Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2627 : "I am..."

I am six years old. Part of a class 1D (first grade, division D), Roll No 21. The teacher (and I jolly well can't remember her name), but she is a Tamil Christian (as my mom would disparagingly later tell me...."converted"....), yes she is a Tamil Christian, dark (I mean really as a color, not as a race), squarish thick glasses, short and always in a sari.

She comes into the class, and I remember it as being winter. Was it December? Don't exactly recall. She comes into the class....I am on the last bench of the middle row. There are 5 rows (actually columns called as rows) in the class. I am in the middle row, that aligns with the head table of the teacher.

I remember that the third set of seats in my column has only one child sitting. Someone is missing.

I can see the teacher's face as she says, "I have something to tell you all. Peter is dead.".

Peter was another 6 year old. Always shorter than me, and always frail. I never realised he was ill. She says it though, "he was ill. And died of illness."

Then she asks, "Is anyone feeling sad?".

I remember being the only kid who raised his hand, saying, "I am...", and she said "Why are you sad?" and I squirmed. I could not answer that question well. I just said, "Peter was my friend", and then looking away.

Peter was buried just behind our school, in the cemetery that was part of the school. I remember seeing the family - but being too scared to see his black coffin.

Why did I remember this today? No idea? Memory is a strange disease, I must say. I actually know why I remembered it. But that goes with me to my grave :-).

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