Castesim – a curse

Way back in 60s, when our family moved to Bangalore, we spent a year and half in Bangalore City area, where predominantly only Kannada was spoken. Then we moved to Bangalore Cantt. area and I joined St. Xaviers boys high school. Now this school mainly caters for Christians from Kolar Gold Field (KGF). Their Tamil is different from ours, which mostly was spoken by Brahmins in Madras (current Chennai). My Tamil at that time was unadulterated and so odd man out in the school, especially when I speak. Many students thought that I was a Kannadiga, since I spoke Kannada very fluently. Around this time, we had a student called Ramu (I still remember his name). All students called him “Thoti” including myself – me without knowing the significance(I do know the meaning as the word comes from Kannada). Sometime people called him BCC which I can relate to – Bangalore City Corporation.
One day, suddenly he was seated alone on the bench. When the teacher came inside, she asked why was Ramu seated alone, to which the students who used to sit next to him said,he went for lunch to home and hence there is a foul smell! Strangely even the teacher did not press the issue. I was leader of the class at that time and also had a study group. We used to stay late after the class and about 6 or 7 of us study hard preparing for our 7th standard exam, which is generally a common public exam at that time. On that particular day, this boy was sitting alone after the school and crying. I went to him and asked why. He said he was humiliated. On that day I learned the real meaning of “Thoti” and its significance to a young boy. I felt sorry for him. We took him to our study group and called him by his real name Ramu. He went on to pass first class in seventh standard and moved to high school with us. Later as our sections were different we moved on!
Today on seeing this news, it reminded me of Ramu. I do hope he is well-off! It is a pity how we treat our own genre!
Posted on Jul 28, 2016 11:51am

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