After passing my primary education I was admitted to Junior High School, Shama (Kapkot Block). The transition from primary to junior high school was smooth as far as I remember most of the students were the same who were with me in primary school. But at primary school we were the senior most students whereas in junior high school we were junior most. So senior guys were dominating and dictating terms.
The school had a beautiful building and it was located on Shama – Bharari old bridle path, some half a kilometer away from the market.
You will be surprised to know that we started learning English from 6th class. Learning a foreign language was tough but it was quite interesting.
For the first time, I reveled in the luxury of having pen-holders with ‘G’ nibs, fancy geometry box containing the divider, a compass, a half foot ruler, a protractor, eraser, pencil, etc. School teachers were dedicated gurus, respected by parents and children.
At that time the Principal was one Mr. Dhami. He had the rare qualities of a great teacher and a good sportsman. His teaching style was very good and he very often used live examples with a great sense of humor which had a great impact on students.
Later he became the best friend of my father. In the evening Shri Dhami would come to our shop where he would play chess with my father for hours, as he would be mostly free in the evenings. I somehow developed interest in chess-playing and watched them play and understood the various moves. In a few days I had almost learned chess-playing and one day I requested my father to play a game with me. He obliged and appreciated my way of playing chess. But there was nobody with whom I could play chess and it was out of the question for my father and Shri Dhami to involve me in their play.
As I said we were the youngest in Junior High School, we were always dominated by senior class boys. One such boy was Balwant (Bol-da as we called him), the son of a big cloth merchant of Shama. Bol-da was older by 2 years, but he was only one class above. He was very naughty and impish. He used to involve us in all his naughty activities. Since he was stronger and bigger than many of us, he was the boss and dictated terms. We all obeyed him.
One day he ordered me to bring all the change (coins) from the cash box of our shop. If I fail to do so, he would not only beat me up but remove me from his group of friends and nobody would play with me. I had no choice. So when my father had gone to the kitchen to take his lunch, I went to the shop and opened the cash box. I emptied it by taking all the coins. With the coins in both pockets of my trouser, I ran towards the place where Bol-da was waiting for me. As I was running, the coins in the pockets were creating some crazy sounds like ‘Khach-Khach, Khach-Khach’, which attracted the attention of one passerby, who was going towards our shop. As he watched me in suspicion, I sensed some deep trouble coming my way. Before he reached the shop, I had made up my mind to return to the shop and keep all the coins back in the box.
However, before I could keep all the coins in the box, I saw my father coming to the shop. I was speechless. I had no idea how to tackle the situation. I was under deep fear that my father would scold me and even beat me up. Left with no choice, I somehow confessed everything to my father. I do not recall his scolding or beating me for this incident. That day I learnt that there could not be a cleansing without a clean confession. That was a lesson.
My confession helped me face Bol-da bravely. From that incident I spent my remaining days in school without fear.
I hope you enjoyed my story. Why don’t you share your experiences…? We will enjoy reading your stories.
See you soon with my new post. Take care.