The Morning Assembly

“God must be like my PTI”, he thought.

Leaving the bag at the edge of the ground, he ran towards the line. “Who else can stand on a raised platform above all the teachers and even the principal, survey all the children gathered on the ground with one wide glance or incredibly appear immediately at every scene of mischief? And, he communicates in such a large, booming voice and gives strict punishment for having fun in what is rightly a serious business.”

Morning assemblies were always a serious affair.

Once again he was late, which was perfectly normal for him. He reached school only after the prayer had finished with the exercises just going to start. From the end of the line, where the tallest boys of the class stood, and thus from where he could not see the drills, he sneaked up, one boy by one, then halfway ahead the line, greeted his bench mate on the route and gradually weaved his way forward to the front of the class, assembled in stiff attention.

And then, with the beat of the drum, he danced.

Or he thought of it as a dance. He had seen Saif Ali Khan’s steps in a song of ‘Ashiq Aawara’ last evening and mixed them with MJ moonwalking on MTV. Instead of the left right, left right, left right command of the god mentioned above, he imitated a hybrid of these two dance steps, amusing his class and school mates alike.

He loved it when he made people smile.

Fourteen years later, as he was getting ready for the office today, late by an hour, which still is perfectly normal for him; he overheard the assembly drills being conducted at the govt. school, just across the boundary wall of the ‘single story’ apartments he stays in these days.

And while all this came flooding by, he remembered God as a benevolent Physical Training Instructor who despite being present everywhere, seeing, hearing everything and punishing errant tasks strictly, was somehow kind to him, and even let him do his little jigs at the front of the class 9th B, assembled for the morning prayers.

And then, with the beat of the drum, he danced the same dance, once again.


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