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A collective shame-blame

One morning we woke up to a cacophony of bashing willow-sticks. A group of captains and senior students had gathered at the site. It wasn’t a good sight either. Right beneath our dormitory’s wooden ladder, someone had conveniently relieved himself the previous night. And furious captains would not leave without solving this issue; either they needed to find the culprit or let all inmates clean it.

“How could anyone do that?” expression was writ bold on everyone’s face. No one dared admit. In fact no one knew. I was shivering on that morning not so much from cold but from fear of captains, to whom it seemed thrashing us all, was of immense satisfaction.

“What does it smell?” they questioned us all, willow sticks touching our noses.

We felt like shouting “Jada you stupid … what would a willow smell of?”

In the end, those devils commanded that it was our collective responsibility and that because no one was ‘cooperating’ with them, all of us should take part in cleaning the mess. Just because of someone we were to face the biggest embarrassment of our life. As we lined up with gho-sleeves covering our noses, to take our turns, our girls enjoyed the sight from their hostel. A collective responsibility, a collective blame, a collective shame!

We appeared like new army recruits lined up ready for the first command. We had to clean the mess with our fingers. Those who braved to go fast received it fresh and soft. Only scattered remains were left for the seniors who were at the other end of the queue. As I stooped to dip my index finger, the heap was half way through.

All cursed the culprit amongst us that morning like a devout chanting baza guri nonstop. Everyone saw culprit on everyone’s face.

I think it was only me who had seen the real culprit. And for the next few days, I was fortunate to be able to observe the boy’s guilt ridden face, if he had any at all. Even to this day, I am haunted by that incident. Maybe I should have told captains. Maybe I did the right thing.

I saved a man from being ridiculed yet I could not stop accusations being thrown at an innocent crowd.


  1. But I would say you did a better thing not selling him off. Believe me it's no fun being a rat :)
    I hate captains with willow sticks. I used to be the youngest and the noisiest lad while in class 3. For reasons still unknown we had to put our head on our desks and go to sleep when a particular teacher missed the class. But kids that we were we would just whisper around while the class monitor moved around. Micro-seconds before I let out a giggle the cane came smashing on my back. God knows what prompted me but I just wailed in the class and shouted bloody murder. I made them think I had some wound on my back. A nice Indian lady teacher came by and put me on her lap as I sobbed on some more and she scolded the captain quite badly. Inside I was enjoying...but to this say I think it would have been different if the kind teacher had insisted on seeing my back and nursing it. Perhaps, I would have had some more caning. hehe. But I stole the show and that's what matters most now. :P

  2. It is too bad man...ha are sending me back to schooling days which were full of mischief and adventure...


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