An embarrassing moment

An embarrassing moment

A lanky girl walked towards the bulletin board of her school reception, towing her sturdy dad. Though she was confident of making it to Grade 8, there was one other hurdle she had to cross. As per the convent rules then, parents were required to meet the previous year’s class teacher and collect the detailed progress card before their wards could begin the next academic year.

Her Grade 7 class teacher, looked at her dad and said, “For all the trouble she gave me in Social Studies, she’s managed to pass with a distinction.”

Except for the Himalayas, which she was eager to spot at the top of the India map, she dreaded marking anything else. Kaveri, Godavari and Brahmaputra flowed adjacently, states trespassed into one another, too. “When will you get it right?” her teacher sighed each time. Now that same teacher was smiling. “I’m surprised. How did you do it?” she asked.

And the girl was relieved that her customised recipe of taking photographic images of lessons were yielding results at last.

Her tryst with geography had begun then! [She refuses to share the date.]

She simply learnt by rote and vomited on demand, imbibing images of letters, without understanding. At times it back-fired. For instance, she lost marks in Grade 10 public examination because she mistook Green Revolution for Glorious Revolution! So what if one was Geography and the other History; both were Social Studies for her! 


Two years later, she no more had the comfort of dedicated and secured transportation. On her first day to college, her over-protective dad accompanied her explaining to her bus numbers, names of stops, alternative routes, etc.

As they got off the at the college stop her dad stood her and said, “Look around. See there’s that bridge that goes down there. Take left just before that, and keep walking until you see the gifts shop from where you’ll turn left again and you’ll see your college. Simple.”

“All the stops in the city look the same,” she said, to which her dad replied, “It’s just a matter of few days, you’ll master it. Look out for this huge Raymond hoarding.”

She looked up hard and long at the hoarding. Clicked in her mind the size, shape and even the height at which it was placed. The Raymond’s model became her knight in shining armour.

Almost eight months later, one morning she noted the bus was unusually less crowded. When the bus got on to an unfamiliar street, she asked the woman beside her, “Isn’t this Bus No. 47.” 

After a few moments of  awkward conversation, she was convinced that she had missed her college stop.

The Raymond model was replaced with a guy sporting a cowboy hat and cigarette between his lips.

She got to class two hours late.

That was the last she took photographic images.

A few years later, she enrolled for a professional course called journalism, to the utter dismay of her parents and bewilderment of her close friends.
Her first field assignment was to cover an Alliance Française event.

The following day, her professor announced in class, “In my 20 years of teaching experience, you are the only student I’ve seen who can score an A+ and a C- with equal ease.”

[By the time, she managed to find the venue, the press conference was over. Her report had absolutely no facts.]

After that she always made arrangements to ride pillion with anyone who claimed to know the route.
That habit stayed with her. Married to a man with tremendous patience, she now  euphemised his virtue as her “love to be driven around”.
“In a place like Dubai it is very easy to go about. Just follow signboards and remember landmarks,” he instructed.
Returning from her first job interview, she told the cab driver, “Bur Dubai.” He waited for more details and she remembered, yep landmark! “Near the mosque,” she recited triumphantly.
He looked at her as if she were insane. “So many mosques here, madam,” he said.
Thank God for small mercies. Mobile phones were invented by then.
So, thereafter, madam got her husband instruct cabbies!
Years passed by, when one day her daughter’s friend wanted to visit. Her chirpy and cheerful little girl handed over the phone to her enthusiastically and whispered, “Shruti wants to come home to play. Her mother wants our location.”
After the initial pleasantries with the other woman, she politely told her that she would be given a call to detail the route map in a minute.
Her little girl was grumpy and sullen suddenly.
“Your dad will call her right now. You will not waste even a minute of your playtime,” she assured her child.
“It’s not that. What will Shruti’s mother think? That my mom is so dumb, she doesn’t even know where she stays. It’s so embarrassing…”
This time it was EMBARASSING!

PS: I wish not to know her. But if I deny knowing her then I’m not me!

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