Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nanna Kathe - VI

Writing a historical narrative is a difficult task. While writing about the past, sometimes, certain characters, the events that they shaped and the parts of history that those events defined, happen to be left out unintentionally. But such omissions, be they unintentional or otherwise, do not do justice to the past that has brought us to the present. That being the case with this narrative, I decide now to go back in this story to the PTA school days to tell you about those, as yet untold, stories and the people around whom it revolved.

In PTA school, we had a prayer assembly everyday before the school-day started. But what made this prayer assembly stand out from the ones the not so privileged non-PTA kids attended was that it was anchored by our music teacher Radhakrishna. Acting as an accompaniment to the singing was the harmonium of Radhakrishna. Instead of a soothing sound that a harmonium generally produces, Radhakrishna’s harmonium sounded more like a broken drum. For these reasons, he was called by us, the students of PTA, as MJ – Michael Jackson. And alongwith MJ we sang songs from the school songs-book that had everything from Cardinal Newman’s Lead Kindly Light to songs like,
“Namma mane idu namma mne
Ee Hindu Desha Namma Mane”,
(This is is our home; This Hindu nation is our home) which many from the secular establishment now believe was the prime reason for this school producing so many people who in their time of exercising franchise voted decisively for the lunatic, communal right. Well this is just hypothesis; more research needs to be done in this regard to be more cautious in the future about selection of songs to be sung in schools.

Coming back to MJ, he had this habit of calling people by names to which those people generally did not answer to. So, for MJ, Kartik became Bappi, Pradeep turned Latin. And another non-Narasimha Raju became Narasimha Raju. Since he used to do this in the school prayer assembly, these names of Bappi, Latin (these two were in our class itself) became popular across the length and breadth of our school.

And Latin - a reticent, bespectacled young Pradeep - became the character of a hugely popular story, albeit an imaginary one and a product of the imaginative minds of seventh standard C section having story-tellers of the likes of Arjun. Latin, according to that story, would go daily in the evenings to a bar; sit there with his hands holding an alcohol bottle and his legs resting on a table. And there, inebriated, he would, according to the story, sing songs about life, lost-love and many more.

Another person who became famous among students with a name that was not his name was CountryFace. Who was he? Was he the face of the nation? Was he the arbiter of national destinies? Or did he have a face that mirrored the geographical silhouette of the nation? Far from being a man connected with national destinies and geographical boundaries, he was a man who kept vigil at a small library that housed, mainly, loads of kids’ magazine called Misha(This was the only relevant result I got when I googled Misha.).Yes, he was the PTA school librarian. But why such a name? As I told you, this was a name that was not his name. It was the result of translation of his actual name – Deshmukh - to English by Ramakanth(of 20 questions fame).And despite being given such a powerful sounding name, he was dejected(as his face suggested), helpless, incapable librarian who could not even properly manage a library that housed such books as Misha (He would give us Misha for reading even in seventh standard. Probably, in doing so, he said to us symbolically, “Nimma mental level-a ishtu”. And we had no choice except for accepting what he gave because there was nothing else in the library that he could issue). This was amply demonstrated by the fact that Arjun and Sai-Sharan – a man with a great sense of humor – getting a few Misha books in their bags without ever being noticed. These books have not been returned as of this day. But why did they have to steal Misha, of all the books? “Just to test how efficient the system is”, one of them told me. Why didn’t they return? “It was not worth returning”, is what another of them said(I shall not take names here.). Despite his incapabilities and inherent inabilities, Deshmukh - The CountryFace - provided great entertainment as did so many others in this school.

In retrospect, its these characters like Meshwar, Deshmukh, Latin, MJ who made our childhood not just strikingly different from that of kids in other schools, but they also made it profoundly memorable.


Arjun Sharma said...

Olle hasya! Sikkapatte channagide!

I vehemently deny that SaiSharan and I stole Misha books from that library. We stole the only readable book there -- "Kim, the girl detective." Yes, you may judge us.

Arjun Sharma said...

"Who was he? Was he the face of the nation? Was he the arbiter of national destinies? Or did he have a face that mirrored the geographical silhouette of the nation?"


Arjun Sharma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arjun Sharma said...

Houdu, songs like 'Namma mane' destroyed the fragile, young, secular mindset of the students and imbibed in them, instead, a dangerous, communal, lunatic-horde psyche. This is regrettable.

We should instead have sung more songs like 'Jahan uday hokar nit suraj din me kare ujala, jahan raat ko chandamama bhare amrit ka pyala.' Though it has no discernible communal or secular connotations, it is atleast totally unrelated to religion and, in that respect, is areligious.


Harish said...

Yes, you have been judged.

Thanks-u ivre.

oLLe 'areligious' albeit(ee word ond-tara chennaagide) valid point raise maaDiddira.