Shankar | Sunday Observer


8 May, 2022

I came early to the classroom. I wanted to complete the previous lesson as quickly as possible. Students were steady. They were prepared as well. Almost all had been present.

“Who”s absent?”


It was the usual late-comer. I looked for five minutes, but he did not come.

“Okay. Let us proceed”

I took the piece of chalk and rushed to the blackboard, but could not write a single word. Someone knocked at the door. I opened the door. It was him.

I got angry. He was twenty minutes late.

“Why can’t you come on time? Try to be punctual. You must be studious. You must be committed”

He said nothing as usual. I had to punish him as it was an offence. He got seated at the back.

Five sentences were put on the blackboard and students were instructed to write them all in Passive form.

He brought me the book. I was astonished because he had completed the task successfully. I gazed at him.

“Shankar, you’re bright, but you must be punctual. Then only you can be a perfect person one day. I hope that you”ll be here on time tomorrow”

I looked for Shankar the following day. He was not there. I felt as if he had ignored me. I was so angry that I could not control myself. I kept the cane on the desk. I kept the door opened too.

I could see him strolling towards the classroom. I was so furious that I could not control myself. He was caned and caned. Yet my anger was not over. The whole classroom was hushed.

“You were asked to be here on time, but you did not obey mine”.

I kept silent for a while.

“Is this the way you want to be?”

Shankar said nothing. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He could not look at me. He sat at the back as usual. I could not be in the classroom. I left the place. I was guilty over my inappropriate behaviour. Teachers are not expected to assault a child as I did. I did not know what went wrong.

I got late to school due to a flat tyre the following day. I had to replace the tyre. I had to seek the assistance of a villager. I was surprised to see Shankar inside the house. He came out of the house on the spur of the moment. He could not make me out.

“Shankar, you may leave now. Otherwise you’ll be late to school today as well.”

“Who’s that boy?”

“My niece. His mother is confined to a wheel-chair. He used to bring her here during the school time. He has been looking after her since the day his father left them.”

Unbelievable. It was as if a thunderbolt had hit me.

“Shankar’s coming, buddy. He never learns a lesson. I don”t know what our sir’s reaction would be”, one of the boys said.

He was right at the entrance. He did not know whether to come in or remain outside. He was trembling. I strolled towards him and hugged him. I could not control my emotions. Two of us kept silent for a while.

“Okay, Shankar. You can come as you wish hereafter. I will wait till you come to commence the lesson.”

The whole class was astonished. They looked at each other. They were perplexed. [email protected]

(Based on a personal experience of a teacher who had been teaching in a remote area)