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Chapter 21: Personality: The Carbon Cop-out

“You missed that opportunity; you brought your cane. And then again you created trouble for yourself; you gave me another chance to prove you are a coward. You are unintelligent, you have no respect for intelligence or for a child - and you are a coward: you should have beaten me! What would it matter if you were behind bars? - it was a question of your principles. If you were right, then it would have been good to be behind bars. But be right, and fight for it!”

For three years he avoided me like anything. But I will not say it was mischief although it will appear so. I don’t see a single point supporting the idea that it was mischief.

For three years, while I was in the high school, we continued the silence. The ten minutes’ silence continued instead of prayer, because they could not come up with something better. Whatsoever they brought up I was capable of finding faults with. And without my approval, I was not going to allow it. So finally they decided, “Let this boy be gone from here, then.” And the day I left the school and went to the university.

I came back in some holiday and I went there to see what was happening: and the children were repeating the same song again. I went to the principal and I said, “I have just come to check. It has not reached your mind at all - again you started the same thing.”

But he said, “Now please leave us alone. I was afraid that if you failed, then you would be here for one more year. I was praying for you to pass. I had told all the teachers to support you, to help you so that you pass. Any way you should not fail, otherwise one more year. But now, leave us alone.”

I said, “I will not be coming again and again. I have just come to check and to see whether you have any mind or not, and you seem to be absolutely unintelligent. You are a postgraduate in science, and that too in mathematics - which is just an extension of logic - but you can’t understand a simple thing. I will not be coming here because now I am occupied in the university. There are so many problems there, I cannot take care of your school.”

One of my high school teachers was a certain Mr. Nigam; he used to teach chemistry. I knew him, the whole city knew about him, but he was such an angry, violent and idiotic man that nobody raised a voice against him. He killed his wife, but I was the only witness.

I was a witness because I was sitting in a mango tree. The mangoes were getting ripe, and it was nobody’s tree so I was not stealing. In India, mango trees are planted along the roads. They give shade and they give the most delicious fruit also; so, many people out of charity plant mango trees. Municipal committees, corporations, plant mango trees. So it was a public tree and nobody could say to me, “You are stealing” - or anything.

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