Rattu ka Dabba
He could feel a few giggles right behind his back, he knew it was gone. Again!
As Rattu turned back and put his hand into his bag’s tiffin box pocket, he felt plastic and not the usual steel, infact before the lunch break this is all Rattu did with his tiffin, as he always scared to eat it before lunch. He kept feeling his steel lunch box between the classes, and almost every day, he would find someone else’s tiffin box in his bag. A yellow colored plastic one, from the one for him (as declared by all his friends). His dabba was always swapped with his supposedly the one’s dabba which usually resulted in uncountable hours of leg pulling (aahhh…who would touch those beastly legs, like Wodehouse said long time ago) and Rattu going mad throwing his Milton water bottle all over his friends.
But Rattu really liked what Vaifav Ghar usually did with his tiffin, mostly an omlette sandwich, it was always munched during the history period. Ghar used to stand as our history teacher looked somewhere else, showed the omlette bread to everyone, used to take a bow towards our history teacher and start hogging. Everyone giggled as the teacher talked about 3 points for 3 marks, 6 points for 6 marks and so on.
Lunch break was always a nice time, there were different kinds of people, firstly the looteras. Loot lo iska dabba they said, and started running behind the ones with their dabbas intact. There was always a gang for whom lunch breaks meant playing leg cricket, it had been going on from very junior sections till almost Class 12th.
As everyone did this Rattu with his group of friends usually used to enjoy our dabbas, saving them from the looteras on the open terrace. The paratha subjis, maggis, sandwiches, idlis, all of them being shared over general chit chat of cricket, entrances, studies, girls, new possible couples, boring classes, good classes, the smell from chemistry lab etc etc.
Although there was always one weird thing about the lunch break, the girls were always quite. They used to finish off their dabbas, quietly, nicely sharing the stuff among themselves and then go back to the class mostly. Very peaceful. And unlike the boys they never had yellow oil stains on their uniforms.
Talking of stains almost every bag had a very oily patch in the area where lunch box was kept. Speaks volumes about our Parathas, Subjis and Achaars.
And then there was the case of Dabba not brought, which was then given to Dutta Bhaiya on the school gate later by the parents, and delivered in between a classroom by Dashrath Bhaiya.
Rattu’s school never had a canteen once which was closed after cockroaches were found instead of aloo inside samosa.
Post lunch break was the time for a nap, a slight nap. It was a deadly period to take for a teacher I assume. Much more challenging than anything to keep students awake at that time. Somehow Rattu never fell asleep in school, never ever, even after a nice lunch break. School was always so much fun.
And so were the Dabbas.
Do you have any memories associated with school lunch box?