It started out no differently than any other day. The teacher stepped into the class amidst a general buzz of convivial chatter. As ususal, the buzz abated only marginally upon the teacher’s entrance. As usual, the teacher did not pay much attention to the chatter till she needed to address the class. As usual, even when she called for silence she received none. As usual, she resigned herself to the situation and started speaking anyway. She called out the first name on the list. “I’m not ready”, came the response- respectfully stated, but with the confidence that not being ready would be an acceptable response that would guarantee academic immunity against the need to stand up and make the required presentation to the class. Second name- not ready. Third name- not ready. And so it went, till the students realised something was wrong. The buzz faded, and a guilty silence descended upon the classroom. A few were ready. Or if they were not completely prepared, they decided to hazard an attempt, preferring to gamble with the hope of retaining their self-respect rather than face certain dishonour. Their courage was rewarded, as they escaped the onslaught of their teacher’s wrath. The last few minutes of the lesson passed in a haze of recrimination and rebuke. And ultimately, there was calm as fury faded in the face of forgiveness. One more chance to prove themselves- shoulders slumped in relief and the storm passed. All that was needed was to mop up the blood.