Now, the incident I’m going to talk about is very isolated. Most of my teachers liked me or were very indifferent to me. I am a grown adult suffering in college. This story is from back in 6th grade. I have more than one good, memorable teacher, who has taught me so many things in life. Made me a human with the ability to tell the difference between good and bad.
But you know, gun louder than peace and all that jazz.
Nitisha is my best friend and I don’t think I’ve told her about this. She’s going to have a kick while editing this.
So, as aforementioned, the incident is from sixth grade. I had freshly changed not just schools or cities, but states. It was my first change of school outside of the city limits of my hometown. I didn’t want to do it. But it is not like kids have a say in this kind of stuff most of the time.
Anyway, I was floating on the sea of newness and decided that I will just have to live with things. School I was in previously was an all girl convent school in ICSE board. This new one was a CBSE co-ed.
(I’ll talk about my experiences with change some other day.)
With this change in school, there came an experience called ‘games period’.
In my ICSE school, we did not have games. We had swimming in the summer and P.T. at all other times of year since class 4 and before that it was dance and music period. No such thing as games period.
And goodness my new school had it all. Maybe not to scale, but there were all things I had in my old school (except swimming pool), with the added benefit that they actually allowed me to use the said facilities!
So, it was my first day with a games period.
Since I had never been to a Co-Ed School in my known range of memory, I was quite shy of playing games in which guys were present as well.
Girl who was showing me around school took me to the chess room and we sat down on one of the sets.
She asked me, “Do you know how to play?”
I received a chess set from my mother on last birthday, about 5 months ago. And like any other kid with curiosity for every new and shiny thing, I had diligently studied the rule book that came with it and won many matches with my brother. I was quite proud of this, even if he is 4 years younger than me.
So, with all the confidence of an 11-year-old, I said, “Yes, I have a set at home.”
The-teacher-I-wrote-the-big-disclaimer-for-whose-name-I-don’t-remember heard this sentence. Let’s call him Mr. D.
I don’t know why, but my sentence triggered something in him.
He came over to me and my newly gained acquaintance (NAA) and said, “So, what you are saying is, if I have a helicopter at my place, I’ll also know how to fly it? What kind of logic is that?”
I don’t know what I replied to him with, but I think I tried to diffuse the situation. First, because I hate confrontation with people, I don’t know well enough to confront. Second, like I said, I was not comfortable talking to the other gender. Third, and most importantly, I was new in school. I did not need a teacher hating me for something I had at the time considered my fault somehow.
But I know for sure that I could not calm him down.
I know this because he had then played on the side of NAA and ‘helped’ her win. Then he took off all the pieces other than king and queen, and ‘helped’ NAA beat me as many times as he could in a period of 35 minutes.
Worst part was that every time she won, he goaded on me saying some variant of “You said you knew how to play.” and “You said you have a set at home, right? So you know how to play, right?”
It was humiliating.
I had hated the game so much from after that time.
I tried playing it with my brother, but that hurt too, as if his words would carry to my house.
I avoided Mr. D.
I avoided going in front of the chess room.
If I had to go in front of the door to the room, I would get off the corridor, and then cross it.
I did this till the end of class 10. That’s because my school changed after 10.
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Mili is pen name of Ankita Maurya. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics and is currently pursuing her master’s. She is one of those obnoxious people who prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.