The highlight of 5th standard was the realization that we are grown up brats and were just 2 standards away from 7th made our hearts warm. We could now be grown ups shortly and this worked many misleading wonders in life.
We would play games called capes. It simply meant you should have a capital K written somewhere on your body. When ever the other party calls out your name and say capes, you need to show the K or you would be hit nicely on your legs. Elders often wondered why those ghastly looking K was adorning everybodies hands , legs just like cult symbols.
We were also majorly into collecting the following items – Cigarette boxes, Match boxes and stickers.
We used to build partnerships and exchange duplicates with others. There were some guys who went one step further and played with cigarette boxes with big stones. The game simply meant different cigarette packs had different values. For example a Scissors pack was 10, Wills 20, Kings 40. So both the partners would place equal denomination pack stacked on roads around which was a rectangle drawn in red brick or stolen chalk piece and hit it with flat stones called ‘bacchas’. Who ever got the packs outside the rectangle kept the packs and won that much. We had a full RBI type of valuation for every new cigarette pack found. The same applied for matches too.
Stickers were struck in our notebooks and this rage went on for a couple of years. We used to get stickers when chocolates were purchased in bulk. I used to stick phantom, Bruce Lee and assorted gods stickers on rough note book and show off.
Gayathri teacher was little unique and new to the SSM school culture. She was the first person who introduced us to the BhagavadGita and made us chant the slokas in the evenings just before the final bell rang. I till date thank her for those good deeds.
I remember this 5th standard for the great amounts of krishna janmasthtami sweets I devoured. Due to this I had to frequent the loo nick named london with regular punctuality – so much so that Gayathri teacher wrote in my dairy to stop feeding me those extras. But little did she know that it was my neighbour padma aunty who fed me while mother had signed the dairy and stopped my quota.
Middle term exams came with such speed, i just did not know what to study or write. The highlight of this year was the navarathri celebrations. I pulled my mom to commercial street and purchased quite a few dolls including animals and decided to do a small park. My mother who was amused at a boy asking for dolls – obliged with a smile.
The park meant – spawling some sand from nearby construction house, creating the perimeter fence using broom sticks, caves which contained lions,tigers, birds on tree including a Mr Mohan looking after the whole thing. To add a touch of greenary ragi was sprinkled with water. Lo and behold – it sprouted and my park turned green overnight. I was so overjoyed looking at it, unfortunately the same had to be taken and thrown out after 5 days!
After the navarathri holidays, report card was looking quite bleak and with threats that I will not cross to the next year – made my mom to look for a tution teacher. A couple of them came and went – with no change in my intelligence or inclination to study. But correspondingly my interests were high in working with coloured beeds with which my aunty would conjure up beautiful dolls etc.
Najundaswamy who lived one road away this time took up the challange to some how get me pass the maths test. I used to call him nashyada nanjundiah – a name that held on till he died due to the pungent smell of that nasal filling. LCM and HCF were real tormentors to me. It never registered in my bird brain. Finally in desperation najundiah sir told me – take 2 and keep dividing. Using this charm I somehow managed to pass the final exams with 37 marks in maths – an achievement as usual – celebrated with lots of fun and pomp.
By now, my addiction to cigeratte packs were so high, where ever we walked, I allways had an eye on the road and gutter to pick up the new or fresh ones. This irritated my father and grand father. I was admonished that if another report of me searching gutters came in, my stock would go up in flames – personally.
I moved my stock under partnership for cooling off effect to umesh’s house. When activity picked up the temper of his mother, the same was moved to sudhir’s house. Finally to evade that going up in smoke, we pasted them into old lekhak note books and passed it around with envy while elders smiled that finally they had made us see light!!!
Final exams came and went. Thank god as Gayathri teacher was quite benovalant, I passed out into 6th standard. The same sweets but with more threating sayings like – you are a grown up boy – did not do much wonders but we had discovered some more new things to play around now.
to be continued….