If one talks of academics, I never was a bright student. Not that I was dumb,
but somehow I was never interested in studying — English and Maths being my
two most-hated subjects. Come to think of it, I graduated to be an engineer!
I often shake my head in total disbelief as to how I managed that feat!
As far as grades were concerned, I just managed to stay afloat. To add to my other distractions, I hold the girls in my class responsible for this mediocre performance in school!
No, don’t start thinking about the Romeo in me! It was their hair or their hairstyle!
You see, it was customary for the girls to occupy the front few benches so that they had their back to us boys. Now, some of them had long hair, while others had plaits and yet others had sort of woven their’s to form beautiful buns. It was very difficult for me, the
sole judge, to decide whose presentation was the best! And inevitably, while I was seriously engrossed in deciding who the winner was, the teacher would suddenly ask me a question, catching me unawares. Poor me, not knowing the answer, would be humiliated in front of the entire class, including those sweet girls. Ah, talking about those girls, not one of them could really be called pretty but then, as a saying in my language goes, at sixteen even a she donkey looks pretty! Well, none of them was sixteen then, but… umm, nearing it!!!
Now, I have been talking about everything else but the subject of this post, which is my essay. As mentioned before, I only managed average grades in all subjects. One day, we were asked to write an essay on “MY FATHER”. In my enthusiasm and innocence (now now, don’t raise your eyebrows, once upon a time, I was innocent too!) I depicted him just exactly as I perceived him to be – a very stern and angry man whose scolding was enough to make me wet my pants! (He never, ever raised his hand). And his scolding was always justified because of my poor grades. As it happened, I got an ‘A’, meaning ‘excellent’ for this essay! It was compulsory to get our Parent or Guardian’s signature on all such test papers or progress cards. I was overjoyed at having received such a high grade for the first time in my life.
School over, I ran home to show the essay to my family, hoping to receive accolades for my fine efforts. My mother was the first person (and thankfully, the only one) to read it. Her face dropped as she read it – and with that, my expectations. Instead of the expected accolades, I received a mild rebuke! You see, to a typical Indian woman, her husband means everything in her life and she cannot tolerate anything that shows him in poor light. It is just like ‘a king can do no wrong’.
After this, I did not dare show this essay to anyone, least of all, my father. I quietly took my mother’s signature and vanished from the scene. That put an end to the dreams of this
budding essay writer who had secretly hoped to show the world some day, that he too was a man – sorry, boy – of some substance.