Tuesday, July 30, 2013

William Shakespeare, Tussi Great Ho!

William Shakespeare’s name in the title is equally misleading about certain things you are soon to come across, as the anger the main character in this fictional narrative experienced surging inside himself.

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“I beseech you!” One of the characters from one of the plays written by William Shakespeare said to another. He did not remember who exactly the character was. Neither was it a significant quote to which he needed to produce a proper source. In any of those magnificent plays written by William Shakespeare, any of those characters might have said this to anyone else. It’s such a common way of making a request in Elizabethan English.

A poorly cordoned off class room, adjacent to the National Highway 17 would sure to be a hard task for the teacher to manage. The noise from the Highway often rises above levels of compromise, and students often find it hard to focus on their subjects. But in an otherwise neat and efficient college, the young teacher taught English contentedly. The young man mentioned here, was not particularly a fan of William Shakespeare, the Swan of Avon. However he had often felt that the indelible influence William Shakespeare has upon his times is unquestionable.

One day, he was teaching in an afternoon hour. His class was about critical thinking and its uses. Shouting at the top of his voice, he felt he would almost faint and fall down, if a break hasn’t been awarded to oneself, quite soon. He moved left and then right, tried to work the MW pattern of eye-contact strategy. Before long, he realised that every bit of energy left in him was slowly dripping away. His throat felt like he had gobbled a handful of splinters.

Suddenly, a noise outside the classroom grabbed his attention. He was pulled into a conundrum of laughter and shout. They were the senior students, making themselves at home outside his classroom, on chairs near the partition that separated the class with the verandah. The young teacher showed a gesture at them, to  make less noise.

He awaited result. The camaraderie soon resumed and this time, it was unbearable for him. A hot nerve on his forehead gave a push. He felt he would surely lose ground. He ran towards the entrance of the classroom, and shouted at them; “Didn’t I tell you to quiet down. Your noise is all inside the classroom.”

The young man wanted to say; “I am doing a job here,” as well. However, he refrained from that comment. An awkward sense of insecurity overwhelmed him. He realized that he was angry, and being angry meant that he was vulnerable. The thought prevented him from uttering anything further.

He went inside the classroom and resumed teaching. The noise continued. Once again, the young teacher thought of making a confrontation with the gang of orderless brats. He came outside. There was no point in raising his voice or exhibiting extreme irritation towards them, he thought. This enabled him to settle down with plan B. He played the mysterious stranger, by just staring at them. It was a technique he often used in order to control situations that included student delinquency, on previous occasions.

Find out what you may, certain situations would never bend when you desperately want them to. The shouters kept shouting and merrymaking in their group. He stared at them through five long minutes. When, finally, he realised this would not work, the young man came inside again. Right then, for some reason, a lady-teacher passed through the corridor and the troublemakers followed her, imploring for marks and asking questions.

The young man thanked the teacher inwardly and continued with his teaching. He thought of filing a complaint letter against the students to the Head of the Department as well as the Dean of the college. Meanwhile, all of a sudden, as if a bird had found a tree to perch on, a thought settled in his mind. That’s when he thought about William Shakespeare’s quote. It was an insignificant quote to remember, although within the play it may have carried tremendous influence. 

“I beseech you!”

The young man stood silent for some time, then smiled to himself. His body relaxed and countenance elated with a beaming peace. ‘Why did I ignored this before?’ He thought. He had clearly missed a possibility that could have been useful immensely.

He could have used the strategy of solicitation, a request. The unruly guys could have been thwarted through a request. 

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Note: This story is told by Subhashin, a friend of mine and a mysterious being, on a rainy Wednesday evening, sipping a strong tea near one of Kannur’s famous monuments. I asked him, what is the assurance that a request instead of an imposition could have made things work. He replied that he was among those students, who were sitting outside the classroom. It happened when he was a student himself. He also told me that he was trying to hone his storytelling skills, by trying get inside the head of the teacher.

“You have the skill,” I told him. “Keep telling stories.” 

Post Postum: Call it a weird story, for the sake of a genre.

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