Wednesday, May 16, 2007

IDES OF MAY


The month of May is extremely important in the calendar of a visiting faculty. I have just finished with all the corrections; papers have been returned and grades have been submitted. Now I twiddle my thumbs waiting for the payments to arrive. This is also the month of glorious uncertainties. I do not know where and what I will be teaching for the next academic year. If the institutes that I visited in the last year get to appoint a permanent faculty in my area, then you have to move on. That’s what makes my position pretty vulnerable. Things become clear only towards the end of the month.

Dwelling on the topic of answer papers, there are two aspects that have always drawn my attention:

1. When in doubt, bullshit!

2. Write illegibly, nobody will try reading the drivel!

So it is with some students. Possibly it is the ‘University Syndrome’ that afflicts them. The answers have no connection with the question asked; but since some energy and time is expended the student expects some marks! Then there are some on whom the adage ‘Handwriting speaks of character’, is lost. The scrawl is illegible. With great difficulty one has to wade through the drivel. I haven’t been able to say for sure whether it is done with an ulterior purpose. Mind you, these very same students can write neatly if they want to. I am looking forward to reading a love note in their hand or a letter written to their father asking for more money to spend!

May is also the warmest month of the year if you are living on the west coast of India. It gets very warm and humid; and as the humidity increases it rains to the accompaniment of thunder, lightning and gales. But the next day it tends to be even warmer. Then we have the unscheduled power cuts. The electricity supply tends to be so erratic that a few expletives, in praise of the nerds at the helm of affairs in the electricity department, do escape my lips. And then there are the water shortages. Mangalore was without water for the first 2 days of May.

Then there are the mangoes; the saving grace in an otherwise scorching month.

They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and taste. Got to go now; nice sweet mangoes beckon. Until next time; take care and be good!