I wait for the teacher in the empty class. It is air-conditioned. Oh, no. Cut. Scene change. There is one more character in the room. A guy with his laptop who eyes me now and then. I see him, sigh and sit down next to him. He has a laptop. He starts to play cheesy Bangla "romantic" songs or something to that effect. Something in my head screams, "MORON". I don't let his laptop finish the first line of the song, barely wait to hear which language it is in. I drop my bag abruptly and leave the room. Outside it is hotter.
I move towards the open window at the end of the corridor. It has a neat bench and lots of fresh air. Cool breeze comes rushing in every three seconds. I look towards the staffroom. Another sigh, this time a deeper one. Wish he was here. So gentlemanly. He looks at me, I look at him. He even switched on the AC for me last time. He is so brilliant, so...what do you call it, "avant-garde"! I ask ma'am whether she is going to take class. She says, "Yes, Definitely. But let others come." Tough luck.
I message one of my classmates saying it is times like these when I miss her the most. Critical times. Meanwhile the laptop guy (I have a terrible desire to call him "MORON" for the rest of the story but I will control myself), comes out with his phone pretending to speak as if on the phone with someone, just so he could come and look if I am still there.
For the second (or third?) time, my brain screams, MORON! Try something new. So then thankfully, our teacher arrives and she saves me from further torture. Or so I thought. He and I are the only ones attending the class today. So he asks me how many classes have gone by, and I am quick to answer, "I don't know." Small Talk.
" Have there been more than 15 classes?" He continues.
"Yes, I think so".
"This is her first class?" He points to the teacher.
"No, second." I say quietly. Pointless question because she was just talking about what she taught in the first class the day before.
And then my teacher looks for help to me as she goes on teaching new things about video, film and digital media. I put in an occasional helpful nod but hardly say anything, coz let's face it, I was sleeping in the first class. And how was I to know that nobody from last class would be here? Where is he? Mr. Chatterjee? He always knew the right things to say. He is such an amazing teacher. He's so quirky, so eccentric. Sighing I sadly update my FB status, but even that's difficult when there's only two of you and the teacher is looking right at you. And yes, someone else too.
And then comes the icing on the cake. We are shown a surrealist film. Now those of you who are remotely acquainted with surrealism know that it is a magnificent and inexplicable thing. So I won't even try to explain it. The magnificence of this inexplicable "ism" is surplussed in Surrealist movies. I had seen one such movie earlier and the class was then taken by the man who I now miss so ardently. The movie gave me a shock, and I remember feeling dizzy for the next twelve hours. This time we were shown a less sexually explicit movie.
For those of you who want to know, an important part of surrealism was to deal with sexual repression as enshrined in Catholicism. The interpretation of dreams excited them. So what you basically have in these 1930s silent films is the release of sexual desires by means of dreams. Since the whole movie is a dream sequence, so anything can happen, anywhere. No logic of time or continuity is followed. So here we are shown this movie by artist Salvador Dalí and filmmaker Luis Buñuel called Un Chien Andalou or The Andalusian Dog.
This was a famous sixteen minute movie which is till date considered a testament of Surrealism in Europe. The artist paints his pictures through moving images. So anyway, I never got Surrealist films. And this one had an elaborate scene where the man who is dreaming continuously holds on to the woman's bosom. She refuses, then closes her eyes, then threatens to hit him with a stick. Quite frankly, the characters moved like cartoons and I found it so funny, I wanted to laugh out loud. But all I could manage was a little smirk. And it was killing me.
The pain of not being able to laugh because some stupid guy is sitting next to me eyeing me. I don't like anybody staring at me. It is embarrassing. If I like that person, I would look away even if he was staring at me. And if I don't like that person, I'd do the same. So yeah, there's no way of knowing.So anyway, the torture ended for the class ended soon enough. And as soon as it did, I bumped my notebook and pen in my bag and ran off from the class. Halfway out of the department, I realized I had forgotten my handkerchief in class. It was a judgment call.
Hanky important or Guy, I wondered. You will leave your faithful comrade Hanky in some unclaimed classroom because you want to run away from a stupid guy? Be brave.All decided under 30 seconds. It's not much to think about, but then I think about almost everything under the sun. Even the sun. Sometimes I feel I am a big thinktank, a tank full of thought. So I take a long jump back to class, snatch my hanky and make a run for the door again. The guy is still there. He catches up with me just as I am about to put on my shoes.
He is running so fast he almost bumps into me. "Sorry". He says looking down, searching for his shoes. I don't care to mutter a reply or even look at him. Hardly putting my feet in the sandals, I make a run for the stairs. 3 floors of stairs. I sprint down the stairs, two at a time, like Jet Lee in some Kung Fu movie. He catches up with me as if Michael Johnson.
"Hey you study in this college, na?"
Small Talk. I hate small talk.
"Yeah", I reply continuing my flexible stair sprinting skills. Jet Lee, how I admire thee!
"Which Department?" He tries to keep up with me. My feet hurt. He's smiling.
"Comparative Literature", I mutter. I don't like being rude. I also don't like being chased down a building. Yet here I am.
And then it comes. "Will you give me your number?" Think think. He's your classmate. Quite natural for him to ask for your number. What to do.
"Why?" The word comes out of my mouth surprising both me and him.
"Well, I would get to know when classes will happen. I don't know na, that's why." Moron. The course is about to end and you don't know timings! What an excuse!
Quietly I say, "Course will end next week. Next class is last class."
"How do you know? They said they could extend the course till May."
"We were told."
"How do you know? Did you ask them?"
Now when confronted with individuals with less IQ, I stop and explain them things with minute detailing. "Gifted" people need to be explained things. And I would have even in this case, if not....
"Sir came. He talked to us. He said this month we will have the last class. No extension."
"Actually, I am here only for this month. After that, I will leave. In May."
Wtf! Am I supposed to shed tears for you now, MORON?
Obviously he was very hurt by my "coldness" or "indifference" or I don't know what, but he went away. I stopped for a while. Checked my mobile. Pretended to read an important message. And then resumed walking. Ouch, my feet hurt.
And I thought, "Was I rude to him? Was it bad manners? Poor guy. Did I hurt him?"
And then my devilish side kicked the angel inside me to an unconscious state and I happily went for my bus. :)