Thursday, February 10, 2005


Two things happened today. I know 'things' isn't a particularly beautiful word to use, but I'm apparently the Lord of the Things, so what the heck. Without further ado, here they are.

Thing 1

I was standing at a busy road when I suddenly saw this girl on the other side. She wasn't a stunning beauty - most would probably not even call her just a beauty - but she was definitely cute. And don't ask me why, but I felt she was a fun sort of person. The kind I might like to get to know better. So there we were, separated by two lanes of crazy traffic...

She was walking to and fro, obviously waiting for someone. She was wearing blue, my favourite colour, and had a high ponytail that bounced about captivatingly. She had beautiful hair. When she turned around (as she shifted from 'to' mode to 'fro' mode and vice versa), I noticed the two soft strands of hair cascading on either side of her face, framing it to perfection. So I was looking at her (not ogling) when, suddenly, she looked straight at me.

Now, I would never mind a pretty girl looking at me, but I'm not a pretty girl and she wasn't me. Her eyebrows shot up in obvious, indignant surprise. I was incredibly embarassed, and shifted my gaze downwards to perform a searching examination of my toes. I looked up a few seconds later and she was still looking at me. But there no longer seemed to be any indignation in her look; she seemed more amused than angry. We stared at each other for what seemed like a couple of hours, but was probably 3 seconds. A girl in a car drew up in front of her...

And then, out of the blue, she flashed me a smile, dimpling beautifully. I was stunned, and didn't know how to react. I smiled back in reflex. I'm pretty sure that she would have found it a rather dopey grin. She, my staring-partner who I'd seen for only a minute or two, climbed into the car and was driven away...

I'll probably never see her again. But this short meeting filled me with a kind of indescribably light happiness, a joi de vivre... I proceeded with a spring in my step and song in my heart.

Thing 2

My college, like many others across India, has a system of OD. OD stands for 'On Duty', the funda being that if you miss a day of college because you want to represent the beloved institution of higher education at some competition, you get an OD from the concerned faculty and you will be given attendance for the day. And given the stringent attendance requirements of the University, attendance matters a hell of a lot. To further clarify matters, let me unambiguously state that one takes OD if one is missing a working day of college.

This semester, my class works only two days a week - Thursday and Friday. (I have a lot to say about life in the 8th semester and the disease that is destroying my mind and body - FinalSemesteritis. But that'll have to wait for a later post.) Having gone through three and a half years of an engineering education, we (my classmates and I) are naturally incredibly intelligent, especially when it comes to avoiding college. So it has become a ritual to take OD for every Thursday and Friday, quoting some super-arbit symposium that one absolutely has to attend.

"So where is all this leading? Get on with it!" you cry. Well, the folks who run the college are on to us. A new rule introduced today states that we will not be given OD on Thursdays and Fridays, because they are working days. A conversation between Confused Student (CS) and Officious College Official (ASS) might run like this:

CS: Can I get OD on Thursday?
ASS: No, it's a working day.
CS: That's why I want OD.
ASS: That's why I won't give it to you. I'll give you OD on Monday through Wednesday.
CS: But those aren't working days!
ASS: That's why I'll give you OD.

and so on. You get the point. It's very very reminiscent (is that spelt right?) of the classic dialogue from Catch 22, still one of my all time favourite reads. Here's the original conversation - a masterpiece!

Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. "Is Orr crazy?"

"He sure is," Doc Daneeka said.

"Can you ground him?"

"I sure can but first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule."

"Then why doesn't he ask you to?"

"Because he's crazy," Doc Daneeka said. "He has to be crazy to keep flying combat missions after all the close calls he's had. Sure I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to."

"That's all he has to do to be grounded?"

"That's all. Let him ask me."

"And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked.

"No, then I can't ground him."

"You mean there's a catch?"

"Sure there is a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, that specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of the clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka replied.


Sneha said...

Hey..Very nice post...enjoyed reading your description of both the 'things' that happened.

AC said...

Thanks mercury! :)

trinity said...

Your blog is great! It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about Attendance these days! I have a secret Attendance Exposed if you want to come check it out