The Old Monk

I feel like a child. Every time I speak to one of my friends, they always counter my view with some high sounding moral logic that I can’t quite answer to. Well, moral as in ‘fitting in with society’. Already, people have started sounding and behaving like professionals. As far back as my second year, I was summarily told to ‘think like an engineer, not as a student’. Ever tried to enter a conversation with adults as a 5 year old? You get the gist, I hope.

I cannot answer to all of my critics as to why I choose somethings, and why I eschew others. To put it in the words of Ramanujam’s biographer, Robert Kanigel, I ‘just do/don’t’. There needs to be no logical reason to my actions, because, over time, some things have been ingrained into me as second nature. The crowd be damned. Why can’t I not care about them? Why is it necessary that I give a damn about what their opinion on the subject is, even if it counters mine? The crowd is a sad entity, in which we fit and adjust to social requirements because someone told us, ‘we have to’. Some of my habits are taken from a social structure of the past century. Some are yet to make headway into Indian society. Either way, these are taboo. And when the misfit is berated for voicing his own concerns as to the loss of his individuality, then society shudders and starts a cleansing ritual.

My individuality demands openness. It calls for lightness and the sole social obligation of doing good. I am not too good at meeting new people on a formal level, and in general avoid it unless absolutely necessary. Plus, for me, friendship is not an agreement signed upon by blood, in which you state you are willing to do anything to please your friends, and not to hurt their feelings. It is more of an honour code by which you stand to do the good and the rational, in that order. It requires no proof other than mere signs of caring, and yet need not infringe on what you are. For eventually, the only reason you are friends with someone is because there is a mutual admiration and affection rather than just the chemistry clicking between you. Friends need not finish each others jokes, people.

And yet, with all my own logic, I stand corrected, nay, bulldozed by my own friends who disagree with me. And at the end of this all, you feel emotionally inadequate, unable to cope with what people think you need to face, and missing out what you really need to face. Sigh. I wish I was 5 again. It would explain so much.

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The Bottomless Pit

Thirteen. Thirteen out of forty two in the first half hour. I’d say it is a bumper turn out. I’ve seen two in the first forty minutes. The prof doesn’t seem to mind. He doesn’t even mind that I am not noting down the points that he is dictating. The Don tactically kept the sudoku page to herself when I asked her for the paper, effectively handing me one of those scraps you find thelas use to wrap oily food. Clearly, nobody is studying. Well, save three people in the front row.

Reading newspaper in class is an earache. Fizz, crumple, crackle, crr. No reflex from the prof. He must have been conditioned over the years. Now I’m really bored. Twenty minutes still left in the lecture, plus around an hour’s infringement after that. Bet you he’ll extend it. The poor late comers won’t know what hit them.

There was a moment of hope when he said “I will just stop here….” Ah, freedom! “…and go for the………..” @!$%. One more lamb arrives to the slaughterhouse.

Using symbols for swear words rekindles some fond memories (ironic, eh?). This was a technique oft used by Lee Falk in Phantom. It went something like ‘ “()#%$%@!”*; *- Unspeakable Llongonese word’. My nine year old mind interpreted it as a word that cannot be satisfactorily represented by the Roman script. Asterix took it a level further. &%$&@- Roman. &%$&@– Gothic. Murty, a blog five to celebrate the power of italics.

Thirty odd now. Still five minutes to end of class. No retardation in the lecture, no sign of an end to the monotone, no dampening of ‘enthusiasm’ detected in the prof. He’s talking about cameras. Speaking of which, Nikon has divested the D90 of some of its funkier features to create the cheaper D5000, which, I hear, is a class act. A fine investment, I’d say.

The class has filled up. Tick- tock. The sound of feet and voices from neighbouring classes drifts in, and everyone looks wistfully at the door. A few bold ones make eye contact with the prof and plead. “…..and, at the end, we have the linear detector……” No respite, no mercy. We of the fourth year are cursed people.

Morning Glory

It is not often that I wake up to a call at 6:30 in the morning. After a few minutes of chit chat in which I tried to keep my voice up and not sound sleepy, I grudgingly discarded the comfort of my bedsheet, which was stained red after valiantly protecting me from the assault of a million mosquitoes through the night. The washerman arrived and I sent the sheet for a funeral with full military honours. As I did, the sun flashed in my eyes.

“Oh God! Is it that time of the day already?” Daylight. The sun shone with a benevolence that I had not had the chance to witness for an entire week. Not too warm, not too cold. The light fills you, embraces you and energizes you. In fact, today, it was potent enough to send me off to have breakfast.

Now, breakfast is a concept that is pretty difficult to understand if you have been missing it for the past semester. Eleven o’clock meals do not constitute breakfast. Five o’clock night-out snacks too are out of bounds. So, I expect that the better part of the day will be spent in the analysis of an untimely ingestion of food, which implies that I shall probably miss lunch. Amazing how soon your body clock adapts to unwanted changes in your routine.

It is 9 o’clock now, and I am still virtually the only soul awake in the wing. Lefty has graciously given up his bed to the needy, and the needy (numbering more than one), are distributed among four rooms, the atmosphere in all of which seems to be saturated with the left overs of last night’s revelry. With nothing better to do than wait for the troops to get up, here I sit, trying to piece together a blog post with no matter. It is a good way to kill time, all right.