Sunday, April 10, 2011
Surprises and shocks…synonymous? Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. A friend said, surprises make you happy, shocks leave you stoned. After a long long time, I got a lazy Sunday morning, and I had planned to sleep through it. Instead, I am up sipping a cup of hot and aromatic Darjeeling tea, and thinking of another Sunday, somewhere six years down the timeline.
It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was at my English coaching class with a bunch of friends. The very idea of attending this coaching was never studying, but hanging out with my best buddies. We would look forward to those two and half hours of uncorrupted fun impatiently for the whole week. As I took my seat, posing to be very serious since our teacher was still in the room, my friend who was seated just beside me opened his fists, which held a candy. He offered it to me. Well. He wasn’t generous enough to offer candies usually, so I was a bit surprised. I snatched it from his hand, contemplating that he might change his mind in seconds. I tore the packet, and put it in my mouth. “It’s a gum”, he said, “chew it”! I crushed it between my teeth, expecting a juicy treat, but lo!!!! I shrieked out loud and closed my mouth as I realized out teacher was sitting just in front of me. We weren’t allowed to eat during the coaching hours, though we always managed to sneak in food, snacks and candies. My face distorted, I couldn’t keep my eyes open as I felt the tangy pang all over my tongue and teeth. It’s a new brand of gums called “Centre Shock”, my friend whispered in my ears, and gave me his signature evil grin.
My teacher frowned and asked, “What is it”?
I made a sorry face and kept staring at her. The tangy pang was now spreading all over my mouth and all I wanted was to spit out that horrendous thing my friend had tricked me into putting in my mouth. My friend, sitting right beside me spoke now: “Ma’am, actually a bug bit her on her you-know-where… and …” the rest of the sentence drowned under a huge fit of laughter from my friends who were sitting around that rectangular table. Now I must say, we were a batch of fifteen odd students who cringed and sat around an eight seater dining table. Our extra strong bond could not make our teacher divide us into two batches. We insisted on taking the coaching together, though it required immense space management skills. But we said we would manage. We would just stick our asses to one corner of the chair in the name of sitting. But all that inconvenience was worth the fun we had there.
Coming back to where we had left, I mean the fit of laughter; I got so mad at my friend for making a joke out of me. But I couldn’t swear at him as I had to keep my mouth shut. There was a turmoil going on inside my mouth and every second was making it worse. My teacher yelled and put their laughter to an end. Then she turned at me and asked, “Oh, dear, is it a bad bite? Is it hurting?” All I could do was nod in acceptance. I could feel tears in my eyes.
She got up, opened a closet and took out a ball of cotton and a bottle of Savlon. Giving it to me, she said, “Here, take this and go to the washroom”.
Washroom, oh yes, the right place, I thought. I couldn’t wait to spit that evil thing out of my mouth. I grabbed the cotton and Savlon and ran to the washroom. As I reached the basin to spit it out, I realized, the electrifying sour taste had turned somewhat sweet by then. In a few more seconds, it turned completely sweet, just like a normal gum, and I was chewing on the gum blissfully. I came back from the washroom after a while, and our teacher was gone from the room after assigning us a few test papers to solve. As I entered, there was a fit of laughter again. The friend who trapped me into the trick had by now narrated the entire episode to the batch, I realized. I boxed his ears before taking my seat and then joined the laughter.
Though the first experience was terrifying, I soon became a great fan of “Center Shock”; in fact, all my friends did. We almost became its brand ambassadors in our small hometown. Our coaching sessions from then on were incomplete without that shocking gum. We went on to fool a lot more people with the gum, and every episode was hilarious, but according to my friends, not as hilarious as my episode. School life soon ended, and so did the coaching sessions. Our English teacher had arranged for a farewell party for us, and in my farewell speech, I narrated this entire incident; and I still remember the look of shock and surprise on my teacher’s face after hearing it out.