some punishment was meted out. Though the incident appears crude now, it was something over which we laughed a lot when we were 15 year olds. Sorry for that Tikekar Sir. A man who loved discipline and taught many NCC Cadets to march, the IES family will miss him.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Baaye Mud

The other day I went to Shopper's Stop with Harish. Harish bought a pants and wanted it to be altered. When we asked one of the sales men where should we proceed for the alteration, he pointed towards his left and told us, "Take the right". Confusing left with right is not uncommon. As he said that, I remembered how we would remember(and I still do it that way) daaye(right in Hindi) and baaye(left) when we were in school. Mr. Tikekar was our Physical Training teacher and we had marching as part of our physical training course. Mr. Tikekar used to shout, "Left..Right, Left, Right, Left....Baaye Mud(Take Left)", and I, more often than not, used to take the wrong turn. That was when some bright chap told me this. I was asked to remember 'B for Baaye' and 'B for Badge'. On our school uniform, we had a badge that was stiched to our left(baaye), above the pockets for guys and on the left pinafore strap for girls and I was asked to turn in the direction of the Badge for Baaye and the opposite direction for Daaye. And it was not long before I realised that almost everyone in the school memorised it in the same way!

Monday, October 03, 2005

How Old Is Our Sun?

This probably happened when I was in the ninth standard. All our science curriculum was split into two - Science I and Science II. Ms. Bhalekar taught us Science I. However, I forget the name of our Science II teacher. She was tall and slim, and till this happened, I thought, that she lacked sense of humour. Her classes used to be monotonous. Not that she was not knowledgeable, but we used to get bored in her class, as used to be the case with most other teachers. The chapter that was being discussed on this particular day was 'The Sun'. After the chapter was over, she proceeded for the Q & A. And then came this one. How old is our sun?. And when no one answered, she proceeded and said, "Sun and not Son".

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Cricket pendant la classe francaise

Ms. Rasna Daruwala was our French teacher from the eighth to tenth standard. She was a good teacher compared to most other teachers in our school. But then, the thrill of bunking lectures or was it the thrill of playing cricket, was so much that about ten of us bunked her class. The only person out of the ten that I can remember is Mukul. Mukul and I can write about so many incidents that it can give a tough competition for Chetan Bhagat's on@tcc that is coming out on stands in October. When she was busy teaching French, we were busy playing cricket in the adjoining classroom. The note-book substituted the bat and some craft work with the handkerchief turned it into a ball. The bowler bowled from one of the aisle formed between the column of benches with the batsman at the other end near the black board. Other fielders were placed at many positions, most of them in the benches. We were having fun - happy that we had fooled Daruwala. Just then, Ms Verma, who taught us Science -II( Bio and Chem) happened to peep inside the class. And that was it. We all hid under the benches, not knowing what to do even though we were absolutely sure that Verma knew we were hiding. She asked us to come out of hiding, which we sheepishly did. The next thing she did was she took us to Daruwala and also the supervisor(head of teachers, but not the principal) Ms. Joshi. I do not remember what punishment was meted out, but it was minimal. All I remember is that our names were noted on some diary. May be we were asked to stay out of the class for that lecture(not sure)- but that was something that we enjoyed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Pandit Sir !

Pandit sir was as famous for his ten sit ups as he was for his random shrugging of shoulders. Though I do not know why the ten sit ups was his favourite punishment, the random shrugging of shoulders was attributed to an electric shock he got while teaching students about electricity which came under the purview of a subject called as Work Experience. Reliable sources state that there was a time when some of his close relative was abroad and Pandit used to sell coins to the students in the class. Like most teachers in our school, Pandit was a specialist in more than one subject. He taught us Marathi in the eighth standard and he used to teach English to some other class too.
Pandit : You. Ten sit ups.
Student : But Sir.
Pandit : Twenty
Student : But Sir.
Pandit : Get out of the class.
This was what used to happen during his each and every lecture. I remember a time when almost a fifth of the class was given the punishment under some pretext. I often wondered why students settled for sit ups when they had the option of standing out of the class. When we were in eighth standard, Pandit was due to retire. And in his last year, he showed how eccentric he could be. In our terminal (mid year) exams he failed almost half the class in Marathi. Now, I speak Marathi at home and failing in Marathi was something I could not even dream of. I got thirty out of hundred and fell short by five marks to make it to the passing mark. Everyone was stunned after seeing their corrected paper. Even most who had passed had their marks in thirties. 'A' and 'B' divisions of our school had the best students in the standard - often referred to as The Cream. A few people in these divisions too were failed by Pandit. But then, their papers were reevaluated and finally everyone over there managed to pass. I sometimes hated the step motherly treatment accorded to the rest of the divisions by the teachers. I tried all the tricks so as to avoid that red mark on my report card. I requested grace marks from Pandit and supervisor Joshi ( immediate boss of our teachers) but they said that grace marks can only be given if someone fails in the annual exams. I even requested Pandit to deduct five marks from my English paper(Pandit had checked my English paper too. I got about 65) and allocate it where I needed them. But then all my tricks failed and so did I. I got that red mark on my report card. I avoided showing the report card to my parents for almost a month, but then finally had to show it to get a signature. Forgery was something I could not think of then(not that I can think of it now). One more thing that I remember about Pandit is that he used to look after the United Nations and General Knowledge exams. I had given those because they distributed some nice certificates with embossing and stuff and enrolling for the exams cost just twenty bucks. When I went to collect my certificate from Pandit, he asked me to clean his drawers(Furniture. Pun not at all intended). Finally Pandit retired after the mid term exams and I never failed in Marathi again.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Badami Halva

Badami Halva is a blood red coloured, solid rubber like sweet. If you hold it in your hands, it makes them greasy and you have to tear it apart with your teeth to break it down. Sometimes, I used to carry it to school in my lunch box. It was one of the many things I did not like to eat when I was in school. Though I eventually grew up liking chapati-bhaji, I still hate the Badami Halva. So it was but natural that I give it to someone. And that someone was Devesh Lokre. Devesh Lokre used to like the stuff so much that he once asked me its preparation. I did not tell him the truth that it was purchased from Panshikar Sweets but told him that my mother prepares it. The recipe I told him was simple. First my mother cuts my fingers and all the blood that flows finds its way into the ice tray where some sugar is added before it is stored for freezing. It might be difficult to believe, but Devesh who probably was in first standard did believe it. I felt so proud that I had fooled Devesh. A few days later however, Devesh came to my desk. He said that his mother had prepared Badami Halva at home with the recipe I told him.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Craft Classes

When I was in kindergarten, pupils used to sit down on the floor. I do not know whether kids still sit on the floor with colourful desks in front of them. Everything was colourful, including the marble papers that we got for craft classes. Alpana was our craft teacher and I guess the only craft teacher that our KG school had at that time. Alpana handed over the neatly cut square marble papers to us and instructed us that we should not take more than one. Then she proceeded to explain how to fold and cut the paper to convert it into the final output. Whatever she taught was already known to me, thanks to my father. But the day she taught us 'bhingri' was different. Bhingri is a piece of paper that is cut in such a way that it looks similar to an inverted ceiling fan. When dropped from a height, the bhingri revolves around its vertical axis as it descends. I had not learnt to make a bhingri from my father. Nervous, I went to Alpana and told her that I cannot make a bhingri because my father has not taught it yet. I do not remember what was her reply, but I guess she must have asked me to carry on with the bhingri. And if you thought that was all, it wasnt. Alpana disclosed this to my father at the Parents' Meeting. After that, some disciplinary action was taken at home which consisted of teaching me how to behave with the teachers.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Neel Down

In my primary days, I was a timid guy. I was so afraid of my teachers that whenever any teacher shouted "Kneel Down", it would send shivers down my spine. So when Vineetha teacher shouted "Neel, Kneel Down", I was really scared. I had been caught. Vineetha had given some homework to the class and I could not complete it on time. Just before the submission time, I erased all the incomplete work for the day(We used (Natraj)pencils till standard four). When I was asked the reason for not completing the homework, I told Vineetha that "I forgot about the homework". With traces of erased homework so very visible, I just cannot imagine how stupid I was. Only if that incident had taken place a few years later I would have a variety of excuses to chose from. I miss that innocent Neel.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Indian Education Society

My school had many names. One of them was Indian Education Society's English Medium School, Hindu Colony. The other names by which it was popularly and incorrectly called were Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya , which was actually the name of the Marathi medium of my school and King George which was the pre-independence period name. In my association with the school for thirteen years from 1984 to 1997, I have many tales to tell. In this blog, I will attempt mainly to cater to, though everyone is welcome to come and have a peep. If you are a member of 97IES@yahoogroups and want to contribute a story or an incident, you can send it to me.
For those of you who have not heard about IES, it is a huge institution having more than 50 schools in and around Bombay. It has also an architectural college under its umbrella. My school is a big school. Around 10000 students were cramped(and we enjoyed that) in our campus alone. The campus had English, Marathi and Gujurati schools in addtion to school for slow learners. My school had ten divisions for each standard and there were atleast 70 students in each division. So there were about 700 students in one standard and you multiply that by 13 and you know the size of my school.