Stuff, part 2
Fourth standard: Wow, this was a pretty wild year. We graduated to using pens from pencils this year, and also, for the first time in my life, I was part of a ‘gang’, if you could call it that. There were 4 of us if I remember correctly - D, K, S (yep, the bloody traitor in the UKG incident) and me. We pretty much remained a gang up until the 7th. Four years of temporary insanity, that’s what I call it now. It all started in this year. Someone thought it’d be bloody brilliant to create ‘words’ by stringing together random syllables. How bad could it have been? Lets just say it was a la Phoebe (hint: the *Swedish* national anthem! Still don’t get it? How about "Ipan Stripan, Glupi Glabi!" And that is the Swedish national anthem! Thank you for asking! (looks annoyed). Ah, NOW you get it!) I’m not dwelling on that too much.
The greatest disappointment in my life (at that point of time) happened in the fourth. I was a very gullible kid. I didn’t think people would ever lie. We had these tall trees with needly leaves (I think they were needle-leaf pines of some sort). They used to propagate through these small spiky bumpy pine-cone like thingies. I was holding one of them in my hands and looking at it fascinatedly, when a senior came along.
Me: Chetta, ithenthuva? (Bro, wat’s this thingy?)
Him: Ayye, arinjoode? Ithu choodu vellathil ettu manikkoor thaazthi vachal oru kochu squirrel undaakum. (Lol! You don’t know? Just keep this inside hot water for 8 hours and a baby squirrel will come out)
Me: Wow! Really?
That evening, I ran into my house, all excited, showed ma the pine-cone thingy and told her I’d be giving her a surprise the next day. At night, I heated up some water and dunked the thingy inside it. The next morning, no bloody squirrel! I waited for two more days before I finally gave up. That’s probably a contender for the saddest I’ve ever been in my life :(
I’ve never quite gotten to our PT (Physical Training) sir, have I? Well, his name was…we called him
In every bunch of people, there’s always a notorious one. We had our fair share of them, but the outstandingly noticeable one of us was B. Bloody clever he was, too! One fine PT class,
Library periods started in the fourth. One hour of every week (the second last hour of Monday, if I remember correctly) was dedicated to – as it appeared in our time tables – ‘Lib’. What happened was our class teacher would hand out random books to people. We got to take the book home and had to bring it back the next week, when we’d exchange with some other guy in class. We were all waiting excitedly for our very first library hour. We queued up in front of the teacher’s desk, and she began handing out books. I collected mine, and walked to my seat, after which everyone made fun of me because I had gotten a book with lots of pictures of semi-naked tribal people on its cover (and on the inside). I was blushing enough to become an incandescent light source. The book turned out to be pretty amazing. It was about sound. That book would later make me love physics :)
Fifth standard: We were all tremendously excited as we were moving to another building. The BIG one! We had never seen any of our teachers before, and were quite apprehensive. Plus, we had all new subjects! Social studies gave way to History, Civics and Geography, and Science to Chemistry, Physics and Biology. We still had to study Malayalam and Hindi though. We could go up to the giant library section now that we were seniors, and we had Wednesday morning ‘Assembly’ sessions with the rest of the seniors. I don’t remember much of what happened in the fifth; only that we ran through 3 Geography sirs in the first 3 weeks of class, and ended up with one huge hulking sadistic bear of a guy who used to enjoy thumping innocent kids right between their shoulder blades.
Then there was Math class. We had a pretty intimidating teacher, Mrs. P. A friend of mine, R, used to bring bubble gum to class daily, and, customarily, used to share it with me :) One fine day, Mrs. P was teaching us about triangles. After completing the sums she gave us to do, I – ever the impatient one – turned to R and told him: ‘gimme my share of the gum, man’ and he obliged, albeit with one eyebrow raised. I was rolling the piece of bubble gum in my palms, all the while crooning ‘my precioussssss’ when, all of a sudden, a voice rings out
Mrs. P: Ganesh, what are you rolling around in your hand?
Me: My preciou-huh?
Mrs. P: Bring that over here!
Me: Yes ma’am…
Mrs. P: What is this? (Sniffed it) It smells kinda funny.
Me: Ummm…heh heh (goofy expression)
Some idiot: It looks like clay. Must be that new elastic type or something!
Mrs P: (tries stretching it out and rolling it back into a ball) Its some kind of clay?
Me: Er…its chewing gum
And my precious went sailing out the door and onto the football ground (not the ground where
A lot of firsts in the fifth…first inter-class pookkalam contest of our lives was conducted just before our Onam exams. S took charge of proceedings (he was the biggest guy in the class by a long shot). Sometime that day, I got royally pounded by S owing to my clumsiness in the proximity of the pookkalam (nothing actually happened to it!). The first major cricket match of my life took place in this year. It was two houses pitted against the other two – AP (Apollo Pioneers) and GG (Gemini Giants) against JJ (Jupiter Jetsetters) and SS (Sputnik Spacemen). I was in SS, and had never played cricket on such a grand scale (there were around 30 of us playing). I was placed in a fielding position near where S (this guy was B in the UKG ‘butthead’ incident) was located. He turned around to me and said menacingly ‘give me the ball when you get it’. I nodded and took up my fielding stance. The very next ball was hit in my direction. I ran, picked it up, turned back, and threw it at S.
Everyone: @#%*! You @#$&*, why did you @#*% throw the $@#* ball at him instead of at the #%@* stumps?
I turn around to S and look at him quizzically
S: Well, why didn’t you?
Me: You asked me to give you the @#$* ball!
S: Not like this!
And I didn’t play any more cricket for the rest of that year. Instead, the gang and I took up cliff climbing. There was this sheer rock face, sorta like a cliff, with tones of hand- and leg-holds in between, at the very edge of the ground. We became pretty adept at climbing up and down.
Sixth standard: Regrettable behaviour owing to the ‘gang’. This is precisely why I describe it as a period of ‘temporary insanity’. Started playing cricket again this year (I really loved playing the game…couldn’t stay away from it for too long). As in all gangs, ours had its share of internal conflicts. More than the usual gang’s I daresay. It involved one melodramatic situation after another. Here’s the first one…I was busy playing cricket, when S (the blood traitor, duh!) ran onto the field and told me that the other two gang members had turned on him and beat him close to a bloody pulp. And so, chivalrously, I ran to his rescue. I told my teammates ‘I’ll be Bach!’ and ran. Right into a bloody ambush! The other two morons, at this point, tried to push me down a slope. Obviously, it was a steep slope. It also had a lot of trees, so I grabbed hold of one and stopped me from er…tumbling down it. The slow, seemingly never ending split up of the gang started at this point. The future of it involved animated recounting of the dreadful tale that was ‘an attempt at pushing me down a cliff onto a pile of rocks’, in the Principal's office. Yep, we took our fights straight over there. Hey! I was still a kid back then!!! So quit laughing!!! I will SO murder you if you try to shove this in my face.
Sixth standard was when Hindi became much more threatening. Our teacher, Mrs. R, used Hindi which was as appalling as her English. I guess you know all about mallu Hindi teachers. I don’t really need to elaborate here! Me, being the brilliant Hindi student that I was, used to be one of her frequent victims. She harangued me in English, Hindi, Malayalam, and a combination of all three. Apparently, I was so bad that it was the same situation at PTA meetings. But I guess my parents had grown quite used to the fact that I bloody sucked at Hindi, so they didn’t say much.