Dita Basu - <!-- -->My First Day at School

My First Day at School

Memoir # 2

My First Day at School

When I was little, oh how I wished to start school. My friend, Chiku, two years older, was the luckiest girl I thought. I’d see her from our window standing at the bus stop in a stark white uniform with a scarlet book bag, and a tiffin box in hand. Oh how proud she looked when the school bus stopped just for her to take to that heavenly place! I whined to my parents,

“I want to go to school too.” And they chuckled, “You will, you will, just when you are ready.”

One January morning the day came when they thought I was ready. A pair of new white uniforms came from the tailor’s shop for me and a new tiffin box, and beside Chiku I stood head held high for the bus to come.

I was Chiku’s best pupil in our make-believe school. I was the smartest, she said. The rest were stuffed toys and plastic animals.

On a slate board that leaned against the windowsill Chiku would write the letters, ‘c’, ‘a’, ‘t’ and when I shouted out “cat”, she nodded and gave me a smile and a tiny rock candy.

Now, I’d be with Chiku in the same class with her, in the real world, no make-believe one, I thought. A cool breeze through the bus-window blew over my face.

But my dream shattered when the teacher shook her head,

“She’s in a senior class. You stay here.” She said. And Chiku passed me climbing up the stairs to the senior class.

Sister Nelly wore a strange black outfit that covered her whole body, leaving only a part of her face open. She never smiled and didn’t consider it appropriate either. I thought so from her stern looks. And when she held my forearm to position me at the end of a line it felt like a pair of metal pliers.

Sister Nelly turned to the blackboard to write ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’ which were just cinch to me. I was into short vowels already, I could rhyme words and could easily read ‘Sam ran to the van’ …etc. Why on earth did the teacher put me in this silly, easy class I wondered.

As soon as she turned to the board a boy threw a paper airplane and it landed on my desk. When I turned he showed me his two front -teeth- missing grin.

Sister Nelly turned and gave us a look clearing her throat. That was pretty darn scary.

Another boy left the class room and a commotion arose. Sister Nelly turned again to see some were making faces curling their noses, hiding their giggles.

“What?” She glared.

“His belly ran”, said the airplane-boy with a mischievous giggle.

“Come here. Open your palm”, she said and then slapped shup shup with her wooden ruler. “No talking, understand?”

Few minutes later the boy who left the class returned, his head hanging down,ambling to his seat.

“Where did you go?” Barked Sister Nelly.

“To the bathroom.”

“Did you ask me?”

“No.” He shook his head.

“Go kneel down.” Sister Nelly turned to us,

“This is called consequence. Con-se-quence. Understand?” She pressed her lips tight.

I felt confused. A really new word to me, but all the other students nodded. They understood.

The bell rang and all the kids hurried to get out of the class. “Time to go home”, one said to me. Some ran to take the bus, some waited for their parents. I was told to wait in the office, my father would come to pick me up today for he had to sign some papers.

In the office room people sat across large crimson colored desks. Typewriters clinked and a wall clock went tick-tock tick-tock as if munching away the minutes. I could never imagine that its hands could move so slowly. Where is my father? I panicked.

Beside that clock hung a huge block of wood on the wall. A statue of a man was stuck on it. His arms were all stretched out with his head hanging low, his feet were nailed and so were his palms, blood draining from them.

I was shocked. What could he have done to be punished like that? What was the school trying to warn us? I pondered.

What was the word? Con-c? I forgot already. I meant to ask my father.

The door opened after a long wait and there was my father. I ran to him and hugged his legs murmuring “I don’t want to come to school anymore.”

But he knelt down and held my chin up.

“I knew you’d be fine. I am so proud of you, big girl!” His eyes shone with pride and I couldn’t tell him what I meant to say.

Do you remember your first day of school? Leave me a note. Also, if you want more such stories please drop me a email in the CONTACT ME page. Thank you.