Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unkept promise

It was in class VII that Anand was my mate sitting next to me. I have a vague memory of his puny structure, hazel green eyes (cat’s eyes as I used to call), and his friendly nature. We were together most of the school hours enjoying each others company. He was I think staying with his grandfather.
One Friday when the classes broke for a recess of 15 minutes he told me in conspiratorial tones to follow him quietly. He moved fast to the main gate of the school. Luckily the durwan was missing.. He took out his Sanskrit book hidden from inside the shirt and gave it to the peanut vendor who sits there.Anand said “quick, keep the book and give us large quantity of peanuts.’
The poor fellow with a bewildered look said “No, I will not accept it. It is meant for reading”
Anand said”. This is an extra bought by mistake. Take it and quickly give. The bell is ringing” Whereupon the vendor gave a packet full of peanuts more than what we expected. Generous as he was Anand gave me half of the peanuts that we stuffed in our knickers pockets. He warned me not to utter a word to others and extended his hands for me to promise.
It was next Tuesday when our Sanskrit master entered the class. A frail man with hawkish eyes he relied on his ferrule and the dictum “spare the rod and spoil the child”. No sooner he entered, he asked us to copy four Subhashitani slokas from the book saying that he wouldl explain the meaning after that.
I placed the book in the centre of the bench and Anand craned his neck frequently to copy the slokas.Very soon the teacher was by our side thundering “Where is your book?” Anand meekly replied “I lost it. I brought it last Friday and could not find the book when I reached home”
The teacher looking suspiciously at me and snatched my book that had lost its front cover with all pages dog eared with smudges of ink and pencil writings. He threw the book at my face telling “is this the way to keep the book, you fool”
Staring at Anand he said “I do not have a good opinion of you. I do not believe you. I am not going to let this rest without further probing. Where is your house? Go and bring your father or mother immediately”
In less than fifteen minutes his grandfather came along with crying Anand. The old man started telling loudly “My grandson says he lost the book here. I know he never utters lies. It must have been taken by some one in the class. I wish you check that before getting upset with Anand.’
The teacher said “I have already done that. The adjacent boy Partha is very good and has his torn book. I do not think it has been stolen”
The grandfather in taunting tone said “Does the book have wings to fly. I do not like the shifty eyes of that boy” He came near me and said” I accuse you of having stolen that book. Give it back.. Otherwise I will take it up to the Headmaster and have you sent out of the school” Anand just kept quiet
The teacher said “Enough of this unfair accusation. Sir, please stand aside. I will talk to him”
He said in kind tone”Partha, if you know something about the book, tell me to save your honour” I started crying and feeling embarrassed with all boys looking at me. I told him” Sir, he sold the book to peanut vendor at the gate”
No sooner the old man heard this he rushed t to the gate and found the book with half the pages missing having been used to make paper cones. The vendor said” Sir, I refused initially and took it only when the boy said it was spare book.Please forgive me. I am a poor man”
The old man came to the class and hugged me profusely expressing his apologies to the teacher for wrongly suspecting me. He snatched the ferrule from the master’s hand and started hitting Anand like a mad man till the teacher stopped him. He dragged him out of the class saying loudly”This fellow is a disgrace to my family and I will pack him off to his parents”
Anand turned at me at the door and I could see in his eyes a deep hatred for me. We never met thereafter. It was only in my later years that I realized that no promises are to be made for covering up misdeeds.


  1. you betrayed the poor soul.but guys forget..they soon forget and hug each other.sad, it didnt happen this time.and VII std is quite old to indulge in such a kiddish act by anand.
    i have played both that of anands, and one that of partha, so a soft heart for both.i dont think there was any right or wrong in this situation.

  2. wow... again got to be here...
    now it almost seems to a miracle to be landing in here ..

    the last line i wrote before leaving behind the work i was doing at the office, "appreace can be deceptive"

    you got it right here sir ....

  3. sad end partha, you had no choice what to do

  4. dear partha,
    it happens in school need to feel sorry.truly said,we should not give promises for wrond deeds.but at that pea nuts are real weakness!
    you are still weak at heart,u can't hurt any one.
    happy writing.........

  5. Absolutely fantastic story Sir !!!

    You have brought out a useful value for everyone of your readers.. Never focus on the value (commitment) without seeing how it is being applied... Love the way you introduce values in a story format...

    Varm Vishes

  6. "no promises are to be made for covering up misdeeds."A good lesson learnt!

  7. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......Namaste
    Interesting story and although i can see the mischievousness of the young Anand and indeed he got what was coming. I can also see his anger at your betrayal of his trust he placed in you because wrong or right you did go along with him and partake in the reward,a pocket full of peanuts which you ate heartily. By going along, taking and eating the peanuts he was of the misguided assumption he could trust to keep quiet. You reaped the rewards with none of the punishment or consequences. There was more than one lesson for Anand that day.

    I'd add that not only should one not cover up misdeeds with promises but also that they should not partake and enjoy the spoils that misdeed brings.

    Did that sound harsh? Didn't mean it to, I am simply looking at the two sides of the story, yours and Anands.

  8. Nice story, misdeeds should never be hidden, its always a company that takes you towards the right path and teh wrong ones encourage u and make your mistakes even more innovative.

  9. Ohh this reminded me of our school, when some misdeed by a student would be covered up by the full class, and the the entire class would be made to stand out in the heat and after school hours till one of us broke and uttered the name of the miscreant, but as there is a lot of power in numbers, we stood united in the heat, till the parents came to collect us.

  10. Crisp and great narration.Keep rocking :)
    School time learning time.Lessons such as this that are not included in the syllabus will also be taught ;)

  11. Is this a true story KP sir? I feel we all indulge in these little mischiefs and finally let down our sidekicks when pushed towards the wall, not intentional though and the innocence and naive behaviour does come to the fore. Loved the narration and the characters were there right in front of my eyes!