The year is 2002. The time is 7:57 am and you’ve barely made it on time for the 8:00 am History period. ‘Who even schedules History the first thing in the morning, more so for a class of 35 sleep-deprived teenagers?’, you say to yourself. You then confidently walk a smuggled Panchatantra in hand, towards the last bench, hoping to catch some zzzs. Alas! The Lion-tailed macaques are already here. They stare you down and you move to the middle. Some of the most popular kids at school, the macaques and their aggressive, territorial behaviour were the talk of the school. You wouldn’t want to be their next casualty.
There is only one seat available, next to the elusive snow leopard. A good chap, he likes to keep to himself. His solitary nature also meant that you would have no one to play book cricket with for the rest of the day. However, rumour has it that he is an excellent athlete. Maybe he will help you up to your gully cricket game. So, you sit next to him.
The time is now 11:30 and Arnab Sir has already declared yours as the worst class thrice this morning. “I bet he says that to everyone”, you mutter under your breath. You hear a soft chuckle and turn to see the red pandas snickering. The class clowns, the girls were known for their giggly nature and rib-tickling antics. Their unkempt, bushy mane proof of their latest mischief.
It is now 3:00, the last class of the day is the Games period. You have waited eagerly all week for this. However, you’re in for a nasty surprise as Ravi Sir, the Math teacher walks into class for an extra class. Dejected faces turn to the Greater One-Horned Rhino, the class monitor and the last shred of hope. Rhino accepts the challenge and makes a moving speech about the importance of physical exercise and after a few false promises of completing homework and assignments, you are released.
The playground with its dirty red mud and scorching heat looks like paradise to you. The groups were soon busy with games and races. To your left are the Kashmiri Red Stags. They appear only during the Games period and the Computer period sometimes. The Stags are the kids your parents would warn you about, but secretly you wish you were as cool as them. To your right, the red pandas are up to no good as they tail the snow leopard who now looks annoyed. The lion-tailed macaques and the Greater One-Horned Rhino are engaged in a heated argument about the makeshift tyre swings. You look at all these classmates and make a solemn promise to stick together and protect these animals, as Arnab Sir refers to you, for the rest of your life.
Eighteen years later and the time has come to fulfil your promise. Help protect these endangered animals, our first friends from the Panchatantra storybooks we smuggled into class.
GO DESi presents the carefully curated, handcrafted Raksha Bandhan gift box, our attempt at redefining the characters involved in this dear festival. Every time you purchase one of these gift boxes. Go on, do your bit, and get your schoolmates to do the same. And if you’re feeling especially brave, you can get your Arnab Sir to do the same...