ITCHY PALMS, BLACK FACE & A CHEEKY GRIN

Some childhood memories come to mind…

I had my early education in a municipal school for orphans – even though I wasn’t one – where corporal punishment was liberal (remember, it was permissible then!).

One fine day, along came our oral exams. And the master asked me a question. Inspite of never being a bright student, it so happened that I did know that particular answer. My father, being a super salesman, I always heard him talk business all day long, so somehow, at that very moment, the businessman’s genes in me were aroused. I thought that I could do some business with the master and maybe earn  few pennines to proudly present my father for his piggybank!

So, in childhood innocence, I asked the master if he would pay me to give him the correct answer. To my great disappointment, instead of the expected pennies, I was rewarded with strokes of the cane (more than I think I deserved, since his hand was itching!). And instead of being any kind of monetary help to my father, he had to shell out a few rupees for my treatment! And the result was another spanking! Alas, the world is cruel to nice, well-meaning people who want to help out, but are misunderstood!

On another occasion, our school had a cultural program in which us kids had to participate in a drama. I must have been some kind of a nuisance who annoyed the make-up artist, because unknown to me, he painted my face black. Unfortunately for him though, he actually did me a favour because we were part of a monkey brigade, with all the others kids painted red! Well, the naughty, black-faced monkey actually stole the heart of the audience with his antics and it was the make-up artist who was left red-faced!

I’m quite sure you enjoyed reading this, but let me tell you that both these were cock ‘n bull tales made up by me. I might not be able to give Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm a run for their money, but I can conjure up some stories, can’t I?

 

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