Friday, April 9, 2010

The Classroom

It had been a long time. Time is said to fade off even the most intense memories of one’s life. It does. However the impact of certain incidents and phases in life are strong enough to erupt out every once in a while. And if one tries to curb the thoughts in the awakened state, they form a part of one’s subconscious mind and are manifested in one's dreams that one has less control over. Such was her stay in the University.

So the classroom was set up in her mind. It could have been easily mistaken to be an all boy’s class if one failed to notice the four girls (including her) hurled together in a corner on the first bench of the classroom. She was facing the black board and didn’t really move from the first bench. No she didn’t have any special powers, not even in her dream, to manage seeing in all directions at a time and even peeping into other’s minds. But was practically able to do so all the same.

The professor was yet to come. Amit and Samit were busy discussing the algorithm that the teacher was supposed to talk about in the session. A group of boys sitting on the last row were eagerly waiting for the teacher to arrive and take the roll call so that they could quickly flee and participate in the fight going on in the university between two local gangs. They were discussing their strategy in the meantime. Rajesh was taking a mid day nap after a heavy meal. He would intermittently wake up to see if the teacher had arrived yet and then go back to sleep. People were chatting in small groups. It was a homogeneous mixture of conversations when suddenly Anamika called out for Suresh. "When do you intend to return my notes?" Suresh was taken aback. He was a friend of Anamika’s and was her well wisher. So he quietly went to her and warned her against talking so loudly - "Don’t you realize you are a girl?" "What is there to realize when I know it for a fact. But what is that to do with the volume of my speech?" She said. As it is she had made many such goof ups and was still trying to get used to the new atmosphere. "Where did I go wrong this time?" She wondered.

Bhumika was sitting next to her oblivious of the argument and even the presence of others around her. She was not such a bad student but was considered slow and absent minded by most of her classmates. Was it that her mind did not work or did it simply refuse to participate in the talks and surroundings that she was so disinterested in was something she left up to them to interpret.

The teacher entered the classroom disturbing the busy discussions, strategy making and heartlessly waking up Rajesh who was blissfully in a different world by now. Chandrika was just about to take down the notes when she discovered a meticulously drawn naked body of a female with the name of one of the girls carved on the hand of the chair. She wasted no time in covering it up with her notebook. Now her entire attention shifted from the blackboard to the hand of the chair. It was a difficult task to write in such a position but she had gained some practice in it by now.

"Now how do we optimize this further" the question was fired by the teacher. Amit quickly answered. Samit added a few more points to it immediately. In the middle of the discussion Gajender marched in. He was a local politician enrolled to the course to remain affiliated with the university. When he managed to save some time from his busy schedule of doing no one knew what, he visited the classroom to ogle any one of the girls he found attractive.

Deepika who was diligently trying to follow the discussion between Amit, Samit and the lecturer until then suddenly found it difficult to concentrate further. The optimization of the algorithm that she was striving to understand appeared trivial compared to the present question of how to appear least noticeable among the four of them. She already wore the most dull clothes, wore thick glasses and topped that with a plain hair-do. But so did the other girls - the competition was tough. Among the four girls, two belonged to the same city. And the guy however notorious he was, had his morality firmly in place not to bother the girls from his own city.

"So what is the final outcome of the equation?" The teacher asked. Again Amit was quick to come up with the answer. He had studied late in the night to prepare for the class. "How did he manage to answer that? I went to sleep only after the lights of his room were switched off. I got to further cut down on my sleep from now on" Samit resolved.

Anamika was still upset about the episode with Suresh. She hated Suresh for talking to her like that. Suresh was in love with Anamika from the moment he saw her. "She is a bit childish and immature but I still love her. I am sure she will learn the norms of the society with time and be up to my mark", he said to himself.

"Why doesn’t this mindless creature decide to sit in some other class and stare at someone else?" Deepika thought. Decision comes into picture only when there is a choice to make. The senior batches in the department were unfortunately not blessed with any female population.

Chandrika was still carefully covering the hand of the chair. She was equipped with a blade in her purse (in preparation for such days) that she would use as soon as she got a chance. She was waiting for the class to get over.

It was getting hotter and she started feeling thirsty. She drank some water but the thirst didn't go. The discomfort brought her back to the real world where she was sleeping in a hot room and had forgotten to switch on the fan. Her laptop was in front of her. An invitation mail from her old classmates for the evening for a college reunion party was open in her mail box. She kept looking at the mail as if trying to decipher it. She finally got up and got ready. She decided to go out for a walk by herself instead.