Flint was an Anglo Indian and had a naturally fair complexion. His hair was a nice curly and well shaped topping for his head. He had good height too and our classmates filled in the rest for him by announcing that he resembled actor Kamal Hassan from a few angles. This made him all the more conscious and he altered his walk and mannerisms to match the actor’s moves. When he smiled, the pyorrhea on his teeth that was a shade distorted in front, showed up. His focus on style, grew more with the passage of time, that he would get off his school uniform and wear a very nice shirt while cycling back home, ensuring that the girl folk got a glimpse of him. He was really popular amongst the back benchers and when Kamal’s Sakala Kalaa Vallavan released in 1982, he became all the more popular.
Although branded as a back bencher and sidelined without any hope by teachers, I still admire Flint for his stubborn character. One day, he was caught while at one of his pranks. The teacher yelled at him saying “Show your smartness if you can, by passing a test in Geography”. Flint took up the challenge and asked the teacher to set the portions and the day and time of the test. And on that day he cleared the test with very high marks. But as we all know, it's consistency and not just one time peaking that matters and Flint went back to his old state soon.
Kial and Deepu together made a very funny pair and they created classic pranks. Their primary motivation of course was to grab the attention of the female folk. Deepu would set up a thick wooden stick that was actually broken as two pieces. It’s rough edges and corners at the broken area, merged so well into each other, that holding on one end kept the other in place and the merged area showed no signs of a breakage either. So for a person watching the whole thing, it would be like Deepu was holding a normal thick wooden stick. Kial would come up, flex his muscles and in one super man’s move, break the stick with his hand. Amazing show indeed. Well, I would be lying if I said that I had never wanted to impress the girl folk. I did want to, but somehow, studies and other important matters took priority.
One afternoon, while the sun was at its scorching best, we had our physical training period. All of us were lined up in ten rows and our master was calling out instructions for our exercises. Each time we heard him say “Hands up” we could hear one voice within us say “Pants down”. It was so well timed that what he said would mix with what our master called out but still would be a shade late. Our master went wild and he called out several times to the students to show the person who was doing this and to the person himself to step out. But in these times, we proved to be a real united pack of untamed wolves. Not one person gave in. And so we remained standing there and each one got a nice whacking with the master’s cane. For the diligent students, the installment was one whacking in addition as he was more frustrated with their silence than that of the others. We all knew that the character creating this mockery was Deepu.
Nigdal was another Anglo-Indian, who had a fantastic way of dropping rubber lizards and reptiles from a higher point on to the tables of the girl classmates. You would really get a feel that it dropped from the roof, as he would surreptitiously get himself to a higher elevation to drop them. They would land like with that real "Plop" sound. It was fun to hear the reactions from the girls with most of them screeching “Mummy” and holding on to the other. Nigdal’s attack would be when the whole class would be preparing for an intense test in Physics.
Many teachers would tell us in advance about question answer sessions that they planned to conduct. On such days, Deepu would position himself behind a girl and surreptitiously tie one of her long plaits to the wooden frame of her chair. And when she would be called by the teacher with a question, she would politely get up, only to be pulled down suddenly, by the trick worked up by Deepu. Atleast our batch was not so notorious as our seniors who had bleaching powder spread inside the desks of girl classmates. When the teachers were not around, Deepu mostly used the top of the desks to move around in the classroom. Very rarely did he take the aisles between the desks. You would get a feel that he was up to a table top dance sometimes.
These are some of the many funny experiences that flood my mind as of now. In one way, I should thank these friends for filling my mind with these lighter experiences.