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!