Last night I dreamt of one of my teachers. You may call that a nightmare since this guy was a complete terror. Don’t remember what he taught us, not that his teaching was any memorable. But what none of his students would ever forget are the beatings they got from him. People do have hobbies, right? The teacher had one too, that of punishing his students. He didn’t need any reasons for beating the kids. Reason or no reason, he would call one of us and just smack us across the face. And no way was the kid going to ask why he was being punished.

But this man was funny, in his own strange ways. During the lunch recess, when the kids ran out of the classroom and to the garden, eagerly opened their lunch boxes and stared eating their friends’ lunches, our teacher would stroll down to the garden and very sweetly enquire what we had got in the boxes. He would not wait for any invite and start eating from our boxes, while making jokes and making us laugh. After lunch when we went back to the classroom, the post-lunch stupor would overcome what little enthusiasm we had for learning and we would start dozing. The teacher too dozed off but very cleverly so that students would not know. He would wake up with a start and look around the class to check if anyone has noticed him sleeping. Of course some of us did. He would get embarrassed and call one of the sleeping students and give the poor kid the beating of his life. And if the kid happened to be the one from whose box the teacher had eaten, that guy would get worse beating!! And while satisfying his sadistic urge, the teacher would taunt the kid- “ Bhajiya leke aata hai school mein? Kaise nahi soyega!!!” (But this teacher might have praised the taste of that bhajiya only an hour back!!)

This man remains riddle for me till date. Why was he so vicious? Did he not understand what the kids went through during the brutal beating? Moreover, did he not feel any shame to breach the friendship that he himself (at least pretended to have) established with the kids during the lunch hour? Worse still he did it almost everyday and kids fell for his lunch time sweetness every day. We were kids and lived in hope. Now I have grown up to be a skeptic who does not believe people easily and has learned his lesson the hard way!


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