I have a very few fond memories from my school. I hated it. I’ve never gone back to it, once I got out of it. I have the ugliest memories from my school. Though, the friends I made there still happen to be the amongst the best of my friends.

It was a convent, and I remember in kindergarten, I had no clue what was going on, what am I supposed to do. No one bothered too. With a class of 75, cranky and as clueless kids, it was difficult. I was amongst the slowest students in the class. I discreetly remember my class teacher made me sit in the front-bench, and was telling a colleague of hers “ye weak student hai.”
I flunked in kindergarten.

When the session started again, the first sentence that my class-teacher said to me on the very first day was…”arrey tum phir se yahin ho?” (oh…u’re here again?) I didn’t know what to reply, I just nodded in affirmation. That year, somehow, I cleared. I remember getting 73rd rank or something like that.

I got a beating in almost every class in the 12 years of my schooling.

In standard 4th, I got used to beating so much, that there was one time, that my class-teacher thought that I’d not done the homework, and came towards me. I didn’t protest and brought my face forth her to slap. But I don’t know how she glanced at my note-book, and said…”why’re you getting ready for a slap when you’ve done the homework.” I didn’t say anything.
In that very year, she once made me stand as a punishment once, and I was not feeling well. So I told the girl sitting next to me, that I think I’m getting dizzy. That nutcase informed the teacher, and the teacher became panicky. The next moment my punishment was overruled, and I was given cold water, and moved to a seat below the fan. Her name was ‘Mamta’ Jain. Totally misfit a name I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

In standard 2nd, I remember the class-teacher talking about my religion in not a very nice way. She said that “‘they’ are merciless, keep killing innocent animals for food”. I didn’t protest, but someone else did by trying to provide a logical reasoning. He was mocked-at and asked to sit down. That evening I told my dad about it. He didn’t say anything either.

In standard 6th I got punished by a temporary teacher, and I was asked to stand outside the class. The principal was passing by and saw me punished. She shook me so hard by the ears that my book tore and fell on the ground. That’s when she stopped. I got so frustrated I contemplated jumping from that third floor, where the class was, and die. I used to think it was the only way to teach everyone a lesson. I never tried that though. Her name was sister Isabella.

In standard 8th, the usual trend of getting beaten almost everyday was on. But in the parents-teachers meeting, my class-teacher who used to beat me found out that my dad was her teacher when she was doing B.Ed. The beatings completely stopped after that. I was given extra attention, and never beaten, thereafter. She used to teach us Physics. I remember having scored the very good marks in Physics in the class tests because I started liking Physics, and the Physics teacher was obligated to like me. ๐Ÿ™‚

In standard 6th, we had a new computer teacher. He was a frustrated, plump, chunk of a man. He used to beat everyone just like that. It was a typical case of ‘power in the wrong hands.’ In class 6th, on some petty matter, he shook me by the hair, I don’t remember if he slapped me. But I think he would have had. When you’re shaking someone by the hair, you’ve to end it with a slap to complete the procedure I guess. It’s like a sign-off.
I felt very bad, because he did it in front of the girl I used to like. Anyway, I used to like computers, so I scored well in it. To his surprise, I guess.

Outside of the class, there were other people, who, I guess, didn’t want their status to be undermined by the fact that they were not actually “subject-teachers.” They, therefore, highlighted their presence, and their definition of respect by thrashing students.

One such person was “Veera Khan.” When we were little, she was the Physical Training (PT) instructor. Apart from that, she also checked nails, shoes etc. When I was in standard 3rd, I remember her caning the entire class on the legs, because we were “creating chaos.”

Okay, the cause of this sudden blurt of not-so-fond memories is because I watched “Taare Zameen Par” last week, and there were so many things in it that I could relate to when it comes to school. “Terror” and “Humiliation” were the tools that were most often used to mould us into becoming better students. Never worked for me though. Also, I wasn’t dyslexic.

Do watch the movie.

8 thoughts on “Not-so-fond memories…

  1. Well, it was guessable that TZP must have triggered this :).

    The incidents you put here are to be decried. Everyone possibly talks this but no one possibly cares – A child’s mind is empty book. What you write on it that time is more or less permanent.

    BTW, regarding TZP… Your are the fifth person to recommend it. I sincerely hope now that either of the cable guy or the movie channels do air this movie at earliest.

  2. My memories are entirely different, possibly because I was small and cute and did my homework (I’ve gotten my share of slaps from Hindi teachers, who thought that my hindi wasn’t up to their mark. The fact that it wasn’t my mother tongue didn’t seem to matter).

    Sometimes teachers get irritated when students just don’t put in enough effort. I remember being cynical when students from your FPG batch used to bunk class or just not care enough. This, when I had just put in 5-6 hrs of extra reading effort after coming back from work, trying to get better examples, better ways of communicating for a 1-hr lecture that I had been taking for two years and could’ve easily just regurgitated.

    Believe it or not, when a student makes an extra effort, it shows through and is very satisfying. I’ve had the pleasure of being an instructor when Vinayak Hegde and Rishikesh Shetty (different batches, iirc) were students. I would throw an idea out and they would run with it. I don’t think they know it, but evaluating their assignments made putting up with the rest of the lot, worth it.

  3. There was one teacher in my school who used to start her class asking essay questions (history) every day. Some how I never had the habit of mugging up the whole essay and I used to get routine beating. Thing is that I never tried to mug up the essay to escape from her beating.

    The problem is that teachers doesn’t know the purpose of learning. Sole purpose according to them is to make students mug up every thing that they have given in their notes ‘ditto’ and vomit it to the answer paper. Public exams were a reprieve as the answer sheets wont be evaluated by those stupid teachers.

    I remember another incident : in a zoology exam I wrote an answer (a one mark question or so). She didn’t give me any marks. I don’t remember the exact question. Say the answer I wrote was, ‘this user has disabled anonymous posting’. I asked her, teacher what is wrong with this? Her answer amused me, her note had the answer, ‘anonymous posting has been disabled by this user’. After that I never approached her again anymore.

    While it is good to hear that a movie had dealt with the problems faced by a dyslexic, what is worrying is that teachers are still living with an old mind set and the problems have only aggravated for now we hear of teachers beating children to death or fatally wounding them.

    1. Exactly!
      ‘Free thinking’ was discouraged. One had to cram what has been there for ages, and, as you said, vomit it on the exam sheets. Any deviation from the standard path was unacceptable.
      I sincerely hope the trend’s changed now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.