The year was 1997. It had been a year since my father had brutally picked me up from my pampered public school pillow and dropped me in the fires-from-hell of a government school. It was the top government school in the area but a cultural shock awaited me there. Draconian was an understatement. Boys were not supposed to talk to girls in front of the teachers and sit separately. And you could be given a third degree that would put Uttar Pradesh Police to shame. 

The teachers in my new 1857 era school were a terror. If technology would not have advanced enough, Steven Spielberg could have used them in Jurassic Park and nobody would have noticed.

My Physical Training teacher had a fascination for throwing mischievous boys on a wall behind the principal’s office. So, like a Nazi, he would just pick up a boy with both his hands and throw him on a wall. I believed that the Principal was aroused by the thud of boys colliding rapidly one after another with the wall behind his seat. Once I saw him enjoying grapes from a huge bowl with his feet up on the table as the boys thudded behind his back.

Thud. Chew. Thud. Chew. Thud. Chew.

My Biology teacher had a fascination for young girls. Somehow, he was not able to stop his right eye from fluttering like a bloody butterfly the moment he turned his head towards the row in which the girls sat. Then he moved his neck towards the boys and the fluttering would stop.

Flutter. Stop. Flutter. Stop. Flutter. Stop.

My Chemistry teacher would never face the class. He would enter the room facing the blackboard and leave the same way. He loved copulating with the black board and all he did was write till we could not differentiate where he ended and the chalk dust started. He entered brown and exited white. I hardly remember his face.

My Physics teacher too never looked at us. All the while he was blabbering (he jumbled up sentences and then scratched his head to figure out what he said and then started all over again), he looked outside the room as if India’s next satellite was to be launched from our school playground.

My Math teacher had a recurring habit of suddenly walking out of the class making horrible sounds and then spitting in the school gardens. The moment he would walk out in the middle of an equation, the whole class would go – Chhhiiiii!!! And then there was silence when he returned.

Aaarrghhhhghhaaarrrr! Chiiiiii. Silence. Aaarrghhhhghhaaarrrr! Chiiiiii. Silence. Aaarrghhhhghhaaarrrr! Chiiiiii. Silence.

The principal reined the kingdom with a whip in his hand. The students were equally crazy. The principal hated that the students would stand in the corridors and chitchat between two periods. He would come out with his whip and smash them like flies and students would scream and fall over each other to get back to their seats. It was a scene straight out of Sholay when Gabbar attacked the village with his goons.  And it happened again and again. The students enjoyed this.

It was in that school when I got my first slap for something I didn’t do. It was there when I was made a murga (where you have to touch your ears with your hands coming out of your butts) and humiliated. The topper in me wanted blood.

It was a crazy two years living in that madhouse.

And during that period, one fine day, it was decided that the students of class 12th needed sex education. Thankfully it did not involve all the crazy teachers to do a Full Monty in front of the whole class but a man and a woman (from some external education group) to come and talk to the students and tell them about AIDS and babies.

The girls were taken to a separate room and the boys were left with the guy who enlightened us about various aspects of sex and female arousal techniques (indirectly) and AIDS. The boys looked at each other and giggled and asked him all kind of stupid questions like the capacity of sanitary napkins and producing babies by kissing. Since I was the topper of the class, I kept my nose high up in the air and maintained a dignified silence complimented by my glowing hot red ears (My ears go a shade of lava when I am embarrassed). The guy somehow took it for ignorance and thought that my vital organs were still in the process of development and all this was Hebrew for me.

“Don’t worry. If you haven’t started shagging yet, it will begin very soon. Some boys start late”, he said giving me a quick look.

My ears caught fire. I wanted to stand up and yell the names of all the porn movies I had seen with my best friend sitting right next to me. But then I turned around and saw the Principal, Physical Training teacher, Math, Biology, Chemistry and Physics teacher all huddled in the window of the classroom and peeking inside like girls eavesdropping in the room of a newly wed.

The lady who was educating the girls soon came in and told the man that the girls were shocked and embarrassed to the point that they look like a sack of tomatoes. He consoled her and sent her back and ask her to show them the condom.

And then he took out a condom from his pocket and started pushing it on his index and middle finger to show us how to wear it. He pushed it the other way round by mistake which emancipated a smirk from me. Watching a man wearing a condom on his fingers in that madhouse was the last straw for me.

In the end, after we said goodbye to the man, the girls returned to the classroom. They behaved as if they were not wearing anything. I had never seen my classmates so quiet and nobody spoke for an eternity. Days passed and it seemed that the man and the woman were always in the room in spirits, hovering near the fans and wiggling their condom covered fingers mischievously at our faces. It took a mega Diwali bomb which went off in our classroom despite the Principal’s warnings to bring things and laughter back to normal. The bomb was so powerful that by the time we knew what hit us, the ceiling fans were swinging violently and plaster was falling from the ceiling in perfect lines. The spirits were nowhere to be seen.

And then the Physical Training teacher picked up my classmate who set off the bomb and threw him on the wall. Thrice.

Thud. Chew. Thud. Chew. Thud. Chew.

All of us (including the classmate who thrice slid down the wall like tomato ketchup) threw our head back and laughed. The madhouse was back to normal.