Rama's Dadagiri5 mins 265 5 mins 265
The frog hopped and so did my brother. The unfortunate frog had drifted away and the nearest water body was nowhere in sight. Like an adept hunter, he extracted the weapon; it was a crumpled piece of cloth. Even before the poor frog could dash into the nearby bush he bowled the cloth on it like a title-holder ring toss player. The poor creature was suddenly blinded and trapped by the cloth. He gasped the prize and set off homewards.
Rama was our new home- tutor. Dark-skinned, short spiky hairs, matching light colored dress- even shoes were white, loud munching of ‘paan’ and lips smeared red. A perfect nomadic hunter.
He was in instant demand. Every worried parent wanted him to tutor their children. It was not because of his knowledge and teaching skills but for a strange reason. He could howl, chastise, frighten, smack and cane his pupils. These peculiarities were considered quite desirable, fine attributes for straightening the wayward adolescent children. He would roar ‘Ha..haa.ha’ like Ravana looking at the frightened face of his pupil. His white teeth glowed at the sharp contrast of his skin.
“Bad road, no traffic sense, I hitting one man-my cycle, he falling, then shouting, I shouting, he running away. I shouting- wait. He running away. I beat him but he running away” he came one afternoon and began a silly commentary. My brother and I looked at each other and laughed. Even though in junior school but we could make out that he spoke in funny English. He wasn’t amused. He perhaps expected applause from us; instead he felt ‘laughed at’. He made both of us stand and slapped hard across our faces. My brother bore the punishment with humbleness and seething resentment but I took the slap to my pride. “Why did you hit?” I demanded in a raised voice, shaking angrily. One thing changed that day. He never hit me again. But he had his own foxy ways to haul me over the coals.
“Go get a cane” he instructed me one day. I went out looking for one while my brother focused hard on his books anticipating the flogging that would soon follow. Rama whipped or slapped for no concrete reasons and he did it regularly. I walked around the colony searching for a cane. Not finding one, I ventured towards the nearby bushes. The abundant weed ‘thethar’ (rigid or shameless) was always a source of sticks. I chose one juicy stem and broke it, the milky juice had to be removed- which I did by rubbing the ends on the grass; the heart shaped leaves were the next to be plucked. The end result was quite satisfactory; it was a straight and heavy one. Feeling pleased I walked back home. It was only after my brother was whipped with it, I sadly pondered that I should have brought one dry stem- it would have broken into pieces and pained less.
“Go get a frog” he instructed while munching the paan. “Today we will learn frog dissection” he muttered with a smile on his face. It was my brother’s turn to do the honor. Once he returned with the frog wrapped in a crumpled cloth, we were asked to get pins and a cardboard. The tools were rudimentary but we were quite excited. Rama would spring away every time the frog tried to escape. He was indeed a green horn but pretended to be a surgeon. The poor frog’s limbs were pinned on the cardboard. The poor creature looked painfully while Rama extracted a bunch of keys. His cycle key, his residence key and there also was a tiny knife. He laughed “Ha..haa.. ha” and tore open the abdomen of the trapped creature.
Mucus and waxy glands flowed out of the torn abdomen. The poor creature had lost the fight of life by now. The fluttering had stopped. Rama went on to explain “This is the stomach, this is liver, and this is the heart”. All organs were shown. We knew that he was making wild guesses and bluffing but both of us nodded in agreement. Once the dissection was over, he washed his hands and wiped his hands with a sense of pride as if a life saving surgery was just done successfully.
Days went by with his quirks and twists. One day he stood rooted to the chairs for long hours. Maybe he didn’t have anywhere to go. After some time I requested him to be excused for a bio break. His face glowed and a wry smile crossed his lips. “No, don’t go, just be seated” he commanded. Now, as we know, once you try holding the pee, the muscles start conspiring. “Sir, I need to go urgently” I begged. He laughed out loud and gestured “Just be seated”. I tried my best to hold; I then sprang up and stood, trying my best to hold. “Sir, please” I pleaded. But Rama was enjoying my embarrassing and difficult situation. Finally, I could feel my trouser getting wet. I didn’t wait for his permission and rushed out.
I came back fuming and shrieked at the top of my voice “get out of my house, right now”. He laughed embarrassingly but had realized by now that he had done enough foolishness. My father immediately intervened. Rama left soon after. He never returned.
The search for another tutor began, afresh.