WHAT HAPPENS IN CLASS STAYS IN CLASS
By Neel Anil Panciker
Students come in all shapes and sizes and, might I add here, orientations, inclinations, and affiliations.
I first saw him in an English Class.
Well, spotted would be a better word.
It was Day One, Week Three of the mid-season batch, an early morning batch, a seven o’clock batch. The marketing whiz kids had in their greater wisdom even coined a word for such a batch___A HAPPY EARLY MORNING BATCH.
A wisecrack friend of mine, on hearing of this, had puked out a better word for this__he called it A LATE MIDNIGHT BATCH.
One full year of taking such batches and I was wondering whether the marketing guys had made a genuine error in christening it as such.
For, there was nothing happy about an early Happy Morning batch.
All the stakeholders involved were very unhappy.
First, the students.
Most of them I discovered, came from small towns and cities__Tier 2 and 3__, and hard pressed as they were for survival, stayed in hole in the wall four in a room sets. Here, closeted in such confined spaces they studied, at times even cooked, if the owner was magnanimous enough to allow them such a luxury, studied, and slept. The lucky ones even had an attached washroom sans any door or fittings.
This hell hole, roughly the kitchen size of a regular middle class home kitchen, was the universe of these starry eyed young twenty somethings who had made the metaphorically ardous decision to pluck themselves out of the comfy environs of back of beyond single school villages and moffusil towns and sleepy hamlocks that scatter through the length and breadth of this vast country.
After a spartan breakfast that more often than not would be the obligatory sattu washed down with what else but a glass of tap water, they would walk down to the centre after having taken the metro, rickshaw, or shared auto, and then, like ants following one another, troop into the classroom ready for a gruelling six hour classes.
So, as I said, for these students, there was nothing happy after all this to sit and listen and try to make sense of the English chatter that happens all around them and in front of them, on the white board as the suave English bred faculty tries to run them through the Greek, Latin, German, French, Scandinavian or what have you root derivatives of such fanciful words as blitzkrieg, gastronomic, and ignoramus.
Completely ignorant, and all at sea, these village boys would look at one another utterly nonplussed and imagine their plight when one of them would be asked to string together a sentence with one of the words in it being one of the above mentioned.
This after I had explained in detail, with more than a couple of example sentences, the meaning of the words.
Imagine their plight as ten pairs of eyes___ eyes that belonged to another class of students, who also were part of the same class, but hailed from the metro hub that is Delhi, and whose parents were moneyed enough to ensure them quality English medium education__, bored into the hapless student, and the class erupted in half giggles and guffaws as the HMT (Hindi Medium Type) stood there and did nothing but scratch his three month old scrubby beard as if doing so would magically tickle his brain cells enough to generate the answer that all of us expected of him.
And imagine my plight when, day in and day out, all through the year, I would be conducting such classes with clockwork regularity.
Trust me, it’s a lose-lose situation for all, there’s no happy outcome such polar opposites sit in the same class for how in the hell can you compare apples with oranges, and expect the same outcome from both.
Obviously, both the fruit types would rebel at some point, and that’s exactly what happened in less than a fortnight’s time.
NEXT EPISODE: THE BIHARI STUDENT
For today’s Three Things Challenge, the words are: clockwork, imagine, orange.