What does one do when one runs out of alphabets to name standards? One gets into alpha-numeric of course! Which is exactly what a certain school in the city did and that’s where this incident takes place; in the busy classroom of 11 D8.
The classes had begun a month ago and the first mid-term exam had just concluded. The Maths paper was reduced to 100 marks from the usual 200. This was due to the fact that the teachers themselves were attending evening classes for skillfully aiding students during the Chemistry public practicals using the “Skillfully Aiding Students in Chemistry Public Practicals” book from Wren and Martin. The Maths paper had been corrected the previous day and the teacher was distributing the papers.
The period when a teacher distributes papers in class is often chaotic. The marks are publicly announced ordered by the roll numbers. You have students collecting papers, students collecting insults from the teacher and best friends trying to reduce each other’s marks. There is so much noise in the vicinity that one could scream, “UNNIKUMAR!”, should Unnikumar be the name of your teacher, and still escape with a rock solid alibi of recounting your friend’s total. 2 girls on the same bench were sincerely crying for having scored 92.5 and 93 respectively. The 3rd girl from the same bench was sincerely laughing at the other two. 3 guys, of whom 2 had already received their papers, were waiting for the last guy’s turn.
23: Dai, how did you end up with 92 da?
12: Show me your paper. I’ll see if there’s any mistake.
23: Don’t think there is. Why don’t you show me YOUR paper?
12: Er..here you ago. Parava illa vidu da. Mid-term and all one mattera.
23: Says the guy who got 92. Bitch. How do you two always end up in the 90s?
37: Er…I haven’t got mine yet. Let’s not assume anything (there was a suave/smug look on his face)
23: Dai. You and all minimum 95.
“29…..62….This and all one marka. Attend the 7 pm classes from tomorrow!“
12: Aamam why are his eyes red?
23: Yaaru avara (pointing to the teacher)? Must’ve not slept well I guess.
At this juncture the last of the friends took center stage and rushed towards the front.
“….71….Expected better from you”
Disillusioned, he returned to his bench. His friends pounced on him
12: 71aaa! Give it here.
23: Dai chanceey illa da… Let me have a look
37: Wait. Let me see what happened.
The 1-marks hadn’t betrayed him. The 2-marks seemed friendly for the most part. He had lost his way in 2 of the 5-marks but he had been expecting those. The solitary 10-mark smiled at him with a big tick. No, there had to be some mistake. With determination he started recounting. He reached 71 and to his surprise found that there was still some distance to cover. At the end of it he had started smiling and went up to the teacher once again. “Total mistake sir.” He said triumphantly. The teacher looked at him and turned towards the girls’ side. “Anusha” he said, adjusting his pants, “check his total.”
37 went forth to her bench at the back. She checked the paper. Amidst the chaos that was the classroom she recounted and said in a barely audible voice. “88 thaaney.” 37 nodded. Anusha turned towards the teacher and said, “Correct only sir.”
He returned with the paper in his hand. The class was still chaotic and his mind started to wander. He had the paper with the “correct” total in his hand. Should he really do this? Was it necessary? He passed the paper to the teacher, who looked at the 71 and asked, “How much?”
37: 90 sir.
The teacher was surprised. He shouted, “Silence!” and the class went quiet. 37 let out a breath from his mouth. “Anusha” said the teacher, adjusting his pants, “What is his total?” 37’s hands had become wet now. Anusha replied, “88 sir.” and sat down.
Normally the teacher would have had no qualms in beating the boy to within a inch of his life. The situation had changed these days. One could either hit a boy and end up on the front page of the Hindu Education Plus or one could politely discipline the boy. And so politely he did.
What do you think I am? You must ask and I will simply give the marksa?..
37: No sir.
Your boots I must polisha?
37: No sir.
Whether what I am talking is lies?
37: No sir.
37: Yes sir.
How much did you actually get?
37: She said 88 sir.
“Here take it.”
And he threw the paper with the modified total to the ground. The entire class was watching him. Some of the students didn’t quite understand what had happened. Their friends took it upon themselves to point their fingers at 37 and explain the situation to them.
37 took the paper and returned to this seat. He hid his face in the paper not wanting his dignity to be naked in the open. Roll number 37 was no longer in his prime.