School days are really funny, isn’t it? Silly fights on petty things, jumping high and breaking bones, tripping friends and teasing girls, bluffing Sir(s) and bunking tests. A few of these memories are still afresh, somewhere in my brain. Whenever I recollect my school days, one such memory rubs my lips in no time, whichever may be the situation I am in.
In my school, the classes start after the Morning Prayer. One day, after the prayer, the Principal asked six students to kneel and take an oath before everyone. The students took an oath saying "We feel ashamed of ourselves, for what we have done. We will never repeat this mistake. Please forgive us". After going to class, I enquired my friends about the episode that took place during the prayer. I came to know that those six students jumped off the fence and went to a second show movie. In my school, jumping off the fence was strictly prohibited. Jumping off the fence, at night, was tantamount to a heinous crime. On their way back to school, our hawk eyed watchman, Satyanandam, caught them. In his two year tenure, our watchman had an unbreakable record of chasing and catching students, whoever broke the rules. The whole day, every student in the school had discussed the episode that happened in the prayer and laughed at those six students. I thought, how shameful would it be for those six students.
A week passed by. One night my wingies (hostel wing mates) asked me whether I would join them for a movie, "Premadesam". I heard that the movie was a big hit, but the last week episode in the prayer still haunted me. So, I wished them all the best and went to bed. The next morning, my friends woke me up and asked me "What happened? What happened to you?” I was confused and thought that they were not in the pink of health. Other students of my class rushed towards me and congratulated me saying “You are brave enough to face him” Unable to understand what others were saying, I sat on my bed and gave a deep thought. It took me a few minutes, to recollect the significant incident that happened in the last ten hours. In a flash back, the circles started rotating and stopped somewhere in between. I saw a familiar face on the picture. Yes, it was me.
After wishing my friends all the best for the movie, I went to bed. An 'unknown force' instigated me, to spare a thought to join my friends. The idea of jumping off the fence excited me. Finally, the temptation to watch the movie eclipsed my determination to keep mum. At once, I ran out and jumped off the fence. I met my friends at the theatre and enjoyed the movie. It was midnight 1 O clock. While returning to hostel, five of us were jumping on the street, singing the hit songs of the movie, ‘Mustaffa! Mustaffa! “Don’t worry” Mustaffa…’ Suddenly, all of us stopped at a crossroads. The hawk eyed Satyanandam was watching us, like a cat waiting for the rats to come out of the hole. Now there was “much to worry”. Gopi said "Sucks! We are gone". Narayan said "Lets think! What should we tell our Principal?" Trinadh said "Guys! Imagine ourselves standing before all the students in the assembly, begging pardon". As Satyanamdam approached us, except me, everyone ran in different directions towards the bushes around. I strolled down the road, pretending that I haven’t noticed the watchman.
Satyanandam came from behind and caught my hand. At once, I shrugged off and winked at him. I changed my slang intentionally and said "Who are you? How dare you touch me?" He said "You are a Navodaya student, right! Tell me your name and also the names of the other guys with you". He focused the torch at my face. I dodged and grabbed the torch light. I yelled at him with a local slang, “My name is SubbaRao. I don't know the guys, whom you were talking about". He asked me why I was on the street at 1 O clock in the midnight. I shouted at him “It’s none of your business. Even my parents won’t question me!” I held his hand tightly and said "Come on! Come to my home. You insulted me. You will pay for it. I will not leave you today." I shouted some names “Appala Konda, Naganna, blah blah blah” whatever name came to my mouth at that time. Quiet shocked at this unexpected situation, the watchman asked me to pardon him. He said that he had mistaken me for a Navodaya student and begged me his torch. My idea of intensifying the situation and scaring him worked out. My friends were hiding in the bushes nearby and were trying to understand the conversation. After looking at the gestures, they were completely perplexed and failed to read the situation at my end. Satyanandam left me and started walking skeptically, towards the bushes nearby. All of a sudden, my friends left the bushes and started running madly towards an unknown destination. Our vigilant watchman, Satyanandam, noticed this and chased them. Meanwhile, I went to the hostel and slept. But through out the night, the watchman chased my friends, in vain. Finally, after spending a sleepless night, my friends finished the marathon and reached the hostel at 5 a.m.
As soon as they reached the hostel, out of curiosity, they woke me up and asked me about the conversation with the watchman. Now, I came to reality from the flashback and I explained them, the whole scenario. They were shell shocked at the way I reacted. My friends were happy to know that I have not given their names to the watchman. Even today, our Satyanandam says “In my twelve years of experience, only once did I fail in catching a group. It is because of a stranger, who came in between me and the group” Whenever this incident crops up in my mind, I smile and say to myself “Jayanth! You are a good actor”
This is a real incident...