The Pleasures and Trials of a Schoolboy
What days are more pleasurable than school days? What phase of life more enjoyable? What gift more precious is to us endowed than the pleasure of being a schoolboy?
To the old these words are golden, and there is reminiscence of the joys of an enraptured youth. To the young,
and those of tender years, they may sound false, and echo like empty saucepans rolling down the kitchen stairs.
Some think there is little pleasure in school life, that there is no freedom, no liberty to do as one thinks best.
Yet in spite of these shortcomings, to me there are no days more pleasurahle than those spent as a schoolboy.
To a schoolboy there is no limit to his adventurous mind, in the classroom or an the playing field. I remember
that as a younger schoolboy I was renowned for my audacity.
There was a rectory adjoining our school. On its grounds there were some sprouting jamoon trees, from whose
bulbs hung the most purple and delicious of all fruits. Now these grounds were out of bounds, and it was up to
someone to make himself a name by stealing some of those prized fruits. At that time I was no ringleader, but a
faithful follower of a big bully, who was preparing to create a reputation against the other ringleaders. But
for the jamoon trees he lacked courage.
One day when everyone was at recess, I jumped on the garden wall and called for their attention. Then I proceeded
to do my bid by vaulting over into the rectory grounds. Getting up the tree was no hard task, for I was lithe
and agile as a monkey. I returned a few minutes later amidst the cheers of my schoolmates. Soon afterwards
there was a mass invasion of the trees, which resulted in the capture of quite a number of slow-moving
In school there is also the pleasure of "gang-rivalry." Each group of hoys used to try to out do the other, in
school work, at play, and in the martial arts. There was constant friction between and within various of the
gangs, and many a time did I return home with a black eye and missing shirt buttons.
These pleasures more than counter-balanced the wretched turns our lives sometimes took, especially under certain
teachers. There was one teacher who spent most of her time sleeping in class, and when not, she used to make
life miserable for us. Other teachers also stood in our way on the path to knowledge. Many of them were
cantankerous people who quarrelled with everyone; staff, pupils, the priest and the Government. We had to
learn in spite ofthem.
If there are better days to come I know not. But looking back I see that there will be little that will be
more pleasurable than the life of a schoolboy.
V A, 1966