Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Primary Colours - part III

So many people touch your lives in so many ways. Some such people from my primary school days are mentioned here.

Sindhu was our class monitor. It was her job to pick up the attendance register from the staff room and get it to the classroom as we wrapped up the morning assembly. Two students would stay back with her to sweep the floors and clean the benches everyday. They would be selected roll number wise.

It would have been nice to be friends with her. Especially if I wanted to bunk the Saturday PET exercises every week. But this wasn’t meant to be. I wanted to be the monitor. I got better marks than her. Teachers said she was more of an ‘all rounder’. 'Hmmppffff....all rounder, my foot’ I thought.

Sindhu was late in picking up the register one day. There was a huge playground she had to cross. I knew she was going to get late for the class. My cheap thrill for the day would be to see her get scolded. I was waiting for it. While crossing the playground, she suddenly stood still. She had heard us singing the National Anthem from far. Everybody around her was moving as she was few steps away from the barracks – the peons, the aayas, the Class prefects on rounds went on with their work – but she stood quietly in attention.

This impressed the teachers a lot and instead of being reprimanded for being late, she was praised for having honoured the anthem. I thought ‘what nonsense, she just used it....Drama Queen!’.

This year I attended the ‘beating retreat’ in New delhi on 29th Jan. As the function was coming to an end, we moved out of the arena early, to avoid the rush later. Hubby had gone a bit ahead already. As I was crossing the barricades, the National Anthem started playing. I looked around. Everyone was rushing to their cars. I kept walking. I wanted to do a ‘Sindhu’ but couldn’t. Call it embarrassment or shyness, halting to a complete standstill when everyone else is moving takes guts. I walked on. Head hanging in shame, I reached my husband and tapped him to move on. He wasn’t waiting for me. He was standing in attention. At ‘Jaya he’ he executed a heartfelt crisp salute. I looked around, most of the men in uniform were doing the same. I had reached the car park.

The teachers were right.
Sindhu, you deserved to be the monitor!


  1. In our simple life we always experience this....when we go for a movie. people hardly bother...and both of us stand still taking our breaths also so slow that our bodies don't move...:)

  2. so is conforming to the farce of nationalism an act of heroism?

  3. To stand quietly, for those 52 seconds and sing it with all your heart concentrating on nothing but the fact that we are lucky to be living in a free country is an experience I would rate higher than most of the charades we put up in everyday life anyway.

    To some it is a farce. To some it is life. Coming from an Armed forces background I know what it means to my father and husband. They both serve just so that I can sing my National Anthem in a free country.

    To each his own - You can sit around and have pop corn or just stand silently and pay homage. It is less than a minute. I prefer to stand.

  4. dear grasshopper, u can wait in a Q for hours to get darshan of ur deity, or u even attend his/her prayer , lasting ofr 10 minutes.

    then why cant u stand for 1 miniute for a prayer of ur Nation, who has granted u a freedom of Right to write this, speak, move. earn etc.

    its a prayer of saying thanks to the nation for granting this liberty to u.

    Mind Well.

    apne gullise nikalke dekho, aapko videsh me kya kahate hai?

  5. All the three lessons were equally inspiring and 'Tukbandi' was very very lovable. I am still reading...

  6. hey all, i was merely curious...:) i understand. entirely. thanks...:)

  7. Hmmmm,I am sure you will do next time.Though, I just can never understand why ppl cant stand for 4 mins for the anthem. At theatre, i often find ppl walking up isles with popcorn while it plays.


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