When I received the prompt ‘Pride’ with the picture of a peacock, flaunting its feathers, I entered a time capsule. Within a millionth of a second, I was transported to fourth grade. There was skinny me, in the green school uniform, standing on a chair with my hands up in the air. For all those of you who haven’t deciphered the meaning of this- I had been punished! And as I stood on the chair, my head now at the level of the class-room window while the others sat at their desk, my little mind cajoled itself into believing, that being called a ” Proud Peacock,” wasn’t a bad thing. “At-least peacock is pretty!”
Long after that day, the episode has remained with me, for the shyness of a new girl during her first month in boarding school, had been misconstrued as pride by her class- teacher. Not a good beginning.
Its 35 years since this episode but the memory as fresh as ever, poured itself into a poem on receiving the prompt and won the second prize in the weekly competition held by Asian Literary Society yesterday. So, maybe being punished was not so bad after-all, still unwilling to forget or forgive the teacher, her misjudgment.
However, it is only when I started writing this post and began looking for appropriate quotes to affix, did I stumble upon a quote that not only helped me understand Mrs. Sunder Rajan, my 4th grade teacher but also look at my own weakness, from another perspective. I believe now, she did what she thought then was right for Mrs. Sunder Rajan was a staunch catholic and the Bible says “Shyness is a form of Pride.” And maybe it is.
Below is the poem based on a true life incident
I must have been nine or maybe I was ten,
For a history homework, when-
I sat up late into the night past the sleep-time bell,
Sketching the famed Qutab Minar and the Taj Mahal-
‘It has to be perfect for dear Mrs. SunderRajan!’
Said I and showed her my master-piece; once done.
And then, she said, “Did you trace it, my dear?”
“Tell me the truth. There is no reason to fear.”
Confused and hurt was little I,
“No Ma’am!” I said, ruefully with a sigh,
“Turn around and show the class then.”
So I did and curtsied, after the cheering was done.
I was as happy as happy little me could be.
The class had finally accepted shy me.
But my reserve misconstrued as arrogance,
Dear Mrs. SunderRajan had taken offence,
“Proud Peacock You! Stand on the chair,”
“With your hands high up, in the air,”
“ Young girl, I do not mean to daunt”
“Your virtues you hear, you must never flaunt!”
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