This is my very first blog reminding my school days memories, Inspired by "Shala" - a book by Mr Milind Bokil. It’s a marathi book, the story almost applies to every mischief child of mid school days...
I was studying in standard/grade 8. Not yet understandable and matured about facts of life. My school- a residential/boarding school Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya is located in Basmathnagar tehsil, district: Parbhani, now changed to Hingoli, in states of Maharashtra, India http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=19.3251459&lon=77.1278&z=17&l=0&m=h&v=2 . Place is located near banana, sugarcane & mango farms with beauty of nature. Grown up listening pea-cocks’ "mauuu-mauuu" along with torturing whistle in early morning. Story bangs in ears….
Our class teacher - Mr Kadole, hanged a half yearly exam timetable on notice board. It’s starting just after 15 days. Being average student in batch was barely prepared for that. Better side of this was, we‘ll not be have morning PT & more relaxation in physical exercise is boon to every student in school. I started studyinh in more deapth. I choose to start with Social science to finish first.
Time 7pm, was reading a book in eveining study hours. Suddenly, a guy Waghmare came to me. Being my class-mate, I thought it would be regular book sharing or note/note-book sharing. But that wasn’t the case.
He said, "Hey buddy, this is my pen. Where did you found this one?" I was surprised. So said, "dude, you have some misconception. It’s my & my father have given it to me."
Waghmare got bit furious "But, this pen has marking at bottom end. And I know for sure, its mine. Give me right now, or I’ll straight way complain to Principal Sir."
We were always scared to meet our Principal sir- Mr ASN Murthy. He would have given me 10 slaps & some more punishment without listening to me anymore. But I was confident on my side.
I said to Waghmare, "Do whatever you want to do. Go to hell! I don’t care, it’s my pen".
Now it became big deal. It was a precious gel pen by Luxary which was gifted to be from my father. It would have cost 25 Rs in market to buy new one. I just banged him away.
The sticky guy Waghmare, we use to call him mosquito, as he was so small in size & had very sticky, never give up attitude. He came back with 2 more common friends, asked them to have a look on pen. Even they too agreed it’s his pen.
Now, I was bit low in confidence, case started moving out of my hands. He asked me to come to come and meet Principal sir. I was blushed, bit scared of meeting Principal. But I had no choice. Study hall was full of students from grade 5th to grade 10th. Complete silence. Out of sudden, Principal came in our lane. He called us, as we were doing discussiong on the issue.
With in 2 minute of discussion and arguments, fire stuck on chicks, banging right below ear! Sound killed the silence. Everybody was looking at the scene. Slap had stuck on my face. I was blushed, eye sight down to toes, nervous. Shamed of what had happened all of sudden. Feeling was like, world ate me alive! Hell, pick me up before I become conscious of what happening!!
Sobbing, weeping with hick ups. I was staring at social science book. Chapter was same with drops of tears poring on it. Cyclone started in my brain, how this happened. I got to prove this. Who cheated me? I walked back to hotel. I didn't go my dinner. I sat alone in dark, thinking to crack the case & prove that to Principal.
Our hostel was divided in to four houses, each house had two blocks & each block had 40 students of various grades, ages and behavior. I was totally confused from where to start? I looked for other angle. Splashed a thought, Is that pen really belongs to me? I knew, that wasn’t my pen, somebody had replaced It with other one… Somebody had cheated me.
I analyzed things people lost in last few months. There was good amount of stuff robbed in a month. Somebody lost pen, wrist watch, refill, note-books and small things. I got idea, to stay at hostel in study hours to check luggage of some suspicious students. There is some thief in hostel; who is after such things. There were few minor incidences of complete robbery of money. But students never mind it. We use to contribute the money & fill up the losses. Many of issues use to resolve after minor fights & end up with complaining teacher or house master. Night was not easy to pass in such situation. I manage to get sleep in early morning.
I did inspection in morning PT hours. I figured out luggage of Balaji Awale who was my classmate. In fact, he had things more than one expect with him. I saw some of the duplicate pens & books on his bed. This was striking revelation for me. Balaji was below average student with keen interest in music & arts, although he didn’t had any special quality in music or arts. I use to have good contact with him. Being residential school student, more often we use to share books, notes & many of stationeries. He was my prime suspect. But I was looking for more detailed proofs so, he could feed guilty before ASN (Our Principal sir). I never had doubt on him; eventually I decided to keep eye on him to make him accept his mistake. My close friends always had faith in me. They proposed a plan to catch him. We planned to have common checking of house for finding some stolen things. House captain Rajesh was a good student. He accepted our proposal to go ahead with complete checking.
Evening hours was best time to do checking. We sealed the door for checking, so no one should be able to through stolen thing out from window. I took Rajesh & my trusted senior guys to go ahead for checking. Balaji’s bed was second in left row. So, I insist them to start from left row. My bed was in first row on left side so, I completed my checking first. We turned to Balaji’s luggage. He showed us all things with more care, so some stolen things should not come up. I asked Balaji to come down & let me do checking. I opened his box. There were many small thing placed inside box. I started picking & showing it to everybody. It was enough to break confidence of Balaji. For first 2-3 things, he keeps on saying. "I borrowed this Raj; I took it from Sandeep & so on… Sometimes he said its mine & all". I asked my friend to call Sandeep to confirm whether he had given this book to him. Here we got success to crack him. But he never cried. I called other house mates, shown all stuff present in Balaji’s box. We involved our house master in matter. He was shocked to see such thing first time. Balaji had collected almost 200 Rs things. We even had no idea about where he had stolen money before. He accepted, "I have stolen these stuff & will not do such thing again in my life". His eyes were filled with tears with fear. We had tradition to bit the robber then hand him over to principal or house master.
My friends also asked me to bit him. But that meant nothing to me. I asked Balaji, "Come with me tomorrow to meet ASN, he should know I’m not the one who stole Waghmare’s pen.". He had no choice then accepting.
Next morning, 9.00 am; it was free hour. I took Balaji to ASN’s cabin. We waited outside as ASN was not in cabin. After 15 min sir came, he was accomplished by our PT teacher Mr Mulik. So, we need to wait another 10-15 min. I turned to Balaji; confirmed whether he is ok to accept everything before principal? He already had accepted. Mulik sir came out in 10 min, he saw me; asked Tipale, what happened? What are you doing here? No class?. I replied "No sir, it’s off hour, so we had some issue to asked Principal Sir". He left us. I moved to ASN’s cabin door.
"May I come in sir?"
ASN was bit busy with reading some notice, "what happened man? Come in".
Being south India, he had habit of adding "man" in any place. I said, "Sir, I’m with Balaji. He wants to say something on thing what had happened day before yesterday"
Sir said, "Where is he? Call him inside". I called Balaji to come in.
Balaji came inside. His eyes were staring his toes. He was ashamed of what had happened. I said,"Balaji, please, share the truth?"
He started, "Sir, actually I had exchanged Mahendra’s pen with other pen, which I had stolen from Waghmare. This was actually Waghmare’s pen so Mahendra got caught because of me. He is innocent. He had no idea about these details." His eyes were filled with tears. ASN was looking in shocked. His face was saying "Sorry, I should have done more inquiry in case". I had no words to say. I was almost crying. My eyes were filled with tears. ASN couldn’t control himself to say, "Sorry my friend. Hey man, it happens many times. Forget the crap. Take this banana as gift". He gave two bananas to me. I guess, fruit supplier usually keeps two piece of banana for quality check on ASN’s desk. I took banana and came to my class. Trauma was now over. I was feeling life I’ve won battle. I was very happy. My status, my value was restored. I was feeling like a heaven. That day was once of the happiest day of my life.