This article is taken from Stand 222, 17(2) May - June 2019.

Balli Kaur Jaswal Inventions of the Future
Inventions of the Future

Time was running out for Mrs Eustace; she was dying of cancer. Regular treatments had stripped away her eyebrows and whenever she stooped to adjust a student’s collar, a gleaming patch of her scalp was visible.

She was most enthusiastic about teaching in the mornings, after the flag-raising ceremony. Each day, the first timetabled lesson was Science, followed by Maths, recess, then English. Mrs Eustace spoke urgently, trying to tell us everything she knew before lethargy set in.

‘This school building used to have no walls. The only boundaries between classrooms and the jungle were swollen tree trunks. Small monkeys and lizards passed through during the day and sat among the students, resting before continuing their journeys. It was an absolute thoroughfare,’ she said delightedly.

We gripped our Science workbooks, figuring that this story was related to the subject, but then Mrs Eustace wrote ‘thoroughfare’ on the board and selected Ong Pei Fang to look it up in the Oxford Dictionary. We began rummaging through our bags for our English vocabulary exercise books. As Pei Fang struggled to lift the heavy dictionary from its shelf, Mrs Eustace switched to an entirely different topic, explaining the differences in costs of high-rise flats and landed properties. ‘It’s actually not that much. But with a house, you have to consider maintenance, and cars are getting more expensive.’ We replaced our English books with Primary Four Maths and expected her to weave this narrative into a problem sum. ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image