TODAY -

Who Said You Were Deaf?

Thokchom Gautamjit *



It was the second day of the new session. The headmaster introduced her to the class. She couldn't even lift her face. She was his cousin. He personally orchestrated her transfer from a public school. Public schools were 'too' public, he often said.

Eleven years old Dareq was absent that day. He was a lazy boy with a burden of unblossomed potential. Though he passed every exam with little effort, he never took it to the next level. Oddly enough, he had learnt to keep a diary at age nine. This was one of the few things his mother was proud about him.

Early in the morning, he told his mother there was no class the previous day and sneaked out for angling. He was nowhere to be seen at school hour. He caught up with other local boys and headed for the canal. He loved angling as it was the only thing he was very good at. Others admired him in it. He knew the feeling very well. When it was about time for the third period in school, he came back. He bunked the next day also, in just the same way.

On the third day, he told his mother he had better go to school properly from the coming Monday. He even surmised, "They told me the teachers are busy with the admission of new comers." It was a small school, and the teachers had to help with the increased workload of the first few days. At the canal, he did not have a great day as the wind was constantly unsettling the water surface. He coiled up the thread and was ready to go back, when his classmate Dilip asked,

"Dareq, you have been absent for three days. You know they made a new rule?"

"Dunno. What is it? It's only three days."

"Five rupees fine for a day of absence."

"Then it's fifteen for me including today. Why didn't you tell me earlier?"

"Starting next week. That's why I'm here today."

It was a cold morning in January 1999. Dilip pulled Dareq out from his bed. After having tea and snacks together, the two went to school on Dareq's bicycle. Dareq's mother was very happy for him. Once in a blue moon, her son would show such enthusiasm in attending school. His father would have felt the same.

After the morning assembly, the class was waiting for the first period. The new CR was trying to control the noise. The class schedule had been out the previous day and pasted on the new notice board, but Dareq had no idea who was coming to take class. He had his favourite teachers and quite the opposite ones. He asked the other boys on his bench, and then those in front and the back rows. Usually it was written by a teacher on the board to be noted down by them or distributed as prints, so no one had had any idea about the schedule. In a fit of anger, he shouted,

"Who is coming for the first class?"

There was a pin drop silence. All eyes were on him. Then, a girl from the first bench calmly replied, "Miss Nancy. She will take our English class."

Dareq turned his head and saw her. She was staring at a notebook, occasionally looking up at the roof like trying to by-heart something. He had never seen her. He sat down slowly, feeling ashamed of his behaviour. The noise started again. He looked again at her. She was still fixated on her notebook. She was different.

"Who is that, Dilip?"

"Headmaster's cousin, transferred from the public school. She is good in Maths, Social Science, Science, English, Manipuri."

"Maths also, huh?"

"Yeah. Denish has got to work extra-hard this time."

"Huh... I don't care."

Miss Nancy entered the class. The students greeted her. She made them sit and started taking attendance. Dareq kept an eye on the new girl whom he thought was weird. She was a mystery, at least to him. A little of this mystery was unravelled when she stood up and responded to 'Sanalembi H.', just after Jack. Jack was at number 44. So, she must be 45.

"4 plus 5 is 9. An odd number. Yeah, just like her." He was nodding to the thought, when the CR came upto Miss Nancy and said,

"Dareq shouted in the class, miss!"

Miss Nancy turned and stared at him for a few seconds. Dareq thought that he would certainly be made to stand outside. Luckily, she reached for her book to continue the lesson on 'Sentences.'

God knows why Dareq listened to class that day. Miss Nancy was pleasantly surprised to see the glow, as often seen in very attentive students, in his eyes. Impressed, she spared him a warning she thought of giving at the end of the class for that shouting.

After three more classes came the recreation hour. Dareq and his friends played football for 28 minutes, two halves of 14 minutes each. The other 2 minutes were for placing the ball back and drinking water. His shirt got wet in hankering and dodging for the glass. When he entered the class, the girl was still into her notebook on the first bench. He stopped and tried to peek into her notebook. She looked up at him sternly. Dareq was a picture in himself after the football match. Stunned, he turned away quickly and quietly joined his friends.

"She is reading Measurements, Dilip. Has it been taught yet?"

"No. What is it? I haven't even heard of it."

"She is weird. Studying the whole day. I think she skipped the nursery rhymes."

"That's why she is going to be the topper. The maths teacher likes her a lot. She knows everything."

"Like?"

"Division with decimal points."

"That will be easy. Subhash sir likes me too." Subhash was the Maths teacher. He had an eclectic childhood and the two shared some air.

The next class turned out to be Moral Science. Nobody took it seriously. The whole class was falling asleep. The teacher started picking out the dozing students.

"Dilip, which is better - silence and talkativeness?"

Startled by the sudden reference, he blurted, "The ...the...first, sir, (what is it?) ... Silence."

"Is it the type when you doze off and stop listening?"

"No, Sir."

"Then what is it? Tell your friends. C'mon, you should be able to tell this."

"Because silence is golden, sir."

"Yes, true. But I'm asking what type of silence?"

"Like I shouldn't answer my father when he scolds me, Sir."

The whole class burst out in laughter. The teacher covered his mouth with the book he was holding.

"Ok. Sit down. You did well. You have a useful insight."

"Everybody is awake now? Good. So, who can say what is the type of silence we are comparing to talkativeness?"

Dareq stood up slowly with a boldness that didn't sleep the whole time. He came up with an example,

"Silent like the new comer on the first bench."

The whole class laughed again while teacher was grappling the answer.

"Who is that?"

The students answered in chorus, "Sanalembi H., Sir."

"I must say you must've observed her. What makes her a good example, Dareq?"

"She is so different from us, Sir?"

"That is -?"

"She speaks only when needed, Sir. She listens more than she talks."

The girl gave a suspicious look at the teacher. Then, she lowered her head more and more. Her face grew red, as did her small white ears.

"That's perfect, Dareq. That's the type of silence, we say, is golden. All of you listen. Dareq is right. Sanalembi is quiet and studious. She does not doze like the rest of you. She is attentive. You should try to be like her."

Dareq said to himself, "Except that she is a little weird."

After one more class, the final bell rang. The students ran out of the class in a hurry creating a turbulence at the door. The girl sat quietly with her chin resting on her curved palm waiting for the haste to die down.

Dareq was not among the other boys that day. He walked towards her and said, "Hey, school is over."

She didn't even glance at him. She took her bag and hurriedly headed for the door. Dareq was behind her thinking more than ever sure that she was totally weird and now, stand-offish too. At the verandah, the girl paused for a moment and said, "I'm not deaf."

"Who said you were deaf? Over-smart girl!" Dareq entered to his diary that night.


* Thokchom Gautamjit wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a student at JIPMER, Puducherry and can be contacted at thokchomgautamjit(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on June 02, 2014.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nongmai Kainou Chingsomba #1:: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #2:: Gallery
  • World TB Day @JNIMS :: Gallery
  • Manipur Highway: Lifelines or Death-lines
  • Chanu Creation contribution to skillful India
  • Manipur & democracy of the "others"
  • Extend your support to your Ministers
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • 4th WIM CUP 2016 [rescheduled]
  • Manipur titular king gets guard and escort
  • NSCN-IM silent on Centre's reaction
  • Compelling need to study outside
  • Tragic, but a wake-up call
  • Hangmila Shaiza: First Woman MLA
  • 'The Wishess' @Tanglei Festival :: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba : Great festival of the Meiteis
  • Stop Saying-Manipur not have resources
  • JRF position at Pachhunga Univ, Aizawl
  • Governor Cup Polo Tournament Concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Solar Lights presented to Longdi Pabram
  • Understand history to resolve issues of NE
  • Rise in crime worries citizens
  • Mary Kom eyes comeback at Asian C'ship
  • Reaching out to the Naga community
  • Towards sustainable self-reliance
  • Mix Media Festival #3:: Gallery
  • Khurumjei eethou eekan :: Radio e-pao
  • Shaheed Manoranjan football :: Gallery
  • Birth Anniversary of Maharani Dhanamnjuri
  • Buddha advised to follow the moderate way
  • A hope of second meeting with dear mum
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Killing Culture in Manipur
  • Lingering allure of lotus after polls
  • 30 mn trafficking victims worldwide: CJ
  • Tough for some to be out of news
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #3 : Ooba
  • Yaoshang Sports #3 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Glimpses of Puppets in India
  • NE important part of 2nd World War
  • Strategic place branding of Manipur
  • Non-biodegradable solid wastes mgmt
  • Skill oriented vocational training
  • No pact on integration of Naga areas
  • Nobody is a fool, introduce Lok Ayukta
  • Khoupum Valley Expedition #5:: Gallery
  • 36th World TB day Rally :: Gallery
  • Veteran Cricket Tournament :: Gallery
  • And thus she became a fast learner
  • Coalition Government & its periphery
  • Know your test: Uric acid
  • No compromise on territorial integrity
  • Ten meritorious students sponsored
  • Anti Corruption Cell to be set up
  • Centre, State: Put RIMS back on track
  • Minister promise on Imphal Jiribam road
  • Students for HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Blast of Md Kora & his shadows
  • A Drunken Dream :: Poem
  • Downfall of Congress party in Manipur
  • Corruption a part and parcel in our society
  • Hangkhanlian, Radheshyam, Nemcha ...
  • Lecture on TS. Eliot's contribution
  • Naga integration via FA: Game of word play
  • Almost perfect team...missing "Lok Ayukta"
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Yangkholet, Somatai, Mangaleima :: eMing
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #3 :: Gallery
  • Lanmei Thanbi Re-imagining the Light Spirit
  • Did we glorify the UNC highway blockade?
  • Career penchant in Anthropology
  • The formation of new BJP-led Government
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Nagas safe under Framework : NSCN-IM
  • New fish species discovered in Assam
  • Making Manipur bandh & blockade free: Guv
  • Politicking the politics
  • Photo : Governor with all Elected MLAs
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 3 activities #2 : Gallery
  • Kanchan Soibam in Femina Miss India 2017
  • RIST talk 28-Transition in amorphous solid
  • Formation of Gender Champions @RGU
  • Free spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • Naga history of transition stands unique
  • Delhi warn NE against shady land deals
  • Screen kids' films in NE languages
  • Looking at the pre-poll promises of BJP
  • State govt- perceptions & premonitions
  • MLAs took oath of office : Gallery
  • SundarGopal Condolence @Ghy : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #2 :: Gallery
  • What Term of Negotiation btn GoM & UNC?
  • Class 12 marks may decide your college..
  • N. Biren led Govt won the floor test
  • Job @ VK NRL Hospital at Numaligarh
  • Cycling from Jessami to Mantripukhri
  • Lifting the longest ever blockade
  • Hope amid the hesitations
  • Tenwa Chandrasakhi :: Funga wari
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #2: Gallery
  • Day 3: Yaoshang activities #1 : Gallery
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #2 : Gallery
  • Drinking bottled mineral water culture
  • Condolence meeting for friend of Assam
  • Food Outlet at DM Community College
  • APFEJ urges Delhi to be respectful to media
  • TSA Ceremonial Rite to its Former SG
  • Statistics not telling the whole story
  • Kangleipak Kang Trophy #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Activities #4: Gallery
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #2 :: Gallery
  • Insurgency as reflected in Chagi Khuji
  • Yaoshang Meithaba @Uripok: Gallery
  • Women Empowerment
  • Construction as career choice
  • Condolence meeting for Sundar Gopal
  • Manipuri group to stall trains
  • Manipur State Archery Championship
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Halankar celebration : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #2 :: Gallery
  • Art of Lamangdong's stone bowls & Toupokpi
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #2: Gallery
  • Pabung Sunder Gopal funeral at Mandalay
  • Emotional integration of all communities
  • Training on Traditional Snacks
  • How to take along disparate parties
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #1: Gallery
  • Meetei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #4: Gallery
  • Letter: Manipur Public Service Commission
  • Career as Chef
  • HQ IGAR celebrates 14th Raising Day [upd]
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #1 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #1 :: Gallery
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #1 :: Gallery
  • Nongthombam Biren sworn-in CM, Mar 15
  • Glaucoma Week : March 12 - 18, 2017
  • Annual Yaoshang Thabal 2017 at Pune
  • Course in Butterfly Studies at BNHS
  • Yaoshang- with DJ @Sekmai :: Gallery
  • Kangleipak Football Trophy 2017 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #2:: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #3: Gallery
  • Cue card for the new Chief Minister
  • International Rivers Day at Tamenglong
  • What kind of Nagaland are we moving..
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #2: Gallery
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #2:: Gallery
  • Holi Pala performance at Raj Bhavan
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: AMWJU Sports : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Chandel :: Gallery
  • Bangladesh Meetei leisabi at Sylhet
  • Churchill Brothers vs Shillong Lajong
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #1:: Gallery
  • Mamliba maikeise :: Radio e-pao
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang :: A flash presntation
  • UNC in Manipur Electoral Politics #3
  • The Election Trap :: Poem
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #1 :: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Breast Cancer Conference :: Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Exam Centers for HSE 2017 : Download
  • 'Thammoi Tahoure' : Muslims' musical
  • Gita-Govinda- Dance Drama #2: Gallery
  • Rahul Gandhi @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi #3: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Laisram Birendra Kumar: PadmaShri Award
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • SPONSORED ADS