A Long Time Ago

Posted July 7th, 2002 by Deepa and filed in Personal
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This incident took place fifteen years ago when I was in class V. There was a spate of petty thefts in my class. Small iterms were missing…some pens, a particularly nice eraser, some loose change brought by the student to spend in the school canteen during the “short” break. All these things were missing…Some one was quietly stealing these items when nobody was around. We had a thief amongst us.

For the four of us who were fascinated by Enid Blyton adventures this represented a great opportunity. We could try and solve this mystery. The four were Somila, Naheed, Priyanka and myself, and coincidentally we were the monitors of our respective houses. None of us doubted our ability to catch the thief for an instant…after all we had not read all those Famous Fives and Five Find outers for nothing.

There were new security measures announced. All the students were asked to lock their bags, keep money on person, and for good measure we were not to remain in the classroom for any of the breaks. As monitors we were entrusted the task of seeing the classroom was empty during the breaks. We were excited …and requested special permission from our class teacher to stay behind in the classroom to verify that the class room indeed stayed empty. Our class teacher Ms. Anagha agreed. May be because she was a novice at her job ( it was her first teaching experience) or may be because she was amused at our enthusiasm and wanted to humor us. I don’t know the reason ..( but she was always my favourite teacher after that).

So we were all set. Priyanka and I informed our respective mothers that hereafter we would eat lunch in the school. We would wait till the last student left the classroom and then hurry downstairs, gobble up our lunch and then rush upstairs to wait for the thief. Each time we entered the class after lunch we were almost sure that we would stumble upon the thief. We hid beneath the benches, waiting for the culprit…more often than not scaring any unsuspecting girl who forgot her lunchbox or her book or something trivial.

Looking back I am amazed at how professional we were. One of us ( I forget who) recollected that there were some such incidents in her class the previous year. Since students are shuffled as they enter the secondary from the primary, we could make a list of all the students who were in that class the previous year and then ended up in class V B. Then we proceeded to strike of each of the suspects one by one. First we struck off those students whom we felt “could not” be (read our particular friends). We laid baits, checked for clues, looked at every student with suspicion and I am ashamed to admit even managed to take a sneak peak into some school bags.

We never did manage to catch the thief. But the robberies almost ceased. Perhaps it was the security measures instilled by our teachers, may be it was the fact that with the four of us in class there was no opportunity to steal, or may be our antics just scared the thief off. (I am assuming it wouldn’t take much to scare off a 10 year old)

We laid vigil for one entire semester. Ofcourse after the first couple of months our enthusiasm had worn off. Then we just sat there and chatted, played antakshari, and generally hung out together. That semester laid the bonds of a friendship that endured throughout my school life. And beyond that….

Somila married soon after we left school and we lost touch with her. But Naheed, Priyanka and I are in contact even now ,although we are miles apart. I haven’t met Priyanka for the past six years and I talk to Naheed about once a year. But some relationships endure….perhaps it is the memories of shared childhood experiences that keep them strong.

Are you wondering what started off this ramble…..Well I spoke to Priyanka this week after nearly a year ( in spite of staying in US). Initially it seemed funny but soon the initial awkwardness wore off and we were chatting as we did when we were back in school and talking on the phone was a novelty!

And activities of this week:

Books
Silence of the Lambs : Thomas Harris

Movies
Eat Drink Man Woman: A Chinese movie about a master chef with three unmarried daughters. Funny in some parts ..emotional at other parts…nice movie over all
Minority Report: I liked the movie. Took some effort to understand the story but it was gripping and rather horrifying at times

Websites
http://www.embarrassing.us/  ——-> Funny stories….on most embarrassing moments
http://www.fourth-of-july-celebrations.com/html/uncle_sam.html ——–> And this one for the ID4 weekend

And finally, speaking of independence day, I have finally decided on my Masters defense date. How does August 15 sound to you guys???

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