The last lesson

Eighth standard. The last day of class. The very beginning of teenage. The part of life where we thought everything was possible and the world was there for us to enjoy and exploit and no one was going to try to stop us. Oh, how fun innocence was! Once the answer sheets were collected, the papers bundled up and rubbed band-ed and taken away, we looked at each other and smiled our mouths away. Another year done. Next year, we would be moving to the new block. The block with the big kids. We were going to be “Big kids”. Thumbs-up’s were given.¬† Plans were drawn up for the coming afternoon. Cricket until everyone was tired enough. YAY. All ears were tuned to the ring of the bell. Freedom. And then, she walked in.

 

She was the physics teacher. And also doubled as our class teacher. And she asked us to wait for some time. How dare she? Wasn’t an year enough for her to say stuff? She simply had to rob us of this free time now, didn’t she? Evil woman. She and her stupid¬† curly hair. What followed was the standard rendition of cliches that have been repeated a million times – “Change comes from within. Impossible is nothing. Respect your elders. Study your daily portions on the same day.” No one cared. We were all looking at our watches – those fancy digital watches that had the VIBGYOR color pattern. And then, she says ” Okay. Girls, you can leave. Have a good holiday. Boys, stay back.” Wait, what?

 

Oh, now she’s wasting our time deliberately. But.. why? What did we screw up THIS time? Just as we were scanning through our mental footage for any signs of why this was happening, we heard a laugh. ” stop looking so tense. I am not here to punish you.”

Phew. But.. why?

” I know none of you listened to me. I saw you all looking at your watches. I will make this quick. I am not going to advise you about studies. Because we will make you study anyway. I want to talk to you about something else. You’re all going to be teens now. You will think you are adults. But you’re not. You’re somewhere in between. Kashtam than. But it will be okay. A girl will pass by you and you will want to stare. It’s okay. You can’t help it. You won’t try. But the moment she’s passed by, you have a choice. You can turn back and get a second look. That’s your choice. It’s up to you. But that’s what creeps do. Never let go of your control over your body. Never. Now, you can leave. Don’t stay in the sun for too long. ”

 

Thank you, Miss Heidi. It has been the greatest advice I have ever listened to. Physics? Anyone could have taught. This? Only you did.