The Miseducation of Class Xth-F Part I

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Unlike a vast majority of schools all over India, the all boys school that I attended back when I was young(er) and stupid(er), never shied away from scandalizing it’s confused (pre)pubescent pupils. Back in my school, we didn’t have fancy comic books and slide-shows to explain the birds and bees, we had a man whom I can only refer to as ‘The Unsung Hero of Sex Education in Indian Society’ a.k.a. our PT teacher. Pardon me if that sounded sarcastic but I by no means mean to mock this great man. In fact I’m sure each of the five hundred and fifty kids that passed out from school the same year as I did, owe an unpayable debt to him for imparting invaluable knowledge of the facts of life to us. I mean, how else would we learn that the word ‘period’ meant more than just a lecture? So digressions aside, let me tell you exactly how our beloved PT teacher, whom we lovingly referred to as Mr. Johnny Walker (both for his mannerisms that resembled the yesteryear comedian as well as his beverage of choice) contributed to my life.

As is the case with each childhood experience that scarred me for life, I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was all of fifteen years of age studying in the tenth standard: a time in my life where girls still had cooties and getting second highest marks in Marathi in a class of 85 was the end of the world. Simple times indeed! Back then, Johnny Walker Sir’s PT periods lectures (which were nothing but a half an hour game of kho-kho once in a month which usually ended abruptly when Walker Sir beat up 2/3rds of the class for talking!) were the only respite from Mrs. Jayachandran Geometry’s never-ending Maths lectures. That day, Walker Sir came to class and informed us that it was too sunny outside to play Kho-Kho, and hence we would once again have an indoor PT class (for my less-informed readers, this meant ten minutes of ‘Breathe in, Breathe out’ after which Johnny Walker Sir would fall asleep wide his mouth wide open leaving the class free to do whatever the heck they wanted. But this Indoor PT class was destined to be unlike others. Oh yes my friends, that day was, as Walker Sir had decided, the day when we would leave our boyhood behind and enter our confused teenage life.

“Saavdhan!”, he barked in his inimitable style. Once he was sufficiently convinced that we were sitting as perpendicular as our spines arched by years of carrying outrageously heavy bags allowed, he continued, “Today I will tell you kids a little story.”

At that point the class let out a chorus sigh. Johnny Walker Sir’s stories, much like most other things he did, digressed to something totally unrelated within a span of five minutes, followed by a nap and mass canings. Sensing that the class was least interested, he uttered a sentence which made sure that the class would pay rapt attention to him for any given length of time regardless of what he said after that.

“It’s a story about sex…education!” he quickly completed before our jaws dropped any further.

Now sex-education to me was like the mythical abominable snow-man. I had heard various fascinating and sometimes terrifying tales about it but never before had I actually been on the receiving end of one. For that reason alone, I like the eighty-four others was in a state of semi-shock cum hypnosis for the rest of that lecture and probably a good part of the following week as well.

“Now the Principal has said that the class is too young for sex-education. But who gives a damn about the Principal, I mean what does he know!” ranted Walker Sir who was of the firm opinion that the Principal, just like 99% of the world had his head up in the nether regions. “Too young he says, haan! Bullshit! I know all of you rascals secretly watch FTV.” he smirked at the red-faced class.

“Tension nahin lene ka…even I watch it.” he winked as the class heaved a sigh of relief and chuckled embarrassedly.

“Next class kaun sa hai?” he asked

“Jayachandran Geometry Madam’s extra Math lecture, Sir” we yelled in chorus again

“Pshaw! What will you children ever gain from this Algebra and Geometry business? Oye monitor, go tell her that I’m taking a surprise PT exam, my story is more important than the value of x + y2 !”

As the class cheered aloud, the monitor gleefully ran with the same gusto as Phidippides did to Marathon. Johnny Walker Sir then rolled up his sleeves and perched himself on the table with 84 curious lads hanging on to every word he said. With Jayachandran Geometry Madam out of the way nothing was going to stop him today!

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Young and Stupid – Chapter VI

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Chapter VI

 

As was the case with most major events in my life, when the moment arrived I unexpectedly froze. My mind wanted to go ahead and initiate a kiss but the body refused to co-ordinate. Somehow I recuperated from my momentary paralysis and turned to her. “Close your eyes stupid!” a voice inside my head said. I did so, unsure how I would navigate from there on. I moved ever so slowly, careful not to make a fool of myself. How stupid it would look if I missed! I peeped stealthily with one eye and saw I was going the right way. I decided it was time to take the plunge; I closed my eyes and leaned in. A feeling of nervous anticipation seeped in as I was moments away from kissing her. What would it be like?Would the proverbial fireworks go off? The tension was reaching a crescendo and then it happened!

She screamed out, “What the hell are you doing?”

Quite a weird thing to say when you’re about to kiss, I thought as I opened my eyes. She sat there almost arched backwards, her eyes bloodshot and her face getting redder with every passing second.

 

Look what you’ve done!”

 

I hadn’t realized that I had made a faux pas yet. But soon enough I saw that I had made a major boo-boo. Somewhere between my thoughts of what a first kiss would be like, my unknowing elbow had knocked the tea cup over and spilled the concoction it contained all over her majesty’s outfit for the evening. I looked at her in horror when realization finally dawned upon me. Any second now the tea cup would come crashing down on my head, I had to either duck or say something witty to save my skin.

Uhh, it doesn’t really look all that bad you know. In fact I can hardly tell.” (GREAT COME BACK EINSTEIN)

That was a brand new t-shirt.” she growled

 

I’m really really really sorry. I’m going to make it up to you. I swear.” But she wasn’t listening, she was busy ranting.

 

…It was such a cute tee . I fell in love with it right when I saw it. You know how many girls I had to fight off to get this one at the end-of-season sale?”

 

I’m sure it must have been hard, it’s a really great tee, no wonder everyone wanted it.” (SHUT UP! SHUT UP NOW YOU IDIOT)

 

My t-shirt, you ruined it, see how you ruined it. Such great fitting and that too for 40% off. And the fabric…..the fabric….” her voice started to get shaky.

 

Oh no! This isn’t a good sign. Oh God please don’t let her…..” I hadn’t even finished my prayer as she burst into tears.

I was officially screwed now. If embarrassing myself and ruining my girlfriend’s clothes wasn’t enough, I now had to face my worst fear, dealing with a sobbing girl. It couldn’t get any worse, this was a worst case scenario, this was the mother of all disasters, a massacre yes that’s what it was. There was no way to rise above this one. Even Hallmark didn’t make ‘Sorry I spilled tea all over you’ cards. Game over, this was the end of the road. I wanted to cry louder than she was, but then the voice inside my head intervened yet again.

 

Don’t give up. You may think of this as a disaster but this is actually a good thing.”

 

This has to be the worst epiphany ever” I thought. “How the hell is that gigantic tea stain on her shirt a good thing?”

 

Remember young one! Daag acche hain! Surf excel hai na! Ting tong.” and so saying the voice faded away.

I turned to my sobbing girlfriend with a new found dose of confidence and quipped,

Baby, I know a way to make everything alright. Take your shirt off!”

 

You perv!” she roared, about to throw the cup at me.

 

So I can wash it! you don’t have to take every damn thing literally.” I said shielding my head with the tray.

 

And what am I going to wear until then? You don’t have any girl clothes lying around in your closet….or at least I hope you don’t.”

 

Just wear one of my t-shirts na.” I opened my closet and literally tossed the first thing I could lay my hands on to her.

 

Chee what a jhataak orange t-shirt this is? Why did you buy this?”

 

You think I’m that stupid”, I said straightening my elegant royal blue shirt. “One of my aunts gifted me this. I hate it as much as the next guy. Besides I think you should wear it just in case we have any other accidents. Now give me your t-shirt quick.”

 

Shouldn’t you be leaving the room sometime now?” she said in a flat tone.

 

Oh yeah, sorry!” I left the room red-faced.

A couple of minutes later she tossed the t-shirt out of the door, I headed straight to the washing machine with it. As I soaked the soiled t-shirt in soap water, I heard her yell again. I rushed to the room wondering what had happened now.

You spilled it on my pants too, IDIOT!!”

 

I opened my closet and stepped out of the room saying, “You know the routine”. A minute later she came and dumped her jeans into the washing machine. All I could do now was wait and pray that surf excel saved the day. I had no clue what to say to her, I had gone from a romantic to a dhobi all thanks to a wretched tea-cup.

I’m really sorry, I mean it.”

 

It’s okay, just forget it now. Let’s just dry and iron my clothes and I’m going home after that.”

 

I had already caused enough troubles this evening to ask her to stay back.

 

You go wait inside; I’ll come back when this is done.” I meekly said.

 

She left without a word while the machine washed and spun and dried and finally spewed out the soap water. Somewhere hope went down the drain with it. I prayed as opened the lid. “Oh God please let the stains be gone!” I picked up the shriveled up t-shirt and unfurled it. SUCCESS! The giant stain had disappeared. For once the commercials were right. I quickly took the jeans out and inspected them too. Affirmative, my plan had worked. All I had to do now was iron them and they’d be good as new, maybe I could salvage some pride after all. I rushed to the room and headed straight to the ironing board. I was about to start when she cut in saying, “Let me have that, you might burn a hole in it for all I know.”

I was a little hurt at that, but I felt I deserved it. She finished ironing it and carefully inspected it from each angle, and then held it up to the light straining her eyes to find even the tiniest speck on her beloved discounted t-shirt. I had obviously done a good job, but she wouldn’t admit that. She simply asked me to leave the room again as she prepared to change back into her original avatar. I turned around and was about to leave the room when the door bell rang. We froze….

 

 

 

Young and Stupid!

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Preface

No matter how old, mature and refined you are today, there was a point of time in your life that you were, (how do we say this politely), ‘Young and Stupid’. Now don’t get all defensive, you know it’s true. Your nonchalance doesn’t fool me and I suggest you stop lying to yourself as well. Let’s refresh our memories to a time when we weren’t ‘world-wise’ and ‘politically correct’. I am referring to that period of your existence which you would rather pretend never happened. The phase where your wardrobe was filled with outfits you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing today, when your hair-do was something you’d accessorize with a paper bag. Yes young-lings let the the repressed, haunting memories resurface. Go and find that photograph that you’ve hidden from the world for years and gaze at it intently. Take in every little detail, face your worst fears and laugh at yourself. Only then can we proceed.

Assuming that you have successfully lowered your level of ‘coolness’, we can now come to our story (which I have excavated from the depths of my subconscious). Before anyone tries to file a lawsuit I would like to mention that the following is a work of fiction. No such events occurred in my past. Yes, that’s exactly what it is. Or maybe I just don’t want to accept the fact that something like this ‘may have happened’. No animals were harmed in this incident (if you discount me of course). All resemblances to any ex-girlfriends, living/non-living, real/fictitious are (believe it or not) purely co-incidental.

If for some strange reason you are still reading this, the torture ends here, but don’t get too comfortable, the story is about to begin. Hope to see you on the other side…Hello? Anyone there?

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Chapter I

Dateline: Diwali Holidays of 2004. Your’s truly is all of sixteen and in ‘love’ (surprise surprise).

I had been trying all week to find a way to get rid of mom. After repeated trial and error, I decided to have one last throw of the dice before I finally called it quits. One last desperate attempt to convince her to visit her sister. If this didn’t work, I knew nothing else would. I may as well just forget everything about my ‘plan’ then. All hope rested on this final try and with that in mind, I entered mom’s room, flashing a smile as wide as my jaws would permit and sugarcoatedly said

Hi Ma. How’s everything going. Slow afternoon, isn’t it?”

Yeah, nothing new about that” she simply said. I pressed on

So why don’t you do something to kill the boredom Ma?”

You think I haven’t tried? I’ve already cooked both lunch and dinner and you don’t even look hungry, and there isn’t anything on TV in the afternoons either.”

I impishly grinned, “You know ma, I have something you could do, but I don’t know if you would be up for it.”

Good, then don’t bother yourself.” she said, her poker face still intact.

Maybe you should go and visit Masi’s place, na.”

Mom sprang up at the mention of my aunt, “Arrey, why should I pointlessly turn up there?”

I decided to make my move now.

Ma, I know things aren’t peachy between the two of you, but she is your sister after all.”, I said trying to maintain an innocent, sincere look.

(At this statement, mom turned defensive) “Na, na, nothing like that. Who told you we were fighting? It’s just that she’ll think that I visit her only when I’m bored. It will reflect poorly.”.”

Quite the contrary mother dearest. You fail to see this from the other perspective. Couldn’t aunty feel that you’d rather sit at home bored all day than visit her? Now wouldn’t that look worse?”

You think so? Maybe you are right. She has been snappy of late, maybe a visit would calm her down.” mom pondered.

Oh it will make a world of a difference Ma. You take my word for it!”

Okay then, I guess we’re going to pay your aunt a visit today then. Clear the mess in the living room and get dressed.”

Damn it! This was backfiring, time for evasive action!

Mom, I was actually suggesting that you should visit her alone.”

Mom (turns suspicious) “And leave you all alone here? Are you upto something?”

I put on my best shocked expression and sighed “I just thought it would be a nice change from the daily routine for you, and you…you doubted me. I’m saddened by this lack of faith that you show.”

Okay okay stop it with the big words.”

No, mom, the damage has already been done. My very own mother suspects me, Oh, the shame of it!”

Enough said, now cut the melodrama before I change my mind.”(whoops, maybe I went a bit overboard but it seemed to be working, mom was falling for it.)

Great, I’m sure you two will have a great time catching up, give her my regards.” I said leading her to the door.

I don’t have a good feeling about this! I better not hear any complaints about you from the neighbours.” mom warned.

Mrs. Nosey? What makes you think I’d trouble her?” (this time I put on my puppy face).

Oh I don’t know, maybe that incident with her bird? Now wasn’t that a memorable event?”

Hey now you can’t blame me or even the cat for that matter. The bird died out of the dual shock of being let out of its cage and then getting an up close glimpse of kitty’s teeth. The poor thing was just yawning!”

At this point mom realized that there was no point pursuing the conversation any further. She wisely surrendered.

Okay okay fine bye. Be good! I’ll be back by 8.”

Take your time, the place is in safe hands.” I said flashing a wide reassuring smile.

Mom paused for a moment and then left. I closed the door and jumped for joy. I couldn’t believe I had actually pulled it off. Phase one of the plan had been successfully executed.

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Chapter II Coming Up Next Week!