Saturday, October 25, 2008

Memories of a free period

Remember those days in school? When it is the third hour (or period) after the morning prayers and your strict math teacher with her bossy spectacles and her equally bossy stature walks in and starts explaining algebra in a (well, again!) bossy voice? Ok, for me math was the terror - you replace it with a subject you used to dislike and the picture is pretty much the same!

But wait! The rest of my discussion isn’t going to be about the math teacher! Rather, I intend writing about another scene. Picture this: It's the third period, and you are digging through your bag for the math classwork notebook and textbook. But..but...Lo! A different teacher walks in, quite unexpectedly, and very well to your delight, instead of the numbers woman who rattles your brain! “Substitute teacher” yeah! And so, the moment the other teacher comes in, an irresistible smile escapes your lips! And then, you frantically try to cover it up – smart if you are that is. Or else, if you are one of those “cannot-hold-back emotions” types, you let out an uncontrollable giggle much to the annoyance of the substitute teacher, who would already be fuming at the thought of having to spend her “free hour” in a class filled with devils.

So, that being that, some of the human species that I just mentioned (ah umm, there were quite a few of them at every class that I was in and no, no, I wasn’t one among them!) - even if you had five of them in a class of forty doing that, it would have qualified as a cacophony capable of tilting luck out of favor for the entire class. Here’s how.

Things would have depended on which class you were in. Say you studied in class five. You would have immediately got a “stand up on the bench all of you” punishment and one of the first-benchers would have been sent off to the next section to fetch a wooden scale (After the entire class kept quiet, when asked for a scale!) – of course for receiving a punishing hit on the palm for everyone, including the seemingly innocent ones whose brains would have already started working on a scheduling program as to what to make of the free hour!

Or perhaps the annoyed teacher would have gone to the point of deciding on showering a rain of chalk pieces on the class, the talkative ones being the most targeted!

Here’s another case. Suppose you studied in class ten, and the substitute teacher happened to be a subject teacher, she would have, for all you know, chosen to do some “revision” when she would have earlier decided otherwise - perhaps to let you study for a test that afternoon. Fizzzz…and all your study plans would have gone down the drain!

And that gets me to the next point. Let's assume that the teacher somehow let the class do whatever it felt like. Can you even think of how many different courses of action that each of us would have decided, the moment we realized we had free time in hand? The playful *slash* care-a-damn *slash* branded-irresponsible *slash* cool-headed *slash* freaky and so on types amongst us, would have chosen to play those little games. Like what? Like these – turn to a fresh page of hopefully your rough-book and divide the page into four columns to play the famed “Name Place Animal Thing”. Ok, if you hadn’t been that organized to carry a rough book, it would have been the last page of some “ill-fated” subject notebook, in all probability a subject you hated or the subject of a teacher who was lenient enough to let things pass without examining the last few pages of your notebook during correction.

An associated game – book cricket! I wonder which genius of a child discovered (or invented?) this marvelous discovery (or invention?) of a game! Fetch a book, open a random page, and write down the last digit of the even-number page, which is your score!! I bet there are other versions of this game that have evolved in the thousand different schools across our country!

Probably, the height of delight for the playful young minds such as these would have been when the substitute teacher happened to be the Physical Training or the P.T. teacher. Such kids would have been only itching to run out of the class, after uttering the monotonous “good morning”!

Yeah, playful kids. But, what’s a class without those serious ones? After all, they are the balancing factor in any class! The true darlings of their god-fatherly, god-motherly teachers – the many apples of the school’s eye! And here’s what maybe the branded-geeky *slash* studious *slash* responsible *slash* intellectual and so on types amongst us would have chosen to do.

If we had been in one of those younger classes, we would have chosen to finish off some homework and free up some time. Mind you, no amount of coaxing from friends to play would have deterred these studious minds – even when it was the P.T teacher for a substitute! The literature or knowledge-thirsty ones would even have chosen to get permission to run up to the library and grab a book – literature or science or math or whatever appealed to our brains and devoured it during the period! I remember when I was in class seven, when I luckily got a free hour I spent the period reading through a few chapters of Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” which used to be the “non-detail” syllabus for our English Paper II. (Well, don’t even decide what types I am, there! I have played my share of those intelligent games too!)

But, yes, as we progressed to the higher classes, we probably were left with little or no choice but to sit and prepare for the endless list of tests that popped in front of us everyday, till we gave our board exams!

Yet, whatever type that we might have been, the very memory of a free period unlocks the gates to a treasure house of memories – of the innocent things that we once did, of the many tiny decisions that we took at the snap of a finger, and mind you, with so much ease, of the little nothings in life, and most importantly, of being what one truly was, of enjoying life, of delightfully indulging in whatever we did, with the least sense of guilt. Memories that perhaps become lessons as we work our way through the big adult world today.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Naughty, Naughty, Cutie!!!

Children - they seem to be the theme of this blog these days!!! 'That isn't surprising', you think, don't you? Well, actually it is pure coincidence that this is a kiddo-post too!!!

This blog space has been rusting, literally, thanks to the really tight routine. And of course my son, who is getting all naughty these days! I have left three stories hanging - they have been pleading for attention which, I haven't been able to give thus far. Nothing to regret, but I thought I will at least try and make a comeback to blogging with this sweet pic that a colleague had mailed me recently. It is the sweetest photograph I have seen in many years. Take a look!

Otherwise, hope all is well out there!! :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

This comes a little late, but this dear blog of mine completed three years on the 1st of february 2008. The past year was not very happening as far as this blog is concerned. But I have realized that one is an avid blogger as long as she comes back to it to share something with passion. At different times, I have seen this blog as a friend, a lover or sometimes even as a daughter. It is a very sweet and different kind of relationship that I have cherished thus far.

I am glad I began blogging at a very important phase of my life. This blog has captured my moods and my ever changing landscape of writing in my various stages - as a post graduate student of journalism, a financial writer in Bombay, an engaged, to-be married woman, a homemaker, a working wife, and now a mother. And, "The Storyteller's Hut" has been a place where I have run into many a day, on a hot summer afternoon or on a rainy evening to tell all that was in my mind.

At this moment, I would like to thank all my visible readers and the silent ones who talk to me through mails and also those who don't talk, for each of their visits to this hut. I would like to say I have enjoyed your presence and look forward to it in the days to come.

I promise stories and some hot tea! :)

Anupama (Viswanathan) Krishnakumar

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Many dreams and a promise

Come unto me my little one. I have been waiting for you all these days with anaemic fingers, tapping against each other like warring soldiers; and a breath weighed down with anticipation. How and what do I tell you, my son? Feeling proud has become a habit now. It is intoxicating, it really is, to silently watch you and then swell with pride – at all the things you do – the way you sleep, the way you roll your eyes, the way you smile, the way you hold on to me, the way you just remain what you are, a trait that many of us slowly start to lose as we move away from childhood.

I love holding your little fingers, the five pinkish petals of a tender rose from His garden. No, two little roses. I love running my hand over those soft creases on your hands and legs, the soft folds of flawless skin. I love drawing those neat curves, tracing my fingers over your tiny toes. I love calling you by various names – “Rolly Polly”, “Ingu Pingu”, “Softy Sweety”, “Lofty Softy”, “Chingu Mingu”, “Cutie Sweety” and “Kutty Kanna”. Kutty Kanna, your momma wants to tell you so many things. She just doesn’t know where to begin.

My little boy, there is so much to see in this world and so much to enjoy in life. Trust me, one lifetime isn’t enough! You know what all we can do – so many things. I will just offer you a glimpse of the world we can create for ourselves. These are flights of fantasy that I am making, with the wings of imagination. Very soon, this will be reality, for, you are the key. As you start to toddle, I will share your pride, I will offer you a hug when you walk into me. And soon, we will hold hands and walk together. We will rub noses, share surprise hugs, and exchange tender kisses on our cheeks. We will play little games that you will always win. We will recite nursery rhymes together, when we eat, when we lie down on the bed and whenever we seem to find the time; I will seat you on my lap and we will check out the big rhymes book that Papa has got for you.

And then, we will fly bright, chirpy kites that kiss the blue sky and speak to the sun. We will colour our lives with your red and my green and their many shades. We will discover new colours, explore the big palette and dab on. We will strangle fears to death and burn to ashes, the many negative feelings. We will nurture positive thoughts and build mental toughness. We will laugh our hearts out over the silliest of jokes. We will never miss a light moment and will try not to let a dull one seep in, as much as we can. We will pillow-fight. We will tease your Papa about his snoring. I am sure there will be times when you guys will gang up together. Your Papa is drawing up his own plans for you! And my best guess is that it is a world of games, gizmos, cars, dogs and movies!

For now, I will get going with what I have to share. When you get a little bigger, we will read out favourite passages from the books we read. We will grab sunshine with our hands; we will dance in the rain and waltz together on a moonlit night. We will star gaze on a clear night and go for a quiet jog on a pleasant morning. All the same, my dear, we are humans and we are here to defy the ideal. Let’s admit it. We will have our share of petty fights, and then apologize and embrace each other, only getting closer each time.

What’s more, we will exchange a secret sparkle between our eyes when you get your girl home. My boy, I am here to watch you grow and I will stay by your side, through the crests and troughs of your life. Remember, the silent pride will reside within me, no matter how old you are. I will walk down with you as long as my legs can carry on and then I will hold back and watch, as you advance in age and in your life.

You have come into my world and given it an altogether new meaning. And what do I have but my love and a promise to give in return? I want to make each day of your life special, in some little way and make you feel that this life is truly worth living and that, is this mom’s promise to you.

As I say all this, how much of it do you understand, I wonder! You look at me and beam a toothless smile that melts me to nothingness. You will, my dear, you will very soon understand – the many dreams and a promise of a proud mother.