School assembly starts at 8.45am. And my auto makes it at 8.30am in front of the school. As I rush to my class to keep my bag and come down in time for the assembly, my friend asks, “Hey, History Miss told us to bring India Political map, no? Do you have an extra one?”
“No. Okay, we have time. Come let’s go to Chitra Book House and buy”.
My friend takes a few coins from her Geometry box.
‘Why do students keep their money in that one box! I mean if everyone knows that Geometry box is the ‘safe box’ and everyone keeps their money there, it’s an open secret that the box is a jackpot. Might as well keep it in the bag!’, I think.
Well in a few seconds, my thought will be proved wrong. I dig into my bag for a long time (for what seemed an eternity to my friend) only to find one rupee! Now I learnt why they kept money inside that one box – to save time! It was the school kid’s wallet.
Then we run to the gate, screaming “Map vaanganum, watchmaaaaaan! (We have to buy map, Watchman)” as we get out, because he always wants to know why we HAVE to leave the school gates again just when we entered it a few minutes back!
We both hold our hands and cross the road.
“Anna, rendu India Political”. We knew that Map was Re.1/- but always brought extra money to buy chocolates.
We make it in time for the assembly, holding the map in our hands.
This happened all the time. All that rush for that one map. Either to sit and colour Ashoka’s empire in History class or mark the Rice crop regions in Geography class.
Now that I think about it, I have to say that I did feel proud to hold India in my hands and sing ‘Jana Gana Mana’ during the assembly.
Since then, everytime I picture India, I still picture the Political map, which has the ‘crown’ at the top. The ‘Political’ in the India ‘Political’ map is about securing Bharat Mata’s crown at the top.