Why Must A Youth Carry Two Pairs Of Pants On His Way To School?

by: Yanam Heche

Illustration by: Marsella Andela

Teachers hitting students without a second thought is common knowledge here. What I want to know is, is the general public aware of it? If you know it, do you ignore it?

We had some of the most demented teachers here. True story. When I was in class three or four, there was an old teacher who made one of my classmates stand up and pretend to be Lord Krishna. She then proceeded to dance around this 7 or 8 years old girl-pretending-to-be-lord-Krishna as if she was one of the Gopis. Now, I don’t know if you realize, but this seems like a bit of a nut job.

At the sight of girls wearing school shoes with laces on them, the teachers protested. “A boy-shoe has laces on it; a girl-shoe has a strap on it.” At the sight of girls hanging out with boys a little too often, the teachers lost their minds. Imagine what would have happened if a boy loved a boy or if a girl loved a girl. The horror, the horror.
Why were these adults so scared of curved lines?

Once, during my primaries, our school principal slapped around 50 girls in around 10 minutes. It almost seems comical when one thinks about it. Her arms must have hurt real bad that night. Now, my memory might be skewed, for I don’t remember if she slapped these girls or if she used a stick. Anyway, more than 10 years down the line, it feels like my school was a no-place. Kind of unreal, simply because of the shit that used to go down.
What a weird weird world we live in.

Adults can’t fathom the boredom children feel because adults are too busy freaking out about their or other people’s lives.

Did you know there are two kinds of pants? There’s one that’s “proper”. A straight line, which is parallel and is deemed appropriate for school. The other sticks to your ankles. “Choos pants”, they call it. It’s what’s the opposite of bell bottoms.

From what I’ve heard, this particular youth snuck out of school after assembly and changed out of the regular school pants into his “choos pants”. Mind you. There’s very little difference between these pants. One might even oversee it if not looking. Oh, but those hawks were always looking, always watching to detect a piece of Frankenstein’s monster.

This boy received a thunder-slap for it, but he didn’t care because he was a Frankenstein’s monster, and he continued to sneak out of school almost every day to change into his “choos” pants.

Which part of Frankenstein’s monster are you? If you dye your hair, your head is wrong. If your nails are long, you don’t belong. If you do this, your that is wrong. If you do that, your this is wrong. Mirror-mirror on the wall only cares about appearances. And youths get so desperate to express their inner monsters they start to carry two pairs of pants on their way to school.

“Adults can’t fathom the boredom children feel because adults are too busy freaking out about their or other people’s lives.”

The biggest culture shock I received when in college was when a professor said, “you can call me Wafa.” Like what? And why? You are a professor, and I’m a student. There’s the you-lot, and there’s the we-lot. You are supposed to be a snob, and you are supposed to lose your temper, and you are supposed to lash out at us. On our part, we are supposed to be suspicious of you, and we are supposed to not listen to you, and we are supposed to be hooligans. The you-lot and the we-lot cannot assimilate.

My world flipped upside down. Some teachers are more humans than hawks?

Funny story, I remember now. I think I was in class five. This teacher we had, stout and cheery. She did hit students, but it never seemed like vengeance or personal vendetta. And so, everyone liked her, and so everyone gave her cards during Teachers’ day. And this was after the fact that she locked us inside our classroom during a recent earthquake. I mean, can you imagine. She was teaching us when the fan and the windowpane started trembling. What would an adult in a room filled with 8-year-olds do in the event of an earthquake?

Contrary to common sense, she dashed out of the classroom and locked us inside. I don’t think she had malice in her head. I think she was worried about what would happen if the children flooded the corridor. She was worried about indiscipline. She was worried about appearance. She was worried about curved lines.

“You are supposed to be a snob, and you are supposed to lose your temper, and you are supposed to lash out at us. On our part, we are supposed to be suspicious of you, and we are supposed to not listen to you, and we are supposed to be hooligans.”

This reminds me of another incident just a year back. Frustrated, angry, tired, and bored, I sat at an assigned seat at an assigned building in front of a screen at Industrial zone, Mathura road. It was that time of the year when lakhs of students flock to assigned buildings to sit in front of computer screens so that the government can see who qualifies to teach. It was NET, UGC’S National Eligibility Test, a professional exam.

Tired from a night of no sleep and dejected from standing in countless lines, I fell asleep midway into the exam. After I woke up, I finished ticking the multiple-choice questions, from right to wrong, from wrong to right, who knows? I still had some time left, so I started scribbling bits and pieces, words and sentences, onto a paper we were given as rough sheets. After the time was up, an invigilator started going down rows and collecting these rough sheets. I have no clue as to why they would do this. Anyway, when the invigilator asked me for my sheet of paper, I asked him if I can keep it because I had scribbled a poem of sorts on it. And I showed him that the paper was practically blank, other than my poem-of-sorts. He said no. I asked why. He got confused. And then he said that it was his assigned duty to collect the rough sheets after every batch gets done. He was just doing what he was told to do. Fair enough. I left my poem among lakhs of sheets. For what? Will the paper be recycled?

With no rhyme or reason, adults carry on, building blocks on top of blocks, carrying donkeys that are half dead.

This is what happens when a youth stops carrying two pairs of pants to school. Remember to let a strand of hair fall over your eye. Remember to forget to clip one of your nails. If it gets too didactic at some point, feel free to leave the page. I won’t mind. But, always remember to carry a bunch of hairbands to wear on your wrist. Remember to shave your head if you feel like it. If not, what’s the worst that could happen, you ask?

Well, you might someday lock fifth-graders in their classroom in the event of an earthquake, or you might slap fifty girls in 10 minutes, or you might kick the shit out of a boy who just wants to wear tight pants.

About the writer
Fresh out of University to grind and make a life, Yanam works fro home for a start-up, so she is making money but not enough to be considered employed. Her last salary was spent on hair dye and a photoshoot. She writes, clicks photos, hoards things, and oscillates
between killing the Author and putting the Author on a pedestal. You can check out her photography on Instagram at


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