The Chief has often said that The Man from Madras Musings would do well to visit St. Mary’s in the Fort, principally influenced, or so MMM suspects, by his (the Chief’s and not MMM’s) factotum who has been doing a running column on that precinct. And so off MMM went one afternoon and wandered around the place. He found the experience enjoyable and hopes to be able to return soon.
While MMM explored the sacred space, he was startled to hear young voices and glancing out of a window he was mightily pleased to see what looked like an army of children. They were all clad in a yellow and white uniform and were marching into the church, two by two, rather like the elephant and the kangaroo when Noah bade them enter his ark. The children were being shepherded in by a couple of watchful schoolteachers. MMM was delight ed to see this and had half a mind to immediately contact the Chief over the phone to tell him all about it.
You see, the Chief has always been rather concerned over the way history has been given short shrift in schools. Remembering this, MMM was thinking that the Boss had got it all wrong. After all, here were these children, brought in by their hardworking teachers, both of whom undoubtedly knew their history and were keen to pass it on to the younger generation. And so, standing beneath a statue of a man who judging from his expres sion clearly had digestive issues, MMM waited to see how this history lesson in historic surroundings would pan out.
The teachers barked out their order that the students ought to maintain complete silence while in the church. MMM was impressed and conjectured that this was no doubt to facilitate ease of lecturing so that the lectured could hear every word that was said. These being pre-teenage children, they obey ed the orders at once and trooped in quietly. They were then asked to take their seats, which they obediently did. From his vantage point MMM beamed on them all and received a few smiles back, until one of the teachers looked rather suspiciously at MMM and told the children to look straight at the altar.
The other teacher then ordered the children to shut their eyes. This being a warm day, MMM assumed that this was the teacher’s way of getting the children to rest before they were allowed to explore the church and ask questions. The period of silent meditation lasted for ten minutes during which the teacher at the rear snored in her pew. At the end of it, the younger teacher stood up near the altar. Here comes the interesting talk, MMM said to himself. His optimism was most misplaced.
The teacher asked the children to open their eyes and then file out of the church now that their rest was over. As they were leaving, Teacher 1 remarked to Teacher 2 that it was a good thing that only ten more minutes of wandering about was left before they all boarded the bus.