|The Long Black Key (standard:Flash, 1245 words)|
|Author: Juggernaut||Added: Oct 31 2010||Views/Reads: 1784/1039||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Boyhood experiences of a boy in grade school.|
The Long Black Key By Subba Rao St. Anthony School was a place of conformity. To protect the school yard from roaming street cows and goats, wide shallow pit with metal grates were installed at the entrances. Stray animals wouldn't dare to walk pass the metal grate from fear of slipping. Even school children have trouble walking pass the metal grate since the space in between the steel bars were too wide. Large Poinciana trees with its bloom of bright red flowers lined the entrance to the school buildings. Another entrance led to a large church, a picture of serenity. In between the high school building and the grade school was a large play ground. At the center of the ground, a humongous Banyan tree, perhaps over a hundred years old with huge roots as thick as small tree trunk, grown down from the branches into the ground providing enough space for children to play hide and seek. Since the school was in a close proximity to the ocean, the ground surface was loose brown sand making it difficult to walk let alone run on it. Three was a small court yard in the center of the grade school with two or three concrete posts with a distinct purpose and drinking water pots. Juggernaut attended the grade school at St. Anthony's. He didn't like it, particularly the morning Christian prayers. During the prayer, he kept his head down and lip synch the song and faked right through it. During lunch break, some children played under the huge Banyan tree while others indulged in sword fights using dried long pods dropped on the ground from the Poinciana trees. Father Naidu was the principal. The Father was a handsome man, tall with bald head. His skin was so fair, in his white garb he could be easily mistaken for a foreign missionary. In his white robe, Father Naidu did his morning rounds walking through every class room, sometimes touching the head of a student with his palm as if giving some blessing. A large metal ring carrying several steel keys hung from his waist, the one that get the full attention of all the students was a long black steel key. Students were at alert when Father Naidu was in the vicinity just from hearing the sound from the dangling keys like a wind chime. Almost all the teachers at the school were Christians with names so different as if artificially made up. If it is Paul or David, one can understand, but the names were more colloquial and descriptive in nature like “Daiva Sahayam.” Juggernaut understood the meaning of the name but couldn't comprehend that a person could have such a name. Small statues of Jesus Christ were placed strategically in the school. After, watching these statues on a regular basis, Juggernaut came to believe that Jesus was more a God person than Hindu Gods like Vishnu and Brahma, appeared unreal with more than two hands and heads, too much jewelry and unusual clothing, only look good in movies, particularly when portrayed by famous South India movie actor Ramarao. At home, a small statue of Jesus Christ crucified on a cross made of plaster of Paris was hung on the wall just above Gerard Gramophone, an automatic records changer that can play multiple records. Every time, Juggernaut played records on the gramophone, he felt that Jesus was looking down upon him. One day he locked himself in the room just looking at the Jesus for a long time hoping Jesus would materialize in front of him as a result of Juggernaut's intense concentration. As nothing happened and all the records in the stack were done playing automatically, he realized that just concentration and devotion do not make a difference whether it for Jesus or Krishna, though Jesus was more human like. On some Mondays, Juggernaut felt like not going to school after lazy weekend, he played sick. When he presented a letter from his father to the teacher, for his absence. “Your father wrote the letter like a medical prescription, I could never figure it out you know,” All I understand from your father's writing was your name somewhere in it,” said the teacher. Click here to read the rest of this story (54 more lines)
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