He taught us mathematics if I remember correctly ,
he used to wear sunglasses most of the time as he had some eye problem ,coupled with that he was known to get angry quickly and used to even make fun of us having nicknames for each of us of course all this was in jest to make us good I realized later but at that time he was one of my childhood night mares .
I lost my dad quite early in life when I was just 10 years old ,though he did not let us in penury and provided us with enough comforts for a decent upbringing my mother wanted to be independent of her relatives who pressurized her to move to our village in Kerala and this was something she would not do as she knew our education would not be the same as in Madras
what a great mother she was !
So even though we had literally a palace in Parappanangadi my mothers place in Kerala we stayed put in Madras in a middle class locality in Mylapore very near to my school the Santhome High school today the Santhome higher secondary school .
There was nothing we did not have and both me and my elder sister were quite happy with a house that my dad built in another part of the city providing us rent and we also getting his family pension regularly .
I still remember me standing in que in my half shorts in the Tamilnadu secretariat for the family pension renewal as my dad had been an employee there before he left us all so suddenly .
i rememebr travelling by bus to Kilpauk to get rent from our tenant wo would pin it in my shirt pocket so that it wouldnt be picked in the bus ,it did happen once as a finger tried to sneak into my pocket and i clamped on it and he swiftly disappeared .
I learnt early
Childhood without a father is a bit painful specially when every time a new teacher comes or we enter a new class we had to introduce ourselves and the first question those days was
whats your dad doing ?
I would shrink from this sorry question and pip meekly
I dont have a father ,
some would tut tut while others had even asked and how do you live !
one sir had even declared Harimohan is a poor father less boy !
So the time came once when the teachers decided to come to each home to collect a donation for some fund ,I dont remember but it was for some building and the personal home visit was to garner huge donations ,
our school generally did not do that but it had a fair sprinkling of reasonably well offs too and it never collected extra money so fair enough .
I knew my mother was quite careful with spending money so I warned her not to give sob stories of losing her husband and just give what they ask specially because Peter sir was supposed to come to my house with others and he would not budge without getting the dues .
he is very strict just give what he asks ok I told
she just nodded her poor head
the D day came ,
I welcomed all of them inside
please come sir please sit down sirs
My mother came and folded her hands
hows Hari, sir in studies ?
Hari is ok nice boy not very keen on sports but good in his writing
even those days to me reading a book or writing was more interesting than playing cricket and I shirked PT classes as much as possible .
Madam we are needing some funds for the school building and we need all the help we have marked a minimum amount for every parent so we came to collect it .
My mother said
we are not poor sir we can manage to give that amount its not a problem but I do not know if you are aware that Haris father left us all when he was 10 years old and I need to have a tight control on my purse ,Iam sure you will understand
her eyes were filled when she said this
I was shocked
I knew it was the disaster I did not want to happen
I dare not look at them now
Peter Sir would punish me for sure
I was near Peter sir then
suddenly I felt a warm hand caressing my hair
no madam nothing needed we are sorry we should not have troubled you
your looking after your children against all odds is a lesson to all of us
may God be with you and your family
He looked at me and said Hari you should study well to be a worthy son of this mother of yours who loves you so much
saying this they left
My mother looked at me and said sorry Monne ( son )
no Amma I know I know said I
I still remember Peter sir my nightmare who turned into an angel that day
how much memory teachers leave on us even after decades