Monday, September 22, 2008

If you are in love with a

13 year old: Tell your friends. Specially the ones which cannot keep a secret. Let all know that you like that girl. If they are half their worth of salt they will tease the hell out of you. And when 'she' asks you to confirm or deny the rumours - DENY. But keep continuing to do what you did. At some point of time she will understand and in her own quirky way will ask you again. That is your time.

16 year old: Whatever you do, just don't be nice. That is a tag which would put you on the same table of untouchables. Be an absolute chauvinistic moron. In all likelihood, you will land up impressing the stupidest of bimbettes - one undeniably hot but undoubtedly worth exploring. If you are already in the knowhow to explore, that is.

20 year old: At that age, whoever kicks first wins. If ever she gets the idea that you ARE there and that you will be there then its over. It has finished even before it has begun. She must know that you are CAPABLE of being there but she is not sure whether you would WANT to be there. The winning strategy is to project the perception that you simply do not care while in effect it might be the ONLY thing you care about! And if by 22 you still have not made it - forget it.

24 year old: If you have not had her at 'hi', then start looking elsewhere. Okay, maybe not at 'hi'. If she banks on you, if yours is the shoulder she leans on, if you are the one she spends maximum time with and if every one of your friends think that you two are going around and you FEEL in your guts that you are the 'one',trust me, you are anything BUT the one. Most likely on a coffee date on a beautiful, bright, luscious evening, she is going to open her heart only to reveal 'that' cute guy's name and HIS adorable, measured adulation that she so craves for.

28 year old: Just show her the dollars. Potential or realized! Or look like Shah Rukh Khan.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Miracle Worker

We were 16 then. Self-obsessed. Presumptious. Nonchalant. And like all other 16-year olds - rebellious. It was no wonder that when she would walk into our lives, we would only be skeptical. Specially when you have to fill up a pretty long shoe.

Till that time our idea of a teacher was quite different from what she offered. We looked up to them to protect us, to stand up for us, to tell us where we should go, what we should do. They were conventional in thought, they discouraged indiscipline, they did not encourage an independent thought. They were prim and proper and they were good at their job. Above all, they loved us. Though we hardly saw an expression of that in our interactions. And more so, if you did not set the marksheets on fire.

But Sipra Basu changed all of that. And something more.

She was a lady of uncharacteristic
strength, of profound dignity and an unflinching confidence in her own sense of judgment. Brutally honest and genuinely concerned about the well being of her students. Being a teacher of history she harboured no such adulation towards the general leftist tendencies of Mughal glorification or of the typical rightist unadulterated reverence of Gandhi.

You had to respect her guts. If she did not believe in something and you were on her side, she would defend herself and in turn teach you,unconsciously, to defend yourself. But she would never defend you. It was sort of her principled stand that in life you will have to fend for yourself and your battles are your own and only yours to fight and win. If not win, at least fight. She was by no means a free thinker. She was as conventional as any of her age and time. She would not approve of many things and to this day she still sticks to them. But she would never ask you to go by her ideas. Disapproval meant censure in the strictest possible terms but did not imply conformance.

It is unfortunate that such people are under serious threat of extinction. They don't make them like them anymore. My parents had the privilege of having their son come in contact with such a person. But would their son be that privileged ? If not, then his task becomes that much more difficult. Because he knows the role she played. In his life.