Monday, September 21, 2015

A Lasting Education in Appreciating Poetry :(

The classroom is still a tent. It seems bigger or I am sitting further back. The school must have shuffled the students when moving to the next class. No one I know is in my section.

The teacher seems far and the blackboard small. I am anxious. I had to learn the poem, 'If you don't succeed at first...". I dread the thought of being called. I am called and the memory after that fades, except that it did not end happily.

Was I standing in front of the class, tongue-tied? I just don't know. All that remains is a sense of panic.

A decade later, I am in a cozy, compact class on English literature. The only reason I am in the class is that I need to take two courses in English to get a degree. A fellow student has brought a guitar. She is singing "I want to put beans in my ear".

The professor is discussing the topic of poetry. She wants to know why I do  not have any opinion or comment to offer. My mind just goes blank. She probes me further - finally, I relate the above incident. She commiserates with me as she believes that memorization and recitation of poems in schools have ruined poetry for many, including me!!

I am happy that I can at least enjoy some novels in verse -  like the Golden Gate.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Birthday Party

My sister celebrated her birthday at my maternal grandparents' place. I want to celebrate mine. It is not a convenient time.

My grandmother is being operated for cataract on the same day. A room has already been cleaned and green curtains installed. We are not allowed to enter the room. The operation is to be done at home. (I wonder why I never asked my parents about it, especially why it was at home and not at a hospital.)

My parents give in to my stubbornness, as I normally do not ask for anything.

There are 4 students in my class who travel by the same school bus. Two are already in the bus and two board the bus along with me. I decide to call them.

On the day, I am waiting anxiously. No one shows up. I walk nearby where one of the students stays. The house is closed and  no one is home.

A second boy lives a little farther away. I walk and find him playing cricket with his friends. I drag him home. We play a while and go through the motions.

It is not a total disaster. Many of my aunts and uncles have come to visit my grandmother and they join in the celebrations.

I still get very nervous if guests are late :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

3rd year, 3rd school and a medical checkup

My father got an official accommodation. I could no longer continue with my existing school.

Most likely, my father took the help of Khushwant Singh and I was called for an interview at a prominent public school.

My father tells me that the principal was impressed. He asked my age. That was simple but he asked for months and days as well. It seems that I had no problems.

I remember that the classes were in tents. One day we lined up for a medical checkup. Among the vital statistics measured was the length of the penis.

I must have felt awkward because I did not tell anyone at home about it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My second year of schooling and a new school

Other than this memory, I have no recollection of my first school, except that I never talked to the girl in the front row :)

My father changes his job. His job is transferable and my school is changed to a newly opened English medium school.

My teacher knows my mother. I recall my mother telling my father that the teacher sent a thank you note. She appreciates the corrections my father makes in my class work and home work of her errors in English. 

The school is a bit far and as far as I can remember, I walk home alone. It seems striking today that my generation's parents weren't worried about children getting lost or being kidnapped or rash drivers killing us on the road.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why on earth do I remember this?

I can't remember when or even where. I am with my favorite youngest uncle. He is a bachelor and fun. So, I have at best just started school.

It is a wedding and I can't recall whose. The setting is a tent with chairs and a stage. The compere is inviting any of the guests to come on stage and showoff their talents.

I recall my uncle making some wisecracks and booing one of the guests who comes on stage. I am admiring him for his 'wit'.

I have no recollection of anything beyond that or discussing it with anyone anytime.

If I think back about the incident, it makes me cringe though I played no direct role

My first proper school

I am sitting in a classroom. It is pretty big but half empty. I am sitting on one of the last occupied benches.

The teacher must have given us something to do. I can see her with other teachers standing in the sun in the corridor. They are all knitting.

I am looking at a front bench, wanting to talk to the girl sitting in the front row.

The boys sitting next to me wrinkle their noses. They are making snide remarks at me. I have just released a silent bomb. I am wishing that I wish I could be sitting alone in the back.

I am walking home, a bit desperate. I don't make it in time. My pants are full of crap.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Reflections on coming to terms with growing old

I now need to decide what next. The first thought was to understand where I am.

It surprised me that I could not recall concrete events which helped me understand my  perceptions about my life!

The  few events I can recall mostly relate to failure or embarrassment :)

May be I will force myself to write some of them and that may trigger some more memories.

The first memory I have is the result I am sure of being told by my parents.

I was a quick learner and had learnt to read at an early age. My father wanted my grandmother to learn to read. He got her started but she would be confused by the letters.

She found it easier to ask me rather than my parents. I suppose I exclaimed that how many times had I told her that. She then said that I was right and she was too old to learn.

Update: On reflection, a great deal of my behaviour later on in life is quite possibly influenced by that event. I still feel guilty about it.