Friday, August 10, 2012



When Suman asked me this morning, “Why don’t you write about it?” I sounded “hmm…”
In London, the Svetlanas are jumping the height of close to 2 metres. Two years ago, I witnessed a similar event but a bigger spectacle! It evokes a smile every time I remember it. The venue wasn’t an open-air stadium but a cramped ‘Seminar Room’. Since that does not sound like an amphitheatre, I will furnish a little description.
The Seminar Room was a sanctum by virtue of being a reading room for us, with ‘us’ meaning the surgery post-graduates. It was a place for our seminars and hence the name. Therein, we took ‘evening classes’! It was also the place where surgery practical examinations were held. Thus, it was where many were christened with ‘passed’ tag and some unfortunate souls were sacrificed being differently labeled as ‘failed’. The rigmarole was periodic.
Its dimensions qualified the Seminar Room as ‘big’, with the wall in the west bearing a series of tall windows letting in as much light to make a photo shoot possible! So, the two huge tables that lay next to them were illuminated in the best manner during the day time. It very much suited the highly learned and presbyopic professors who used to sit around it to moderate our seminars. In front of them, there were rows of metallic chairs that were colored black in contrast to the whiteness of the photon surge, both natural, by which I mean the almost obtrusive sunlight, and artificial, represented by the three couples of tube lights under which our brains sought knowledge! A glowing display of ignorance was routine as the old men used to hem and haw about historical and linguistic details with surgical precision. One hour was too less for anything else except for tea and samosas!
To the right was the huge cup-board, the shelves of which contained formalin-filled bottles with decaying human organs of various pathologies. Hundreds of brown copy books were stacked above it. Wooden chairs and desks, one black-board, one bed, one fridge and one basin were other items that ate up space. Two air-conditioners processed the breathable air.
I will now move on to the other term in vogue, which was ‘Evening Class’! That was when we assumed the role of tutors for the undergraduates, henceforth to be called the juniors, and supposedly coached them to hone their clinical skills for all forms of practical examinations and taught them to adapt to and defeat all threats that could come from the ‘Internal’ and ‘External’ examiners! The juniors were game to the idea that we were the all-knowing breed who could conjure up success formulae in only an ‘Evening Class’! I was myself a part of the sect of believers a few years earlier when I was a junior and ardently took part in many evening classes to acquire the same mantra from my seniors.
I say ‘thumbs up’ to all easily correct guesses that the evening in question was one of ‘Evening Class’! The tube-light illuminated air-conditioned Seminar Room was the amphitheatre!
A bed-side demonstration of methods of examination of hernia preceded the lecture I was giving to my juniors as they huddled around the twin tables craning their necks towards me to listen to what I had to say in my characteristic low tone and stare at the numerous diagrams I drew in my effort to be ‘awesome’! They seemed much fatigued at the end of two hours of constant listening and thus I decided on a break. I left them to discuss possible doubts and inconsistencies! At that moment, they all looked seriously over-fed and weighed down in their seats!
Five minutes later, I was back! I opened the door slowly and thoughtfully! And then, I was startled to see many of the girls synchronously jumping from several feet high desks and landing with a single thud to the floor. Each one had a brown copy in her hand. Their eyes sparkled with triumphant joy! If I had to score it as a team event, I would give a 10.000! I remember Niki spreading her arms like a bird to decelerate the fall while fanning the brown copy to navigate those long air-borne seconds. The moment she touched the ground, she bent the elbows and the knees at complementary angles! 

The others did it as well as their team leader.

Madonna’s song:

“There is so much you can learn in one place
The more that I wait, the more time that I waste…
Are you ready to jump?
Get ready to jump!”

It was picture perfect for one moment!
Of course, there was commotion soon after because they rushed back to their seats…

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