So I went to school this week. On official purpose and all. For those of you who don't know, I work here. And that website is being revamped, so stop sniggering. Plus, I work for the magazine section, not for the website. Also, I know everyone has a crush on Birbal, so stop pretending to be all ha-ha. Please go to Landmark and buy the new, latest, fantabulous November issue into which I've bled my heart, soul, and temper. This is Job No.3 in 1 year and one that's not made me want to tear my hair out... yet. In fact, I am increasingly becoming addicted to blue men, green monkeys, and statements like You idiot, Jarasandha!
So I went to school this week to meet the Vice Principal about some project we want to do with PSBB kids. And I felt all emotional when I saw PSBBians with dirty canvas shoes and class leader badges. There were a few writing 'apology letters' in front of the Principal's office as usual. And then I felt all the more weepy because my teachers remembered me and kanna-ed me with such affection that I wanted to enroll in LKG all over again. Sigh. School is a good place to be in. I used to be one of those optimistic kids in toothpaste ads- rise and shine, bug your brother, go to sleep. Now, I can't wait to get annoyed. My mother informs me regularly that I will probably die of BP. And that annoys me too.
Anyway, this is an interval post. So it is going to be rambling and not very literary in life. I'm writing this now because I saw Ananthasayanam and that just set off this whole train of thought inside my head that I had to write about it. Ananthasayanam is the library assistant in PSBB. I don't know what assistance he provides in the library, but he's usually the one who will come to class and call a student out if there's an emergency at home or if there's a phone call. He's one of those really puny guys and he takes a lot of trouble to decorate his forehead with all sorts of symbols in various colours. When I saw him this time, I burst out laughing like a mental because he looks exactly the same. After five years. The same big-checked shirt and somebody else's pants. And he was there throughout my school life and he looked the same every goddamn year. Also, I laughed because I hadn't thought about him at all for so long...but there he was, Anathasayanam! We used to pair him up with this girl in class and every time he came to class to call someone, we'd hoot and create a ruckus. It was meant to be a huge insult to the girl in question. And it's hugely funny because it's so terrifically juvenile.
Anyway, now am no longer in school. I've grown into a tax evading citizen of the country and I had a sudden moment of epiphany when I realized that Ananthasayanam had been on this job for several decades and would probably continue till his body disintegrated and mingled with the dust in the library. And here I was, already on my 3rd job because the first two drove me nuts. I really wonder what goes on inside Ananthasayanam's head...what sort of equanimity makes him come to this place day after day to do a job that doesn't require his mind to be occupied at all? I could drive myself crazy just by thinking that I have nothing to think about. Not that my thoughts are so wonderfully profound, but if I'm not constantly entertained inside my head about what am doing, I'll start looking like a peaked egg. And then I'll get antsy, irritable, and BP-prone all over again. Such a grouch, such a rise and roar.
We have these big pillars in office with rakshasas and devas and kings and queens and other such fabulous beings painted on them. The pillar in my division has a white Rana Pratap on his horse, several Chinese men looking at one Chinese man on a ship, and a pleasant, lilac rakshasa who looks like he's about to say something. Ambiance-wise, I can hardly complain. This is as good as it gets.
I like my job profile, too. I write stories, answer emails of children who have doubts about Abhinav Bindra, inject my feminist propaganda in the Ramayana [Dasaratha wanted a son- Dasaratha wanted a child], reject other people's stories, purge stereotypes feeling all superior[the wise Brahmin said to the ugly dark rakshasi- the wise man said to the rakshasi], and call for meetings to make myself feel important. Nothing to whine about, honestly. I get Saturday-Sunday off, pori and jaggery after office puja on Fridays, sweets for festivals, and a Press card which makes me look respectable. It's definitely way better than what my other jobs were like...and yet, I can't help thinking why on earth people have to do this.
Sure, I've graduated from big plastic lunch baskets to Tupperware. Now, I don't have to run to the AV room to find out the score. I can refresh the rediff scorecard in between checking my gmail and office mail for the nth time. I don't have to pretend-listen stuck on a chair anymore, I can pretend-work instead. I used to wear uniform to school every day, now I wear these five battered kurtas over and over again because it's just tiresome deciding what to wear to work. And all those terrifically boring speeches you were made to listen to in school, why you hardly miss them when you have office meetings. In RGNIID, people used to fight viciously over who should sit where on the bus...we used to do that on the school bus with a lot more kindness involved. I think the word 'grown-up' just means someone who does the same things as kids do without getting the same amount of joy out of it.
This kid next door came to my house the other day. She's tubby with a big mass of curly hair and at any point in time, has two big dhristi pottus on her face (one on her forehead and one near her mouth). She came and sat on the teapoy and ate the three bananas my mum gave her. Then she said she wanted to watch JEDDIX channel. So I switched it on and this crazy Ben10 show was going on and I was getting really bored. So I changed the channel and she went on chanting JEDDIX JEDDIX in a slow, purposeful, focussed way. I find that hysterically funny even now. Her and her bananas and her JEDDIX. So this whole week, I've been telling everyone I know "JEDDIX". I feel a lot happier.