College went back to its humdrum cycle of classes, assignments and practicals; messy gooey meals, trips to the library, sleepless nights and endless cups of coffee. Those precious forty winks over an open book or horror of horrors – while the class was on in full swing!
The boys were experts or at least had no qualms about dozing off in class. Some even stretched out on the bench for a full shuteye session while the others could only drool.
Once Rajani watched in horrified fascination as Sudeep, sitting diagonally across her, nodded off. She nudged Shikha, casting agonized glances at the Professor, wondering if he would notice and what if he did. And then to their utter shock, Sudeep gave up the struggle; he put his head on the desk and slept off in full view, uncaring of the consequences.
“Should I wake him?” Rajani whispered to Shikha.
“Let him be.”
“What if he gets into trouble?”
“That’s his problem not yours.”
“But still Shiks, it’s not right! Suppose he gets called to the Dean’s office or…”
“Any problem Miss…?” The professor interrupted his talk.
“Rajani sir,” Red-faced, Rajani stood up, “No sir, sorry sir.”
“Sit down and no talking amongst yourselves. If you have anything to say, speak up loud and clear. Got it?”
“Yes sir.” Chastened and outraged Rajani glared at where Sudeep continued to sleep, blissfully unaware that she had got a scolding because of him. And worse, Chemo (the chemistry teacher) didn’t even notice he was sleeping! Err well Chemo was probably smart enough to let sleeping dogs lie 😀
“Sudeep!” Rajani cornered him once the professor had dismissed the class.
“What?” He was bright eyed and fresh.
“You are too much!”
“What did I do?”
“Crazy fellow!” Rajani threw up her hands in despair. “Sleeping away in class in full view of the professor. I was wondering whether to wake you and the professor gave me a scolding for whispering in class! This is heights! I have never been scolded like this in class ever before. All because of you!”
“Hey hey!” Sudeep raised his hands in protest, “It’s not my fault! Did I ask you to look out for me?”
“No but shut, you shouldn’t interfere in matters that are none of your concern.” He blustered, showing off in front of the goggling crowd.
“In any case Rajani,” drawled Girish, “good thing you didn’t try to wake him. Nothing can wake him once he goes to sleep. Trust me I know! Once he dozed off on my bed while studying and I simply couldn’t wake him! I even asked my room-mates to help but he was quite dead to the world.”
“You should have thrown a bucket of water on him!” Laughter broke out.
“I did think of that but it was my bed.”
“So what did you do?”
“I had to go and sleep in his room!”
“Yeah so? I sleep deep, any problem?” Sudeep said.
“No no problem Sudeep,” Rajani said sweetly. “You know guys, he just doesn’t sleep deep, he drools too.” She flopped her head down on the desk and closed her eyes and opened her mouth in fair imitation of a sleeping Sudeep.
Everyone crowded around for a better view of the theatrics.
She sat up with a jerk and blinked, looking around owlishly wearing a dazed expression. She pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed at her lips and as an afterthought wiped the desk as well. The audience cracked up.
“I didn’t do that!” Sudeep protested.
“You did!” Rajani tittered.
“Wow! I never knew I was so popular. That you couldn’t keep your eyes off me!” He leaned forward and winked with a sly glance at Harry. “You have a crush on me or what?” he said in a carrying whisper, fully expecting Rajani to get flustered.
But unexpectedly, Rajani (probably because it was so patently untrue) laughed at his face. “Crush? On you? In your dreams!”
Unfazed and good humor restored, Sudeep winked, “Will make sure I do dream of that!” he laughed at her fiery blush. “Yes!” he pumped his fist victoriously only to falter at Harry’s stern glare. He recovered quickly, “Ooh! Look who’s huffing and puffing ready to blow down my house?”
In between classes were most fun whilst most classes were mind numbingly agonizingly boring (especially the ones post lunch). It was nothing but sheer torture – like they were tied to the rack and pulled – on one side was the professor’s eagle eye (I am awake, you jolly well stay awake too) and the other side was the irresistible overwhelming exquisite call of the goddess of sleep – oh just to close one’s eyes for a minute, slide into the blissful world of sleep.
Each developed and honed their individual art of surviving classes without running out screaming at the top of their lungs. Some were the ‘good’ ones – our girls and a few others.
Some took to sketching (some teachers were born to be sketched) others to write letters and notes to each other. Others like Richa took out their toolkit and began filing their nails. They did consider putting nail paint, but was a bit risky especially in Wiggy’s class.
Wiggy, or the English teacher as she was affectionately called (in view of her elaborate hairdo, which underwent remarkable changes every day) had an overdeveloped sense of smell. And legend had it that she had once caught a girl putting nail paint in her class. She not only had she thrown the girl out but she had confiscated the nail polish. Wait, there’s worse! Next day she had flaunted her freshly painted nails – 50 Rs down the drain. The owner had to be hospitalized because of uncontrollable fits.
“I wonder if Wiggy does wear a wig?” Girish wondered idly.
“Why don’t you ask her?” said Raj as he flipped the pages of his notebook.
“I just might. Unless,” Girish was in deep thought, “I can think of a way of solving the mystery once and for all.”
“But how? Give her hair a tug?”
“That’s one option.”
A crack of laughter escaped Raj. He hurriedly turned it into a cough but Wiggy had heard. “Care to share the joke?”
A piece of chalk came flying through the class and unerringly hit him on the nose.
“Now that was a joke.”
Raj yelped and the class cracked up.
Wiggy went back to her lecture. Raj fumed and plotted ways to divest Wiggy of her crowning glory. ‘Get a cat to jump her?’ he wrote on a sheet of paper and pushed it to Girish who rolled his eyes and put a cross against it.
‘Got a better idea?’
Girish wrote ‘0’
Raj drooped. He brightened.
‘Let’s play noughts and crosses’
Wigs and cats forgotten, the boys busied themselves as Wiggy droned on and on about the ethos and the pathos of Hamlet.
The others found their own ways of tiding away the tedium. What exactly you ask? Well some listened to the lecture (Yes! Did too!), a few others just looked at her storing away bits and pieces of information for entertainment purposes – she had a dramatic way of taking classes almost as if she were enacting a play. Her elaborate hairdo would bob up and down with her declamation. For the discerning that was entertainment enough – Rajani chewed her nails in anticipation of the day the contraption would roll off her head. But Rajani’s rapt attention to Wiggy’s theatrics was not without it’s own pitfalls.
“Pay attention everybody – Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 4 – Hamlet is suspicious of a movement behind the drapes. How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead! Hamlet drew out his sword,” Wiggy raised her hand, “and plunged it into the curtain where Polonius was hiding!” she brought her imaginary sword hand down sharply on Rita, sitting in the front row with a glazed look in her eyes. Rudely woken from her trance, she jumped and withdrew with a shriek. Rajani burst out laughing. The look of pure terror on Rita’s face was too much for her sensibilities. As Wiggy swung around to catch Hamlet…err the culprit, Rajani ducked under the desk just in time.
Up next Chapter 89: Slog Days