September 29, 2006

A Class, A Boy and an Excuse

(Those who visit this blog often will not find the name Kabir unfamiliar. Since this name pops up every now and then, a little introduction is in order. It’s just a name and we all know, or have been told, that there is nothing in a name. Kabir is a fictional character, and these little stories talk about his past life, his childhood and his journey on the way to becoming a man. Some of these stories or rather incidents are from my life and some from the lives of people I know.)

Kabir dreaded Fridays. Going to school was something he looked forward to on the other days of the week, but fridays were something else. On friday he had his Art and Craft class.

Kabir hated that class. The teacher was nice, but Kabir was never able to complete a single project, that they were assigned. As if that was not enough, and to rub salt on his wounds, everyone else in his class seemed to be a gifted artist. Some of the things that the other boys and girls of his class created made him feel very jealous.

He had tried and tried and then tried some more. But he failed every time. This was his first experience of finding out that the famous adage of “ keep trying until you succeed” wasn’t all that it was made out to be. If you are going to succeed, it’s going to be in the first few tries, if you don’t, quitting is a better option. And that’s what he had done.

So this Friday, he had nothing for the craft class. His mind was in frenzy all day, trying to work out a way to get out of that class without getting hurt. He ran over a few excuses in his mind, but either they were overused or seemed lame and unconvincing even to his own mind.

Time is a strange fellow. When you want it to slow down, even stop, it starts to run and when you want it to take wings and fly, it begins to crawl. So, it was in Kabir’s case. Before he was ready craft class was at hand, the craft teacher was in the room and Kabir had neither done the work nor did he have an excuse.

The teacher picked up the first boys drawing, and even Kabir was mesmerized with the skill. In fact if a child at 9 years could do that, it would be worth seeing what he would when he was 15 or 18. The truth was that all the children had their craft done by their older brothers and sisters or even parents, while Kabir, living in a hostel, had access to no such help.

After looking at a few “children’s” works, Kabir, despite his situation, began to feel sleepy. As he nodded off, an idea struck him. He would fall asleep and not wake up till the class was over. But as soon as he thought this, sleep eluded him. He tried to put his head on his desk and sleep, but sleep was nowhere to be found. And the teacher was approaching his desk fast.

Sleep or no sleep, Kabir decided to go through with his idea and pretended to be sleeping when the teacher was at his desk. His heart was beating like a bird’s. A general round of laughter told him that the teacher was at his desk and he was the center of attraction.
The teacher gently nudged him with a pencil.

“Oh no! You will have to do better than that”, thought Kabir and didn’t move at all.

The teacher poked harder and Kabir made a little sound, moved a little but didn’t wake up. Today he wasn’t going to.

The teacher, a bit irritated by now, shook him up. Some more sound, a little more movement and a change of position, yet no waking up. The teacher was angry now and tried to wake him up by holding him and lifting up, but the poor child came up right off the seat, his head firmly rested on his arms and he wouldn’t wake up.

“ Lets get some water”, suggested a child.

“Pinch him”, said another.

“Prick him with a needle”, a third one.

Kabir was positively scared now, though he made a mental note of who was saying what so that he could repay them in kind, when he got his chance. The teacher was thoughtful for a second, but despite all the anger the cute little figure of the child sleeping won the day and the teacher moved on but said, “ let them sleep who will, for they are the losers.”

Kabir’s relief cannot be described in words. Even to this day when he is asked to think of a happy moment, that is the moment he thinks of. To this day he can’t draw because he always found one or the other way out of the craft class. Though there was one thing he did learn in the craft class and is thankful for: “ How to make excuses and get away with them.”

1 comment:

Sunil Parmar said...

:) It appeared as if Kabir is me...:)
But the only diff is that i never feel jealous coz i don't wan't to be like my classmates and they can't be me...:)

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