Mar 20, 2010

Problems of having a Fictional Name

Inspired by everybody’s favorite Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie stories, I too plan to write some mystery tales, but not this time. Now, I think, to mark my presence in the Blogger world, I have to go back to my school days to recollect some funny incidents. I don’t know, whether the incident that I am going to narrate was of a funny nature. To tell the truth, it had made me smile pretentiously, and obviously had turned my class mates into uncontrollable laughter.

It happened when I was in the sixth grade, and ‘fortunately’ the class was formed only of boys. We had our Malayalam teacher, who had some disabilities in speaking – was not able to deliver words properly due to some lisping problems.

That day, she was taking us a story titled ‘Reunion’. It was the story of two princes, the sons of a king. Due to the Fate's mischievous play; one was separated in his birth and was brought up amidst the jungle by some uncivilized people there. Orson – by the name he was called – grew up as the most terrible and uncultured fellow of the country. Meanwhile, the other one, named Tom was brought up in the palace as a gentle and handsome boy. He was gifted with all good qualities such as bravery, kindness, knowledge, etc which were commonly found in the heroes of all classics.

When matured, Tom happened to hear about the terror in his country, named Orson. He decided to go in pursuit of Orson and to punish him at any cost. The brothers met and they fought each other till they found that none of them could claim victory over the other. In the end, from some identification marks, they found that they were brothers. The story ends with the reconciliation of the brothers.

The readers might have noted that my name and one of the princes’ names (Tom) is the same. As the teacher narrated the lesson, I was attending the class with full pride as if she was reading out my own story to the class. When she explained what a valorous and adventurous fellow was Tom, I looked at everybody in such a kinglike pride.

In the end of the lesson, the teacher asked me to read out the entire lesson to the class. Usually, the teachers preferred me to read out the lessons to the class as they had confidence in my loud voice. An overjoyed me, after stepping to the front, began to read the entire story loudly facing the students. The teacher was watching me keenly standing behind me.

When I read, ‘Tom was a handsome and brave boy’, the teacher announced to the class pointing me, ‘compared to the Tom in the story, this Tom is a good for nothing guy’. The class went silent for a moment.

‘What this teacher is saying?’ I wondered and continued reading, ‘Tom was gifted with all good qualities, he was muscular, charming and gentle.’ The teacher accompanied, ‘compared to him, our Tom is a stupid ignorant boy’. A roaring laughter from the class was the reply. I looked at the students and joined with their laughter.

‘Tom was well liked by the courtiers and he was a favorite of the people of his country,’ with a diminished confidence and voice, I read again. But the students again started laughing even before the teacher saying a comment. I heard the teacher saying, ‘who cares for this foolish boy, he will be overturned if a wind strikes him’. I embarrassed again and a monkey smile was the reply from me.

I thought, ‘why the class is laughing, they have to support me, because the teacher is doing wrong, I have committed no mistakes’, but the students’ laugh was increasing in terms of pitch and time span.

I read the next quality of Tom hesitantly. ‘He was brave enough and was so sharp that he could have shot an arrow exactly at the eyes of a flying bird.’ The students started to roll their heads on the desk laughing. Looking at everyone, the teacher said after tapping at my head with a hilarious smile, ‘Do I need to tell about this Tom’s quality?’

I understood that I could no longer continue my awkward pretentious smile as it had been causing muscular pain at my mouth. I stopped laughing and went on with reading the passage. The teacher continued her irksome comments accompanied by the uproarious laughter from the class. I glanced at my close friend who was sitting in the front row and saw that he was struggling for the breath amidst laughing.

After the class, during the interval, my close friend approached me and mocked me for the pathetic incident. Though at first I kept a laughing mouth, I could not conceal my bad feelings. He asked, ‘how could you have suffered such a humiliation? If it was me, surely I would have boycotted her class!’
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