There aren’t many things that I remember about class VII. I do remember Neelabh asking a question once to a young guy who had come to teach us BASIC for a short while. Neelabh wanted to know what the fuck in this world were computer-viruses!
It was the year 1995 and I doubt if anyone in the entire class owned a computer. I certainly didn’t and so didn’t Neelabh. Whatever little we knew about computers was through our books on BASIC and by the once-in-two-weeks ( or was that once-a-week?) computer lab. The lab had some of the slowest processors on earth topped up with bulky and ugly black and (dirty) white monitors. The most geeky gaali then used to be F2D (F2 in BASIC is a short-cut to ‘Run’ a program). I had probably heard it first from Neelabh – Neelabh was the eternal geek. In fact, he was always a geek for me till one fine day, years later when we were in different schools and in different cities doing our plus two, I called him up and came to know that he had not taken CS after tenth. It took me a while to digest this fact but more of this later. So, that day when he raised this question on viruses, the entire class displayed traces of curiosity. I recalled having heard something about computer viruses myself but had no fucking clue – how could a virus that was supposed to be some kind of small and smelling ugly insect-like creepy shitty organism supposed to eat up computers? That young teacher did clarify Neelabh’s doubt as he soon explained to the class that these viruses were not one of those creatures that came out straight from the biology text-books. He told us these were programs created to cause damage to systems, just like viruses damage humans. Now, this was a breakthrough knowledge! So far, programs had meant nothing more than few shitty lines wrapped up between “10 START” and “100 END” to produce even more shitty results like Fibonacci series, even primes, odd primes and things like that, you know.
Amongst the other things that I remember about class VII is this Biology mam who looked like chipkali ( wall-lizard ). She really really looked like chipkali. I am sure that Neelabh or anyone else who studied with me in VII G will vouch for it. She was young and pretty hard working and she taught well. But she looked funny. Any woman who looks like a chipkali is funny to look at. Now as I have grown old and have lost hair from my chest and tummy, I absolutely don’t remember her face. But whatever little blurred memory of her appearance exists, reminds me of lizards, no doubt. I never saw Chipkali-mam after class VII. The way class VII ended was sad in itself.
A very cruel thing happened as I moved from class seventh to eighth. I am not saying that something just happened out of blue. It simply had to happen. The entire class – VII G – full of bitches and bastards and other blessed wonder-kids like myself – had always known that this tragedy would finally strike. And yet, when the tragedy did occur, when the enevitable did see the light of the rotting day, it pained each one of us – each one of us in VII G. The last period of the last day in VII was the last time that section G sat together. When we moved to eighth, we were divided. The entire class was butchered into teeny tiny pieces and thrown apart – thrown apart into different sections – A, B, C, D, E, F. It hurt and yet what could we the kids do? There was no VIII G!