Irrespective of the era we live in, the Tolstoy’s quote “Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story” will make sense. The bad things continued and I don’t want to dwell too much about that. We moved to a new location in Chennai (Nanganallur). That move helped me a bit, as my parents would not say scold me if I went to a temple and Nanganallur has quite a few Shiva temples. I started to hate studies, because my teachers were so dumb. I hardly found anyone talented enough to teach children the basics. They took up the job, not because they liked teaching but because they did not have an alternative.
Coming back to my schools, as I said in the previous chapter I studied in 12 different schools from KG to 12th grade. This phase is all about changing schools, between my 4th and 8th grade I studied in 7 different schools. I changed schools for two reasons, either my mother changed the school or we shifted to a new location. Sometimes I studied in two schools a year, the moment I get a good friend at school, I will be forced to change the school. My first school in Nanganallur was “Mowbarys’, a small but a good school and my mother was the physical education teacher there. I had three good friends, Mayilvaganan (Thanks to orkut I found him again), Vasudevan and Balamuralikrishna. Bala was the naughtiest of all, also he was three years elder to us (I don’t know the reason why) and he always talked about girls (in 4th grade).
I had the first experience of eating noodles, thanks to Vasudevan. That was the first and only time that I had noodles until I turned 16. The most memorable event of that year involves Bala. He was a common friend to all of us, but he always insulted everyone, so we came up with an idea to teach him a lesson. The toffee, Cadbury’s éclairs will not have a good finish; it is always crushed and deformed. So Vasu came up with the idea of giving a laxative pill to him in the disguise of a toffee. So we bought a few éclairs, and cut it in to half and replaced the core made of milk chocolate with laxative powder and then we pressed it hard to make it appear normal. It looked good, we then wrapped it and placed it over the desk, so that he would look at it. He took the bait, he came, he saw and WE conquered. He was constantly running in and out of the class for the whole day. Later Vasu got scared and told him the truth, he immediately went to our class teacher and told everything, he was asked to go home and we were punished. The Chair Punishment for over twenty minutes (hope you know what it is, if not let me explain, we should sit as if we are sitting in a chair but without a chair). While Mayilvaganan and Vasu were crying, I was horrified with what I saw in the corridor. What have I done? My mom was coming to take the other class kids to the play ground, fortunately I escaped as we were asked to get in to the class soon. That brings to an end to an eventful and relatively happy 4th grade.
As we often do, we moved to a different locality in Nanganallur, my mother resigned the old job and joined a new school which was an offshoot of Mowbarys. A rebel group from the previous school started this new school – PMS (P.M. Srinivasa Reddy matric. Hr. Sec. School). They poached several teachers and around 20% of the students from Mowbarys. Since it was new school everything was unorganized and there no uniform for the students. Unlike other students who were happy, I was shocked. I had six working days, but had only four dresses. Since we grow very rapidly at that age, even those few did not fit me well. Every time I went to native, my grandmother would ask me to get new dresses and would give me money, my father would tell her that he would get me the dress in Chennai instead of buying it in a village. However, the first dress that he got me was when I joined my college at the age of 17.
In the new school there was a shortage of teachers so we did not have any classes, exams or results. The school was shut down and moved to a new location by the end of that year. Though I did not have many friends, there was a guy named Vipin Das (A malayalee guy) and a girl named L. Gayatri, who were my friends. Most of our discussions used to be about the future of our school.