The peon was showing school to us. Abbu, Ammi and us, means Milton and Appijaan. The campus was big and wide. Incredible crowd. Classrooms. Salfia Junior School was a big school at that time.
This was a dream for me to be in a school where there is bench, desk, board and of course stair cases for upper floors. Very intangible dreamy affair. Generally kids resist going schools but I was not a kid mentally. I was seven years old. Had spent two years in Ammi’s primary school. I had seen the school with “bora chatai”, Aluminum boxes to carry books, sitting on floor, maths on rough floors with chalk. I was inspired by serial Ramayana, and used to draw images of Ram on floor.
So the Salafia school day 1. This was not expected. I was in class 3rd . My father wanted me to grow fast so he didn’t considered my IQ level, and admitted directly in class 3. I was puzzled. The class had some 50-80 students. The day starts usually with “Lab pe aati hai …” poem. Quran recitation in first class and the routine follow-ups. In a month or so I was the victim of my innocence. What I remember, Zafar sb was the mathematics teacher, who used to beat more than what he teach. There was not a day when I was not beaten. My crime: I was not understanding the subject. Hindi teacher used to pinch my stomach, and i cry with tears, but his heart was of stone.
I was under so pressure and panic. Since I had never experienced a good culture, so I digested the dirty environment. Each morning I wake up frightened. The idea of going school was so scary. I used to say Ammi “I am having stomach pain”, but this didn’t served long.
I was in friendship with Asad and Iqbal in a circle. In other circle I remember Sarfe Alam. I knew Adam as well in the class as a true brat kid. And of course had crush on some beautiful girls, whose name I prefer not to disclose. I was seven years old then.
As a regular kid, I was always in fantasy. Iqbal me and Asad used to play here and there. Most of my time was spent with Sarfe Alam for which I was warned from my Abbu and Ammi.
In between i saw Adil and his sister there, but had no interaction with him as i was not in his class. Later we became friend in Zila School (coming later …)
I learned nothing from the school, except some negative traits. The school made me low in self esteem, weak in studies, fearfull and introvert. People in Darbhanga, w e l l … muslims prefer so as their kids will get a combined atmosphere where they will learn both Islam and Modern education. But they fail to understand that the frustrated aimless management and cruel brutal teachers can bring nothing but spoiling the children’s career. The whole education system and Indian culture as a whole is lacking in good education in many aspects and Salfia Junior School was a living testimony.
So what, I was not having that mind those days. Outside the school was famous aaloo chaat for 20 paise, ice cream for 10 paise, and if you prefer coconut ice-cream, that was 20 paise. I was not so fortunate to get 50 paise from Abbujaan, however sometime I had that privilege. I had the Diwali pistols with “Murga Chchap colied cracker”, I used to play chor-sipahi and roam around the campus of school. Adam had some goats tied in field. Sarfe Alam and I played a lot in mosque compound. Going up and down in mosque stairs. The Mandir behind school and snakes roaming there. Coming home and random home works. And of course, comics…