Thursday, January 22, 2009

Teacher who became a watchman

susheel pundit suddenly felt an urge to migrate and change his profession. similar to the spiderman story, susheel pundit was smitten by luvbug while on his daily morning ablutionary visit to the field on the outskirts of his village in the cowdung land. since he was carrying just one lota of water, he could not 'purify' the spot where the bug had bitten him.
the poison of the bug spread slowly upward in his body - from sri lanka to the foothill of himalaya. he felt a tingling effect in his head.
in keeping with the tradition ordained in the manu smriti, susheel had taken up teaching in his village school set up specially for the children of cowherds and shepherds.
the children all liked him so much that they made it their sport to tie up his pony tail to the rickety chair on which he sat cross-legged, making them learn by rote the basic principles of earth-shastra.
learning by rote was the only pedagogy he knew. making the students repeat one-liners like 'king is dead, long live the king', 'boss is always right', 'never question your teacher', 'report to the teacher of any suspicious activities', was his singular method of teaching. however ever since that bug bit him where it hurt the most, susheel pundit was not able to enjoy children's harmless pranks and had become extremely irritable.
even an innocuous 'good morning, punditji' on the blackboard scribbled by the back-bencher natthu dubey, was enough to make susheel pundit jump at the very first student who happened to be near him at that particular inauspicious moment.
the change in susheel pundit's behaviour had not gone unnoticed by the head masterni. susheel pundit had not given up his habitual ritualistic practice of paying obeisance to the masterni. and, yet, she noticed the change in him. the change was very subtle, which only she could notice as it was she who had given him his first and only job in the school, favouring him over the rest of the candidates.
susheel pundit was very fond of playing gulli dunda earlier. he would play this game, considered the most happening thing to do by the village damsels, on the sprawling mango orchard, every day after the school. he had stopped doing so last two weeks and switched over to playing ikkad dukkad with the highschool girls. since, no boy was around at this particular time the change in susheel pundit's habit did not become talk of the village.
however, the news was promptly conveyed to the masterni by kankuben punjabhai who, like the hariram nai of the film sholay fame, had become the official informer ever since she had failed in the eighth standard for the first time four years ago. the reason why the matter was promptly reported to masterni was that kanku punju had a glad eye on susheel pundit and didnt like the idea of his playing ikkad dukkad with the bright and smart school girls.
the masterni, though aware of kanku punju's motive, took serious note of susheel pundit's behaviorial change and called him in her chamber for a one-to-one discussion.
"SP are you aware what you have been doing of late?"
"what, your excellency?"
"you have stopped playing gulli danda and have switched over to ikkad dukkad. don't you pretend that i am cooking up a story," the masterni said fixing her gaze on susheel pundit. the masterni had mastered the art and craft of interrogation. her moon-shaped 'third eye' achieved what a spiral did for a hypnotist.
susheel pundit soon started singing like a canary.
"madam, please pardon me. i cant reveal where, how, and who bit me while i was offering my morning prayers. but ever since, i find it painful to teach the children. can you not make me the school watchman, please madam."
"alright. but, make sure you give me an intelligence report every morning and evening on the law and order situation in the campus," the masterni thundered.
"goes without saying, madam. you will get a report from me even on a holiday," said susheel pundit, his smile spread from ear to ear.
susheel gladly accepted the demotion and the accompanying salary cut to merrily blow the whistle on anyone he suspected of flouting the school rules.
epilogue: the children are missing their punditji whose pony tail they used to tie up with the rickety chair.

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