spit take Society

Nehru ate my homework

The needle on the record player somehow got stuck on ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and I remained standing the entire night.=   | Photo Credit: Sreejith R Kumar

I have an entire playlist of nightmares. The one featuring Ambujam Mami’s arangetram, however, is my favourite. But, whatever the bad dream, they all have to end with Mrs Fernandez, my Class 4 maths teacher, fixing me with her one good eye and hissing through the gap in her tobacco-stained front teeth, ‘Shastreee, where isssss your homework?’, and me waking up in a warm puddle (that I suspect is just sweat) with my heart pounding.

My heart goes out to schoolboys everywhere (and a few schoolgirls, too, because the rest are pesky teacher’s pets whose sole purpose in life is showing up schoolboys like myself). So here are six foolproof excuses for non-delivery of your homework that will work like a charm for petrified schoolboys anywhere in our beloved land.


Dear Madam,

I had every intention of doing my homework and, in fact, bathed, performed a small puja to Goddess Saraswati, and sat down to do it. But my father, a true desh bhakt, put on our old LP of patriotic songs. The needle on the record player somehow got stuck on Jana Gana Mana and I remained standing the entire night. I therefore wish to be excused from handing in my history homework.


Dear Madam,

While you have every right to ask us to do our homework, as a mark of respect to our soldiers who are guarding our borders day in and day out, I have decided not to hand in my assignment. Please think about their sacrifices for us for a minute instead of being selfish and giving us things to do every day. Jai Hind.


Dear Sir,

I will not be able to hand in my homework today because homework is a diabolical colonial plot. Making children do homework was a British conspiracy that has been handed down to our faulty education system so that we continue remaining slaves. And, sir, what do you mean ‘homework’? Pressing the feet of my elders, reciting shlokas, watching Arnab Goswami, and seasoning the trusty wooden staff that we use from time to time on passing anti-nationals is homework enough for us. Furthermore, homework should be renamed gruha krishi instantly.


Dear Madam,

I regret to inform you that I cannot hand in my homework assignment in the manner in which you seek it. Henceforth, I will submit all my English assignments in Hindi. Same goes for social studies, science and mathematics. Assignments in any South Indian language will be submitted with the words ‘lungi dance, lungi dance’ written over and over.


Dear Madam,

I am unable to submit my homework because I am spending all my time building a large statue of Prithviraj Chauhan or, er, Rana Pratap. One of these two great kings anyway, can’t say. Depends on how it turns out. As you know, I flunked drawing. This project will take me a couple of years. So kindly excuse.


Dear Madam,

Henceforth, consider this my homework for all future assignments. It fits all questions in all subjects. Even though the cow has only two legs in the front, they are called forelegs. The cow gives us milk. The cow is our mother. The cow’s husband is the bull. It lives in the stock market. The cow’s cousin sister is the buffalo. But it is still not my aunt. I love the cow.

This piece is totally inspired by Nick Hornby’s delightful piece and dedicated to him with sincere apologies. Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 9:54:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/nehru-ate-my-homework/article28292861.ece

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