In Pursuit Of Fame – (Part 1) – 4th Standard

Although the three episodes were supposed to be the sum of my 4th Standard experiences, have just recalled an important episode which must be told. For a lot of people it is necessary to clear this particular episode of its infamous trappings(must admit contributed to it myself in no small way). Anyway for those who cannot wait, it’s none other than the ‘Guiness Book’ episode.

The one thing that my batch, some of my seniors, lot of my juniors and the staff cannot forget me is the Guiness Record episode.

It all began this way. Sometime in the beginning of 4th Standard, I began to hear talk of book that people called the “Guiness Book of World Records”(Guiness Book for short). All the students would talk about how the greatest, fastest, highest, longest and many such records were entered into this book and an entry into this book meant lifelong fame and recognition. Really don’t know what made me suddenly for inexhaustible fame and the limelight, man, did I love the very thought of getting into the book.

So I mentioned it to some guys, who told me I had to do something entirely different and adventurous to get in. They asked me what I would do. I really didn’t know. I mean, later when I sat to think on it, I realised, that I couldn’t jump or run, or throw or do anything faster than anybody in the class, leave alone the record-holder. So I let go of my plans to enter the BOOK. A few months went by when one day, we were talking about a lot of things, when one of the guys mentioned the Guiness Book and said lots of people were now getting in for eating. And mind you, it wasn’t ‘NORMAL’ eating being referred to here. People were getting in for eating bulbs, tubelights, bicycles and even a whole plane. This suddenly struck me as a brilliant idea to get into the BOOK. I mean the route into the BOOK was so simple, as simple as eating. I just had to find something different to eat from what these people were eating, and I would smash my way into the BOOK and splash my photograph onto the front page.

So, in all my enthusiasm I set about informing everybody in the class that I was attempting to enter the Guiness Book and that I would do so by eating. And announced that anybody could help me choose items to eat that would get noticed(was initially in two minds whether to announce it or not, because I had a great fear of failure, and used to think what if I couldn’t eat the things I promised, I would be laughed at by the whole class. So my brain got the better of me, and anyway, I decided that having a lot of witnesses would surely be a help, and thus went ahead with the announcement).

The initial interest soon fizzled as I set out trying my own experiments in private. I began by eating the first available thing in the classroom, paper. To my surprise that paper wasn’t so bad after all, I mean, it was just a tasteless ball of something once you got it into your mouth, cardboard is an entirely different horror story though. Slowly I got into chalks as paper soon bored me. The moment one teacher went out, I would collect all the broken pieces of chalk and begin munching on them. The calcium really made them taste good(though I must admit that over the years the quality of chalks has deteriorated and the chalks available now are just a little classification short of toxic). Getting bored with chalk pieces also, I moved onto pencils, the next available resource. Although the lead tasted good(used to call it so, later learnt it had nothing to do with the element ‘Plumbum’ and was actually graphite), the wood was really bad, especially the ones by HP(Hindustan Pencils). They tasted like rotten beechwood. After many such experiences with easily resources, I got bored with the idea and had decided to drop it.

Then began the twist, one fine day, when no teacher came to take a particular class, Jigmee(more of him in 5th Standard) got really bored and decided to have some fun on me. So he sat next to me and told me if I was still trying to get into the BOOK. I decided to humour him since I too was bored and said yes. But also told him that I had run out of materials to try and was hence taking a break on the whole thing. He told me “don’t worry, I will get you as many things as you can try eating” and set about that task. He returned with a transparent tube of gum from the cupboard(the pinkish hued one by Camlin, still in the market) and handed it to me. I was now bound to try it since he had looked a lot to find me something, and expected to see me eat it. I thought why the hell not, I anyway didn’t have anything better to do.

Thus began my graduation into gums(no pun). Tried drinking the thing but it tasted awful, so I spread it all over my hand and let it dry. Once it had dried I peeled it off and tried eating it, to my surprise, it tasted wonderful. One thing led to another, and soon, I was into Fevicol, which tasted much better when hand-dried. Soon they had to resort to getting more from even the girl’s classes to help me keep up my appetite for it(in 4th Standard our class was the last in the girl’s wing, just before the cooler). Not all adhesives taste good however. Specially ones that are cheap, mass produced and meant for office use. Learnt it the hard way, as always. Once we were through with all possible gums’, they decided, there was only one gum left which I hadn’t tasted. The brown syrupy one sold by Camlin in a blue bottle. But there were only two bottles of it that we knew of in the entire school. One in HM’s office and the other in the Staff Room. They decided that it was better to try risking the one from the Staff Room since it was rarely used, and even then only to stick torn library books(the library had not yet been separated then).

So one afternoon, whe everyone was coming out from lunch, Rohit Parmar(more on him too in the 5th Standard) was sent to smuggle out the precious syrup a.k.a last gum left. He was in an out like a cat and had a capful of it with him. The cap was handed over to me and 4 pairs of eyes moved from the cap to me and back. I decided to give it a try although it smelled awful. I took one sip and felt like like spitting out the whole damn stuff, but dared not, since they had gone to a lot of trouble to get it in the first place. So I forced myself to swallow it and hoped I wouldn’t vomit. Luckily I didn’t(WARNING: Those of you who may be inspired to try eating adhesives after reading this, please note, I REQUEST you not to try the brown gum in a blue bottle, it really tastes like vomit and will churn your insides out).

to be continued… …


Still eat paper and chalk to this day. They really are a harmless lot(despite the warning about the chalks of today). Can’t really let go of the habit. Its the paper that keeps pulling me back into the habit, because of its abundant availability, I mean, anywhere I go, any place I look there’s always some or the other paper, so much for computerisation and digitisation.

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