In an effort to record MIL's school experience :)
“What is happening here?” Our classroom which could be compared to fish market only a few minutes back suddenly came to a standstill. Those standing on the benches settled down on their chairs hurriedly. A boy flaunting his biceps on the latest bollywood number ‘aa dekhein zara, kisme kitna hai dum’ rushed towards his seat almost bumping into his classmates who stood surrounding him cheering and boosting his confidence while a girl who was making caricatures of teachers on the blackboard clasped the duster and erased the drawings frantically. Backbenchers also got alerted and stopped gossiping and giggling. The sight of a wine-red sari pallu had led to cessation of complete chaos prevailing in the class hitherto.
Mrs. Gomes, our P.T. teacher, was on the round. She had a commanding personality. Her heavy round face, even rounder coin sized bindi and hair tied into a big bun (with always a pen tucked into it) made deadly combination, a combination that made even the most notorious students of the school tremble with fear at her sight. And now, she was standing in the middle of our classroom, class V-C. Her eyes scanned every corner of the classroom from behind her spectacles which were hooked to a beaded chain lying in her neck. To many students, she resembled James Bond sans magnifying glass, a spy on the lookout of hooligans at the school in order to bring them to books. Ensuring that nobody dared to defy her presence in the class she roared, “Who is Isha Parihar?” The whole class turned their heads towards the second last bench where Isha sat numb. No words came out of her mouth but now madam knew well who Isha was? She stepped ahead towards Isha sending shivers down her spine. “Poor lass!” all the students sighed in unison.
“Do I need to remind you your name?” Mrs. Gomes shouted while Isha stood quiet with her head bent. Today Isha was going to pay for all her pranks, I thought. She is a good friend of mine, if not the best one. How many times had I told her to abstain from being labeled as a prankster but she never bothered to pay heed to my advice and today she is going to get punished.
“Why did you hurt Roohani with blade?” asked Mrs. Gomes. “I didn’t ma’am”, we heard a faint voice. “Don’t try to be over smart. First you play pranks on others, and then you are not ready to admit your mistake. I have seen many students like you. You know, I know you well.” ‘‘I am sorry, ma’am,’’ murmured Isha. “What sorry? Sorry doesn’t make a dead man alive.’’ You know, I know you well.
‘‘Roohani is lying, ma’am.” “Shut up! Don’t try to make up for your misdeeds with lies,’’ shouted incensed Mrs. Gomes. ‘‘You know, I know you well”. Mrs. Gomes went on with her catchphrase. ‘‘Show me your palm.’’ She said with a big scale in her hand. “But ma’am…I don’t even know Roohani.” “So, you don’t know your classmate even?” ‘‘Stretch your palm out and this scale will make you remember everything, you liar. You know, I know you well.
Everybody in the class was taken aback. So, it was Roohani, the class monitor who had made Isha’s complaint. It’s okay if both the girls don’t want to see each other’s face as it is Isha whom Roohani can’t control in the class and it often leaves them at loggerheads but lodging a false complaint this way is completely unfair on Roohani’s part. Had there been even an iota of truth in it, the class would have known about it, before Mrs. Gomes. Now I could understand why Roohani went straight to Mrs. Gomes after prayer and see, hasn’t come back yet. “May I come in, ma’am?” It was Roohani. Everybody looked at her in utter disrespect. “The obvious needs no evidence. Speak up Roohani if Isha didn’t hurt you.” Roohani looked at Isha, perplexed. ‘‘Yes ma’am, Isha hurt me but Isha Bhardwaj of class V-B not Isha Parihar’’ and she is standing outside the class as you instructed me to call her.
Now it was Mrs. Gomes turn to go numb. She called Isha Bhardwaj into the class and asked her for clarification. “I am sorry, ma’am, I was just taking her blood sample to examine her health” and the whole burst into laughter including Mrs. Gomes. She apologized to Isha and went out of the class. She must have gone a meter away when the class shouted in chorus, “You know, you don’t know Isha well, ma’am.”