Loco means crazy in Spanish. Crazy though is not stupid. Crazy maybe mad but not senile.
When I was in 5th, I used to carry a craft paper, make an origami pen-stand out of it and stick it on the wall near my bench. Instead of drawing pencils from the compass, I just used to reach out for it on the wall. Our teacher banned it after a few days, but it was worth it.
I made a class magazine in the 7th standard vacations and released it in 8th. Neha, my dear friend and classmate, helped me make the cover for it. She is an amazing interior decorator now. We named it ‘Allrounder’. The magazine had classroom gossip, stories translated in English from Hindi/Gujrati Chandamama, crossword (made by me!) and other games and even an editorial! I made two copies, Neha drew the covers on both. I circulated it for 25 paise for 2 days to whoever wished to read it. I planned on giving Neha a royalty fee out of my meagre earnings. Our teacher caught a copy and banned the magazine. The second edition never came out. It was worth it.
Earlier, in 7th, I noticed I had a lot of comics. My Dad’s friend gave me his whole comic book collection from the 70’s. I was over the moon! Still I needed new comics too. My Dad used to bring me comics regularly and I bought a second hand copy every month from the local comic library. They were expensive for a kid like me with no pocket money. (Yes, my parents insisted on me asking for money whenever I needed. There was no fixed sum every month.)
I decided to earn it out instead. I announced the opening of a Library – just that, no name. I put up an office desk, the one with cupboards, in an old empty room downstairs. 5 Rs deposit and 1 Rupee per week for 1 copy. To lure potential members, I announced a sticker free on every membership. I bought stickers worth 15 Rs. The library was going good, with 3 active members and 2 passive members. I had 25 Rs as deposit.
To support my comics expenses, I also started an order-to-make greetings shop. I sold two cards for 15 Rs in total. One day, I was trying to rope in another member by showing him a comic book, when the teacher noticed it. The library was banned. Eventually, the greeting cards were banned. But they were worth it.
I gave back the deposits and used the stickers for myself. I bought one second hand comic book with my earnings (5 Rs mine and the other 5 taken from parents).
In 10th, our science teacher had a pet puppy ‘Rex’ at his home. When we used to go for tuitions, I used to carry him inside and attend the class with it on my lap. Obviously the other students were a bit distracted. Sir politely asked me to leave him outside. I refused. Then he threatened to ban me! He said I would be allowed only if Rex was left outside. I took Rex and sat outside the class, in the garden. After half an hour, he was worried for my marks as 10th is a board exam. He called me inside and even agreed to allow Rex. I smiled, let Rex remain outside and sat like an obedient student should. Banning did not work on me anymore!
In 11th, I had this habit of talking to Chunky, my cat, as if she understood everything I said. I think she even did understand. I did not care a hoot who saw me talking to her. The neighbouring Aunty had banned her from her house, and tried all kinds of tricks to keep her away. One involved throwing a bucketful of waste yucky water on her, if she was anywhere nearby. One day when Chunky was about to go near the house, I yelled at her to come back. She did. I then started talking to her about how she was not supposed to go there and asking her how was her day in general. I heard voices from the other side of the grilled windows. One voice said, who is she? The other voice said (the voice who knew me well), who cares? She’s a bit crazy.
I smiled. That was a compliment.
In my school time, I may have done things which were a little out of box. But then, that is what made it memorable! When I went to college, as I tried to fit into the normal rut, I started to go a tad mad (the senile kind). It ceased only when I returned to my ‘little crazy’ self. The stuff that got me banned and the attitude which was termed crazy is what helped me succeed in life so far – personal and professional.
It brings out one’s creativity, fosters imagination and builds confidence to put one’s ideas in front of the world. The crazy bent also strengthens one enough to rise again from failure of ventures and succeed eventually. Succeed like no one else has…with a knowing smile!
Así mi amigos, estar un poco loco!
(So my friends, be a little crazy!)