We were walking for Darshan one Sunday morning, when we used to pick up small stones with our feet and throw it on the guys walking in front of us. One such time, I picked up the stone and was about to throw it, when Vaidehi maam came up next to me. I immediately dropped the stone into my shirt pocket, to throw after she passed me. Unfortunately, that day the stones were different. They had just laid the road before General Hospital in tar the previous day and the stones were still wet with tar. I found that out when I put my hand into my pocket to pull out the stone. I felt it very sticky and looked at it, and to my shock found that tar was stuck to my hand. I tried to rub it off but it wouldn’t go. I tried scraping it with a leaf, but that too didn’t work. Finally I thought maybe, if I could use my teeth to peel it off, I could then spit it out. So I began to set about the task, when the guys walking next to me saw me licking something and asked me what i was eating, I sowed him my hand. He took one look at it and began shouting, “Thandava is eating tar, everybody, Thandava is eating tar”. That was the event that made me(infamous). Soon throughout Darshan that day, all the guys(don’t know about the girls) were talking about the tar.
If that wasn’t enough publicity, the tar had also soiled me shirt pocket when I threw it in, and on the way back everybody would break line to come next to me, look at my pocket and walk back to tell the tale. Yes, they had seen it. There was still lot more in my pocket, I used to eat it regularly, I had just run out of tar, and so on so forth. And if that still wasn’t enough, I did something after Darshan, that would make the whole set of incidents unforgettable. I ate a whole 3 inch nail(or did I?).
After Darshan, we were sitting in the lobby, waiting for our turn for ‘buffalo milk’, when I began to feel bored. I looked around and found that one of the nails with which those green visitors chairs were fixed to the ground, was loose and coming off. So I put in a little effort and pulled it out completely. I was wondering what to do with it, when an idea suddenly struck me. I keep wondering how I could think of something so diabolic, but then there it was, right in my head. I decided to have some fun with it.
I called Kali(DKC, alias D. Kali Charan) who was sitting beside me and told him I was going to swallow the nail. He thought I was joking and told me to go ahead(after all even a kid knows eating other stuff and eating a nail has a lot of difference. Sure, I had eaten gum, rubbers, and just finished with ‘tar’, but those wouldn’t cut my throat on the way down). I was seated at an angle to him and started to put the nail into my mouth and pushed it right in. Well it seemed so but I actually didn’t. I took it by the side of my cheek and threw it down(those who have seen Aamir Khan swallow a whole fish in the title song of ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, will know how this illusion can be achieved).
That was it, immediately, Kali started shouting that I had swallowed a whole looooonnnngggg nail and that he had seen it with his own eyes, that was the ‘Estoppel’ that prevented any further denial from my part. I was immediately hauled off by my collar, by Vaidehi maam and taken to Warden Aunty who was serving milk inside. The story along with the other ‘tar’ anecdotes attached was repeated by Vaidehi from whatever legend the students made it out to be. Immediately Warden Aunty swung into action, called Kitchen Aunty and told her something. She went in and returned with a bunch of bananas, which I was forced to eat(cleared about 7 of them and then had to drown the whole thing in 3 glasses of ‘buffalo milk’). I was then told that it was to help me shit it out soon. And that after I was done, I was to bring the nail and submit it to Warden Aunty(never really understood that part, maybe it was to ensure that I had really shat it out). Anyway I was told to go immediately to the dormitory and try to shit it out. On the way, I walked to the chairs, picked up the nail, and took it up with me(they weren’t seriously expecting the nail to cut through my intestines also, were they?). I waited for half an hour and then went to Warden Aunty and submitted the nail. By which time I was told, she had gone and reported the matter to HM also.
That was the end of my first attempt to pursue fame.
– GUPTA GHOST
Although the incident put and end to my Guiness Book aspiration. It also made me infamous, and every mention of any Guiness Record in the school also brought out my feats as a joke for discussion. This not only continued throughout my High School days also, but still continues by my family members, who were apparently personally called up by HM to be informed of this ‘most urgent’ matter.
If there is one lesson that came out of the whole episode, it was that fame really is a fickle mistress. The moment they learnt that the whole episode had made me infamous, the very people who had encouraged me to take it up in earnest, and who went to great lengths to supply me with innovative materials to sample, started avoiding me like the plague. This continued upto the end of 4th Standard.