Strange Man

The building of Senior Secondary School. There is a playground on the left side of building entrance and a path leading to main gate of the school. Outside the periphery runs a road lined with beautiful trees.

The children enter the school through main gate. In the morning when school is about to start, there is great crowd of children, parents and teachers. Most of the children live in the colony where the school is located. Even then the parents drop the children in the cars. Besides many students come from outside in buses and with parents in cars and motorcycles. They all are in the tearing hurry and cars and other vehicles jostle with one another.

Then gradually students gather in the ground for morning assembly in which teachers impart sermons to the bleary eyed students who are by now lined up. Many of the students are restless and can be seen falling out of steps in the physical activity. Some of the teachers mind them. There is a podium from which the assembly is conducted. There is a recital of national anthem which has become a fetish with the students as well as teachers. Then a child reads the news headlines although as for as as my experience goes, none of the children is interested in the news at home. Whatever time they get, they tend to watch cartoon shows or play games on the computers.

Many parents especially women who come to drop their children stand along the boundary watching the proceedings.Some morning walkers like me also sometime stand there. Most irritating part of the proceedings seems to be the interminable pedagogic speeches of the school principal. He seems to taking full advantage of the free large audience. An audience so good that no one ever questions his theories.

During all this time, there is a young man, very good looking, well dressed, who goes on walking to and fro from one corner of the outside road to another. He has his cellphone in his hand. He walks then stops and looks intently towards the assembly. This goes on till the assembly is dispersed and children file into their classes leaving the ground empty. Then he goes away.

This all seems unusual. Why if a person has come for a walk, he should take longer path as the others do. I thought he may be having some affair with some teacher and goes on taking a look at her till school begins. This I guessed because once I saw him coming along a teacher and accompanying her to the gate.

But there is nothing like this. The man is married to the teacher and also have children. They live inside the colony in the accommodation provided to teachers. Why does he do all this?

Someone said that he is doubting his wife. Or may be he has a fear that some teacher may be coming closer to his wife. God knows.

School

When I go for morning walk, usually it is between quarter to six and eight of clock, there are few sticklers like me, CSIF jawans who have to assemble for morning exercises and some students, and working people going to Mumbai in the buses. On the whole that is all that is there.

But situation is changing very rapidly and scene is also getting for a change. Far away in the East, darkness is is giving way to the day and there is darkness is fading fast. It is becoming reddish in the East. The street sodium lights seem to be redundant.  The birds are stirring up in the branches of trees. Crows are the most prominent due to the vacuous voices.

You can see the lights in many houses. On the working days, these indicate that parents are prodding their children to wake up and prepare for the school. Children these days have too much to stuff into their minds. Too many inputs are available for the brain to process. I always think that we were lucky because in our boyhood very few gadgets like television, telephone, computers, mobile and internet were available. So our minds were under less stress and many things were to be thought and thought process was directed towards creativity. In contrast, these days, at least in cities, the children does not have time for going out for walks, playing under the sun, and other outdoor activities. Their diversion from study is to watch television, play games but on the computers and chat with friends.

Slowly, the children with uniforms and bags on the backs begin to converge on the school first in a trickle which within few minutes turns into a steady stream. Children come in buses from outside. Other are accompanied by their fathers riding on cars, scooter and motorcycles. There is great rush of vehicles and complete chaos in front of school.

Do the little children know what for they come to school? I see many of them seem to be bored and follow a mechanical routine. These days they don’t have any succour on Sundays either. They are saddled with more and more homework, tutions as they climb the ladder of classes in the hope of more and more marks and be able to clear the competition exams with flying colors.

Within half an hour, all the children have entered the school. The sound system is activated on the podium. Some of the children are on the podium as they have been chosen to perform prayers, do the announcements, lead the chorus for psalms, and singling the national anthem. The students are falling in the lines with each line beginning from smallest to highest. The teachers are checking and as soon as everything is fallen into place, the proceedings begin. After this the students walk into their classes for attending the lectures.