Chennai, the name itself brought a wonderful feeling inside me. Like I saw in films, a happy family of four enjoying a perfect life in a city. How nice it will be to live in a place where the tradition and modernization are in equal proportion? A different Sunday spent with my family in a beach, having a cup of ice cream is all what I have dreamt off, after thinking about Chennai. But what happened was totally different!
Our family came to Chennai, but my mom never liked the place. Because of the sea breeze and fish odor. My hankering for living a pleasant life when I got tired of the permanent odor. Since we were not experienced of living in such a spot, we were really disappointed. In our hometown, the fresh smell of morning zephyr carrying scent of herbal plants, mild music of venkatesa suprabatham coming from Sri Rangathar temple will wake me out of bed. But a polluted atmosphere containing the unknown smell is what woke me that day!
After getting up only I remembered that was my first day in my new school. I was really excited and scared at the same time. Because I expected a mixed response from my to-be friends. I went to school with a new bag,shoes,dress. My dad left me in the gate and told "All the best Shruti", I told thanks and waved him goodbye. I searched for my class, but unfortunately I couldn't find it. When I was looking at the name boards, suddenly a lady wearing blue saree stopped me "without going to class why you are loitering in corridor, come on goto your class!!". I didn't know she was the vice-principal, I replied casually, "yep, am sorry ma'am! I was searching my class". She still lowered her specs and saw me. It frightened me somehow, because she was wearing a thick glass and had a long stick in her hand. She told "Oh! I Hope you are new to the school. Welcome to Vivekananda Vidyalala. Now tell me, What is your name? By the way, why You didn't plait your hair? We expect only disciplined girls to study in our school!". I was shocked because, I never expected string of questions to hit me the first. I forgot almost all the questions she asked me and bemused as to which has to be answered first. I tried to recollect all the questions suddenly, "err...ma'am, My Name is Shruti. I joined this school today. I saw the notice board, mmm... and found that I was allotted V standard B section.. and haan..mmm...". I wanted to say something to her,but I don't know how to frame the apt sentence. I was blinking like a child who got lost in a crowd I guess, because that ma'am again lowered her specs and looked down at me quizzically. "do you want to tell something else?". I was going frantic in thinking what I was about to tell.. Suddenly bulb flashed inside my head. I told myself, "habbaa.. I remembered"..then I continued to that madam, "yeah, ma'am my hair is too short to plait. so only I tied my hairs loosely". After listening to all those she smiled at last!!
Alas! She smiled at me. She told, "Good, you are good at convincing people.You belong to V-B rite? hmm.. Goto first floor, Turn right, its Fifth class from library.". I told thanks to her and went to class. I was late to the class on the very first day. I asked excuse to the sir in the class and went inside the class and sat in the Second bench in the second row. The whole class was seeing me. I sat near a beautiful girl, she told,"Hi, what is your name?new to the school? My name is Ishwarya, you can call me as ICE", She giggled after telling me this.I introduced Myself as "Hi Ishwarya, errr ICE,Am Shruti.. and yeah am new to the school..". A puzzled look crossed her face, she asked me "what is your name?? is it Surthi?".Oh My God!! This girl, like others has misspelt my name! I was crazy and my temper rose highly and I could feel heat rising in my cheek bones.. I controlled my anger and tried to explain my name to her. "Sorry Ishwarya, its not Surthi..its S---H---R--U--T---I, Shruti! Got my name now?". The girl spoke with a thick marathi accent. I was desperate in asking the girl about her native. She herself told, "am sorry Shruti, I think I have pronounced your name correctly now". I sighed a big sense of relief. All these time I was unaware of what is happening around me.
The sir who was standing in the dais was standing near me now. I was traumatized after seeing him. He told, "Stand up!". I was completely taken aback! I stood up, I can feel tension rising inside me, I started hearing my Heart beats. He continued speaking, "First day itself you came late to the class. Don't you have the Courtesy of introducing yourself to the class? Atleast to me? What is your name?". I replied, "Am sorry sir. I was getting introduced with Ice errr.. Ishwarya and sir, my name is Shruti, Its S--H--R--U--T--I.". He suddenly went, verified the Register and turned towards the class, he waived his hand pointing me to come to the dais. I struggled so much to keep my face normal without showcasing all my emotions. I went to the dais and stood near that sir,"hey, stop speaking. This is another new entrant to our class. I am really proud to Introduce Shruti, who got first place in the entrance exam that took place in our school. Now, Shruti, come and introduce yourself to the class and befriend them!"
I controlled all my fears and went to the center of the dais, "well..mmm...Hi friends. My name is Shruti. Am coming from trichy and am new to the city. Thank you". I spoke everything in a much drained voice and literally scatted from the dais. I reached my place, sat and took a long deep breath, I could sense that someone was staring me. I suddenly looked that side and I could see a boy staring at me. Suddenly my friend told me "hey shruti, see arun is looking at you. Generally he don't like speaking girls who speak English.That is what Sangeetha told me. you don't know who is sangeetha is rite? hmmm... yeah see there,the girl with long hairs". I don't know how to react to that situation, so I told ice "hey listen, without knowing anything about him how can we blame him? That too today is our first day in this school. So we cant believe what others say."
Actually it was told my mom before I started to school. She came near me and told "Listen, don't speak too much with students during your school hours. Its not a matter to get first position in your entrance test. Teachers will surely expect high from you. And you know our family position. You have to study well. Don't believe people who try to mislead you. Don't try to divert your attention. Don't be in the place where people gossip about others.". I had a long, heavy session of advice before going to school. So I guessed that my mom would've known somehow that this girl ice will speak about arun and sangeetha! So I just tried to be normal.
First hour got over and our vice principal came to the class for registering names for a quiz, drawing and music competition. I enrolled my name in all the 3 and saw the other people who inscribed their name before me. I saw arun's name there and I must say that I got perplexed.After a difficult day in school I went home with my sister. I told all the incidents to my mom, including ice and arun. Later when the competitions took place, to my dismay arun won the first prize in quiz. I came first in music, second in drawing. Later after someday's I came to know that arun lost his mother in his early age and his step-mother tortured him. I felt so pity for him. I never know that time that some day my mom can go away from me.
Life started moving the same for me. Morning yoga, Breakfast, rushing to the school, Attending classes,writing class work notes, returning home, Doing home work, playing, music class, Dinner, Goto bed! 7 months passed by and in all my exams I tried scoring the first 3 ranks. By this time I got a big gang of friend.
Minutes passed by and became hours, hours as days, days into weeks, weeks into months and nearly one year passed by. My mother will take us to the beach in the evening. We used to walk on the rocks, play in the sands. We saw the fisher man who will plunge their vehicles into the sea early this morning and will risk their life. After seeing those risky life, our life- sitting before a system, in a room having centralized AC, coding using a unknown language, complaining of the tiring work!! Thinking of it i feel it as a funny thing!! Are we risking our lives like others? Try answering them!
Every Friday we had the habit of going to vadivudai amman-Thyagaraja swamy koil. I learnt from my mom that Of the 275 Paadal petra stalams, 32 lie in the thondai naadu, among which the Thiagarajaswamy temple at Tiruvotriyur is unique. This temple at Tiruvotriyur, several centuries old, eulogized by poets, scholars and devotees alike, affirms the splendor of India’s religious tradition and spiritual ethos. The amman is also very powerful.
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