Thursday, September 20, 2007

It wasn't me

So often during my school days were the above words the only defense by my unfortunate bench partners. By being a lucky mix of being a good student and looking the part too with my completely nerdy bottle-glass thick pair of spectacles, I was always above suspicion and beyond reproach.

Starting from the lower classes with Harsh, then Himanshu and then in the higher classes Utsav, all my bench partners have to had to bear at some point of time, the brunt of being held responsible for any mischief emanating from my corner of the classroom. All too often, a teasing taunt or a whispered joke originating from me have led to their breaking out into a loud laugh or picking up the taunt all too enthusiastically. And that as their luck would have it, spelled their doom because that was exactly when the teacher's wandering gaze would be swing onto that corner of the class. To top it all, teachers would be totally reluctant to accept any of their protestations and allusions of my involvement in the action. More often than not, it ended rather sadly for them with a position by the window outside the class.

By the time I had reached 11th standard though, teachers through long years of study began to see through my approach and would rapidly home in on me as the potential trouble maker. But I had by then already been responsible for sending so many of my friends to the 'gallows' (So to speak) that I didn't mind taking one or two on the chin myself. My bench partners always have had a tough time and I certainly haven't been too shy of enjoying sadistic pleasure at their fate and at their cost. It was great fun to be an active part of the most notorious class in our school (which our class always was) and yet slip through the disciplinary net, my saintly image for all the appropriate authorities unscathed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Unity in diversity

They say we all think alike and REC Kurukshetra afforded innumerable opportunities to study this phenomenon. But none so striking as the one I am about to relate to you. India may be a nation of X languages, Y ethnicities and so on but we do share a lot of common ground, and in our college's case it was the common room, home to the king of all time killers, the never silent TV. Cricket on TV, brought together the country (if our batch is taken as just one small sample) like no other and running a close second would be testoterone fuelled action movies. Crib and complain about how brainless these movies are for all you are worth, but if there was something that brought a hush in the boys' hostel common room packed to the rafters it had to be Arnie's robotic acting or Neo a.ka. Keanu Reeves bullet defying moves.

The scene is set at around 10 in the evening (by hostel standards) in the common room. On air was the mother, father and grandfather of all action movies Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Referred to as T2 in hushed whispers by 'real' action movie devotees). It is also among the most pivotal scenes of the movie when the liquid evil Terminator enters jail to kill Sarah Connor (Sorry for the details but really necessary) and after killing/impersonating his way through, he is near to completing his mission. At this point of time in the real world, enter Saurabh Shukla legendary in the hostel for his ability to forget things. I am the only guy standing and watching the movie from behind the last row of chairs as they are all already occupied. Saurabh's eyes are fixed on the screen which now shows the evil guy liquefy and pass through the jail bars only to have his gun get stuck in the bar. And THEN in the most curious of voices he asks me, "Yaar Roy!! Yeh kaunsee movie hai? (Roy, Which movie is this?)"

The reaction to this was startling in its co-ordination and brutal in its delivery. Each and every face that was present in the packed common room that night turned; and turned in spectacular symmetry towards the person who had committed this blasphemy. The collective gaze nearly knocked me off my feet even though it wasn't even aimed at me. Some faces showed pity, some shock, some a bemused disapproval of his ignorance and some of total disgust at this brief transgression. The faces included those of the mess workers, boys from the South, West, North, North-east but what was really got me was the uniformly quick reaction. And just as soon as it had begun, the collective look dissipated into nothing as everyone returned to watching the movie leaving Shukla to his cruel fate which seemed so certain to get him given the scale of his crime. I saw all of India think as one that night, be it over a movie starring the governor of California! Maybe we really aren't so different after all...
Enhanced by Zemanta