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OPINION

My fair lady teacher

The grace she radiates is an example
Altaf Khan
Srinagar | Posted : Oct 13 2017 1:50AM | Updated: Oct 12 2017 11:22PM
My fair lady teacher
Representational Pic

She is fair as a snowdrop. She has never been seen to droop her silky hair which must have hired a million humble silkworms to weave such velvety fabric. A pair of dangling golden earrings announcing her arrival. And the élan with which she arrives in her Ferrari makes many droop like the lockjaw-the famous American comic character. Her glam-doll look is right from some television soap. Make no mistake, these days vamps have more magnetic features then heroines. She is my fair lady teacher. For a little character of class 4th of a government owned school whose economic class too is at a yawning gap from his teacher, she is gigantic. Her wardrobe would give any diva complex. Her bag is gaudy. It contains all the artillery and ammunition needed to keep Miss hygienic so clean as to stand next to godliness. A hand mirror which shows the virtual side of narcissists, sun screen which fights melanin from spreading its darkness as much as she shades herself from the deft touch of we the lowly beings. Her cold cream is not as cold as the kind of cold shoulder she offers us all day. Some handkerchiefs too do the cover-up acts, which she wraps around her hands in case some accidental touch occurs with ‘unwanted’ kid like me. If chitter chatter were the yardstick of teacher’s acumen she will win it hands down for her gossip sessions. She can finish reams on talking about her economic status and surname. But her characterization will be incomplete if I don’t talk about her most prized possession-her smartphone. To me her phone is smarter than her, in the sense that it takes us through some foreign lands and is our interface to another world of hers, where she is warm, affectionate and refined in her manners. Unlike her blithe disregard to the penurious guys like us, her sophistication is on another level when she talks to some fairer beings like her back home. I have often overheard them seething in anger at her polite queries. “O, the apple of my eyes, have you had something at school?” I presume he must have had something from the same quota of mid-day-meal which the school had collected from the ration depot. “Attended all your classes, reminded teacher of yesterday’s query, revised the previous chapter?”, hearing this, I strike a glance at our clock in the classroom whose hands were seen in warm embrace, stuck at the same hour, since my fair lady had introduced the first chapter. It is heretical if anybody from the class musters the courage to ask any question. In our Geography class she has never taken us beyond the Indian subcontinent but on her cell phone she crosses all continents from Asia to Europe into Americas. In History ask me how her niece from paternal side is related to her nephew from maternal side, I ‘ll be surer than her but how Akbar was related to Humayun is still a mystery to me because that is not what I get to hear thanks to her smartphone. Whether in the classroom or in the playground there is an imaginary line that separates us from her. She belongs to some different social hemisphere which we can never afford intrusion. Can’t single her out, she has her fair share of company. When they come together for a photo session they jeer at us for some unknown reasons, she looks at my untidy shirt with utter disdain for I have neither washing machine nor any washerwoman mother at home. She is at her fairest when it is the inspection day. Suddenly her affection for the menials gushes like a stream as she recreates the magic of Sushmita Sen of Main Hoon Na fame. All those accolades she reserves for the people on that side of the divide on her cell phone are consumed on us at this watershed moment. On that day she is at her charming best. The chatter bird would turn cuckoo for one off day.But beauty is a blossom. 

Next day she is in her elements again. We would be the same  islands again caught in the deluge fed on doles dropped from heavens. She is not alone though in teaching me some parables a hard way though. Many like her are teaching the dualities of this world to many more like me in some other temples of intellect, waiting like beggars for almsgivers who disguise as gods but have mortal desires like most of us. Unfair heart beating for fairer loved ones. I am taught there is a great wall of China separating their world from our world. As my fair lady teacher thunders past in her vehicle through the puddles on sixth gear, leaving the rarer white patches on my shirt blotted with a question striking me on face.