My daughter (undergraduate student) came out of her virtual classroom fuming!

I asked, “What now!”

She said, “I just don’t understand these teachers. They will correct you even if you are not wrong, once they are hell-bent on doing it.”

That reminded me of a story from my school days and this is what I told her.

I had the Marathi language as a subject till the 10th standard. This incident is from times when I was in 6th standard. Our Marathi teacher got the lesson read by students first before he started teaching it. He would ask anyone in the class to stand up and read few lines and the next one should continue from where the previous one stopped. When it was the turn of Ramesh, he stood up and started reading the last paragraph of the lesson.

This lesson was an autobiographical writeup by one of the well-respected social workers of India, Baba Amte (born in 1914). He worked relentlessly for people of a downtrodden society.  Interestingly at the time of writing this blog, I realized that he did not publish anything formal, so I am sure this lesson should be very precious literature.

So coming back to the story. In the last paragraph that Ramesh was reading Baba Amte narrates an incident from his childhood where he had plunged into a well in the night in total darkness, as a test of his patriotism. This being an autobiographical writeup, there was a sentence in the lesson: “…I plunged into the well…”

As soon as Ramesh read that line the teacher stopped him and asked, “Did You plunge into the well?”

Ramesh said, “No. But, I am just reading the lesson.”

The teacher said, “So you should say, the author plunged into the well and not I plunged into the well.”

Ramesh was confused but he kept quiet and sat down.

Eventually, the teacher started teaching the lesson. When he reached that last paragraph of the lesson, he read that line: “I plunged into the well.”

Ramesh raised his hand. When the teacher asked him to speak, he took a deep breath and asked, “Sir, did You plunge into the well?”

A snicker went around the classroom. No marks for guessing what happened next. Since those were the days when caning the children in the school was not taboo, Ramesh was rewarded well with it for exercising his freedom of speech!

(featured image: Balbharati archives)