“I wish that I turn invisible, right now and right here.”
I was being ushered out of the classroom, into the emptiness of the school building corridors with a long cap on my head. The cone-shaped cap made of today’s newspaper, popularly known as the ‘monkey cap’ was a stamp of embarrassment for the most innocently committed crime within the four walls of the classroom. It was a “rare honor” which no hardcore criminal could even dream of achieving. I was the chosen one this fine sunny day, kneeling out on my knees carrying all crap that happened around the world the previous day, on my head. I looked around with nervous embarrassment-filled energy to see if anyone was watching or laughing at me…or worst, offering to read the news decorated on my cranium…
‘If I see someone, I will close my eyes’…I decided with a deep breath…
“Hey, you”…I heard someone call me…
Half-heartedly, I turned to my left and what I saw brought back that lost mischievous smile on my face.
“Shall I read the news on your head?” I offered, as I had to the chosen few till yesterday instantly overlooking the very fact that this time round I was at the receiving end too.
“Let me do the honors for you too then”…he said bringing me back to reality.
“Hi, Sanjay here…call me Sanju…first time eh? My second cap!” 🙂
I felt a lot better to have some company…”Whoa…yeah debut…I’m Shirish…and err…call me by that name only…btw, what did you do?” I looked around.
“Threw a chalk at a guy in the first bench….it hit Rebecca ma’am on her back…dunno why, but she got angry….it doesn’t pain you know…” he went on…
“I scribbled – follow me – on a paper and stuck it on the back of Sonali’s shirt…she cried man, like a baby….and that too loudly, so I am here.” I interrupted.
“Haha…cool…I think it’s for the first time in this school’s history that two of us are being capped on the same day…isn’t that awesome to be a part of history?” he seemed excited as if his mom had approved him of his girlfriend.
The prospect of we being declared – a pair of monkeys – seemed scary to me though…
“Are you nuts? What if we become THE HEADLINES in our school’s monthly newsletter? It’s such an embarrassment…” I was almost seeing my bleak future.
“Don’t you think we can use this opportunity to gain some popularity? It would help us garner some votes for next year’s house captain elections…you contesting too right?” his enthusiasm would have put Kareena’s character in ‘Jab we met’ to shame…
I loved his optimistic approach…It was like the marketing idea of ‘convincing the customers to buy something they know that they don’t want’! 😉
“Awesome buddy…I love your idea…which house are you contesting for? Hope we are not pitted against each other…am a Sushrutha!” I bit my lip…
“Nah…I’m a Panini…Let this platform be where we start our campaign from…laugh with people who laugh at you today, the same ones will remember you when its their turn to vote” he said with no second thoughts!
As someone said “”It’s by chance we met…By choice we became friends.”
No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Seems you’re the only one who knows
What it’s like to be me
Someone to face the day with
Make it through all the rest with
Someone I’ll always laugh with
Even at my worst I’m best with you, yeah
I’ll be there for you…
“Old friends” happen as you pass time with them and I made this life-long one 14 yrs ago while kneeling down on that dirty rough unpolished corridor with a monkey-cap on my head…but it has made me learn so many valuable lessons all along the way like:
a) The first impression is not always the best one…Sanju’s idea of converting an embarrassment into an agenda of campaign was a master stroke…sadly it happened to be his last one as far as I can remember.
b) Barking dogs seldom bite…Sanju was almost in tears when others laughed at us during the later half of the day, which somewhat seemed to be the longest ever day we spent in school till then. But he won the elections…who said its not nice for a man to cry!! 😀
c) He’d always be there for me….no matter how many times, I told him “Sanju, look beta…when I’m alone talking to Shilpa, just back off” – he’d always be there…Over the time, I made sure to return the favor! After-all, what are friends for?! 😉
Sanju was a nut…that went loose quite very often. He couldn’t help but fall in love with his teachers…no way, did he bunk any classes no matter how sick he was….
And then in our final year high school came in Avantika….
I hated Avantika…not cos she had the name of a vamp in some soap that would run on television a few years later, but cos she was “humidity personified” – hot and irritating! I just hated her….but am now thinking of reasons as to why I was so judgmental about her then! 😉
When Sanju fell in love with her for a change, I was sure he would soon fall from greater heights and hurt his ego, if not his back…He could script a love story, but acting in it was not his cup of tea.
Sanju joined the wolves and began hunting Avantika in packs…One thing he realized much later was that she was like a blood-sucking vampire in-disguise…I encouraged him all along to go for her…err…so to say, I wanted to see how a dawg would perform amidst a pack of wolves! 😉
Sanju quit, when he was deeply bruised…as expected his ego was hurt….but soon he forgot the pain, the insult, as he fell again…in love…this time it was Salma, our new replacement science teacher….and this time, Sanju was not alone… 😉