THE SWEAT ON THE BROW
Pass your hands on my brow
You can find the place where my brains grow
R S THOMAS
A thin crowd was getting down from the college bus which I found it difficult to proceed and was waiting -seeing this the driver made a comment,’give way for sir, first’ I responded, alright, ‘ladies first’ In fact this has made a first year student excited about and was clapping her hands in appreciation; her teeth were obdurate…yet she was looking beautiful- may be the outline of her face has given the prettier cast. Normally I am not such a man who plays with words like this, perhaps a reticent , not gregarious in nature and this has been a revelation how I patch-up my life in this institution. We have waded through a heavy traffic from the city where the township contains half a dozen big, textile shops, and a fish market.
This is an engineering college made up of strong edifices standing on huge pillars with the canal of river Noyyal flowing on the backyard, the wild grass providing canopy for it on both the sides – located near a holy shrine in Coimbatore, Perur. Perur is a holy place that the Dhakshinamurthy temple has created glory for this small township whose architecture was rendered by Buddhist cult. The college will start earlier in the day around the time the sweet voice of the ringing bells of the shrine would stroke our ears and will give us a touch of rapture. The aroma of the coconut trees would never fail to fill in our nostrils while the birds with their songs augment our day. We have to sign the register and while doing that a frill voice was heard, thatha(grand father)your pen please; it is from a woman lecturer , could be a fresher, who has a strong belief that all baldheaded men should be called as grandfathers , yes youngsters have a feeling that they would never get aged.
moments after I have been found in the class , raising the text book , guys this is the prescribed text book ,
‘LINUX COOK BOOK’ you all must buy this’ I made a plea.
‘cook book, are you a cook sir, we felt you are a teacher’
I turned about the direction the voice was coming… it is from the left extreme of the class –the furniture been grouped together by those boys, cutting themselves from the series of desks…it is Venkata krishna Raju, a student from Andhra Pradesh, when he made that remark it followed a huge response from his peers. Raju is an enthusiast in his own terms, will focus himself about a leader, his father being an ex army personnel he thinks he is invincible! Probably found in all the bad books of even the kindest of teachers; fate was glaring at him with annoyance. Recently he has taken clues from a Tamil film that portrays life of three gifted students! In which all teachers are found as rotund, phlegmatic ones with big bellies whose beautiful daughters are born to love those colts.
The class had been usual with the Raju and co agitating for all the expressions that I made. All of a sudden a huge noise was found near the corridor and while I peeped out to control that Raju and co rushed out not minding my warning. Moments later a girl from a nearby branch came and in all anxiety told ,
Sir, Raju has hit someone, and the person injured is bleeding…
I went out of the class and found two branch students were involved in a clash and injured themselves which originally followed a crisis that started in the mess. I summoned the PD and asked him to set right things and went to inform the principal. Later all the students were grabbed by the security personnel and brought to the board room for inquiry – after providing medical care to the injured. The principal lastly told me to join the disciplinary proceedings tomorrow, though I was not a member of the committee – I was party for the witness…
I have been standing here, the evening in this city at this season in march is chill, at my left is found the PSG MEDICAL COLLEGE and adjacent to that is a women’s arts college where the busy Avinashi road could be located. In the evenings this place from the stretch at the medical college to the Nilgris , a busy shopping mall, the street would be swarming with youngsters. This is the area that my house is located and I am waiting for one of my friends. This place is probably a hub all institutions. I like the serenity of Coimbatore, its climate as my parents belong to udumalpet a nearby town .I completed my ME and got employed in INDIA for sometime; after marriage around ten years I was in Oslo, Norway with a multinational corporation; this is how I find it difficult to move with the academic atmosphere here as it is neither conservative nor rational, we left Oslo because of the extreme cold conditions -my wife got affected with pulmonological issues. She is young though the physician we consulted advised us to go to India. The life in Oslo had a heavy toll that I lost all my hair I am accidentally offered a lucrative assignment in this college; in return they expect me to make arrangements for jobs for students.
A car shoved at me and a voice called me to get in,
I found it is Rahul, a close aide to Raju.
‘Sir, please in five minutes we ll leave. I boarded in the car and it reached the newly constructed complex. We entered a coffee shop near the bowling center over there, surprisingly Raju was already found there.’
‘Sir please try to help us ,in tomorrow’s disciplinary committee meeting you support us’
‘But I don’t have any powers I am a witness and they asked my presence.’
‘But you are close to principal’.
I don’t know what the regulations say ,the committee will act upon
We all left this small meeting and when I started boarding the car Raju wildly pushed me down and while falling they all boarded into the car kicking me outside. The car left- I called my friend and tried to evade from the small crowd.
The meeting begun on the next day where I was asked to present my case. I started
The students are immature, they can be warned and pardoned…….I continued
But Raju had a series of complaints going against him…
The following day I made my resignation ready, emotional and rootless students inordinate colleagues, I don’t want to continue here… Then where can I go? This is the way our academics have grown imposing discipline on the one hand based on a society whose most ideals are irrational…Yes I should have a break…
While nearing the principal’s office I found Raju was sitting with his father whose eyes were scorching me to completely burn out. I entered the principal’s room and asked,
We are dismissing Raju, sir?
Not exactly, he has been asked to get a transfer and we will be giving him a fair conduct certificate, all other students been pardoned. What is that envelope you have in hand, a leave letter? I will give you a week’s leave but before then do me a favor ,remain here tomorrow, we are going to have the CEO of a newly launched corporate will visit here.. Sometimes your presentation will help placement.
Will try my best , sir
While I was standing in the journal section of the library I found a small procession of officials reaching the library .in fact they were approaching the direction in which I was found…the well dressed stranger was smiling at me in large while the principal interrupted ,
This is Ravi chandiran , the CEO whom we were talking about
I extended my right hand, I am Venkataraman , a product of REC…
He replied, I know… You were my senior, in fact corrected my dissertation and have been a source for an inspiration in my professional attempts before leaving to Norway…Don’t you remember?