Saturday, February 09, 2008

Armaan: Student of the Month.

Yesterday night, Armaan told Ujwal and me over the phone that he had been selected Student of the Month. Great news, we told him. Congratulations, we said. He is truly a focussed student and, when not distracted by something or the other, he excels himself in school work. Crediting his success to the Mankar genes is a great temptation. I suspect, though, that it may not be the whole truth. (Is anything else for that matter?) Thinking about it this morning took me to my childhood at 233 Khetwadi Main Road. I was a student first at Sirdar High School in the 12th Lane, not more than two minutes’ walk from 233 Khetwadi Main Road once you climbed down the three floors. I was never overly eager to go to school, a reluctant scholar at best. I took to English “like duck to water” as the cliché goes. In my first school where I spent seven years, I used to stand first most of the time. I also authored most of the content of the handwritten magazine in Marathi for my class. (I remember one issue where I had featured a novella of the swords-and-sorcery genre.) Later, when I enrolled in the Wilson High School also in the same neighbourhood 15 or 20 minutes’ stroll from 233 Khetwadi Main Road, my grades started slipping. This was by no means because I had suddenly grown dumb but because now the pond was larger with many more smarter fish. In my new school too, I was a reluctant scholar, not too keen about studies and not at all keen about games. I was timid, tongue-tied, well-behaved by default. I made very few friends. I remember one more thing that amazes me when I look at the way the kids who come to Ujwal for tuitions study so diligently and ferociously. I did not study all that hard. Ashu and Abhi were unlike me, probably took after Ujwal. They went to a far better school than either of us. They were outgoing and had large circles of friends and did well at studies without missing out on extra-curricular activities. I remember hordes of their pals coming home and Ujwal cooking loads and loads of food which they polished off in a jiffy and asked for more like Oliver Twist. This memory comes to you by courtesy of Armaan Sood-Mankar, Student of the Month.