For some reason, I remembered Geometry yesterday. I realized with a start that it had been one of my favourite subjects in school. I wonder why I liked it so much. Perhaps it was because it was "different", a break from the monotony. You had to draw, and I liked drawing. Perhaps it was because we got to use a lovely, shiny Geometry Box, and the fascinating instruments inside. Or perhaps, the subject simply appealed to me - who knows?
I remember my first (and only!) Geometry box so well. It was an orange Omega pencil box, with a blurred cherubic kid smiling on it. Inside, sitting prettily in an orangish-red frame, were the shiny divider (the purpose of which is still vague to me), and the compass (the instrument most misused). Below these were the two set squares, a protractor, and a small 6 inch ruler. I loved to take all the instruments out, and arrange them neatly by the side of my book while I drew.
Geometry for me goes nearly synonymously with our first Geometry teacher. She was extremely particular about everything - what we had in our boxes, and how we drew.
Other than the little pencil that we affixed to the compass, there had to be two extra little pencils in your box, all sharpened to perfection. There had to be three long pencils at least, which protruted high above your hand when you clasped it. Again, they had to be very sharp. Other than this, you had to have a sharpener (or mender, as we called it back then) handy, for emergencies. Clutch pencils (or pen pencils, as we called them), though enjoying a lot of snob value otherwise, were explicitly taboo in Geometry class.
Our drawings had to be perfect. A double line, or a vague arc, or worse, a point that was too huge, would bring out the volcano in the teacher. "Look at this point!" She would roar. "It is as big as my bindi!" She would then proceed to cross out the entire diagram with the dreaded red pen. She has also been known to throw particularly untidy books right across the classroom, and throw unsharpened pencils directly into the dustbin.
We would draw our diagrams with painful care, keeping our erasers handy. (We called erasers "rubbers" then. Oh well.) "Scent" rubbers smelt good and looked pretty, but left dark grey marks when erased with them. So it had to be good old Natraj or Camlin erasers. After finishing the diagram, we would take it to the teacher, and stand before her, trembling. In other classes, we could look forward to "Good" or "Neat" remarks. But in Geometry class, all we hoped for was just the teacher's initials. But more often then not, we came back holding pages full of deep red gashes, and stinging rebukes ringing in our ears.
But I must say this for us, towards the end of the year, most of us escaped without red marks in our books - we were finally perfect.
And I must say this for the teacher, her training lasted for years. Many, many years later, during Engineering Graphics, or Electrical Drawing, if I happened to make a smudged line, or a double point, a voice would boom from the deep recesses of my mind.. ".... AS BIG AS MY BINDI.... " and I would hurriedly fish out my eraser and make amends.
Even when Geometry graduated to theorems and postulates, with more theory and less drawing, more lenient teachers and less red marks, it still remained a favourite subject for me.
Did you like Geometry?