On The Train

My birthday was on July 8, which I celebrated at home. After for almost 3 years, I was at home on this day. I am 24 now, but when I am at home, I felt like I was still going to school. Though a lot of things have changed in the past 6-7 years, I still smile when I see the playground that we used to play in.
Everything I see, brings up some old memories. I would really love to re-live those moments. If I were given a chance to go back into the past, I would change quite a lot of things. If it were somehow possible just for once, just for me, I would have corrected all the evils that I have committed. The lies that saved me from the stick, the small steals that gave me an extra 2-3 bucks for the ice-cream, the headaches, stomach aches that helped me escape school, etc. all these were fun. But when I think about the past, do I feel guilty?

If I were to answer that question, I can’t.

What a pity that the time machine is not a reality!!! I do feel guilty sometimes when I have had a bad day. You would be wondering why I am going back into the past. I can explain this. When I was writing this, I was on train, coming back to Bangalore from home after spending two weeks away from work. It had been a year since I had been home and met my family. When I was coming back, I was all alone and the journey was long. I had the laptop with me. With nothing to do, I dived into the past.

Now coming back to my thoughts that day, I really had a flashback into 24 years of my life.
I am sure you wouldn’t be interested to know what all thoughts that flooded my mind. I won’t tell also. Those things were very personal. I have done things that are known to just one other person, and if he/she lets it out, I will be doomed. But I know, the other person would never let it out, because it will be very embarrassing for him/her as well. And please don’t pester me about this afterwards. I will never tell this little secret to anyone ever in my life.

But I will tell you things that will make you smile.
“I only got beaten up by my parents once. That’s all. Can you guess why? I told a lot of lies”. I was intelligent and clever then also.

I will write down a small incident in which I was caught red-handed. Come on, Einstein had failed so many times; it was just once for me. I was in class 8, Stewart School. I was quite an average student then. Obviously, after this incident happened, I improved in studies. I liked all the subjects, but History wasn’t my cup of tea. It had always terrorized me till this incident. I had never got above 50 in history till this year. I am very thankful that I was caught; otherwise I would not have passed in the history paper in the final exams (ICSE).

So, I hated History, and I hate it now also. In 8th standard, my parents hired a tutor for me to improve my grades in all subjects, including History. He was quite strict, but I respected him. He taught me all the subjects, including History. I would address him as “Sir” from now on. Sir had prepared a daily schedule for all the subjects and he had kept two days for History at my parents’ request.

In school, we were supposed to solve the questions at the back of the chapters once they were taught and submit them for correction. I did all my homework in time except for the assignments in History. Our teachers normally took 2 days to assess or correct our homework and return them to us. We maintained all these assignments in separate books for each subject. Our teachers were not so particular about these assignments. So if someone didn’t do his homework, it wasn’t a big deal. From my side, I completed the assignments for all the subjects but History. I never even tried to spend time on History. It was so boring and uninteresting to me. So, I never did my homework, I never submitted my History notes for correction and I got away with this at school.

I am sure you would like to know what I did at home. History was on my Sir’s schedule twice a week, Thursday and Friday. Sir, usually took my notebooks and asked the questions from the notebook itself where all the answers were written. But, on Thursdays and Fridays, I had an excuse. I told Sir that I had completed my assignments given at school and submitted them for correction. I also told him that, I can only get them back on Monday since my teachers at school were overloaded with work. I don’t know why he accepted this, not once, twice but till it was one month before my final exams. All these days, I had been getting away from History with the same excuse. And Sir didn’t mind because I had improved quite a lot in other subjects. My parents were also happy and so they didn’t suspect any foul play.

The final exams were coming nearer and I was now scared. This excuse wouldn’t be accepted any more. Our syllabus was over and there were no more assignments. I put my brains to work and thought of a plan. Since my History notebook was as good as new, I thought that I would write all my assignments now, put fake signatures of my teacher, study hard, memorize all the answers and I will escape this time. So, I borrowed a friend’s book and started copying his assignments. I did it for 2 or three chapters, but after that I couldn’t do it anymore. At that speed, it would have taken at least a week more to complete all the chapters. And I had to study other subjects also. Our final exams would start after two weeks. I was scared. I had once thought of admitting this to Sir and my parents, but I couldn’t. So I thought of a different plan. I took of the brown covers on my friend’s book, put on a new cover, labelled it with my name and produced it before Sir as my History Notebook. I never planned to return it back to him. When he asked me to return his notebook back one day, just one week before the exams, I said, “I had kept it in your bag last week when you were not there. You must have taken it home and kept it somewhere”. I asked him to go back to his house and check once more. He was a good friend of mine and still is.

He was very happy to see my History notebook for the first time. I was relieved to see him pleased. But I didn’t know what was coming. He started with the first chapter, first question. I had memorized the answer to the first question very well. It was a long one though. Sir matched each word out of my mouth with the words on the notebook. After the first chapter was over, I thought my plan had worked. Then, the sky fell. Sir was looking at me with anger in his eyes. I could distinctly see his expressions change. His next question was, “Is this your Notebook”? It was the shock of my life, the greatest one I would say. I could hear my heart beat faster, I couldn’t think of any explanation. His next statement was, “This is not your handwriting”. The first words from my mouth were, “Yes, I changed my handwriting for doing History assignments”. This wasn’t of any help. Nothing would save me now, I knew. Sir called my mother and described everything I had been doing with History. I sat there silently looking at my feet and tears rolling down my eyes. I wasn’t asked any other questions that day, not on History, not on anything. My mother asked Sir to come back tomorrow, and went back to do her work. I sat there, looking at my feet overhearing the conversation between Mom and my grandma. I don’t remember how long I sat there. Nothing came to my mind. I couldn’t think of anything.

After sometime, my Mom came back and asked, “Whose notebook is this?”.
“Anup”, I murmured.
“Why did you do this”, Mom Said.
“I am sorry”, I said and hid my face with my hands and burst into tears.

Mom said, “Come, have your dinner, we will talk about it tomorrow”.
I had my dinner and slept off.

When I was home this time, after such a long time, I asked my Mom if she remembered this incident. She nodded her head smiling. I asked her jokingly, “Why didn’t you beat me?”.

She said, “You said sorry”.

I can’t express how I felt after this. I will never forget this incident, which taught me a lot and also helped me get 78 out of 100 in History in ICSE ’99.

(Still a low score as compared in other subjects). One day I will surely tell my parents myself that I smoke and drink occasionally….he he…..

I need a smoke badly now but I am ON THE TRAIN.

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