Yesterday, jobless on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I was browsing through my school’s community on Orkut and reading through a discussuion thread about the most notorious teachers. Every other person in that discussion happened to mention Mrs.Mercy’s name. Now Mrs.Mercy, contrary to what her name suggests, was one notorious teacher.Very few students actually managed to pass out of primary school without being whacked on the knuckles with her famous wooden scale. I giggled to myself, when ex-students of my school , nostalgically recalled Mrs.Mercy’s torture sessions. Looking back now, I realize, that out of the 5 times ( Yes, 5 times in 12 years! ) that I got whacked in school, Mrs.Mercy’s wooden scale whack was my first ever punishment.
I was quite a kid during my primary school days. The teacher’s pet kind. My homework was always done, my diary signed, my notes up-to-date and my shoes regularly polished. I must admit though, that all credit goes to my mom. I was a brat. It would be shameless to claim that even a fraction of that good behavior was a result of my personal discipline :P . As used as I was, to being the teacher’s pet kid, it was a nightmare to turn up at school one day and realize that my Kannada homework was not done. By the time I realized it, it was already too late. I pictured Mrs.Mercy walking towards my classroom, strutting in the corridor with her wooden scale in hand.I felt a lump in my throat. Partly because of the fear of being a victim of Mrs.Mercy’s wrath and partly because, a whack on the buttock would mean a steady decline in the popularity chart in the classroom.
Well, the inevitable did happen.Mrs.Mercy walked into the classroom, needless to mention, with her wooden scale in hand, and her eyes dancing with a wicked pleasure, scanning the classroom for any brat who happened to be out of her desk, or talking to her neighbor, so that she could sway her scale in the air and land it noisily on a set of unsuspecting knuckles or on a pair of young buttocks. Luckily that day, there were no victims in the first 10 minutes.Later, once the class had settled down and the homework checking session had begun, muffled screams were heard as Mrs.Mercy walked around the class, inspecting every homework book and putting her weapon to full use on those who were not blessed enough to please her with their writing. Each time her scale rapped on a tiny set of knuckles, I cringed in imaginary pain, almost crying with the fear of the misery that was to hit me soon.
My book was in her hand now. I was in tears already. I felt like my knees would give away any minute now, as I trembled and looked up at her pock-marked face, with her eyes wide open and her lips rolled up into a tight line, staring at my book in utter bewilderment.
“You? Eh, you? What stopped you from doing your homework? Answer me. “ And she rattled off a proverb in Kannada that when loosely translated, talks about a king’s horse morphing into a donkey.
I took offence. She was calling me a donkey now.
“Answer me. What were you doing at home? Washing clothes, doing the dishes, cooking?”
I stood speechless, staring at the dreaded wooden scale.
She caught me staring at it. And the next second, before I could even look back at her, I felt a deep, stinging pain on my calf and hot air flushing out of my ears. It had happened.
I, the King’s horse was now a donkey. Getting rapped on my calf muscles. So this is how it felt. Getting beaten up at school. Standing up while the rest of the class is sitting down, being shouted at by your teacher, having your homework book marked in red ink, being the class idiot, falling down the popularity charts L I remember going to bed that night, ashamed of myself, unforgiving and bitter. I even remember praying to God for forgiveness and wisdom.
That one whack had changed something in me. From that day onwards, I did not need mom’s supervision for doing my homework. I religiously scanned my diary for any missed assignment before going to sleep every night. The brat, the donkey, was now back on it’s way to being the King’s horse again.
And for the next 10 years at school, there was never an occasion when my homework was not done. The four times that I got whacked after this episode, was when some teachers in high school treated the whole class to a random “whack-on-the-knuckles” session for being noisy.
There is something funny about spending your formative years in a Christian Convent. They have this weird way of making all your naughty deeds look like big sins. So, when you pass out of school, you are this God fearing, highly disciplined, well-behaved, “maa-da-laadli” types. Not that I am complaining :p But I do feel kinda left out when buddies from private public schools talk about their endless exploits.
I wish I had continued being a brat and skinned my knees ,pulled people’s hair, rolled in the mud, got whacked a million times, had wound marks to show off and had been remembered by my teachers for being a terror..That is so much fun than being labeled a “good girl” :p
And it would give me so much more to write about, than Mrs.Mercy’s punishment…
Aah well, the uncool me...LOL