At the library today, I was reading a book whose cover was falling off. It had interesting text like “On the contrary, women never theorize, or indeed look at men.” And interesting student scribblings in the margin like “That’s coz men are typical and so boring.” Yes. This is part of my continuing education.
This post, however, is about the book’s tattered cover, which unearthed a painful tragic childhood memory. It was the third standard, the year I became the universally loathed usurper by defeating the pretty and popular girl who stood first in class an awful lot. My teacher, at least, was a kind soul who loved me like her own child. Or so I thought.
One day I went up to her to get my homework checked. She noticed that my notebook had no cover. A notebook without a cover was guilty of indecent exposure in my convent school. The teacher asked why my notebook was, well, unclothed. I replied that since my Dad was out of town, he could not replace the old cover, which had given way a couple of days ago. This was a true story, for the record.
The teacher did something I could never have imagined. She laughed out loud, waved my naked notebook in front of the class and said, “look everyone, here is a girl who cannot cover her own notebook.”
The devils I used to study with laughed like hyenas. I was too shocked to be embarrassed. I knew that half of these morons had trouble tying their shoelaces, and each one of them had her notebooks covered by Daddy or Mummy, but they had the nerve to join the teacher in laughing at me.
That day, I started covering my books myself. All my fourth standard books had higgledy piggledy covers carefully snipped and fitted by yours truly. In a year or two, I learnt many covering techniques and the covers became neat and elegant, and much better than Dad’s!
Some years later, we were visiting family friends. The son was two years ahead of me, and I saw his dad covering his Class Nine notebooks! I heard the class of eight-year-old devils laughing in my head.
I’ve seen people laugh at others so many times now: and known that they are guilty of the same crime. I cannot bear to do that. If you tell me a joke and I don’t laugh, that’s probably the reason why. Either that, or you’re a guy, and consequently so typical and boring.