May 12, 2010

Catching a Copybook Crook

The celebrated sixth standard again. This time it was the English class. And the thick moustached English teacher with his punishment stick in hand was very much obstinate about our regular submission of neatly written copy books on his table before he reaches the class on the second period of all working days. Since he was a fear factor of the students, everyone was keen on not disobeying his demands and if someone fails to bring the updated copybook, even the next classes would go silent hearing the fearful swishing sounds of his flexible stick immediately followed by the moaning sounds of our fellow mates.

This was just like another day. After the first period, the English teacher came to our class and after asking some questions from the last day lessons, he took a new chapter. He first gave us an outline of the story and after telling us to read the entire lesson silently, he started to check the copybooks one by one.

After checking all the available books, he said, “Has everybody submitted the copybooks today?”

A unanimous uproar from the students denoting affirmation was the reply. But the teacher felt that not all the present students had submitted the copybooks. He asked again to confirm the reply. But, what he got was the same answer.

Without trusting the students he asked the class monitor to count the copybooks on his table. He found that there was a difference of five between the number of the copybooks and the number of the present students.

The English teacher became furious. He asked us angrily raising his voice to stand up those who had not brought their copybooks. First, there rose a head, a back bencher, and then three more students followed him in the confession process. He asked all the four to come forward and stand at the corner of the class.

He asked again, “who is the fifth one, come...come...don’t try to fool me!”

But, no one moved.

The teacher did not give up. He asked the monitor to read out loudly the name on each copybook. “When the monitor calls your name, come forward and join with those who are at the corner of the class,” he said to the class.

That verification process was on. The class monitor began to call the names of the students reading the name-slip on each copybook. Students one by one began to walk to the front side of the class to join the corner. The number of students sitting on the benches was shrinking and the number of the students standing at the corner was growing accordingly.

Finally there remained only less than ten students on the benches and it became nine...eight...seven...etc so soon.

When the monitor called out the spectacled one’s name, there were remaining only four more students on the benches and I was one.

When the monitor read the next name, I decided to surrender as there were no means of escape remaining.

I picked up my bag and pretended as searching it. And I said, “What a surprise, I think I have not brought my copybook!”

“Tom! You!” that was actually a scream from the monitor.

Everybody in the class shared the broken pieces of the monitor’s scream.

The English teacher wondered, “I never guessed it would have ended like this”

He picked up the stick and asked me to extend my palm, I obeyed. Usually, the punishment for these sorts of ‘crimes’ was one beating. I got two.

Not for not submitting the copybook and not for the teacher had some grudge for me, but for not becoming truthful.

Did you guess the suspense?
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