Saturday, May 03, 2008

Standing Still

The power of existence is enough to overwhelm.It overrides all effects of time and space and makes one feel quite numb,utterly useless and completely devoid of sensation or sense.People often constrain themselves,perhaps intentionally,to feel the void of existence and its endless bickering.One individual didn't intend to grant himself this privilege. I needn't mention his name.People who have been students will see a little bit of themselves in him.I can however call him 'X'.

'X' sits in a grimy classroom in some woe begotten college in India.He hasn't eaten since the night before.The classroom is now a makeshift examination hall.'X' sits with a 2B pencil,an eraser,an OMR sheet and a question paper.The splinters of wood from the dilapidated desk are cutting through his shirt into his skin,the question paper looks like a delicate parchment with a cryptic script and the invigilator looks like a fossil with tremendous glasses.

The girl sitting to his left nibbles on the tip of her pencil,she nervously runs her fingers through her hair and then darkens one of the bubbles on the OMR sheet.The boy sitting to his right smirks to himself and nods his head as he answers a question.'X' looks down at his answer sheet.He wonders about the pristine purity of an empty answer sheet, a sharp 2B pencil and a hairdo that hasn't suffered the ravages of the education system.He smiles at the perfection of his hairstyle.Just the right amount of gel mixed with the right conditioner, not too much spike and at the same time not too droopy.It took him two hours to get it right.Perhaps the boy in front with the dark circles spent those precious two hours clutching flashcards and cramming formulae scribbled down at the last minute.

'X' is suddenly hit by the lull of having to exist. How did this spec of time and space fit into the larger plan? Was it significant enough for him to spend three hours in the sweltering heat with a roomful of strangers? He had gone over all the well meaning advice from parents,friends and extended family. He replayed his responses to their endless questions over and over again.All of it fitted together like a script that is so badly written that it becomes a masterpiece in its own right.The warning bell is rung.'X' gazes lovingly at the graffiti and the wisdom,etched so carefully on the desks of decrepit institutions, by hapless students waiting in vain to be inspired.

It is now time to submit the answer sheets.'X' is the first to hand in his sheet. Another test,another OMR sheet with the mark of nothingness.The examiner shoots him the look of disgust that the elderly tend to reserve for their younger counterparts.'Write your name,useless fellow',he says.'X' simply does as he is told.


Gammafunction said...

I loved it.esp gazes lovingly at the graffiti and the wisdom,etched so carefully on the desks of decrepit institutions, by hapless students waiting in vain to be inspired.

Though you could have done away with the justification of naming him 'X'

ankita anand said...

reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes,in a way

Abhijit Pai said...

"spec" ? You're working too much.

Also, I wonder if you consciously make an effort to punctuate-space er.. differently.

La Diva! said...

Ha ha! Thanks for pointing that out Abhijit.I guess my next entry will be on the effects of the software development lifecycle on the spelling and grammar of aspiring writers.

As far as punctuation and spacing is concerned. When I wrote the entry,I was straining every nerve to finish Ulysses(which I never did).I wanted to be something like the anti-Joyce.Since Joyce never punctuated,I wanted to over-punctuate!