This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.



Prodigies are born only once in a while and they are identified right in the Primary school level itself.  But Mona, a Baby class kid, was spotted out not for her brainpower but for her talkativeness in the Little Angels' Nursery school.


In course of time she got promoted to the LKG class. Having tolerated this talking machine for well over 10 days, that Monday morning the LKG teacher gathered courage, against all rules of the school, to shout at the child, "Mona, shut up." She had no other option. Immediately Mona had stopped talking. The two worded phrase probably sounded great in her ears and she loved it immensely. But her silence didn't last long. Ultimately the class teacher gave up.


But the UKG teacher faced more severe ordeals which the other two hadn't. When Mona started talking, she was the centre of attraction to all the 20 pair of eyes which were fixed on her and they listened to her most intently. The class teacher felt completely ignored. She even wondered if she had become suddenly invisible to her own pupils. The students wouldn't look in the teacher's direction at all or at the black board.  Not that they wanted to understand what the student-orator talked but they were astonished at Mona's rhetoric which was delivered in full sentences while they themselves could talk only in words and mono syllables.


Thanagam Geore, 57, thought of complaining to the Principal about this little girl. Then she heard a voice. "Don't be stupid Thangam. Can't you deal with this devil yourself? Haven't you bags of experience . . . ?" Thangam admitted that she had been a little foolish.      


Suddenly bracing up, Thangam  yelled at the top of her voice which shook the class and all eyes now turned towards her including Mona's.  Taking advantage of this situation, Thangam collected the foot ruler and waved it at Mona conveying that she would bash up Mona with it if she didn't stop talking.  


This was too much for Mona. She was not the one to be cowed down by a show of force. She decided to take the teacher to task at the end of the day.


She waited for all girls to leave the class room. Then she took giant steps to reach the teacher's table. "You know," she started addressing her. "My uncle John is in London. She also spelt out the word. You know, EL OH EN DEE OH EN. He has a gun. He can shoot you to pieces. Then there is Sujata aunty right here in Chennai . . . " Thangam listened to this baby terrorist quietly but with a lot of admiration.


Mona resumed her war of words the next day. Taking out an envelope from her school bag she said, "You thought I was joking yesterday? Here is a cover letter. It is from London. Uncle John posted it. He will come here and shoot you down. Then Sujata aunty will also come to the school and put matchsticks into your nose. All right?"


The teacher displayed at once tremendous fear and nervousness. She bent low, rested half her body on the table and cried, "Uncle John will shoot me with his gun. Aunty Sujata will shove match sticks in my nose. What am I going to do? What . . . " Sob . . sob . . sob.


Mona felt moved. Her little mind told her that big people should not cry. Touching the teacher's head consolingly she said, "Don't cry Miss. All right, I will tell John uncle not to come to Chennai with his gun. Is it all right?".


"But then, will you stop talking in the class?""


"Oh, that one? But Miss, please don't show a stick at me. I don't like it?"


"Then what do I do to stop you from disturbing the class?"


"Well, you say 'Mona, shut up' and I will shut up for the next 15 minutes.."


"Is that a deal?" the teacher asked brightening up and extended an upturned right palm towards Mona.  "Deal" the little monster answered slapping the palm. "But only 15 minutes. OK?"


"OK, small madam."