On relocating to Mumbai in 2007, i got this job that’s quite interesting in its own way though the salary isn’t great. It involves editing, writing articles, book reviews and synopsis. This means i can browse, and sometimes even read books at work. I also get a chance to interview some personalities and travel once in a while.
But of late, i find myself often looking back with nostalgia at my teaching days in Bangalore. My old students have all graduated, some are in good jobs, some married, and some doing their higher studies. But in my mind, they remain those young students—sometimes irritating and sometimes amusing. Here’s a sample of a mixture of both.
While doing 18th Century Poetry (Alexander Pope) with the Literature students, i gave them a slightly crazy assignment to drive home the points we studied. I told them to compose a verse in Iambic Pentameter Couplets. They claimed to have understood what we did in class, but when they submitted their assignments it was disappointing.
So the next day, in order to challenge them, i put up the following verse on the board:
I tell my students “Heroic couplets write”
But come unheroic lines by oversight;
Forgetting even what’s an Iambic foot,
Like aimless arrows in the dark they shoot.
Whereas I tell them “Please Satire pen,
Your subject may be college life or men,”
They wander far and wide in dreamlands wild
Away quite off the mark and get me riled.
Why do these folks ignore what they are told?
Is it because their hearts are hard and cold?
But no, that can’t be so; they’re sweet and kind,
And yes, the reason is not hard to find;
It’s just because they find it hard to keep
Awake in class, for poetry makes them sleep.
They were quite surprised and asked, “When did you write it?”
“Last night, while cooking” i said.
It was my turn to be surprised at their next so out of the point question: “What were you cooking, Ma’am?”