Which school did you study in?
I studied in Gyan Bharati School, Delhi till Standard 4 and then joined Rajhans Vidyalaya, Mumbai in Standard 5.
In touch with any school friends?
I am in touch with a few friends from my Delhi school days. In fact, Sriram, a friend from my pre-primary days, comes to Mumbai to visit quite often. He stays in Bengaluru and is a senior manager in a corporate firm.
Describe yourself aged ten?
I was a very naughty child. I was an average to above average student. I was neither a brat nor a teacher's pet. I was a bit of both. My two friends and I were called the pillars of the class because we were always standing in the class as punishment.
Which were your favourite and worst subjects?
Science was my favourite but I was terrible in Math. I was never the front bencher nor the last bencher. I was somewhere in between.
Any favourite teacher?
Nobody in school but Shiamak Davar was my favourite after I left school.
Did you ever bunk school?
Yes I tried to a few times but always got caught!
Crush on any teacher?
Yes, I did have a few but it may look a little bad for them to be mentioned like this, though I am sure they knew I was deeply in love with them as only young people can be.
Remember any girls from your school days?
Yes. There was a girl in my school when I was in Standard 8 whom I had a crush on and I used to go to tuition class only because she went there but she was also keen on another guy and dhokha happened!
What is your best memory from your school days?
Best memories are attached to my school in Delhi. We were a gang of four boys and we ruled. There was a new building coming up in the school compound and we played with mud and pebbles in that construction area all day. Also Samir, one of the guys in our gang, had a crush on this cute girl in class and the rest of us made sure no other boy could sit next to her. We were in Standard 2 during this episode.
And a painful memory....
That would be when I shifted to Mumbai and joined a new school. I was in Standard 5. Because I was from a different city, I was the perpetual outsider - whether it was the way I spoke or the things I said - everything I did was different from Mumbai students. Most times the complaints against me to my teachers came from the rest of the class and I spent many interesting afternoons standing outside the class.
What's the one thing you feel every school should have today?
Every school should have a student suggestion box where the students can put in their complaints anonymously and be confident their issues will be addressed genuinely.
What do you feel about the education system in India today?
We have a great academic system. The importance given to hard work and education is very good but sometimes, it gets a bit excessive.
Why did you say yes to Paathshaala?
It was being made by Shaira and Ahmed Khan, who are family to me and also because the subject is very relevant and I feel strongly about it. I hope that my association with the movie will take it to more people.
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