Oft, in the stilly night,

Ere Slumber’s chain has bound me,

 Fond Memory brings the light,

Of other days around me.

Sometimes my school memories haunt me and I am taken back to the distant past when as a young boy I was enamored by my kind teachers who were strict to the core but as soft as butter. Mr. Pillai our Mathematics teacher is the first to come to memory. This memory brings tears to my eyes. I was in 7th class. He had given a full exercise – a difficult one. No boy could do the work. He was very furious in his period and ordered all to stay after the 8th period. He came after the 8th period; explained us the rules and asked us to do the exercise. He won’t allow anyone to go without finishing the work. Four of us were very young. He didn’t allow us to go alone. Six could not solve even in two hours. Mr. Pillai used to go for a commission work in the evening. He lost it that day. When it was dark he took all of us. Got us parched grams and snacks and went to the house of all to leave us. He is still the most venerable person for me.

What a life it was. We had no cares, no worries. Petty things were very important in our life. We would just run on the school ground and the one who came first would ride all others as if they were donkeys. We named it donkey race. One day Shanmukham that heavy boy won the race. All the boys took their bags and ran away. The next day Shanmukham would not play with us till he had a ride. We had to budge. All funny things would happen.

Sometimes I remember Mukundan the hawker who would sell only idlis at the school gate. What a sambhar he would prepare. I thought he was the only person who could prepare such delicious idlis. I still feel I have never eaten such stuff. The taste still lingers in my palate.

Library on the third floor was a magic world for us. Mr. Murugum the librarian won’t issue the animal books to us. But he would spread a number of them on a big table, bring some models too and sit among us. The younger we were the more attracted we were. He would relate jungle stories of animals and birds. I still feel as if I have once been in the jungle Mr. Murugum took us to in his fancy.

Good god how great cricketers we were. Sunil Gavaskar, Venkataramanan, Mahender Amarnath all were there. We had a Sardarji too. He was our Bedi-such a nice boy. In sports we could challenge any foreign sports figure. We just wondered how India could not win even one medal when such talented sportsmen were there only in our school.

The world of memories would take leave with the last one—the final examination. The Science paper was so difficult that some of the students started sobbing. Our kind Principal could not help us. I remember many first class students got second class while the marginal boys failed. It was rather the last and the saddest memory of my school days. Let me bid good bye to the memories too.