Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nanna Kathe - IV

"Where do you find knowledge?", asked the English teacher rhetorically.
"In the dictionary", I answered, not knowing the nuances of a rhetorical question.
The teacher, R C Usha, gave out a stare at me. The stare suggested that there was something fundamentally wrong with this boy. Maybe, it was this realisation that didn't invite her wrath on me that day. That, this incident happened on the second or third hour of the first day in Vijaya High School(VHS), pretty much explains why I open this part with it.
On that first day itself we were introduced to our class teacher, B K Nirmala. "I will be your class teacher for the 3 years you will be in this school", she declared. (In hindsight, this appears to be a warning. You will know why, shortly).

To the hallowed portals of Vijaya High School, only those who secured absurdly high percentages in a seventh standard examination would get admission. (If you can't stop laughing at this admission process, I won't mind. Even I can't, as I write about it.) Atleast, those who managed this feat of getting the required percentage were put into one section, like how they put all lunatics together, in prisons. Probably this explains the fact why this school produced people like me, people who fell in love with SI units, self-proclaimed men who use words like "gala" and "nay" even in this age and time, girls afraid of pen-fights and many more.

And, in that lunatic section, there were four boys-Adnan, Arjun, Harish(yes, that is, I am) and Khalid Fiyaz-who had come from a lesser known school called PTA about which you already know. Shrewd observers of social contours would note how we four represented the spirit of secularism - a spirit which would shortly come under the grave threat of communal forces in this country. Maybe irrelevant here, maybe not.

Before going further, let me introduce to you an important character of this part of the story. This person would eventually be responsible for many events, which includes the author becoming popular as Guru, those times in the class when I got into trouble, me going into semi-retirement from class-cricket and many others. This person, as fate would have it, was sitting beside me on that first day of VHS, with the other 3 PTA whiz-kids to my right.
Somehow I assumed that this person doesn’t know Kannada and in funnily accented English, “Excuse me time”, I inquired him.
“11:30”, came the reply.
Nothing further was communicated between us until I asked the same question after some time.
This time though, all five of us laughed. Apart from getting to know that this person answered to the name of Arvind, it was in a way surprising for me to learn that he too was a Kannadiga who knew Kannada. But when you listen to his Kannada or Hindi, sometimes you will feel as if you are listening to an English accentuated Kannada or Hindi. To that extent, I was right.

Similarly I was right on many other occasions. Apart from that I was also loquacious. This got me into troubles with my class-teacher on a few occasions. This impacted my reputation, vis-à-vis the class-teacher to such an extent that I was denied a half-day leave, one day in eighth standard. Never, until then, had I written a half-day or full day leave letter in my life. Never did I write after that in my academic life. For a person brought up in bunk-class-play-cricket-go-home school like PTA, the concept of leave letters and their subsequent approval/rejection was unthinkable, unheard of. Naturally, this shocked me to such an extent that I quietly went home, had lunch (since in anticipation of half-day leave, I had not carried lunch that day) and came back. Such a dejected soul was in for even more shock when I came back to school. A profound moron by the name of Adarsh, had told B K Nirmala(BKN)-our class teacher- that I had gone home despite not being permitted to do so. As a result, I had to the necessary clarification to Smt. B K Nirmala. What tragedy my life has become in this school, I wondered. Is the school system paying me back for all the not so right things I did in PTA, pondered the philosophical mind in me.

In sharp and telling contrast to BKN, was another teacher called Shri Karunakara V Bhat(KVB) who taught Samskrita and many things that were not Samskrita. He used to tell that we should bunk classes then, otherwise there would be no fun. How many will be like this, tell me? It’s another matter that he also impressed us then, with such rubbish as a logic-chain which would prove, apparently, that “We all come to school to die one day”. Do not worry; I am not going to explain this.

What I would rather tell is about another jejune activity we indulged ourselves in, in eighth standard. It’s this game called ‘book-cricket’. If cricket is considered by some as a lazy game, then probably this game would be a dead-man’s game to them. It involved opening a page in a book (any book) randomly; whatever is the page number of the right-side page, the unit-digit of that number would be the runs scored. If that unit-digit happens to be zero, you are out. (Eight was not considered.) Me and Arjun played against Vadiraj(about him later, hopefully) and Suhas(another proficient hand at this game) one day. In what could be considered as out of the box thinking, we decided to bat second (batting is the above described process of opening pages; there was no such thing as bowling). The opposition piled page numbers upon page numbers (rather runs). Under the pressure of chasing a huge total, the book succumbed. It showed us only those pages whose page numbers were a multiple of ten. We lost.


Arjun Sharma said...

He he, the book succumbed! This is truly very funny! And fools were we who chose to chase. In bloody book cricket!

Sayakke, shrewd observers of social contours bere!

Truly, meeting SV was the highlight of VHS. After all, who knew then he would turn out to be such an exasperating asshole sometimes?

You lurrrved KVB, accept it! He taught logic and deduction to a class which didn't really ask for clarification on these matters. Always he taught the girls, leaving the boys to fend for themselves in a cruel, uncaring world which laughed at you if you didn't know logic. In that respect, you and BDP were the exceptions. He took special liking to you and taught you well. Much did he learn from you, O Guru, in those classes which you passed off as 'Turya' classes where you learnt from him.

Harish said...

'Social contours, seularism, media' and suchlike had to come in such a long story of mine. You know that.

KVB namage paaTa heLikoTTa GurugaLu. adhamanaada naanu avrige paaTa heLikoTT-a annodella haasyaaspada aago maatu. Naa heLodu ishte.