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Pest Personified

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

There are a number of things I did on our college campus that annoyed those around me:

☀️I took to reading palms in the cafeteria during lunch hour. When I held my “sessions” students would form queues and wait for their turn.

No, I didn’t charge money, and some of my classmates opined it was a cheap way to gain popularity. Others asked me to read their palms.

Something I learnt from the owners of those palms is that if I had one relevant comment about an individual, many other issues would bubble up voluntarily (from that person).

☀️Whenever we had Physics practicals, I would play the National Anthem on the sonometer (with 2 strings) much to the annoyance of my lab partner.

☀️As a backbencher, I wrote a note and stuck it to the shirt of a classmate sitting in front of me (when he leaned back, with scotch tape, surreptitiously, without his awareness).

The note contained a short poem starting with:

Dhenu is a mighty might, a mighty might is he….

The poem was titled, Ode to Dhenu.

During lunch hour, the classmate walked to a bookstore through the busy campus roads and later returned to class. I trailed him (at a distance) and watched students from other departments speed up behind him, to read the note on his back.

When he found out about the note, he was livid. He asked the prime suspect, “Do you know what Ode means? Odes are written for people who are dead!”

I was horrified and quickly consulted a dictionary, and was relieved to find he was wrong. (As per several dictionaries, death was not involved with “Ode”, but I actually think he had a better grasp of the English Language than I did).

☀️I had repetitive altercations with one of my female classmates. Some of the other students got pretty weary of it, but it went on for years. The quarrelsome duo ended up getting engaged and married.

☀️ I’d take class notes on loose sheets of paper, which typically scattered and got lost. Two of my classmates (including my future missus) lent me their notes before exams, so that I could garner passing grades.

☀️I once told a female student that she was 1 divided by Cos C (1/Cos C). She got it, but was (thankfully) not as upset as she could have been.

☀️I teased 4 pairs (boys and girls) in our freshmen class by suggesting they were romantic couples, without any rhyme or reason whatsoever. I kept it up and encouraged others to be suggestive also.

Lo and behold, three of the subject couples appeared to become quite romantic towards each other in real life, according to the non-brownIan motion exhibited by the “couples”, and also from confirmation (by dudes only). The fourth dude was definitely interested but the dudess was oblivious.

The relationships lasted a long long time, but eventually fizzled out.

☀️Once Sugoto Hazra of the SFI (Students Federation of India) party was delivering an emotional political speech over loudspeakers from a stage. I walked up close to him from behind (the stage) and asked (gola kapiye kotha bolchis keno? sabhabik golay kotha bol!) - why are you quivering your voice? Speak normally!

Sugoto appeared to lose his focus.

Later I found most global political leaders do the same - emote with their vocal chords when they address the masses.

☀️Nilotpol Basu, another SFI student leader, who later became a Member of Parliament in India wore cracked eye glasses for an elongated period on campus, along with the traditional cloth flat shoulder bag that commie types carried around. (I thought he was trying to portray poverty. He actually attended South Point High School which suggests parental affluence).

I once snatched Nilotpol’s broken glasses and put mine on him. He was not amused, and lectured me on my need for maturity and on how corrupt corporate entities profited from the eye glass manufacturing “industrial complex.”

☀️What’s his name, a DSF (Democratic Students Federation) Party student leader was appearing for TOEFL exams at the United States Information Service library, along with me. (Most students who apply to US campuses need to take the TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language).

The previous day he had denounced the United States at the University campus in a thunderous emotional speech during a mass rally.

When he saw me at USIS he held my hand and requested me not to tell anyone back at the campus. I gave him a wink (and a nod).

☀️An activity we participated in was “mass cuts“. In an unplanned (impromptu) manner, all the students in a class would do a vanishing act just prior to the start of a lecture, and leave the arriving teacher clueless in an empty classroom.

(Poor Rafi, a gentle soul, who came from far away by train and bus, as well as Sucharita, would need convincing to participate in the mass cuts, and would join reluctantly).

I later realized that I participated in mass cuts because education was practically free. Students in the west, who pay through their nose for each class, would not dream of such cuts.


* I read lovely Chaiti’s palm in the cafeteria. She had a deep (healed) old, permanent gash between her thumb and forefinger. Above that scar, she had a clear long Lifeline. I told her she would lead a long, mostly happy life.

I stopped reading palms when Chaiti passed away young, soon after college.

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