This post by Thomas brought back a lot of good memories from not so long ago. Diffused in the warm glow of those memories is an ugly incident that left a gang of girls very red faced and contrite for a very very long time. The incident was also our first lesson in ‘man behavior’!
In our pre university year we had only a few students from each stream taking Sanskrit as a language. Most of us had opted for Hindi or Kannada. This did not necessitate a full time Sanskrit teacher and the college authorities decided to bring in a teacher on contract as a temporary arrangement. Since there were no Sanskrit professors or vidwaans in the college, Sister Principal took it on her to interview and appoint someone she thought was fit for the job. The teacher turned out to be a young Brahmin boy named B, no more then 21 years old I think, who had recently passed out as a Sanskrit graduate. He was rather fair and boyish looking and wore traditional clothes that poojary’s usually wear i.e dhoti and a kurta. He had his head shaved except for a bit of hair at the back of the head that was tied up into a pony tail. The Nuns held him in high regard as he looked like a religious person like them. He would look puzzled when the Nuns greeted him with reverence and respect. He was clearly not used to such treatment.
He was also not used to girls and blushed if someone looked his way for more than a nano second. Apparently he taught the class with his eyes averted. It was evident by his timid demeanor that he was intimidated by the female of the species. And that emboldened us too to do what we did…something we had never attempted before on a faculty member.
After observing him for sometime and reassuring ourselves that he was a docile guy we decided to pull his leg. Now we were clever girls…or so we thought. So we got a friend studying in Bishop Cottons to write a love note for B in Kannada. The note purportedly written by one of his students “Manjula”, declared undying love for him and asked him to meet her at the Majestic Bus Stand at a particular platform. We had ensured that this platform did not serve the busy city routes but far flung areas like Yelahanka.
It was an exam day and classes got over by 11 am. By 11:15 am all six of us gathered at the platform. Two of us i.e me and the “Manjula” were to wait for B while the other four stood at the diagonally opposite platform pretending to be waiting for a bus. At the dot of the time specified, B walked into the platform. He looked around nervously and then glanced at us timidly. We ignored him. He placed himself next to a large round pillar looking very unsure and ill at ease. Suddenly “Manjula” turned and gave him an once-over. An inscrutable smile played on her face. B jumped like a startled chicken and disappeared behind the pillar. After some time he peeped out surreptitiously but “Manjula” was waiting for him. She gave him a flirty smile. He retracted his head in a hurry and was gone for some time. We were cock-a-hoop. This was going to be damn easy we thought. Our plan to torment him and walk away was going just fine.
After what seemed an eternity he peeped again, but this time he had a flirty smile on his face too. We were completely taken aback. We were not expecting this. He was peeping again, this time the smile was broader and more bolder. We gulped and looked away quickly. We did not want to encourage him any further. But the game was out of our hands. Now it was his turn to play the cat and mouse game with us. He started peeping from the pillar more often and when we looked in his direction he would be highly tickled at the attention and disappear again behind the pillar like a Hindi film hero. Each time he reappeared his smile grew more and more lascivious. It was our turn to sweat.
By now B was totally caught up in the game and decided to do get adventurous. He began darting from pillar to pillar when we were not looking and then suddenly peeping out from unexpected places taking us by surprise. We were in a tizzy. We did not know which pillar he was behind and both of us were looking frantically around trying to spot him so that we could avert our face when he peeped. The four girls who were standing by were watching us shell shocked. They also did not know what to do. We were barely 18 then and man crisis control was not our forte.
The look on B’s face was obvious. He was excited and not quite in control of himself. He was clearly not used to girly attention and even the minuscule attention he got from us had driven him crazy. We were very scared now. We were also far away from the busy platforms so there was no hope of spotting a senior to bail us out.
While “Manjula” and I were hyperventilating, B kept darting around pillars and peeping aggressively. He was like a man possessed and just when we were about to burst into tears, salvation in the form an elderly lady arrived from nowhere. Elderly lady, lets call her Lakshmi had come to the adjacent platform just a few minutes ago and saw a crazy mad man stalking two “innocent” college girls. Lakshmi was used to this. She had girls of her own. And she decided that she wasn’t taking this lying down. She strode into our platform purposefully and stood in front of the pillar behind which our hero was hiding. Then she did the unthinkable. She reached for her handbag and pulled out a Femina. “Oh great” we thought. “She is going to read a magazine and that’s supposed to scare him out of his wits”. However instead reading the magazine she rolled it into a tight roll and just when B peeped out from behind the pillar thwacked him really hard on his ears. B looked like someone had thrown a bucket of very cold water on his face.
Shell shocked he stumbled backwards and walked quickly away from the scene. Aunty rained more blows on his retreating back and finally threw the magazine at him for good measure. We stood there stupidly till Aunty returned from the war path and guided us out of the bus station. She tut tutted about perverts and how they preyed on “innocent” girls. “Manjula” and me looked at each other. We did not know whether to feel sorry for ourselves or ashamed. We were the victims and the perpetrators.
We expressed our gratitude to the lady and rushed back to college, relieved that we had not got into trouble. The other girls were waiting for us at the Canteen their faces white. We ordered some juice mechanically and sipped at it contemplatively avoiding each others eyes. There was absolute silence at the table. The canteen staff looked at us quizzically. We were by far the noisiest group in the college. Perhaps we had been expelled they thought hopefully. A pall of guilt, shame and absolute humiliation hung over the table like a cloud. We did not know what to say. We could not crib about the guy as we were the perpetrators of the crime. We could not laugh off the incident as it did not seem funny at all. It was a silent bunch of girls who departed to their respective homes that day.
Next day when we told the class about the incident it created an uproar and catapulted us into the Hall of Fame for Prize Fools. The college was divided in its opinion though. A section of the student body thought that we should be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Stupidest Pranks. Though the college was divided in its opinion about the incident everybody agreed that it was bloody hilarious. People had a good laugh at our expense and still do. However for some inexplicable reason “we” are still unable to laugh at the incident. :p
p.s. B left the college soon after when the college found a more experienced Sanskrit teacher. :)