Do you know the full form of P.T.M? It is a ‘planned torture meet’. Imagine entering your school’s computer lab only to find computers talking to you? Or how about understanding human relationships with the help of various compounds found in your chemistry lab? Well, that’s how Dr Anshu Arora narrates tales of her school children in her book, The School Tales. The book, inspired by real-life events, presents a story about five students who share their sweet and bitter experiences about life with each other. Below are two chapters, reproduced from the book. Read and enjoy.
P.T.M. – Parents and teachers meeting… A place where the first-parent meets the second-parent and the first teacher meets the second teacher.
“P.T.M. is actually a ‘planned torture meet,’ the teachers gape at you and pass any and every remark possible,” Roger was in a fiery mood.
“Endure what you can’t cure,” I gave timely advice. “Buddy, it is a rare opportunity for all the revered teachers to complain, to correct, to call us — careless and callous.
And to kill our calm and relaxed composure.”Sid almost mimed out a rhyme. Pain makes a poet out of you. Poetry was heard.
“If you aren’t in their good books, it is better to start the day with substantial breakfast since the chance to catch a decent lunch is going to be dim.” Asmita also gave her valuable piece of advice.
“Controversies are not good in life, it is, therefore, best to avoid the PTMs,” Tanu too had a well-cooked rule book.
“Plan a trip, be extra sweet at home and distract your parents. It works most of the times.”
The rest of the time, face it like a brave soldier.
Trust me; the interrogation by police would be far more refined than the teachers who sat to discuss us with our parents. Sullen faces and rude expressions were common. My grade five Social Science teacher once complained to my dad about my inability to remember long answers. I looked at him in utter shock and couldn’t help asking, “Sir, do you know my name?”
Instead of accepting his mistake, he further scolded me using a wrong name. My dad nudged me to stop, but I wanted to know if he thought he was President Obama or had some special permission first to tarnish my name and then my image. My image was lost to the rage of Mr Drage.
“A teacher has to be a prophet who can look into the future and see the world of tomorrow into which the children of today must fit.”
THE COMPUTER LAB
(The room housed latest machines, printers and an excellent state of the architectural design.)
Computer and technology are the keys
That can set us free
It connects us with the globe
And makes us probe.
Research is made easy
Computer with flashy monitor
Is a tutor
Its sweet little mouse
Is a help profuse
In all spheres I use
The googled news
Through social sites
I link with delight
My lifeline is redefined
‘cause of you all seems fine.
There was networking in the lab, the intra-connections helped us to send messages to each other, the unlimited free message was sent along with emoticons. We loved the computer room, both studying and being there. The lovely leafy green furniture was styled to accommodate the machines in the best possible way.
“Helllooo!!” we screamed in delight. The computer lab had made the small world even smaller for us.
“How are you? Did I really teach you all the correct things?” the lab was asking.
“Of course, you did. Why are you asking? And debating it?” asked Sid
“I taught you to be impulsive through the quick entry and quick processing. This is what children begin to expect from life.” The lab now gave us its mind.
“You had everything just a click away, but life is not the same. You need to be steadfast, committed and consistent. Life is tough. Life is a fight.” The computer room was so right.
“Please don’t become easy going,” it further pleaded.
“Good and evil needs to be seen, sensed and you need to understand the most important principle of a computer which is GIGO,” it further added.
“You mean garbage in garbage out?” asked Roger.
“Yes, exactly what you sow, so shall you reap.” The moral lesson was re-taught.
“Mr Computer is talking like Sister Maria,” said Asmita.
“We need to format the bad sectors of our hard disk,” it said. In a subtle way, it gave a lesson to forgive, forget and move on.
“And defrag the remaining,” I added.
“Yes, write the new code, compile and then execute it…”
Remember dear children…
“Computers are magnificent tools for the realisation of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love and understanding.”
– Louis Gerstner
Dr Anshu Arora is the Principal, Amity International School, Gurugram, Haryana. The chapters have been reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Pan India Good Books.