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Hand in hand for eternity

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dad's Diary 6 - Teachers and Discipline


In my school days in the 1950s parents used to be in close liaison with the teachers to maintain a uniform standard of discipline for the kids. The adage -'Spare the rod and spoil the child'- was sometimes stretched to an unpleasant extent. But Dr. Himadri was an exception.

The doctor's daughter, Lila, returned home one day from the school pathetically crying her heart out. She had been grounded within the confines of the classroom as a punishment. Her hand-writing and neatness had to improve, the teacher had warned, or worse would follow. “Either you write neatly in Class III, or never ever write in your life,” was the urgency.

The doctor took it up with the school authorities, and made unnerving statements on the possible psychological repercussions of such distressing action. This was the first case of hitherto unheard of parental interference in school affairs. It ended in the daughter getting exiled to the last bench permanently. “It is even more fun,” she confided to me, leaving me jealous to the core.

My ardent endeavor to get a passport to the last bench to join Lila bore fruit quicker than expected. I was charged with not only having used a dirty eraser, but also spit to smear the hand-writing book. I also qualified for and suffered from detention in the classroom during play time without, however, consigned to the back bench.

At home I waited till my father appeared settled and relaxed after having come back from work. Then I placed my trump card. I related the whole event with well rehearsed anguish, adding the Dr. Himadri part with as much excitement as I could master. But my tears failed to match my wailing.

He held my hands fondly. “Where did you learn to complain against your teachers at home? Don't ever do that again,” he said in a menacingly quiet tone, crushing all my hopes and expectations.

My next stop was Dr. Himadri himself. He gave me a patient hearing. But that was all. “But my father doesn't want to take it up with the school,” I lobbied. He shrugged off dismissively. My morale was at the lowest ebb when I returned home.

All connections got wired up the next day. Apparently, my father met both the teacher and the doctor during his evening walk that enabled him to tie up all the loose ends of the episode.

A day later the teacher caught me in the school, “How dare you complain against me at home? I am going to make an exemplary case out of you,” she roared. I was made to stand up so that the whole class  could see my dismayed face. “That's nothing,” she roared again, “your father has permitted me to do anything I want to teach you neatness and discipline. All fathers are not the same.” Lila, particularly for whose benefit all this teacher-power was beings exhibited, now sat bolt upright with baleful eyes at the disgraceful comparison of fathers.

At home my father made his point, “I am surprised at your audacity; you had the nerve to complain against me to Dr. Himadri!” Was there an edge in his menacingly quiet voice? By that time I was past caring about my welfare. “Why doesn't anybody care about me?” I asked in amazement.

My father seemed to pause and ponder. “We all care about you. But you must treat elders and teachers respectfully,” he said soothingly, and promised to take me to my first ever cinema – Tarzan – as an incentive to remember the lesson.

The back bench along with its reigning queen, Lila, paled into insignificance as the wilderness of Africa galloped into my mind's firmament. But as I look back on those days, while wishing all children trouble free schooling, I know that I for one would not have made it without the rod.               

 BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE


  


33 comments:

  1. wow.nice post. :)

    http://fayelovesfashion.blogspot.com/

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  2. i see it is better to written with the pen than to be righten with rod love the the story fun to remember the pain to endure. thank you god bless

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  3. I was a very good calm boy in the school,So i had my ears tweaked many a times by teachers, ha.. ha...Yet those were golden days of my life.love to return there again.Btw nice indeed.

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  4. The times, how they have changed.
    Interesting and well-written story on how teachers and parents colluded to maintain discipline back in the day... and the lesson you learned from it all. I have many such school memories too. In fact, I have a whole memoir of my school days.

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  5. Yeah, I remember when my teacher had me stand in the corner. Still wonder why? Oh yeah, my mouth! Couldn't stop talking then and STILL can't till today. Oh and yes, I do know the rod. Nice post Kriti!:)

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  6. @Faye thanks a ton for coming by and glad you like it @Roy - so true - thanks for coming by - your comments always make my day @Nirupam - so you got some of it too ha? Yes golden days inspite of everything. @Debra - Can't wait to read them - sure will be fun @ Bronzi - thanks. The post is Dad's though : ). I was embarrassed many a times for my mouth too

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  7. Reading your Dad's stories is always a pleasure Kriti........very well written story....say namaste to uncle ji :D

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  8. its a pleasure. today is the first time i am reading your blog and you can trust me di - i loved it.
    the first jolt was - “It is even more fun,”
    lols... got to remember my days... i used to be a "bhalo-bachha" at school!

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  9. @ Abhishek - thanks for coming by. Dad says namaste back. Karina - thanks for the : ) and coming by too @ Anirban - bhalo bachcha indeed : )

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  10. WOW brings us all back to the good old days, before cell phones, gameboys, cable etc (ok I am that OLD) lol but at least we had respect, because if we didnt we got our butts kicked and not only by our mothers ... the next door neighbor , the teacher hell even the janitors lol Thanks for the post : )

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  11. Lisa - thanks a ton for dropping in - does take us back doesn't it : ) Janitors - really??? LOL

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  12. Such a nice one.. i guess you love your dad a lot, like a LOT :D

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  13. goes without saying Sumit - he is my hero : )

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  14. Perhaps we need to return some of the disciplines used in your father's time!! I enjoyed his story immensely! Please tell him so. ~ Sherry

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  15. Fantastic read as usual!! How times have changed, today the teachers in my children's school complain that even if they raise their voices a little, they have a swarm of parents turning out in school to protest!! :)

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  16. Great blog!! As discipline for being ill mannered in school (passing notes to friends and whispering while the teacher was talking) I had to sit in the corner a few times. Boy was I embarrassed! I bet these days if kids were made to sit in the corner to learn a good and valuable lesson (respect) their parents would have a fit!!

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  17. Wonderful post, Mitr. I'm sure he knows it, but do tell him from my side, that he ROCKS and I envy you, having a genius writer in your house.

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  18. Wonderful as ever Kriti..made me very nostalgic..as if my Dad was narrating his old days..do tell Uncle to keep on writing..

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  19. Awesome post and something we should tell the parents of kids nowadays who believe in sparing the rod, the hand, the mouth, the everything possible and spoiling the child to the core

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  20. This brought back memories, some of them sore memories :) Tell your dad I really enjoy both his writing and his daughter's personality, wit and caring manner, so he must have been a very good father.
    Jim
    http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/03/arizona-memories-every-now-and-then.html

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  21. Hello Uncle, I am addressing you for the first time since I started reading your posts. I love the ease with which you write. This one especially took me to my school days when we would try all kinds of stunts to not attend class. Really feel nostalgic reading your post. Please keep sharing.

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  22. @ So true Mari. We learnt our lessons and haven't turned out deformed in anyway @ Dad says thank you very much and also yes i am very proud of him @thanks Alpana for coming by - that is what i am trying to do - make him write : ) @ Priya So true @Jim - thanks a ton - your comments make my day @RImly - Dad says thanks a ton... he will try to keep in writing for our sakes..

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  23. Thank you for sharing, very interesting daily story, care for exchange links?

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  24. Thanks for coming by - Sure - how do we do this??

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  25. I love your blog. I always find a new memory here that oftentimes gives rise to some old ones of mine I had long forgotten.
    Great post.

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  26. I love this post. As a child in the 50's and 60's I had a similar experience. Isn't it funny and wonderful how similar teachers and parents are the world over! Thanks for sharing this!

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  27. Jessica - thanks for coming by - i love that you could associate @Cath - so true - everyone all over the world has similar stories to tell : ) thanks for coming by!

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  28. An interesting post. No matter the time parents and teachers are very much similar....

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  29. Enjoyed the post, boy did this bring back some memories.... one in particular where, I got in trouble at school by the teacher, then the principle, then at home my dad and having to go to school the next day with my father, apologize to the teacher and principle in front of everyone ...

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  30. Some embarassing days those were Debbie - thanks a ton for coming by...

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