quinta-feira, 1 de junho de 2017


By Arjun Singh Bhati (Jaisalmer, India)

It was ten o’clock in the morning. Students playing outside the school boundary heard the familiar sound of “tan…tan…tan.…”  A boy was hitting a small iron rod on an iron angel hanging on the branch of a dry tree in the school campus.  All the students came in, left their bags in their classrooms, and rushed behind the building into the shadow of the building for prayers. All the students were in lines now; they folded their hands and prayed. It was a primary school.  A headmaster and his three assistants took the attendance register and went into the classrooms.
The headmaster went into the eighth class. He asked his students to open the social science textbook. “Well, we will read lesson seventeen today. It is about population.”He asked one of the students to read the lesson. “Listen to him carefully. I will ask someone to continue reading from where he finishes.”
The student read the first paragraph of the lesson out loud. The headmaster then asked the next one to keep reading, continuing from the next paragraph. All the students heard the lesson carefully read by their classmates.
“Well, now I will ask you some questions. Keep your books in your bags.” He asked, “What are the main causes of population growth?” Some of the students raised their hands while others looked down. He asked a student sitting in the front row. The student replied in mixed language, half Hindi and half local dialect. But he answered the question even in broken sentences. The teacher looked quite impressed with his answer.
“Well, my next question is: What are the ways to check population?” This time he asked a boy who was sitting in the back row. The boy did not know the answer, but just to try his luck, he raised his hand. He was sure that the teacher would not ask him. But he was caught. The boy stood up and could not reply.
The teacher got angry with him. “Come here, you idiot,” he roared. “Why did you not listen when the boy was reading the lesson? You are very careless. Where is your father? Call him tomorrow; I will complain to him. Now get out of here, you idiot.” The boy had just turned back to leave the class, when suddenly a Bollywood ringtone rang somewhere. It was a cell phone in the headmaster’s pocket.
He took the phone out and replied, “Hello, hello.” But the network failed, and he could not hear anything. Within a few seconds, the phone rang again, and this time to hear clearly, he switched on the cell-phone speaker. A lady’s voice sounded from the phone.
“Hello, hello. Yes, I can hear you,” the headmaster replied this time.
 “Congratulations on the birth of your son.” The headmaster smiled, and the students laughed.
 “Shut up,” he cried and left the classroom. The students laughed loudly again. They knew the headmaster’s family well.
Just three months previously, his family was living here near the school building. He had eight children: four daughters and four sons, and now with the latest news, he was the father of nine kids.

The boy who could not answer asked the students, “What are the ways to check the population?” and one of the students replied, “Our headmaster knows better!”

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