Last week when i participated in the Times of India Write India Campaign and for the first time wrote a fictional story, somehow, i remembered one such fictional story that I had written only to be laughed upon by those who read it. It had left me red faced that time, unlike the story that i wrote now.

The year was around 1986, i was in my fifth grade. The school where i was studying was a christian missionary school named St.Xaviers High School. There was a public address system in form of a small rectangular loudspeaker placed just above the blackboard. The Principal of the school who was referred to as “Father” used to have the privilege to use the public address system. Whenever, there was some important announcement to be made the loudspeaker, otherwise, dead as a doornail, would suddenly come to life and the announcement would begin. The entire classroom would be all ears to hear the announcements. Some kids understood what it meant, others got confused, few others would never understand it, like me perhaps.

So, on one day the loudspeaker came to life again, a task was entrusted to all the students to write a story on Pope John Paul. The Pope had visited India that day and there was an atmosphere of joy amongst christian fraternity. But, we as kids, were almost unawares of the happening. Those were not the days of “Breaking News” and 24/7 news channels. Television itself was a rarity. As kids we were never interested in keeping abreast with happenings of the world. We lived in our own world then.We were asked to submit the essay the very next day. So, it left very little time with us. We as kids, did inquired amongst each others who this guy Pope was. Very few knew, one or two boys did reply that Pope was a great man who had come to India.

So, in those days of innocence, great man meant only characters from mythological serials like Ramayana or the characters which subdued us like Chacha Chaudhari, Spiderman etc. 

In the afternoon, i sat to write, writing perhaps was my passion which i myself never discovered, till recent.  I started writing a story of this imaginary character John who fought all evils and prevailed. The man fought many a ills singlehandedly and won over the evil to become the hero of the world. The story was imaginary, but it did paint the Pope in bright colors.

I was very thrilled, i had penned down quite a big essay. I was sure that the essay was jotted down nicely and the school would like it. 

In the evening, i went to my tuition classes, where, we friends from same school use to go. I showed the essay to the teacher who incidentally was a christian. He read it and shouted me, saying all is wrong. He laughed loudly. The other kids too joined the chorus. No one dared to show their notebooks though, perhaps, they too were sailing in the same boats. 

The balloon on which i was riding suddenly punctured. I gulped the humiliation out of utter need to complete the assignment the next day and meekly asked the question who is Pope John Paul. I guess i had asked the question on behalf of the other kids there, who, even at that age were smart enough to hide their ignorance.

The teacher then explained to us who the Pope was and what he has done. He then gave us some points to write. The essay was complete and submitted.

Till today, whenever, i remember the story, i smile. I remember having enjoyed writing the very first fictional story made out of a real life character.

Published by vijay joshi