Monday, February 14, 2011

The Institution


The Days that are No More-2
His contract with the Research Institute would end after two months. That was one of his primary concerns. He would be jobless.

“What did you say? Your husband works in America as a company secretary? That is GREAT. I was looking for a copywriter’s job. I know I am asking for a favour. But…can you enquire your husband about posts of a copy writer in his company? You know what a copy writer is, right? Someone, who creates magic out of words,” he was jabbering with one of his students.

He was their Lecturer in Chemistry. She came to meet him at the interval between two class hours. He felt special about himself, as anyone would in that situation. But what made him ask that favour? That favour—the simple act of asking a favour from a student and that too from a student who was in need for his help, who made him feel proud of himself being a teacher—could doubtlessly harm his self respect, at least a bit. But the act was played, the gesture was made.

“Why are you talking about job so urgently, sir? What happened? You already have one.” The girl asked. She had a smile on her face, but her eyes looked puzzled.

“No, nothing. I mean, my term in this institution is ending soon. So I need another job. Moreover, I want to see the world. I want to travel.” He said. She still showed elements of confusion. Then she said “good bye” and left.

I forgot to mention why she came to the lecturer. This is what happens when you are in a writer’s block. You lose the rhythm of art, of natural narration, and whatever you do falls outside the rhythm and you dance like a Chinese Yellow to the tune of a Bhangda. You—a sublime incongruity.
 
Flash back.

The lecturer was walking back to his cabin after the first hour of class, when he found her standing nearby her class room, waiting for him.

“Sir, can we talk for some time?” She enquired, with her eyes bright.

Then there was a usual set of introductory phrases. “Nothing much, sir... It’s nothing serious. But it can turn me well into an insane. I have no idea why I am doing this, even talking to you.”

“You can tell me whatever you want. I always am very affable with my students, aren’t I? So, don’t worry.” He reassured her, and looked at his watch, which he did to give her a subtle message that her introductory phrase chain is squeezing a lot if time out of both of their lives.

“Is it wrong to fall in love?” She asked; spinning a delicate layer of innocence across her eyes that stayed there for an eternity.

“No, not at all. I myself am in love, in love with Literature, even though I am a Chemistry teacher, I want to be with Literature all the time, to write; to be an artist.” He said and he regretted. A self stated identity; it is like playing a clown, without knowing you are.

But that is what one does when one is in a writer’s block. At times, I too do it that way. You try to state yourself with a revolutionary identity that you want yourself to be in, without realizing that a clown’s revolution is laughter, and laughter co-exists with none of the conditions valid for seriousness.  
   
May the clown in you die and the writer resurrect.

“I knew you would say this, but this is not a joke, sir. I am serious.” The joker died.

She was married, which happened in the second year of her Course. He was not working here then. He joined here just five months back, on the 20th of September. Now she was in the third.

“Hey, Cool. Take it easy. It is OK. Even if some sort of crush has happened, it is quite natural. You should not be confused. Be clear about what you do. You can still share this with your husband, I think. He is really a cool person. He let you continue with your studies even after getting married. He did not ask you to sit back at home, be a homemaker, which is the lot for most people after marriage during their student life; at least here, in Kerala. And don’t forget you are a Keralite. Though some of your classmates are from other parts of the world, you are a Keralite. And that means something.” He tried to smile. But she did not. She was listening intently.

“He is really a cool husband, isn’t he?” He repeated to fill the chasm of silence. She did not say anything.
She was listening intently.
He felt extremely uncomfortable. This is what I felt whenever any student listens to me intently, he thought for a moment. He felt being pressed under the unbearable weight of responsibility. He was a teacher; someone supposed to deliver the truth, a reference.

“Where is he working?”

“He is a company secretary, working in the United States of America. He wants me to be there with him soon. Not just him, but all the two families want me to go, to shift to America, New York, where he has an apartment. But I want to do my Masters here. And I cannot forget that man…I mean…I mean my love. I will be a sinner if I go back to my husband and start living with him.” 

She is right, if she is saying the truth, he thought. She would betray two; herself and her husband. He had a feeling that the person she loved was not informed of her affection, yet. She is a wise girl, he thought, she might not have told him. 

“Hey, I think you should go back to your husband, da.” He had to speak again, and this time to shift his mind from a smile that settled in the right corner of her lips, which threatened him with a ‘do you know who that person I am in love with is?’

This thing, this writing gets autobiographical sometimes. No writer can write anything other than himself. But now, in my writer’s block I found autobiographical sketches, with a first person replaced by a third person masculine pronoun, a very effective method to come up with a smooth story, though with no lack of shortcomings.

She was listening intently. Silence—with the excruciating pain of the infernal fire. And it hurt somewhere in his consciousness.

Suddenly, her lips opened, they pursed and blurted out: “I love you.”

The act was played, the gesture was made.
“Is it wrong to fall in love?”

“It’s no one’s mistake. It just happens, sir,” she was saying. He stood in a void, deaf, as if every sliver of voice was sucked out of his ears.

What happened was outside his understanding of the world and control. And he knew no way out. So he felt good in playing deaf as if hadn’t heard the ‘no one’s mistake’.

He asked: “What did you say? Your husband works in America as a company secretary? That is GREAT. I was looking for a copywriter’s job. I know I am asking for a favour. But…can you enquire your husband about posts of a copy writer in his company? You know what a copy writer is, right? Someone, who creates magic out of words,” 



Happy Valentine's Day, friends. I hope you enjoyed my Valentine's Day story. This story is for all those people out there who are afraid to fall in love and follow the magical experiences love offers.
Anu.

As I announced in the previous post, the winners of the Stylish Blogger award are: 


CONGRATS winners!
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