First 'O' Level
1999. Saint Esprit
College, Quatre-Bornes. Enter Mr. Kartz, our new
Visual Arts teacher. We all stood up in deep
respect to him but as he stepped in he tripped
and almost fell into the abyss of shame. He
shouldve been a successful footballer in
his youth as his feet managed to hold his huge
advancing jelly-like belly. He introduced himself
as Mr. V. Kartz. We stifled our giggles.
dear studunts, he said enthusiastically,
putting his old dog-eared books on the table.
Now! Now you are stipping into anuther
world. I expect youre all aware of it.
Pin-drop silence. Not that we were in awe. We
were simply shocked by his accent, wondering how
the best college of the island could appoint such
Mr. Kartz then
went on lecturing on how to behave like grown-ups
in O level. He even talked about good
manners on seeing a boy picking his nose. The boy
swore fervently he would never repeat it, at
least in class. We were even advised not to let
our sketch pads have dog ears. Sketch pads
and books are sicred, not dogs that want to hear!
he exclaimed, sitting in his chair and adjusting
Visual Arts. My dear students, Mr.
Kartz started slowly, Visual Arts is an art!
One boy jumped and protested that Visual Arts
should be rather a combination of arts as the
name seemed to suggest. The old teacher
immediately knew he was in for a rough ride.
he said calmly, Visual Arts is not merely
something visual. A picture is a thousand words;
we should all be able to read and interpret any
picture. I had to calm down my neighbour
who wanted to say that his mother might not
approve of Mr. Kartz being his father. Another
boy jumped from his seat and said that we did
have our literature classes, both English and
French. He claimed that he chose V. Arts thinking
it would be different, about drawing and having
fun. Mr. Kartz reassured him that there was no
literature involved. In the mayhem we failed to
notice his now perfect accent.
Kartzs took out a photo a fat man
holding a crying baby. Let your imagination
have no bounds, he said à la John Keating
in Dead Poets Society. I wont
interrupt you. I was chosen to interpret
began solemnly, This picture is telling a
story of a million words. I mused.
The fat man buys more soap than us to wash
all the contours of his stomach. His eyes are
like two newly-laid eggs of a hawk, suggesting
that he has a sharp vision. Mr. Kartz
continue, Sir? I asked. Mr. Kartzs
nodded. I guess the child is crying as he
cannot pull the short hair of his father! I
said. Its maybe the picture of you
and your father Sir.
The bell rang and
the class broke for lunch.