Here I am, sitting in class almost on the brink of death. No, no, NO! I wasn’t caught in an accident with the classroom door (many of my friends complain that its in the way, and therefore walk right into it!), but I’m dying to hear the bell ring. The next thing after this stupid lecture is lunch-time. My mum has packed my favourite stuff for lunch, and I’m obsessed with it. My mouth just waters at the thought of going to the local joint with my best friend and eating that delicious dessert. However, like a model student, I drag myself out of all the food waiting to be eaten, and calmly wait for divine intervention. Please dear God! HELP!
I look around the rest of the class with lack of nothing better to do, and notice a roomful of comatose people. My friend Sneha is doodling idly in her notebook, drawing pictures of delicious looking steaks and writing Hungry Kya? under them. You bet I’m hungry! Moving around, I notice Ankur and Siddharth, two more guys from the gang animatedly discussing a computer game. A third friend Sumit benevolently looks upon the two freaks. Yuvraj wants to violently dance to the song he is stealthily listening to on his discman, but one can see he is struggling to restrain himself.
“You, stand up!” said a manly voice. I’m rudely brought back to the present, when I see Mrs. Rathore glaring down at me. And I mean it when I say ‘manly’ voice. She could put most boys to shame with her amalgamation-of-Dharmendra-and-Lara Dutta voice. No jokes. If it wasn’t me she was about to yell at, her flared nostrils full of disgusting hair would have been as funny as usual. I could feel Sneha wanting to laugh hard. I gave her a kick and stood up.
“What you looking here and there? I teaching with heart and soul for walls?” she asked indignantly. In spite of myself, a loud giggle escaped me and I stood there staring at her with a grinning face, wanting a miracle to change its expression to a more ashamed one. I heard guffaws from the rest of the people, and it was a funny scenario. A third person staring through the windows wouldn’t have made head nor tail of what the situation in the class was. Here was a professor in an angry state of mind glaring at a grinning student, with the rest of the class laughing. So either she was telling a joke to the students with the angered expression as a special effect to the joke, or that the grinning student was caught doing something stupid. Strange.
“You girl, why you laughing? I telling a joke? I acting like monkey?” she demanded. Never had I wished someone else was in my place. Ah those good old times when I could sit with Sneha and laugh my head off while someone was getting ticked off! We always looked forward to Mrs. Rathore getting annoyed. It brought about the showering of precious gems on us; gems that made us realize that English was truly a funny language. But this time, I wish I wasn’t the one faced with the I acting like monkey? question. I so wanted to tell her that gorillas were more her style; monkeys were a little too little delicate for her. Nevertheless, all these thoughts pacing through my head made the grin on my face bigger instead of shrinking it. I wished to goodness, she would stop with her English; its simply the funniest thing on the planet, more so when you’re being yelled at.
“Tell the rest of the class what I was teaching just now,” she ordered. Well, I could finally feel the smile shrink.
“I’m sorry I don’t know,” I said meekly. Sneha burst into a fresh burst of giggles. Suddenly it all didn’t seem so funny anymore.
“Why? You sitting in class na? Why don’t you know?” she asked me. “You did not understand?”
“No.” I don’t know why I said that, but it seemed like an easier way out.
“Then when you not understanding, why don’t you stop on time?” she asked me, a little kindly this time.
Stop what exactly? I thought. Stop breathing? Stop the brain from functioning? Well that had happened long time ago anyway. I just continued staring at her, hoping against hope that the bell would ring and I would be free from this torture to go chew on my lunch in peace.
She went on ahead on how the professors were all there to clear their doubts and how they were to be treated as friends. I’m really sorry but I don’t want Mrs. Rathore as my friend, thank you very much. She bored us to tears three times every week, and I’ll be damned if I have to make her my friend in addition to that. The next part of her speech I caught was that we could ask her any doubts even a hundred times, and she would always explain till we understood. Ask Mrs. Rathore something a hundred times? Have we gone bananas? The best thing to do in her lecture was to shut up and meditate, hoping somebody would take pity on us and ring the bell, even by mistake. I stole a glance at my watch and heaved a sigh of relief. She only had four minutes more to torment me.
Her next statement jolted me back to reality, which was, “Come down with me just now in the break, and I’ll explain what you not understood.”
The only sound that rang in my head after that was an open laugh from Sneha.