This is a fairly long one. It was the summer just after the Class X board examinations. Most of our gang, to the surprise of many, had cleared the dreaded exams with flying colours and had therefore earned our right to the Science stream in Senior School.
Our take “We had arrived….BIG TIME”. Thus began the seasons (I use the term because it did not last very long and the plural because it lasted long enough) of unbridled fun. Studies, attending classes regularly and paying attention when we did was something we stopped believing in.
We were boys turning into men; it was time to move on from school boy crushes to dating. This obviously needed to be done during the school time and ours being a boys only school it meant it could not be in school.
Here’s a tale of one such date disaster.
The tale has 2 main characters let us in order to save embarrassment call them Stud Boy (SB) and Complying Friend (CF).
Complying Friend (CF) was a popular guy in school. The reason, he stayed very close to the school and by virtue of the fact that both his parents were working, the house was “available” between 8 AM and 2:30 PM on working days. By the way CF insists there were many better reasons than the one just cited.
Stud Boy had a way with girls (Note: In an all boys school the threshold for qualifying as one is low). SB had managed to befriend not one but two girls. It was the era where computers were just becoming visible and qualified resources were short. These girls who had just finished senior school had been hired as part-time assistants in our school Computer Lab. They used to take the same bus back home as SB. Be that as it may, our man had not only befriended them but some how managed to convince both of them to go out for a movie-date.
Here was the plan. CF was to stay back home (pretending to be sick) while SB would (intentionally) miss the school bus and make his way to CF’s place. The girls would report sick/have important personal work (they were employees of the school remember) and reach CF’s place too. They would all then leave for a movie, ofcourse, after a while.
On that fateful morning CF duly had a severe tummy ache, the girls turned up bright and cheerful at 8:15 AM. Pleasantries exchanged CF and the girls waited for SB to turn up.
After waiting till 10 AM all of them became restless. CF hired an auto and the 3 of them rushed to the school hoping to make it for the 10:20 AM break time and see if SB had come to school.
The school principal during those days had this habit (a rather nice one) of mingling with the boys during break time. He’d usually walk down the main staircase and hang around the the school’s main gate talking with the boys.
CF asked the girls to wait in the auto and walked across the road towards the school main gate. The move had risk (professional for the girls and academic for CF) written all over it.
Minor Disaster: The school principal spots CF talking to the school darwan and walks upto him and asks “Why you are not in school and what are you doing here?” CF wriggles out of the situation by saying that he was actually unwell was there to turn in an important assignment and to enquire about the test scheduled the next day. Smart, one would comment except he also pointed towards the waiting auto-rickshaw to emphasise the fact that he really was unwell enough to hire one instead of walking the 5 minutes he would on a normal day. Whether the Principal saw the occupants of the auto is a question CF still ponders over, what he knows for sure is that the road wasn’t (isn’t) that wide and that the girls were curious.
Major Disaster: Here’s what happened to SB in the meanwhile since morning. Our man walks out of his house late pretty sure that he’s missed the bus. He’s wearing the school uniform (lest his folks become suspicious) he packs in a change and a pair of sneakers in the school bag instead of the regular course books. Steps out sticks his thumb out to hitch a ride (A: It was cool to hitch-hike during those days and B: It saved money for the date). A strangely familiar Blue coloured Maruti Van screeches to a halt. The door slides open and the Vice-Principal of the school greets SB and says “Hop in son, missed your school bus have you?” SB complies, his sheepish grin trying its best to hide utter shock and disbelief. SB reaches school and spends the day in school standing outside the class. God bless the teachers for that’s all that they would do to students who turned up without assignments or course books.
Rest of the story:
The date never went beyond that moment outside the school gate.
CF was disappointed that SB was such an essential component for the date to carry-on.
The girls did not last beyond a few months
SB,CF and the rest of the gang had a tough, very tough time clearing exams that year
The storyteller will return.
Like I said, there are more where these came from 😉