Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Classroom

NOTE: This blog is inspired from a true incident, still I'll hide the original details, though to most, the places and people may seem familiar.

Just another lazy afternoon in class, in a certain reputed college. And as it is quite common for a college culture to engender a degree of frivolity and freedom in the students, our college was no exception, as a result many students had taken the liberty to skip the class. The teacher however was performing his duty of lecturing the students so that they can fetch the passing grade in the subject, dispassionately.

Suddenly the monotonic environs of the class is interrupted by two knocks on the door. The professor got disconcerted with this unexpected interruption that jolted him out from his soporific rhythm. He answered the door with a hint of confusion and saw a man with sunglasses standing outside. The man was not authorized to be there, he was not a student, a professor nor an employee of any other kind.

The man came directly into the classroom without so much as seeking permission for the act. The professor followed...the man said, facing the entire class, that he had a serious eye ailment which needed surgery, and being unemployed and impoverished, he needed to collect money for it. He claimed that he was an ex-student of a certain other department of the same college. Thus, he elaborated his purpose of being present there, he spoke with a certain tone of urgency and did not appear sycophantic, as is generally the trait of people seeking charity. He asked help from students/teacher/anybody. He also had brought some proof of identification but our protagonist (yes we do have a protagonist :-) , lets call her Nina ) could not see, but she did saw some papers in his hands. One of those was a list of the people who have contributed to the man's cause.

After the man's iteration, some moments of silent apprehension and dubious whispers followed. The teacher tried reasoning with the man about the importance of the lecture he was in the middle of, which needed to be continued, the man too was reasonable and asked people to hurry up with their decisions, as he had other people to see. All the while, Nina wanted to contribute, people had a very popular excuse of not having their purses with them, but Nina did and it had money which she did not need for any immediate reason. But somehow there was an inertia that pulled her back.

This kind of event is quite common within the college campus and on other occasions she does contribute, but that day was different, the teacher and a lot of other people were present and she did not want an act of honest charity to be considered as a spectator sport by everyone.

But she thought, may be the prof would contribute and then she would follow, but to her surprise , that did not happen, not even 1 rupee came out from any one of the pockets of about 40 souls. The man was given a chair to wait outside the class, but he had more value for his time, and perhaps had sensed the futility of his effort, he went away. The lecture resumed.

The classroom was full of young, impressionable and revolutionary minds. Minds which can bend logic in any direction and create miracles...whose eyes well-up after reading Into the Wild, who leave no effort to assure themselves that they will be in-line with the principles of Ranchor Das of 3 Idiots, who even have subscriptions of NGOs and teach the kids at a local slum in the weekends.

What are you thinking?? I can't even formulate a query.


  1. nice post....i am trying to comprehend your side of the story...but here is what stops me to do that: if we keep on entertaining such requests, we are just shifting the dependencies..not eliminating them...and more adversely..isn't this act like an addiction.

    I am little stern due to the fact that..this guy is a pass out of such a good college...Govt has empowered him through education to take care of himself...why should we do that job for him?

    if this guy is working in a normal IT company even..he wouldn't require any one's money as they cover all the health ailments through insurance...

    But good impressions though.....May be on hearing him in the class in person, i would have changed my decision and given him the money..but apparently...this is not what i think right now..

    keep posting....this blog is going real good..i am happy :D

  2. seems to me, that u r implicitly trying to convey some thing else in the last paragraph..but i am not sure...i gathered it..:) may be my response is lame in some sense...excuse me for that....

  3. I have always believed that one-time charity is of no use...we should strive for a more perennial source...but then again I found it possible for the man's side to be true....may be some utter misfortune had befallen him...its like a void part, a missing puzzle piece.

  4. Some times back xyz said that I do vitandavad i.e baseless discussion to prove my point . And i agree because that's one of the basic problems of a fickle minded person (In sheetal's words , a fruitcake ;-)). I am presenting two views of charities :

    a) Khalil Gibran's way (I know sheetal dont like this guy due to blah blah reasons) : In the book prophet , gibran mentioned that Giving should be without purpose i.e if you want to give something , give it without thinking whether its deserving or not, whether any sees you or not, whether what others will think. He gives an example (i know the examples are pretty debatable) of trees, cow . He said that when a tree gives fruits, it gives fruits to all whether the person eating is deserving or not or when a cow gives milk (of course i gives milk for its kid but if you read more , cow always give 3 time more milk than its kid can drink), it gives without any thought. now the taker is obviously the better survival than others as he is enjoying those fruits or milk, so according to nature's survival of fittest is the most deserving candidate for it.

    b) T.N.Seshan way : I got a chance to meet with T.N.Seshan personally and talk to him for more than one hour . I liked few things he said to me . And one of the thing was for Charity. He said "we enjoy charity when it really effects us . foreg when you 20k in our pocket and you gave 40 bucks to a begger , how much it matter to you but think you have 50 bucks for the whole day and you gave 40 bucks to a beggar and now you enjoying your dinner with just those 10 bucks ". I dont know but it works for me. I know its not going to make any change for the person whom we are giving those 40 bucks but it really makes us think for while . And it works for me atleast.

    Lot of people say 'life lived as per quotes or saying is worst living ' and i think 'its worth living'.

    Aah, i forgot why i mentioned the vitandavad word in the starting because sometimes on the traffic signals i give money to the beggers and when kakkar da ask me for the reason , i tell him "yaar i know its bad but if we will not give him , his boss will beat him in the evening and may be cut him leg or make them blind so may be these 10 bucks save him" .And the same me goes with others and they give money to some beggar , i may say "you are promoting begging". So i myself am not sure on the path to be followed but I love the above two approaches of giving .

  5. Hmm...nice reminds me that sometimes we have to forget about the "then" and "there" and instead live in the "now" and "here"...we say we want to promote things with sustainability, but may be there is no sustainability after all, all we have is a few more decades and age old customs are not going to change for sure in these few why not just give.