STORY FRIDAY: The Front Row

A Short Story By Pradeep Jeganathan

 

Gaya’s intro :

 
The Roy-Tho and Joe-Pete are over. The papare has tooted off while a little black, blue, white and gold dust filters a memory or two for those who love these encounters so much.

Flights leaving the island have taken grown men, once scruffy and pimply as the kids who played the game this year, back to their ordered lives in faraway places. The class get-together was a welcome battery-recharger, yes?

Well, here is a story to return you once more to a place of memories in which you could say you had the best time of your life.

Whether you pull it out in the weekend while relaxing at home, read it on a mobile device on the long commute in the inch-by-inch CMB traffic or on the tube,  it will definitely take you back to the front row.

 

a special thank you to Pradeep Jeganathan for sharing his creative writing with iSrilankans.

Front Row appeared in At the Water’s Edge which was short-listed for the 2004 Graetien Prize and is available on Amazon.

The Front Row

 

Pradeep Jeganathan

 

The seats in the front were better than those in the back. First, because you could see and hear the teacher better, and also, because the benches weren’t wobbly like those at the back of the classroom. But mostly, the tops of the long desks at the back weren’t smooth; they had little trenches in them where children had cut their names and shallower but broader cuts made as they etched away at their frustration. This unevenness made your letters go wiggly if you wrote in a thin exercise book.
“If you want to get a good seat in front for the rest of the year, go early to school tomorrow,” Krishna’s mother had said the night before, and he’d known she was right. He got to school at 6:45 in the morning, 45 minutes before school began.

 Krishna could walk to King’s College in five minutes from Mountbatten Crescent where he lived; lots of the boys lived far away, and spent a lot of time commuting in buses and trains that were crowded and unreliable. Still, by the time class began all the seats were full.

Krishna was in the front row, trying to get used to the new room that was the seventh grade classroom. The walls were coated with hunu, which gave them a rough texture and a bright white color. Pasted all over the walls, all around, were brightly colored posters and maps from last year’s class. There were several of the human body — cross sections of hearts and lungs, livers and intestines; and various maps of Lanka, in blue, green and yellow. Between the windows of the right hand wall was a large calendar, the days crossed off until the 17th of December, the last school day of the previous year: 1974.

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Note by an Old Royalist : My grade 3c and 4D class room was downstairs and class 5F was upstairs. We used to play cricket in the garden.

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