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!’

Mar 12, 2010

Tales of Name Slips, Forgetfulness and Golden Wrist Watch

Sequel to ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’
I believe that my last post, through which I exposed some of my dark sides as well as the good side, can serve the purpose of an introduction to this post as this time also I am dealing with the same subject with a minor deviation. If I had evaluated my own character from three different angles in the last post, here I am trying to recollect the incidents in which other people were being respectively ugly, bad and good at me.
The ugly: Tale of Name Slips
I would like to compare my childhood days, especially the school days with those of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, not because of we share the same name, but simply because my friends and I too had some fascination towards certain objects during the school days. If the fictitious character and his friends were attracted to one eyed cats, carcasses of animals, pebbles, yellow cards etc, we had a special affinity towards name slips. Despite of a name slip’s usual purpose of denoting the ownership of notebooks, we used to collect them in bundles because they used to carry pictures of our favorite celebrities. Besides, the kids themselves had developed certain crazy games that they could have played with the name slips.

I also had a special craze to re
ad children’s literature, especially comic books usually in the pictorial forms. Once seeing a very famous comic book in my friend M’s bag, I asked him to lend it me for one day. With no objection, he gave it me and permitted me to keep it till I read it fully. An overjoyed me, after putting it in my bag, kept on peeping at it even amidst the teacher seriously taking the lessons.
In the interval time, M approached me and asked me to return his book. I wondered, “Why, haven’t you given it me to take it to home?”
He said, “Err..yes..But see, S wants to take it to home and you know he has given me some name slips in return. So give it him. I will give it you on another time”
A big bargain. I suddenly checked the pockets of my shirt and trousers and finally displayed some of the name slips I had. “M, I can give you all these name slips. Please give me the book. I will return it on tomorrow itself.”
M looked at my face and the name slips on the table. Suddenly S intruded, “hey M, he can give only paper name slips, what I can give you are sticker name slips. Here are mine, a total of 11. Look the colour,” It was true. S had all sticking and glazing name slips, while I had only name slips made on plain paper. I finally produced one more name slip from my pocket. ‘Hey M I can give you this one also. Look it is also a sticking one with glossy plain.”
But M had decided to give it to S. As I was not rich in terms of name slips, S won the bargain. But with no loss of hope, I again pleaded to M, “Please give it me, I will give it tomorrow morning itself.”
Finally M shouted at me, “Give it him, give it him, I say, GIVE IT HIM,” I saw some of the joyful images of the reading pleasure shattering in front of my eyes.
The Bad: Some Forgotten Tales
I had claimed in my earlier post that human nature is 51% good. So, it is better if I forgot all those incidents in which people were bad at me. If I still keep the revengeful mood towards them in my heart, how can a human being be good at least that 51%?
The Good: Tale of the Golden Wrist Watch
Mentioning all those people who were good at me will be a Himalayan task. Countless number of people, including relatives, friends, and even strangers were good at me, most possibly without expecting a reward in return. I take this opportunity to show my gratitude towards all of them through this ‘vanity-filled’ blog of mine.
Remember the journey that I made with my photographer friend Shyam to Kovalam beach on my sincere bike to interview the graceful Bulgarian singer Dyana Dafova? Well, reading it here would give you knowledge of the background of this incident.

It was on such an occasion, I went to Kovalam beach to meet an entrepreneur there. This time I was alone on my bike and it was a noon time. After the meeting, I returned to my office in an easy manner as I loved riding through the unoccupied paths humming my favorite tunes or talking to myself. I had to travel some 24 kilometers an
d after passing some fifteen kilometers I doubted whether I had been hearing the horn of some vehicles from my back for a long time. Since I was wearing the helmet and I was preoccupied with my own thoughts, I had missed the incidents in my surroundings.
Suddenly, a bike overtook me and blocked my path. They were two young fellows of the same age. I wondered, “What these fellows are going to do?”
“Brother, is it your watch?” producing a golden wrist watch, one of them asked.
I suddenly pulled up the jacket on my left arm and found that my watch was missing. With a sigh, I said, “yes…yes…it was actually presented to me by my father a few years back”
“We were chasing you for the last some six or seven kilometers, we blew the horn many times, but you were not listening,” they said.
“So, brother here is your watch. Next time take care of your belongings,” with no delay, they accelerated their bike and left within the lapse of a few seconds.
An astonished me looked at my watch and a speeding bike at a distance one after the other.
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