The memories of my High School days are so vivid that I always cherish and share them with my friends on a regular basis even after a gap of more than 45 years. While most of the memories are remarkably sweet, only a few are not so palatable. Incidentally, in most of such incidents / happenings, I happened to be the trigger for the same. It is no denying the fact that I did not like those incidents at the material time but now I relish them thoroughly especially the ones about the times when I received punishment.
Ours was a co-education school with boys and girls in the ratio of 3:1. It is a huge state government high school with sixteen class rooms, one library, three laboratories, one big hall, one teachers’ room, one office and a chamber for Head Master. After graduating from Primary Schools located in and around our village, when we finally reached the High School in Std. V, the feeling was like grown up boys making me feel it was a great achievement. Anyway, our classes started in full swing. With time, the subjects of study increased manifold. I enjoyed studies at school to the fullest extent followed by playing of football and then studies at home. Meanwhile, mid-term examination was over and I stood second in Std. V comprising two sections with around 120 students. It needs no elaboration that all the teachers used to love me very much for my behaviour. My only negative trait was that I was little restless. As such, I had to face punishment on four occasions (on one of the occasions, however, I was not at all responsible) which I shall narrate now one by one, as under:
Standard – V: It was Hindi class. The teacher was Moinuddin Sir who always used to carry a sleek bamboo stick with him. As usual, I was not in the class as I had the (bad) habit of going out of class after every period either for water from tube well or to the wash room (both were at a distance). As I was rushing back to classroom before the arrival of the teacher, I saw a classmate before me in the corridor and I gave him a little push without any intention. He could not withstand it and fell on the floor. By the time we entered the classroom, the teacher had been thereat. My classmate started complaining to the teacher about my action but before listening to him, Sir asked him why he had gone out. He was trying to explain but in vain and he was asked to spread his palm and he got a beating for going out of classroom (actually, he went to the office at the instruction of the previous teacher to replenish stock of chalks). Then it was my turn to spread my both the palms and I got beating on both – one for going out of classroom and another for pushing my friend.
Standard – VIII: After completion of journey through Std. VI and Std. VII, we reached Std. VIII. It was Sanskrit class (compulsory for Std. VIII other than Muslim students who used to study Farsi) and the teacher was Baidyanath Sir. I was not very serious about the subject (as I made up mind to study science subjects from Std. XI onwards). Nonetheless, I enjoyed the subject very much. So, there was no problem but as my destiny would be I got punishment once again. One day I was little late in reaching the classroom and one tall boy was sitting before me and I was finding it difficult to see the blackboard. I requested him to put his head little down but he did not bother. Out of annoyance, I then pulled his hair and instantly he lodged a complaint with the teacher. The reaction of the teacher was also spontaneous. He not only rebuked me but also asked me to stand up on the bench. I tried to put my case before him but to no avail. I was left with no option but to obey the instruction. It was very shameful particularly because ….. I think you got the reason.
Standard – VIII: It was Geography class and the teacher was Joydeb Sir. Apart from teaching Geography, he was very fond of Quiz. He used to conduct quiz contest covering chapters taught up to the previous month during the last week of the current month and the prize was a good quality pen for the winner. Geography being one of my favourite subjects, I was a proud winner for five consecutive months. During that particular month also I was leading but I thought it prudent to help one of my class-mates who was sitting close to me. When the teacher asked him a question, it appeared that he was not in a position to respond. At that point of time, with a view to helping him I prompted the answer to him in a very low voice but as it was bad luck for both of us, the teacher overheard it. I was apprehensive of some punishment and it became a reality soon. He called me near him and told me, “You have learned a lot and now you should undergo the process of de-learning.” But that was not the end and he asked me to spread my palm and I got a beating by a stick – a broken branch of a local herb. It was a pain but my real pain was that my friend did not get the pen. Incidentally, nobody got the pen for that month.
Standard – IX: After passing out of Std. VIII, the students were divided into two groups – Science and Arts, as per their options. As per my choice, I was in Science stream. Excepting two subjects viz. Bengali and English, the other four subjects – Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology were new and I was enjoying them thoroughly. Days were passing very quickly with studies, play and extra – curricular activities. Here I would like to tell you the incident when I was punished for no fault of mine. It was related to our English teacher Ram Babu, a learned person but used to get angry even with a slightest provocation (Incidentally, I wrote a Blog on him – “Ram Babu – Our English Teacher”.) It is no denying the fact that you will always find a few naughty boys in every class and ours was no different. It was 1st of April – All Fools’ Day and those few students decided to make fun of Ram Babu. A few of us tried to dissuade them but without any result. What they did was that they put marbles below the legs of table and chair meant for the teacher. On that day as the teacher reached the elevated platform and sat on the chair by holding the table, his body got dis-balanced and he was about to fall on the platform. Somehow he could control himself and without telling anything he left the classroom in a huff and puff. The mischief makers apprehending some imminent reaction, closed both the doors of the room. It resembles the behaviour of a sheep when attacked by a fox – it closes its eyes with a view to ensuring that the fox cannot see / kill it. But what happens thereafter need not be told. Similarly in our case also, in no time our class teacher, Kanta Babu (Shri Kanta Prasad Sinha) started knocking the front door. Getting no response from inside, he took my name and instructed me to open the door. I didn’t have any option but to open the door and as I opened it, I got a huge blow on my right shoulder for no fault of mine. I put a mild protest before him but according to him, I was also a party to the mischief as I supported the mischief makers.
Only on the above four occasions I received punishment during my school days. You may laugh at me after reading the article but I enjoy the incidents thoroughly when I remember them. I shall await your candid reaction / feeling after reading it.