I still remember with absolute clarity the day mom asked us: What makes shadows? In my mind, shadows were associated with darkness — with candlelight; with evening walks. So I answered: ‘Dark’. She switched off the lights and shut the windows. And hey! No shadows! Then she made us carry a desk into the blinding sunshine. Shadows!
I have never forgotten that lesson about light. That year, the class wouldn’t end when the bell rang. An experiment couldn’t be abandoned mid-way; a discovery was about to be made. Mom would always be apologising and begging the waiting Maths teacher for a few more minutes.
A few years later, Chemistry descended upon us. As did a new teacher. His modus operandi was to read out entire paragraphs, affix us with a glare and ask, ‘Is it clear?’ If you said, ‘No sir’, he would read out the whole paragraph again.
Then it was time to learn the Periodic Table with its codes/abbreviations for elements. I’ve forgotten the rest but I remember that Chromium is represented as Cr. I read it as ‘Crrrrrr’, as if I was a crow trying to imitate a motorbike. The teacher threw me out of the class. That is my most vivid memory of him. And of the Periodic Table.