Today as I was taking a walk around the township with mom I met an old nemesis of mine. I have decided that in future if I want to walk around in a place where I had once received my education I will either do it in the middle of the night when no one is around or wear a burkha.
So amma and I were just sauntering with amma as usual giving me advice and self nodding my head sagely, looking at the ground in an attempt to look remorseful for being errr... Me (read lazy, sleepy, bored, lethargic, spend thrifty, anti marriage etc...) when suddenly a voice comes saying "Arey Revathi beta. Aap kab aaye?"
In slow motion I lift my head and whom do I see?? I see Mrs. M** (name changed to protect I dunno what. not like she is going to read this blog but whatever). Now I had always been a decent student in school. never getting those obscenely high 99s and 100s and neither failing miserably in any subject except except for SANSKRIT. I never really understood Sanskrit in school (errr.. I don’t do it even now). I never really understood why we needed to study Sanskrit. Why??So that one day when I die and meet god I can talk in Sanskrit, impress him and convince him that he should send me to heaven instead of hell where I ideally should be for the kind of deeds I have done??? I mean what is the use of studying a bally language which I would never use .
Errr. mind you, not that I "use" the other subjects and languages I studied in school/college. That is a totally different thing but back then in class 8th I thought that in future the math and science which I studied then would help me conquer the world and help me earn the "big bucks" (gosh!!! big bucks it seems. lol. :D. big pennies is more like it!! :D). I hadn’t heard of anyone having Sanskrit as a subject in aptitude exams or Sanskrit as a "stream" in class 11th or anyone saying we have the Sanskrit Olympiad exam or Sanskrit coaching classes or doing a Bsc in Sanskrit or..... Anyway I am digressing. you get the drift dontchya?? I hated Sanskrit from the bottom of my heart and with the kind of marks I got in Sanskrit, I don’t think the language liked me anymore than Ratan Tata likes Mamta Banerjee.
in class 8th Sanskrit was introduced and it was obvious from day one that I wasn’t getting the "hang" of the subject. Mrs. M was a huge fat white Punjabi lady (I have had a fear of Punjabi ladies ever since) who had a booming voice and would go "lata, latah lathabhyaaaaaaam...hey lata, hey lata, hey lata" (Sanskrit purists desist from commenting on my Sanskrit. the lata conjugation is probably the only thing which I sorta remember from those miserable days). I never did understand why in the end of the lata conjugation we had to shout at lata and go "hey lata, ho lata, haaaye lata" or something like that. Exclamation it seems. BAH!!
so the first unit tests (or monthly tests or quarterly tests... I really don’t remember) and I errr..... euphemistically put did not make enough marks to make the merit list, in fact I did not make enough marks to even make the "pass" list. sighhhh!! cutting the crap.. I flunked. and if u r a self respecting conscientious 8th standard kid you will cry at having failed. I mean jeeez you don’t fail in 8th standard and especially not when your mother is a teacher in the same school, your Sanskrit teacher looks like she has 8th std kids for breakfast everyday and when u made a decent 80 (ok 75!!!) in all the other subjects. but sigh. fail I did and I continued to fare poorly the whole year and finally ended up switching to French in class 9th.
Now Mrs. M hated failures. I mean no teacher likes failures but she HATED them. and she would never miss a chance to humiliate me and my Sanskrit paper always looked like it had been written in red and corrected in blue. she would put a huge cross across my page, put a merciless and fat looking 0 in the left, write the correct conjugation in red and write "bekaar" (worst). I would be in tears every time I saw my paper. She was a great teacher or so people told me but I think teaching me Sanskrit was as herculean a task as asking Angelina Jolie to be not sexy (errr.. me being AJ and "not sexy" being Sanskrit!! :P). Needless to say I never thought very highly of Mrs. M and I think the vice versa was also true.
so today she met me in the park and did what she does best. humiliated me. she pulled my cheeks and went "Beta. ghar aaye ho? yaad hai na? hamesha Sanskrit mein fail hote the aap" (you have come home?? Remember you would always flunk Sanskrit in school)
Me: (thinking) what the... lady I am on vacation. you don’t need to remind me how miserably I failed in ur papers and frankly u never did teach properly!! :-\
Me: (saying)heh heh. yaad hai ma'am. kaise bhool sakti hoon. (I remember. how can I forget?)
M: abhi bhi aise hi fail hote ho kya? (do u still fail like this) followed by a guffaw
Me: (thinking): lady now u have had it. eeeeyaarrghhhhhhhhhh (mentally bringing a karate chop on her head)
Me: (saying): heh heh. nahi ma'am. ab to bas pass ho jaate hain (no. I pass now)
M: ok beta. ab mai nikalti hoon. (turning to my mom). bada accha lagta hai jab old students milte hain. I feel young (feels nice to meet odl students. I feel young)
Me: (thinking). lady. no amount of Botox or retinol in this world can make u look young. and u may feel good meeting old students. I don’t repeat DONT feel great being reminded that I was a failure (sigh. I know I am being rude. she wasn’t a bad sort but..I dunno :))
Me: (saying); Thanks ma'am. bye!!
sighhh!! moral of the story: never go for a walk in broad day light in a place where there is high probability of meeting old flames (:P) or teachers. and later I came to know that she was on a "karva chauth" vrath and hadn’t eaten anything from morning (praying for the long life of the husband). maybe she was hungry and she decided to eat my brain instead. sigh. they ought to have a rule for karva chauth. no eating anything and brains strictly prohibited till u see the moon!! :-\
P.S: is karva chauth a Punjab da festival or UP festival? I saw lotsa Punjabi aunties doing the karva chauth routine today (looking at the moon and looking at the husband). always thought it was a UP thing. hmmm