Sunday, July 11, 2010
How witty would these kids have to be? What kind of nursery classes would they have? Can't resist imagining a scenario.
Teacher: Ok, test for today. Pay attention, children. Ramu, stop picking your nose and smearing snot on Dipu's shirt. Right. Here's the assignment. "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water." Come up with something witty to finish the rhyme.
Ramu: "God knows what they did up there. They came back with a daughter"
Teacher: That is like seven centuries old. Come up with something original or I'll give you an 'F'.
Ramu: er... "Hope you're on the pill, said Jack to Jill, you're looking way, way, hotter"
Teacher: Gosh! Who told you all this! You're supposed to be a nursery student. Boys and girls, please, no innuendo, sex, vulgarity, obscenity. And the meter is all off anyway. Ok, one more try
Ramu: "They grabbed some land and settled down there. They're classified now as 'squatters'"
Teacher: Oh, I suppose that'll have to do. Original but ho-hum. You get a 'B'. Ok, Dipu, you next.
And so the class would wear on. I'm sure the parents would have their work cut out with a witty kid or two in the house. "have you had your bath?" mom would ask. "Why, whose bath should I have?" the child would retort.
All this was happening when I was driving younger son to school.
"Why are you giggling, Annie?" he asked, with concern, because one of his prime worries, one he shares with his mother and elder brother, is that one of these days, I will go around the bend. They don't get the subtlety of my thought processes, apparently.
I told him what I was thinking. How quaint it would be to have a school which taught just one thing - wittiness. And the Jack and Jill thing.
His brow furrowed, as I had suspected.
"Annie, that is so not witty"
'What's not witty"
"That squatters thing. First of all, water and squatters don't rhyme"
"Ok then YOU come up with something better" I told the upstart.
"How about 'Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jill turned round and ran away But jack chased hard and caught her'"
"That's supposed to be witty?" I was indignant. People who reprimand other people for not being witty should be demonstrably wittier, no?
"Atleast it rhymes. I'll tell you something witty. See those guys on the scaffolding? There, on the building to your right"
He was pointing out to a building getting repainted.
"Vyaas was saying that those guys must be sinners, because they are re-painting".
I confess I didn't get it straight off the bat, but when I did, I had to concede that it WAS wittier than anything I had come up with. Anyway, Gautham had already considered the argument settled in his favor. He adjusted his music for the morn, a scream-fest from some metal band called Lamb of God or something, to jet-engine-decibel levels, discouraging further discussion.
I let it pass. I would have anyway, even without having some faceless punk American teenager with a grouse against society ranting obscenely through my music sustem. Because, for the last few days, I have been mother AND father to the lads, the missus having gone for a few days to Bangalore.
The strain is showing on them.
And on me.
I have to wake up at 6 in the morning and fix them breakfast, a chore I am not designed to do flawlessly. In the last four days, I have burned my finger thrice, broken two cups of sentimental value, made an omelette with zero salt one day, made an omelette with twice the normal salt the other and dropped the lad late to school every single time.
I'm missing the missus terribly. I keep telling her so over the phone. Stuff like "I miss your touch. Your cheerful smile. Your twinkling eyes." You know the drill. But the missus is worldly-wise and since gets the jolly status reports every day from the lads, I suspect she doesn't believe my earnestness. I can almost see her smirking, actually. She's coming back this evening and I'm betting she will be at her jolliest and wittiest. Many jokes will be cracked at my expense.
But I won't have to fix breakfast. As far as I'm concerned, that puts the thing firmly on the right side of the balance sheet.