Love My Students!

by Sahadev Komaragiri

Today is the last day of our school. The school will be closed for Dassera holidays until October 10. This afternoon we spent some time at the school seeing off some students. We already miss being with them! So this post is dedicated to our students – there is not a single day where we are not inspired, surprised or challenged.

It is time for quarterly examinations just before the Dassera holidays begin. Yesterday I was taking rounds while students were busy writing answers to the questions on their test. One student got up and asked me to take a look at a question on his paper. I looked at the question and asked him what he wants to know. He asked me if I know the Latin name of lead. But that was the question on the paper, it is not that he did not understand the question; he wanted me to help him with the answer as he was unable to recall the answer. I told him that I cannot tell him the answer. He was disappointed and I left. After the examination was over, I asked him if he found out the answer to the question. He smiled and told me that the answer is Plumbum and that he remembered the name in the last minute. I asked him to tell me the truth and this time he gave a broad smile and told me that a senior seated next to him gave away the answer. This kid is in sixth grade and is a very talented actor. During the teacher’s day celebration there was a meeting going on and all the teachers were felicitated by the students. They gave all the teachers some gifts and sweets. While the meeting was going on this kid approached me and asked if he could imitate one of the teachers. I asked the permission of the Chairman of the meeting and he agreed. The boy took up his position and spent some time imitating the science teacher. He later imitated another teacher. It was the most interesting part of the day. The things that the kids remember the most is how the teachers have their own special ways of scolding their pupils.

A few weeks back during the lunch hour, all the kids were playing with a hard tennis ball. This is a ball used by the tenth class students for playing a very difficult game. In this game whoever has the ball will take aim at the nearest guy and shoot the ball at him as fast as he can. The unlucky ones get hurt and wait for a chance to strike back. In my opinion it is a very savage game. I don’t get it when the basic aim of the game is to hurt someone and take pride in doing so. I think I will never understand the virtue behind the games like boxing. While playing this game sometimes innocent bystanders get hurt. There was a girl from fourth grade drinking water at the water cooler. The ball which was supposed to hit someone else hit this poor girl about an inch below her left collar bone. This was a hard tennis ball and before she knew what hit her she just fainted. As luck would have it, this girl was already suffering from fever and fainted early in the morning as soon as she entered her classroom.  The girl got up a few seconds later and started crying and twisting in severe pain. Nobody knew what to do with her. I was informed about this and I rushed to the spot and sat beside her for some time. The girl was complaining of severe pain and we called up the doctor while engaging her with some sweet talk. The doctor prescribed some medicine over the phone and we had that medicine readily available in our first aid box. More than an hour passed and the girl was still unable to sit down or lie down on the bed to get some rest. We were all getting very restless. Her pain and tears were too real and I was personally very moved by the whole situation. I was helpless too. Just then something miraculous happened. After about an hour since the ball first hit her, one of the non-teaching staff members approached the girl and promised her a cure in less than five minutes. She was crying for over an hour now and she gave a puzzled look. The staff member told her that he knows a special mantra that will please the gods and they will cure her problem in a jiffy. He asked her to keep her eyes closed while he chanted some incoherent set of syllables as if he was chanting some very important mantra. He warned her to keep the eyes closed and stretch out her hands. With a sleight of hand he placed a couple of flowers on her palms and asked her to open the eyes. She opened her eyes and was completely astonished at the sight of the flowers. He told her that the gods were very pleased with her good behaviour and that they had taken away the pain. He asked her if there is still any pain. With a beaming face she said no and started running back to her class. Within an hour she was found playing Kabbadi with her friends. I have heard of placebo effect, but this is the first time that I saw it in action. Where did the pain go? Was it real? I thought it was real but I must admit that I have been fooled by kids before.

Something good came out of this incident. I gave a pep talk to ninth and tenth students on the game they are playing. I asked them to explain to me the fun part of the game. How can it be fun to hurt someone with a ball? I asked them to voluntarily give up this game in favour of other games such as shuttle badminton, some serious cricket, chess etc. The down side is I had to buy some of the equipment to keep them busy with other safer sports and games. It has been over a month and I am yet to see these older kids indulging themselves in this game. There is a funny name for this game. In Hindi it is called maarampeet. It simply means hit them hard on the back(peet). We used to play this game when we were young; we enjoyed it. No one was ever seriously hurt. Look at me now, I am talking kids out of such savage games and the wonderful part is they are listening!

Many of the games that they play do not require us to buy anything. They play a game called four stones. They also play a game in which one person hopping on one foot tries to catch everyone else within the boundaries of a square of rectangular box. Kho Kho is another of their favourite games. I am suddenly reminded of many games that I forgot long ago. I am sometimes amazed at the way the kids improvise on whatever they have and make a game out of it. Younger kids in classes 3 to 6 are not allowed to play shuttle badminton as we have very few racquets and shuttles. Also they are too young to hold on to the racquets. So when we are done with a shuttle and it is broken beyond use, the younger ones take it from us and use their writing pads as racquets and play the same shuttle badminton game. When they run out of tennis or rubber balls, they simply take a few pieces of paper, roll them all into the shape of a ball, put a few rubber band strings around them and start playing with it. Of course they play the same maarampeet game. I am yet to talk to the younger ones – but somehow I don’t feel like doing that! I just love the ways of these kids…

P.S: This post was originally written on Sep 30, 2011. Posting was delayed!!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarathy Sribhashyam October 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm


Very touching post. Here is where the talent is built. If the kids can start playing serious games like cricket/chess/soccer on regular basis, we can see some serious talent sprouting. Growing up, we’ve seen all of this, did not understand the beauty of it. Now when you write everything you’re seeing, it is becoming very nostalgic. Thanks for the post. Please continue.
BTW, soccer(football)/basketball/volleyball are inexpensive games.



Sahadev Komaragiri October 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Sarathy, thanks! The benefits of playing sports and participating in literary activities are not tangible. The benefits are realized in the long run. Those who get benefited do not come back to say so. In the current culture of “showing great results” many schools and colleges are ignoring sports and games. Some so called good schools do not even have a playground. I personally think you are taking childhood away from children if you deny them entry into the playgrounds on the pretext that their studies will be affected.
It is true that soccer, basket ball and volley ball are relatively inexpensive games.


MOHAN October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm



Sahadev Komaragiri October 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Interesting thought! Didn’t think of it that way 🙂


Sridevi October 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm


from your writing, it looks like nothing changed in schools since the time we left the school. We have done all those things you mentioned, and they bring back the smile on our faces. It is just that you are on opposite side. Sometimes how we wish we could be like them( the kids) with no inhibitions and go for innovations.
Sahadev, I’m sure the Teacher’s day must have reminded you of our younger days too, How we used to decorate the class rooms to impress the teachers, not allowing students from other classes to see the decoration with the fear that they would copy ours and make their look better.
Good that you are able to make the kid in you keep active by the way you chose to live.

take care and convey my hello to Shobha.
Will try to talk to you sometime soon.


seshu November 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Dear sobha and sahadev kudos for taking such a great step in life. thinking is different putting it down is something else. my mom was very happy about the great deciscion and she wishes to convey her heart full wishes on your new path in your life. please let us know if we can be of any help.


Daniel Howorth November 12, 2011 at 2:07 am

Hi Sahadev

Enjoy reading about your progress and experiences. Am glad things are working out so well for you and your wife.

Happy to read about some good in the world.



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