Walking down the memory lane – Part 2
This post is a continuation to my previous post that talks about my memories in school till class X.
Everybody would arrive early on the first day of the new class, Why? You want to occupy the best seat in the class, wouldn’t you? Of course, there lied a risk about your class teacher moving you but there is still hope! I was late and was hoping to fill the seat in the first row. To my surprise the seats left were on the last row an close to a window. As I walked to take my seat, I laughed at the foolishness of my friends for having left it.
I opened the window to catch fresh air, and I was greeted by the view of the staff room, and Mrs. Rajamani Natrajan, supposed to be most strict. My friends looked at me with a smile probably laughing at the situation i was in. I was hoping that my class teacher changed my place, but then this was the best view any teacher could catch of me.
Class Teacher cum chemistry teacher, Miss Anitha, greeted us and welcomed us all to what she called the most important part of school life. Yes, I was in class X. If you thought we were allowed t relax the first day, think again. We were forced to write notes at the speed the teacher would explain. Classes were more like discussions, Days when we marked answers in the text were gone. It was an interesting method, because this forced us to read the text books. Our Assignment was like a bible for us. It was the only book that had a combination of class work and text books. I perfected the art of short-hand writing for my chemistry and biology classes.
Then there was my favorite teacher, Mrs Chandra our maths teacher. She hated it when somebody made a loud noise. I still remember the face she’d make when somebody dropped a pencil box on the floor. Some of my classmates would do that just to irritate her. She was always very calm, she’d grab the pencil box and never return. She was the reason why i fell in love with Geometry, Her style of helping us remember theorems made sure I was one of the contenders for the cent percent marks in the boards. I got only 74 😦 but because i was over confident.
Lost 25 marks in problems that i did with ease. Even before the teacher would complete the question, I would be ready with the answer. I attended private tutions with er wanting to make the perfect score.
Back in college, I used a single 192 page long notebook to complete 4 semesters and 30 odd subjects. Me and my friend Dhawal, who is still one of my friends from school would challenge each other with completing the chapter in the lowest amount of paper possible. There was no competition to the two of us, but sometimes he’d write so small and clean that I would have to find new ways of saving more space.
Try using the picture at the top of this post (Yes, that’s me!) to find me in my class X group photo below (Click on the image for a slightly enlarged view)
Teachers (left to right): Moses(Physics), Tamil Sir, Shirin Bharti (Hindi), Padma (economics), Anitha (Chemistry), Arundathi Mohan (Principal), Our Chairman, Secreteary, Padmanaban (vice-principal), Shanta (English), Geography teacher.
Anyways, we passed engineering with me getting 74 percent overall, while he earned a 78 percentage. This habit again comes from my match teacher, Mrs Chandra who would wisely inspect the answer sheet before she would hand us an extra sheet. She made sure that we used every single paper possible. Thanks to her, I now use everything, not only paper, to the most efficient way possible. I still remember the no-sound claps we’d give each other in her presence, she was my favorite teacher.
I was never going to complete any assignments, Playing hand cricket after school hours, watching TV and more underarm cricket in the night never allowed a single minute of free time. I’d reach school early in the morning hoping somebody else would too.. Nobody would because there were economics periods which we utilized to complete assignments. Just nobody cared about economics because we believed that the brightest students of the class would. Then there were times when kneeling down continued, Yes, imagine a class X student kneeling only this time it was in the place where i sat and not in front of the class.
I remember three girls sitting in front of me, one of whom helped my friend with class work. And I like an Idiot would copy from him. My help plea to the girls would also be through my friend, what an Idiot I was. Time passed and I became comfortable with it. There were times when she’d get punished because of me, and I’d get punished because of her. It was through her that I managed being friends with a few other girls. It was the first time when i had a ‘girl’ friend(s). 😛
Class X flew by, I managed a decent 72 percentage.Along came confusion! I had to make choice between, Science and Commerce. A choice that would start a career path. Our principal organized a lot of career-oriented sessions to help us understand the choices we had. I was able to narrow it down to three choices:
Number one, Marine Engineering, It was a brain wash from my friend who is actually a marine engineer earning well above 50k pm.. It was choice of salary over family. My friend stays 8 months aboard and just 4 months with the family, the time he spends here is mostly sent studying to qualify as a higher grade officer. Thank god, I didn’t choose marine engineering, 7 days of outside food and water and I’d fall sick.
Choice two, was commerce + CA (Chartered accountancy).. I was pretty much convinced that this was my carrer.. B.Com just wouldn’t carry any value and CA was the only choice after commerce.. but then there was also a doubt about whether I’d be able to complete it.. Back then, only 100 of 10000 students would pass, awhile the others struggled. There were examples of the successful and the struggling ones. Something inside me was telling me that this was the choice i had to make, influenced by a few friends.
Number 3, was to select Science and go on to do an MCA. An MCA at that time was considered better than an engineering degree.. For that matter didn’t know what engineering was.. And then there were subjects I’d prefer not reading.. Physics, Chemistry.. It was a choice i was never going to make.
Before I reached the Principal’s office to announce the choice i had made, i was brain washed a number of times by my mother for choosing science. My inner self was barging for commerce and I had decided to stick with it. The principal, to my surprise gave me no choice other than science. I was to choose between science or leave the school. Not that there were no seats left in commerce, but my 84 in science in class X boards. The other choice I was gievn (thankfully :P) was between computer science and biology, i chose computer science. My mom was happy, but my friends not because this would mean we sat in separate classes for class XI and XII.
The holidays were kinda sad thinking about not getting to share classes, specially after I had started bonding with them. Thanks to a number of students leaving school to join state boards for better marks and improved chances of a seat in engineering, medical colleges; The total strength of our class, Commerce + Science was down to 34. This meant that we all could be seated in the same class for common subjects and then move to separate classes for the uncommon ones like physics, chemistry and computer science. Smiles returned on everybody’s face.
Chemistry – Mr Abdul Raheem, I was never good in chemistry, failed miserably with single digit marks in all my exams and I was one the four weak students of the science class that had a total of just 14 students. I was never good in chemistry, for that matter in any subject that forced me to remember things, and this demanded remembering chemical equations and periodic tables. I was forced to stay back after school for special classes.
It is the time when i actually started liking chemistry and Raheem sir. A gem of a person that he was, his style of remembering things motivated me to do well. He’d help me in all ways possible and it was his tip that helped me score a 76 in chemistry at the class XII board exams. The Tip: Write all answers if you think you are going to fail. I used the trick even in my Anna University Engineering exams and it worked every single time.
Physics – We had 2 different teachers for class XI and XII, none good! May be they were good, it’s just that I would never concentrate in the class as I was paying for a Private tuition with one the best Physics teachers in Chennai. Maths – Mr. Sridharan, Integration and Differentiation, I still continue to struggle with it, Sir tried every means possible to make us understand the tips and tricks to crack it but i ended up mugging sums up to pass the exams.
English – Mr. Padmanaban, also our schools vice principal. I remember him beating two of my class mates from third floor till they reached his room at the ground floor where they were punished further. It was this act that always made sure he commanded respect from all of us. A wonderful teacher, but an overconfident idiot inside me helped score the lowest score in class XII boards which finally affected my net percentage.
Computer Science – Remember Mrs. Rajamani Natrajan, My window experience in class X? If I’m a software engineer now and a a well versed programmer, it’s thanks to the love for programming instilled in me by my teacher. Believe it or not, I never passed a computer science exam until the half yearly exams in class XI. We started with a class of 16, which came down to a class of 12 by the end of quarterly. A number of my class mates had already given up on it and moved back to biology or economics as second choice.
I received the second highest mark in my class in the half yearly exams, and stayed there till the end of class XII. Classmates would borrow books or learn from me, I felt proud and happy to share my knowledge. My love for computer science which my teacher help me find it would have been wasted looking at a dead frog in the biology lab.
Class XI was all fun, attended a lot of cultural events, and was a prime part of our schools first science exhibition. I was involved in a number of projects courtesy which i missed almost a month of my class. Since it was only Class XI, nobody would care. With Class XII came seniority. I took responsibility of heading the schools cultural activities. If I had not been absent on the day of selecting captains for the 4 sports houses, I would have been a definite contender.
I missed being the school pupil leader because i didn’t have the courage to lift my hand for self-nomination. A School Pupil leader is expected to be a role-model for the school and my marks in chemistry were not helping th cause. There were two contenders from the boys and the girls, by means of closed ballet, one boy and a girl was chosen. I only ended up being the Asst School Pupil leader and vice-captain of my house.
Raheem Sir, My Chemistry teacher made sure that I lived my dream about leading the school, he’d make me the school pupil leader in absence of the actual leader when in class XI. There was a asst. school pupil leader but i was a choice sir would make. Thanks to him I lead the school at least in the march past practice. I also hosted the annual day function from back stage which was actually to be done on stage, but thankfully people recognized the voice and gave positive feedback. I also choreographed a Dandiya/ Garba dance for the sports day. Ad midst all the activities that I was part off, my teachers made sure I passed with good marks.
I remember watching every single Cricket match that India played at the 2003 cricket world cup. Ironically, each match was played one day prior to my exam. It was tough to concentrate on studies specially with India doing so well. I remember watching the final match, which was before the computer science exam.
I never had to study anything for computer science as we were to compose programs for majority of the questions. A lot of my friends spent time mugging up while i enjoyed the match. An overconfident Idiot in me made sure that I lost 4 marks in the exam to end up getting 96 breaking all the hopes that my teachers laid upon me. I still don’t understand how to answer that particular question correctly.
School came to an end, and it was farewell time. Tears were not flowing but there were times when we recalled memories and laughed about it. It was difficult to part with friends, but hoping that we’d meet at some juncture in our life we moved one. I joined Engineering and finished it with good marks to get a decet job with a decent salary. I’m thankful to my parents and teachers to make me a responsible person that I am. If not for luck, I would have probably been struggling doing a CA and cursing myself for not having chosen science.
As I bring this post to an end, which should have been a 4 part series instead of te two, I re-live the memories once more. Not many of my school friends are in touch, well here’s hoping I meet them at some point of time in life and feel happy about having known each other. Wondering how many other happy memories are in the future, i can say that My school life has been the most exciting and happy part of my life till date.
PS: It’s been a post that i would never like to end, and if there was one thing that I’d do if i was the prime minister of this country is to force everybody in the country to go back to school. I’m also proud announcing 25k page views on this blog, thanks everyone for contributing.