I woke up this morning and I could just feel that it was going to be a beautiful day! I woke up a few minutes before my mother screamed my name from the kitchen and I was excited, like really excited!! I woke my brother up from his deep slumber, got ready for school, had breakfast and rushed outside to join my friends on our daily ride to school. My little brother is too small to ride a cycle by himself so he sat behind me as always and we rode through the narrow lanes, laughing and discussing what fun we would have at school.

The Morning Assembly was boring as always, with the National Anthem and saying the pledge; I still don’t think I know the right words and nobody told me why it’s important to learn them anyway but I make sure to do as I’m told. I’ve never really understood what democracy really meant, because if it’s so different from military rule, why is everyone always telling me what to do… At home, it’s my parents ordering me around and at school, it’s the teachers and principal. Nobody really listens to me and wants to hear what I have to say. Why should they? I’m just a kid.

The principal reads out these suggestions which students have made and I know she reads out only those which her favourite students have made so I never bother to pay attention and I’m waiting for Math class to begin because yesterday, I got all the problems right and it feels like I’m getting a hang of it now. This teacher is really good at explaining things and I’ve never really had a teacher show interest in me before. I’ve always thought that I was only average and as the teachers keep saying, very naughty but this teacher makes me think I’m special and I want to try and be really good from today, with a little bit of mischief of course. I’ve been so excited that I spent all evening practicing really difficult problems that we hadn’t even come to yet and got help from my neighbour who seems to be really good. I was so sure that nothing would ruin my day because I was fully prepared. I would be those students teachers would write remarks like, “He has great potential!” or “He will make us all proud!” as comments to parents in my report card. I really jumped the gun on that one but a boy can dream, can’t he?!

We all walked back to our classroom and I was really excited now because we were going to start with Math and that’s when it happened. I saw Arvind running outside the classroom and I thought he was going to get in trouble for being late so I shouted out his name really loudly. The next thing I know, PT Sir came into class, walked right up to my seat and hit me across the head four times. My ears were ringing and my eyes were tearing as I watched my favourite Math teacher walk into the classroom and everyone was staring at me. The PT Sir was yelling at me for shouting in class, which was pretty ironic, now come to think of it but I was in so much pain, shock and humiliation to think or react. He told my newly appointed Math teacher that to get us naughty, disrespectful students to listen and be disciplined, she had to hit us. She looked at me and her expression changed, almost immediately. It went from happy and hopeful to mean and strict like all the other teachers. From that look in her eyes, I could feel myself becoming one of those average students once again. I still tried really hard to focus but I just couldn’t and I got all the problems wrong, which was a perfect ending to a small dream.

The other classes went by so fast and nobody even asked me whether I had done my homework, had lunch or anything. My friends were too busy being naughty and mischievous in class to notice that I hadn’t spoken all day. I picked up my brother who immediately noticed my face was a little swollen and I tried to smile but it hurt. It wasn’t the physical pain really, it was knowing that when I woke up this morning, I didn’t think I was just a Security Guard’s son. I was a student who was good at working out problems, who could some day become an engineer but I realised in less than a day, how my dreams will remain just that, dreams. I let myself believe just for a few measly hours that I was more than what these teachers thought of me, because that one Math teacher thought I was a little more than average. Guess not. Who cares?! I’ll go home today and probably go and play with those older kids in the next lane, who seem to be really happy all the time and for some reason, their eyes are always red. It’s probably a better use of my time than doing homework for a subject I know I’m never going to understand. Who needs Math when you’re probably going to follow in the footsteps of your father and join the trade of providing security for a living? Math was a stupid subject anyway. Yesterday was just a fluke.