1972. We were in class X – ISCE section… Mr Roy was not interested in teaching us ‘Gaban’ that day and was pestering us to get our home-work copies checked by him.

Gregory (Aguair), a silent kid, always obedient, suddenly decided to do something that was to be our topic for discussion for the next few weeks. As we crowded around Mr Roy, Gregory quietly sat on the floor behind his seat and tied his shoe-laces. Obviously, he sh…sh…ed us first. We were all nervous and a couple of us may have had a few disaster-thoughts too… but Mr Roy did not move his feet from under his chair for the entire period.

The bell rang. The period ended. Mrs A D’Silva politely stood at the class entrance.

‘Sir, Mrs D’Silva is there.’ someone said.

‘Ah… yes.’ Mr Roy straightened his feet and stood up. He even looked at Mrs D’Silva, smiled, and gave an elaborate bow. But instead of moving out, he sat again. We knew he had discovered that the tied shoe-laces will not allow him to even hobble out of the class.

We sat there controlling our laughter and trying to look innocent as he glared at each of us one by one. Mrs D’Silva gave another polite but puzzled knock.

This was when we saw Mr Roy tug and pull his feet apart with all the strength he could muster… the laces must’ve been old and frayed, for they broke…leaving him free to move out.

When he entered our class the next day, we saw him wearing pump shoes… his date with laced-shoes was probably over for ever. He never discussed that matter in class… he surprised us by his silence.

As a result, we just started being more serious about Munshi Prem Chand in class.