Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Children's Day

Children's Day is celebrated in India on November 14, which is the birthday of Chacha Nehru whose real name was Jawaharlal.  He was called Chacha Nehru because he had to be an uncle to some of the children of his times. There is no truth in the myth that he was called Chacha because of his fondness for dancing though he was reported to be good at teaching others how to dance. He also wrote one of the nicest books on the history of India called The Discovery of India.

At schools, this day is celebrated like a return gift for all the things that kids do on Teachers Day. Very often teachers use this day to have some fun themselves by participating in cultural programs to entertain their students. I used to love Children's day celebration when I was in school, especially the comic skits that the teachers would perform for us. The school I went to as a child was a very propah school run by missionaries (missionaries are professional soldiers who are too old to be fighting). They believed in doing things in a spiritual way, so they would never punish us physically. If you did something that was really bad (like mixing fireworks powder in Fr. Grogan's pipe tobacco), they would send you with the class monitor and a slip of paper to the sports teacher, Mr. Ekka. There would be a number written on that piece of paper which Mr. Ekka would read and convert into beatings with a short leather strap either on our bum or on our hands, depending on which was in better health from the previous set of straps. But on teachers day, Mr. Ekka, would not beat anyone and any pending straps would be replaced with yummy strawberry flavored whistle lollipops. But we all knew that the real reason he would be so happy on Children's day was because he would be acting in a play with Ms. Toppo, the one who made moral sciences the most exciting class of them all.


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