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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

School Daze.

I remember some folks asked me a question about what subjects I liked at school. I was little flippant and tried to suggest that I spent all my time laughing and doing impressions of the teachers.That is really only part of the story and really only part of the true answer to the original question, so I will try to fill in the blanks for them.It is often said, “School days are the best days of or lives”. Whoever said that certainly didn’t go to my school (SCHSS in Nagercoil). It wasn’t that my school was particularly rough or out of control compared to others, it’s just that the pressure of discipline from the system and the demands of learning didn’t make for an easy ride as a teenager when you have so much other stuff going on like growing up, waiting to give a glance to the little chicks you admire, Chasing to find a secret place to fag!But as we all come to realize, what we learn at school can be a great foundation for the challenges of later life, and that goes beyond what is taught to us from the textbooks, it’s more what these years teach us about ourselves.I was better at the arts and languages than science and maths. This wasn’t because I was particularly gifted at anything. I just found the English Language and literature courses more interesting than maths, chemistry and physics. I was so terrible at those last three subjects, you wouldn’t believe it. Most kids passed their maths in ‘A’ level when I took the numerical ‘0’ as my mark once. I was not shocked or surprised because I was the one who performed it. But it embarrassed my maths teacher and my female class mates, I remember they dint spoke to me for a while, I dint cared either.To this day, I think I only passed because a portion of the exam was multiple choices. There’s a principle that if you give 100 monkeys and 100 typewriters, eventually they will produce the works of Shakespeare - through complete chance. In the same way, I must have ticked the correct quota of A‘s and B’s to strike gold! I hated physics more than maths, as none of it made sense, and the learning process was hampered by our teacher who used to come to work by motorbike with bags over his handle and we believed it’s his lunch. I was waiting for years to flunk the subject and drop it forever and I did. All I learned was why one shouldn’t put magnet into iron filings.Actually to be fair, I was enticed by Mercury as it doest have any shape and we were told that is too costly to afford, this makes me to fill my Reynolds pen with mercury and hide it in my thigh band. Also I learned how painful it is to be hit on the head with the wooden chalkboard eraser. The teacher was a real Robin Hood when it came to flinging that board eraser at me! I have cursed him more than 1000 times for every throw he made.I must admit, now that I’m older and smarter (some would think), I realize how the role teachers play in our lives is so central. To be able to take virtually empty heads and fill them up with knowledge and stuff to the point where learning can be an inspiration, is a truly special vocation. I was lucky enough to have a history teacher who did just that, and despite being the strictest disciplinarian, he seemed to make education a true joy and challenge that left me wanting more(He is no more now).I always loved to tell stories which is why I was always better at English lessons than anything else.I can explain, Language is one of the things that helped my progress till date.I don’t think I’ve ever needed to exercise my knowledge of isosceles triangle in real life, but things around are razzle-dazzle for me!

Riaz Ahmed.H

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