Anshuman is quite different from the other boys of his school. The lanky white skinned boy can presumably be mistaken to be born in a well off family. But it was not his skin but his eyes that earned him the most infamous nickname “brown pussy” from his classmates. He felt quite uneasy for being called so and his numerous complaints to teachers melted no ice rather aggravated it from bad to worse. For this he always bore a grudge against teachers except the English teacher of his school, whose words he abided religiously, be it running errands or managing a half day leave without any cause.
Anshuman was at loggerheads with all his classmates for occasionally indulging in tiff and playing pranks like pulling off someone’s hair, dragging, kicking and so on, in this youthful frolic he even spared no girls. He often came to school secretly toting his costly mobile phone gifted by his dad on his birthday. He was a student of 8th standard of his village Junior High School newly set up a couple of years ago but his precipitated maturity was much higher than his actual age. He had great interest in females’ physical anatomy and private parts, and in this discussion with wicked pals, his classmate cousin nubile Manisha too was dragged. In the off period and during tiffin break he with his last benchers cautiously watched porn videos inside a deserted house a few yards from the school. The girls used to fight shy his shadow in school hours.
It was a local rumor that since his birth he had been abundantly pampered by his parents for being the only male child of the family. In rural areas, most of the parents think the birth of a boy is a human necessity and a girl is a liability.
In this small village of Anshuman, the story repeats in every sense. A girl from these areas is brought up till she reaches the age of 14 to 15 and then she is hurriedly married off with a suitable buyer to begin a life of toil and reproduction. So in this desert of female discrimination, Anshuman stands tall like an oasis. Every whimsical demand of his is promptly fulfilled by his father who runs petty business. Every time one can find a few hundred rupees in his pockets, if money not given voluntarily, he forces his parents with excuses like fleeing home for ever, committing suicide and readily they gave in to appease their only hope and future.
One day his father hurried to school, very distraught, looking for the English teacher. Even his father knew very well that only the English teacher could take the bull by the horns. The teacher asked, “What happened? You looked very upset”. “What else to tell you, sir, Anshuman….. would make me a pauper very soon, today he is demanding a motorbike from me, and he abused me and threatened to cut his vein if refused, me and my friend tried hard to make him understand but he is in no mood to relent, please do something” narrated his father anxiously still fear writ large on his face. The teacher was taken aback by this shocking story, he wasted no time and summoned Anshuman, who came and stood by his father obediently bowing his head down.
“Anshuman, what have you demanded from your father? A bike? Are you mad? You had better ask for books and other necessary items for study, not bike, and do you know how much money is needed to buy it? You should never put your father in jeopardy like this, understand? And try to be a good boy, never mingle with bad fellows, why your teeth are dirty? I have learnt that you eat gutka, pan masala and harmful gums a bit too much, don’t you know these are bad for health? So remember if you do these again you will be severely punished”, spoke the teacher without any pause.
For the time being Anshuman got a sense of his blunder and apologized in front of all not to repeat it again. After he went to the class, his father with tears rolling down his brown cheeks grasped the teacher’s hands and quivered, “thank you so much sir, you saved me again from a predicament as you have done it before, I had my heart in my mouth, and I must confess to you sir that we are chiefly responsible for his undisciplined upbringing, our blind pamper makes him a spoilt brat and his augmented audacity has become intolerable to us of late, now we realize our unconditional affection would go in vain if he is not properly educated and strictly guided.”
The teacher was so far listening to the most dissatisfying outburst from the mouth of a father about his son and trying his best to console him and at heart felt proud of himself that only he is the one who is unquestionably trusted and consulted upon any kind of familial or personal problem that he so dexterously manages to handle. Then the teacher presented to the bereaved father another shade of his son’s character that is often gone unnoticed even by teachers. The English teacher, a keen observer of the various behavioral aspects of students, added, “but one thing I must tell you, nevertheless, that your son has been addicted to some harmful bad habits, he has a silver lining. He is very innocent and pure at heart. And he is enthusiastic over everything, I noticed such an incident a few days back when I was selecting good students for a talent search exam, he voluntarily raised his hand expressing his desire to sit for it, this gesture pleased me immensely and I enlisted his name, he also looked very happy. (After a pause), you know, to build a bright future, a student needs motivation not money or mobile, too much material benefit always makes a child hungry for more.”
Anshuman had not heard a bit of the chat, but by fits and starts peeped out his suspicious eyes to find his father glued to the teacher’s words and silently laughing in his heart for his next plan of mischief after his pretended performance was over which he acted smartly.