Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The AH Chronicles Resume: Back To Work

After a long hiatus, I finally called up my boss. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, he went like, ‘So, what’s the plan now?’

I thought, er, I didn’t call you to just update you with mundane details of my university life, you know.

‘Um, I want to join again!’ I piped up in my best enthusiastic voice.

I guess he bought that, because I was told that I could join straightaway.

I was all pumped up on the following Tuesday. To say that I was in the seventh heaven of delight would be an exaggeration. No, I was more than elated at the prospect of lukewarm green tea (just because Miss chai nahin peeteen), a tiled floor that would make me slip no matter what sandals I wore, and hordes of weirdos who would offend me with their grammar as much as their greasy hair.

As I stepped in, an echo of greetings surrounded me.
I closed my eyes and braced myself for the warm, halo-like feeling to envelop me.

It never came.

The background sound effect of blowing streamers died down in my head.

Apparently Sir had forgotten to tell them that I’d be coming back. Hmph.

The people at the reception looked at me confusedly. A kind of ‘yes we are happy that you are here but why’ kind of confused. Some asked my sis in hushed tones ‘Why is she here today?’

I rolled my eyes. So much for the cake, gazillion candles, and welcome back banner I was expecting. Just a ‘surprise!’, and that too, on their part. I cleared my throat and declared pompously. ‘I’ll be coming regularly from now on.’

They smiled in recognition as it finally dawned upon them.

How anticlimactic. Sniff.

My bitchy teacher radar seemed to not function for a number of classes. I guess my elated self was so busy savouring the usual sights (men with hairy legs) and smells ( cheap perfume and rancid ones emanating from food stains on shirts) that I conveniently ignored the dumb grammatical interpretations of some students. Apart from this one student. Who I wouldn’t have barked at, except that he had a test the very next day.


Whenever we start off with basic grammar, I always drill two things into my students’ heads. Identify the subject first. And then the verb. Sometimes you can use the verb to figure out the subject too.

This kid winced in concentration. After an eternity of letting these two statements swish around in his head, he finally grunted ‘What?’

I ground my teeth in agitation. ‘You figure out what the subject is. Do you know what a subject is?’

‘Um, yeah....’ he fumbled, staring at the sentence as if the subject would pop up and hit him in the eye.

Unfortunately, we don’t use pop-up books to teach kids, which is like, so kindergarden-ish.

‘A subject is a noun,’ I offered , wavering in a moment of pity. A rare moment of pity.

‘Oh yes, a noun,’ he smiled weakly. But I wasn’t about to let him go that easily.

‘Yes, so what’s a noun then?’ I pressed smoothly, splaying my fingers on the table. Just so that he could see my razor sharp fingernails.

He gulped. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead and threatened to trickle down.

‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing!’ I fumed. ‘Haven’t you ever played that?’

I think I’m the only nerdy person ever to have recognized that that game we used to play during classes in school was actually a learning technique, aimed at increasing our ability to recall nouns.

‘Oh yes, I remember,’ he squeaked, and scanned the sentence hurriedly. He identified the subject correctly then.

Little did he know that I was just warming up.

‘What’s a verb?’

There was dead silence.

The other students were looking over to see if he would recognize the verb, or bear the fury of my Wolverine-ish nails. The fact that I had around fifteen people as spectators to witness this spectacle drove terror into the poor kid’s heart.

‘It’s....it’s....it’s a word that can be used in place of a noun,’ he blurted out, in a span of less than three seconds.

No, dude. After two handouts and a gazillion questions of Usage and Sentence Correction, you do not parrot things that you learnt in a stupid tenth grade English class. And that too, the wrong definition.

I raised an eyebrow. ‘No. That’s a PRONOUN.’

The onlookers watched with bated breath.

Incidentally, I decided to be as anticlimactic as my reception half an hour ago and muttered dully ‘It’s the action being performed by the subject, kid. How many times do I have to tell you?’

He sighed, and a tremor of ease spread into my little audience.

‘So, now that you know what a verb is, what’s the verb in this sentence?’

The words hung tremulously in the air. The audience let out audible gasps.

The kid squirmed. No matter how many times he pored over the sentence, scrunched up his eyes or rotated the sheet of paper to see if it made sense upside down, he could not figure out the verb.

I ran my nails down the pencil I was holding. Curly shavings of wood peeled away from it.

And then finally, with some sudden burst of epiphany, he figured out the answer.

‘It’s this!’ he cried out triumphantly, jabbing at the verb with his pencil.

The audience broke out into smiles and applause.

I scowled. ‘Good. Now remember that for the next twenty-four hours.’

I shot him one last look of pure venom and stalked off haughtily. After that, I’m pretty sure that he’s never going to forget the difference between a noun and a verb. Mission accomplished, the bitchy way.



H.G. said...

*likes it* :)

H.G. said...

*likes it* :)

Maryam said...

Haha, you can click on the facebook like, you know :P

The One and Only Roxie said...

One of the 7th graders in my program asked me what a noun was. I had to walk away to keep from smacking him in the head. O.o

Palwasha N. Minhas said...

You captured the situation so well that the reader can feel the nails running down the pencil making that annoying noise. Heh.

The bestest thing about your ishtories is that I can see them, in glorious technicolor. :O

It's not fair for one person to be able to write this well all the time.

Bilal Saeed said...

who was this bechara? :P

Maryam said...

Chala gaya woh. Was giving some KU type test.

Alpha Za said...

so...did the kid fail?

Huck Towel said...

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Anonymous said...

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