While yours truely was studying in the 3rd standard – we had very few outings as a gang. One of such rare opportunities that came our way was the play cinderella hosted in the cubbon park- bala bhavan. Miss shyamala had announced that everybody should bring 1Rupees as enterence and transportation fee.
That saturday – school was announced closed. We were all in jubilent moods – mostly because there is no school, very few of us knew anything about the play itself.
Clad in my best, brand new Nehru – kurtha,pyjama with waist coat – mothers R&D on me since she had decided to stitch every possible dress in the book for me, I started off for the school. Mother prepared chappathis for me – I hated those cardboard styled chappaties – poor quality of wheat that was available those days.
To make sure this cardboard crispys were edible, mother smeared it with Ghee and to make sure I ate it, she sprinkled sugar freely on it. I loved sugar!
This was neatly packed in a plastic bag so that I can easily carry and dispose off later.
A Red BTS bus was parked in front of our school. We were just packed like saradines, 6 in a row. To ensure I got a good foot hold, i thrust somehow the chappathi bag into my waist coat and boarded the bus.
It was full fun with 130 odd kids singing every song from one two buckle my shoe to Jana gana mana…. the same way it was sung in every movie while going to picnics.
I vaugely remember being escorted in a row from the MG Road end to Bhal-Bhavan. Alas, due to some reason the play was postponed to next month it seems. The head miss ensured that we were not disappointed. We mounted the putani express and played that train game for next one month.
Come lunch time, every body opened their boxes. I pulled out my cardboard chappatees too. Oh my gosh!, what with that heat, sugar – they just expressed solidarity with each other and had become one thick lump – a far cry from the moons they were!
Not hungry, but eager to play around with friends made me quickly forget it. My miss who had probably seen my plight forced me to eat half a dosa which she had prepared and brought.
After that in a single file we boarded the bus and too exhausted this time, near 50% sleeping on each other – we made it back to school.
I trodded back to home fully exhausted due to heat and playing around and with a light dinner went off to sleep.
Around midnight, I just wokeup to from a dream where there were small ants running all over me – I just screamed Amma….
Mother switched on the lights and asked – what happened? Did you see some bad dream? She lovingly enquired. I said no..something is itching.
She removed my waist coat which I was quite fond off and it was impossible for any new dress to be removed unless its the school uniform. So, this being the case – I had gone to sleep in the same dress.
Something crawled onto my mothers hand and by instinct she dropped it and observed it. Thousands of small red ants were there – in reality – no dreams. Mother literally dragged me out of bed, removed all my cloths and applied powder. There were red bite marks all over.
Next day morning, we figured out why the red ants were so busy tasting me all over. I had forgotten to remove the sugary lump of chappathi which mother had assumed to be consumed!!
Anyway, Cinderella was staged next month and we all saw it this time in Bhal Bhavan sans the chappathi. Since the show was for 2PM we had lunch at school and left for cubbon park.
Some skin biting play it was!