Today morning as I came by the MRT, I saw a fellow passenger reading a book. Now, it’s pretty common to find people here reading as they travel by the MRT, they have perfected the art, without the need to hold for support, even as the super fast trains whiz by, sometimes throwing one off-balance. I guess it’s much like the way Mumbaikars finish almost all their chores while on the local! Anyway, as I was saying, I saw this girl reading a book, what caught my attention was the notes she had made in the pages. It looked like a text book of sorts, ‘coz she had underlined some sentences and written down points to explain/ elaborate on those in a neat hand; some pages even had post-its containing more detail!
That immediately reminded me of my school and college days – how we would hurry to scribble down every single word/ meaning that the teacher/ lecturer would use to explain the context and the underlying meaning of the paragraph. It was still ok in school if we missed a few since the teacher would diligently give us notes that she had prepared, but it was imperative in college that we make note of whatever we could, if we wanted to be able to recollect it in the exams.
I still remember how my Kannada text book looked in pre-university days. We’d have a couple of haLegannaDa poems/ lessons and it would be very difficult to understand those unless the lecturer explained the essence of it. My text book used to be full of such scribbles – above, below, next to each line and there wouldn’t be any space left on the page! I used to spend hours pouring over these during exam times trying to understand and remember as much as I could.
A particular memory is of Prof. Kulkarni’s classes, they were a treat! The way he would explain the poem, by taking various examples, by giving us insights into the poet’s life and circumstances in which he’d written the poem, by narrating anecdotes, giving several real-life parallels; his methods were fascinating and his talk spell-binding. We would be lost between trying to listen to his mellifluous lecture and writing down notes simultaneously. Very rarely does one find professors of his caliber, who love what they do so much that they not only enjoy doing it but also manage to make attending their class a joy for their students.
If there was one thought that made me contemplate my decision to take up an engineering course, even for a moment, it was the fact that I would never get to sit in a Prof. Kulkarni-esque Kannada-language class again 😦