Being a Class Leader

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Every year, the first day of the school started with the class teacher asking this question

” Who wants to be the Class leader this year? ”

This year I am not the Class leader

This year I am not the Class leader

Normally only a few hands go up and the class teacher picks one depending on his marks and behaviour. Little does the student know the aftermath of being the class leader. The election process was so simple – No chits, no throwing them in the fire and certainly not looking for smoke or something

So we have a class leader and an assistant class leader who will do his duties when the class leader is on leave or on duty.

Uncle Ben once said

” With great power comes great responsibility “

Some of the core responsibilities of a class leader are as follows

1. Look for the teacher in the staff room if she is not in class within ten minutes from the start time of the class ( She will normally start the moment you reach the staff room embarrassing you in the process )

2. If she is absent, identify the substitute teacher and remind her ( Read the above line in the braces again )

3. When there is no teacher – Mind the class ( More to this below)

4. Form a line and lead the line to the assembly, meetings and sometimes even the rest room ( Happens for real )

The worst part about leading the line is sometimes you won’t even know if there is noone behind you. You would walk proudly with finger on your lips for a considerable while before you find it out.

Now coming back to the third point – this deserves a lot of writing

You are the one who writes the names of the naughty kids on your otherwise empty rough note and give it to the teacher when she comes back. Sometimes you might even use the black board for the same. You hand over the names and get back to your place while the teacher reads the names one after the other asking them to stand and put out their hands for a hit. After everyone takes a hit, they throw a look at you which will make you feel so guilty. ( In simple words, you are the Chitra gupta of Yamalogam )

Crazy things about minding the class

  • When we use the board, you tend to write the names as usual and whenever the offender pleads to you with his eyes or maintains silence for an extended period of time, you forgive him – take the duster and erase his name off the board. You are so proud like you saved a life of someone.
  • You can do the same on your note book as well – but the offender has to wait until the teacher reads out the names with hearts panting and the sigh of relief when they realize you had scored out their names is priceless
  • One other interesting aspect in minding is asking the offender to turn approver. This game is interesting and the last man standing will be the one who will be punished. It is the most favorite game of the teachers who want to maintain pin drop silence in the class while doing nothing. If you are experienced enough, you can conduct this cruelty – sorry game. The whole class will be silent and the first murmurer will have to find another murmurer for him to get back to safety
  • While you mind them, they will manipulate you – e.g you write the name of the offender and he tells you that your best friend was the one who spoke first during silence and he asks you to write your best friend’s name as well. You have to write but before the teacher comes back –  you erase both the names saving your best friend. Sometimes the manipulators are very strong and united that they might make you write your own name if they find you chatting with the pretty girl in the class ( Yeah ! It goes a long way back )

True to what Uncle Ben said, it comes with a lot of responsibilities but the proud moment comes when you identify yourself in the group picture by the shiny badge on your tie –  its all worth it.

Dedicated to all the class leaders from the 90’s

 

 

 

 

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Flames – The game changer of the 90’s

The relationship tool
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Most of the relationships back in the 90s were decided by a important factor – it was not by how you looked, not by how you behaved, not by how much money you had, not by your friends and definitely not by the books you read ( We hardly read during the childhood ). It was by the greatest invention / theory of all time – Flames

The relationship tool

The relationship tool                  Credit : manikarthik.com

For starters, this is not a crude term or the name of a pub but it is something that decided a whole lot of relationships back then. The results of which decided whether you were to be friends/fall in love/get married/be a brother/become an enemy to/with someone. This might sound crazy now but it was definitely a thing then.

F – Friend, L – Love, A- Affection, M- Marriage, E- Enemy, S – Sister

There is a thin line between L and A and sometimes we wonder what’s the importance of A here. While most of us are friends with each other, this formula/calculation comes into the picture only when a girl comes into that same picture 🙂

There will always be an expert in flames and your results have to be validated with the expert. He might not be strong with abacus or vedic maths or even mathematics for that case, but he will be strong with this theory. We all had rough notes and if you get your hands on your old rough notes by some luck, don’t start from the front – go from the back and you will find these weird calculations. Like any concept, it had proven examples by taking real-life couples and reverse engineering the whole process to substantiate the results e.g Ajith and Shalini.

The best part about this technique was manipulatable – first you do with the names alone and your preferred result does not come, so start again by using the full names, with the initials and a lot of other possibilities. It was like the universe’s way of telling to go for it.

It might sound crazy about it these days but every 90’s kids will fondly remember the girl with whom he got L or M.

 

 

Where is my geometry box?

Geometry Box
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Geometry Box

My prized possession

Where is my geometry box ? This is one question everyone must have heard a lot of times when they studied in school. It is especially hard to find out yours when the whole class has one type of Geometry box. Natraj had a monopoly over the Geometry boxes back then.

Coming to what is inside the box. You will be surprised by the presence of time table provided by Natraj below the top metal flap. Though you never use them, you considered it special. Taking all the items in the geometry box outside and filling them back in gave you the feeling of an assassin assembling his sniper out from his case.

Though Natraj gave you wonderful erasers back then, it was kind enough to give opportunity to someone else when coming to the eraser in the Geometry box. 9 out of 10 times it did not do justice to its presence but that’s when your Natraj from your pencil box came to your rescue to show the other one how it is done.

Drawing a complete circle with a compass was a challenge to many kids when they got things started. But i used to follow a technique for which i am not proud of. I used to move around 60 degrees with the compass shifting my position by the way when i drew a circle. Though i could do this in the classes easily, examination hall was a very big challenge.

I loved using the Protractor though. Wear and tear was only evident in this device as after a few months of rough and tough sliding on the benches from one end to other end, you have to trace the line first to identify the angle. I had a friend in School who for some reasons always called it a protector. It was fun when he comes and asks you “Gimme my protector. Gimme my protector ”

It was also also the safest place to keep coins beneath the plastic layer inside the box. However when you shake the box, you will find them anyway. One of the most intelligent marketing decisions was to sell these devices alone as we would not need all of them all the time. As a matter of fact, i have never used the set squares till now. Probably for the same reason, you can’t get them alone anywhere.

Geometry box used to be our prized possession when we went to school though it contained many elements that inflicted danger. There was a boy in my class who keeps talking with the compass in his hand and we used to patiently listen to him until he keeps it down.

One of the most difficult times was to explain your parents how you lost this wonderful box. Glad we may not need to worry about it anymore 🙂

Train Journeys – Good Old Times

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Train Journeys

Remembering the Good Old Times

Trains were an integral part of my childhood days as i used to visit my grandparents whenever there was a term holiday. School days were heaven. However you write your exams, you get an all expense paid trip to your native or some good place only to come back and find out you have passed your exams. In those days, Indian Trains were never hard to catch. Things were so easy when my dad used to book tickets standing in a queue just a fortnight before the date of journey. Technology has changed everything. Thanks to IRCTC, Redbus is a huge success 🙂

Whenever I go by the train, I tend to listen to a lot of instructions from my parents. ” Do not eat biscuits given by Strangers ” This dialogue is so cliched that we start thinking no other food can be used to put us to sleep other than the biscuits. Even after all these days when some one opens a pack of Biscuits, I do not maintain eye contact at all. Sometimes I even pretend to sleep avoiding the impending danger.

The best thing about any place on earth is the Food that is available there. Trains are totally the mobile restaurants. The way in which the vendors calls the product urges you to buy one. This is something that has to be a case study in B – Schools. For example when a vendor sells Soup he goes like ” Soup Soup Souppeee . Tomato Soup Soup Souppeee”.

Sometimes I feel the vendors have more money in their pockets than my dad. Sometimes the pattern gets a little disoriented. Sometimes the Ice cream guy comes first and then the Bread Omelette guy and then the soup guy. But Southern Railways offers you a lot of options to choose from. The best part is when the train is moving, they sell food inside and when the train stops they sell food outside. You are literally surrounded by people and food.

When i travel by the night, there will be always someone in the coupe who will keep the light on troubling everyone. I remember my fear that the bolts that hold my berth might unlock by itself and I will sleep peacefully only after my dad assures me that it is perfectly fit and it won’t get unlocked. I will wake up to find that my arm is holding the belt though. That’s when people start walking around in their pajamas brushing their teeth like its their balcony. Trains stand as a testimony for what India is called –  Unity in Diversity. You will find different kinds of people eating, talking and sleeping in one place.

Nothing beats the joy of reading a Tinkle in the Train.But somehow when i come back home, the Tinkle goes missing. There is a connection between Tinkle and Trains. I especially love the part when the book vendors leave a set of books and take it back later. For a brief period of time you can hold the books, count them, count them again, smell them, see pictures and select one or two if your dad is still not annoyed at your behaviour.

I just wish that some of these things don’t change as my kids should also experience these little things that make train journeys more than just memorable.

 

 

 

5 things we all did with Nataraj Eraser

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Nataraj

You are fondly remembered

There are a lot of things that we had close to our heart in the childhood which has taken a different shape these days and does not matter to us at all . One of the greatest inventions of mankind – the Eraser or popularly (dearly) known as Rubber in India. It took a lot of years to understand that Rubber was different from an Eraser. Nevertheless it was one of the prized possessions of ours during our school days.

Talking about erasers, the flagship brand was Nataraj back then ( even now i guess ). One of the Unique selling proposition of Nataraj eraser was the golden yellow foil that was surrounding the thing. I still remember getting furious when someone takes that off  my eraser and I remember a few people who collected them as well. How many ever times i see this eraser , I still do not get the meaning of 621 plasto. But it looks good on the eraser ( Atleast that has not changed since then ).

Erasers were put to good use back then as we normally write more with mistakes than without. Apart from the standard usage as prescribed by our parents and teachers, we have invented newer ways to engage our pastime with erasers.

1. Imprints

Half the kids in School apply oil on their heads only for this. Every class will have a donor who will provide us with the necessary quantities of oil to make imprints. Clever kids always use others’ textbooks to take imprints. It was more of a status symbol those days as who takes flawless imprints from text books and I must say i was an expert. The only hard part was to rub the imprint off to take a new one. Needs a lot of hardwork.

2. Myth

There was this myth back in school when the dust generated after rubbing a lot can also be recycled to use. The theory goes on like this – you rub a lot and collect the dust ( that shredded particles of the eraser ) and put that in boiling water and you get a brand new eraser. I wasn’t foolish enough to try that but we must appreciate the scientific thinking and the recycling vision back then.

3. Name Board

Sometimes these erasers can be used to identify the students. This habit was brought into prominence by parents who were sick of buying new erasers day after day as kids lose it very easily. So they write their names boldly with initials so that it is easy to find out when the erasers are lost. However we can get to know the child’s name when we turn the eraser back and ID cards were not necessary. My mom used to write my initials on three sides i remember that.

4. The Art of Passing

Every student learns the art of team work by helping his friends during examinations and our hero plays a major role in this as well. As we grew up , we used erasers for just that. This is when the Non dust erasers had the laugh as they were larger in size as it was easy to mark 30 answers in that. But greater the size, greater the risk.

5. Ink Erasers

By the time we started using pens, we did not have much to correct by erasing. So an ink eraser can never be compared to the great Nataraj eraser. The main difference between the two is that the ink eraser needed a catalyst to act better i.e a fluid. Accept it , we have all done that 🙂

I am not sure whether the children of these days use erasers like the way we did. We did share a special bonding with them. It is definitely worth writing about it as well.

The memory of using a Nataraj Eraser cannot be erased by any eraser.

Exams

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The most confusing days of any student’s life. The day when the whole class unanimously tells that they are gonna flunk in the exam but as soon as they grab the question paper they take the black pen to start with the headings.

The day when he flips thru the pages of the question papers hoping that there is something he could write upon and then he stumbles upon the last question which he kinda knows something or it rings a bell when he read the same.

Then the Ruskin Bond inside him tells him to write something and there he starts writing the sentences in a repetitive manner which is highly redundant in all ways but a student always hopes that the teacher won’t notice it. All that they ask is the Additional Sheets much to the surprise of the girls who have been scoring well for ages together.

Not to forget the Invigilator who constantly has a chat with his compatriot in the next hall preferably a female and if you keep listening to his lame jokes he tries to impress her he will cut you off with a ” What do you want? “. You will be about to say something but you know there are better things to worry about.

Never look at a girl when she is writing an exam because they have the tendency to scare the shit out of you when you are writing nothing sensible. They would be heavily armed with all the color pens and pro-circles which she would happily say that she will lend but you ultimately end up looking at her. Should i mention that she is not looking back at you.

You overcome all these and you come out thinking that you should never discuss about the question paper and when you come out you see a sect of people. They can be termed as Change Agents. Their job profile is  to go from one gang to another spreading the news that you were wrong miserably.

They work as a team and their prime target is Girls for they are the ones who care so much about the exams both before and after.These change agents have an inherent ability of gossiping and it spreads like fire.

The girls start weeping after having realized that they won’t be a nine pointer this time but they forget to notice the boy who is planning to get upset becoz he won’t even pass the stupid exam.

Centuries pass-education systems-change syllabuses change but Exam is just like a fever. When you have it you think about it over and over again but once you get over it you never give it a thought until you have it next time.

The best part is the qroup study which gives you the license to talk about anybody you like to your friends who will prefer listening to your stories rather than studying a book written by Carl Hamacher.

Dedicated to someone who has just finished the exam 🙂