Professor Rudrappa (name not changed) was our Mathematics professor, but how wrong we were! He was in fact our Matho-English Professor, for he was not only good at Math, but also English. Or should I say Kanglish? – A mixture of Kannada and English. Nevertheless, we improved our language in his company.
He was also the warden of Boys’ Hostel. Being a strict and responsible person he once randomly chose a first year students’ room in the hostel at eight in the evening, on the first day of college. Upon making a heroic entry into the room he asked the boys their good names: Ramesh, Shashank and Praveen. He gave them some sage advice, like he did every year, and took their leave.
The next day in the class, to his surprise and also the boy’s, Praveen was in his class. He recognized the boy from his previous day’s encounter and nodded at him, as if telling, “I’m watching you.” Well, the class got over, and so did the college, a couple of hours later.
That evening Professor Rudr went to the same room at the same time, only to realize that Praveen, his humble student, was missing. Upon asking, his roomies told him that he had gone out. Professor Rudr made a mental note of it.
The next day in the class, while the attendance was being taken, our poor Praveen was sitting silently, waiting for his name to be called. But what he didn’t know then was that he’d be going down in the history of Professor Rudr’s histrionics.
A moment later his name was called and he promptly said, “Present, Sir.” Everything was all right till now. And then the bomb was dropped!
Our dear Matho-English Professor asked Praveen regarding his absence from his room the previous evening, “What Praveen? I come to your room yesterday. You only come for first night and don’t come for second night. This is bad. Why is that? Where are you?”
Needless to say, the entire class was in fits of laughter. And none stopped laughing for the next ten minutes. This reminds me of one thing. When Swami Vivekananda said, “Brothers and sisters of America,” the whole crowd clapped continuously for two minutes. And now, when Professor Rudr said those beautiful words, the whole class laughed continuously for ten minutes. Tell me, tell me, who’s greater?
Well, it was just the beginning.
He was taking class on a boring afternoon and we dudes were talking. The Professor noticed us and said, pointing to one boy in particular, “Hey, you. Stand up, I say.”
A boy in the third bench stood up and asked, “Me, sir?”
Our English Pundit said, gesticulating, “Not me. Behind me.”
The class roared with laughter. During that particular moment, our College Principal passed through the corridor. Professor Rudr dear was quick to add “Shhh… Don’t make sounds. Principal just passed away.”
And the sound of our laughter soared higher and higher.
Diwali came and we had holidays for three days, starting from the next day. That evening, after college, my two friends and I met with our Professor in the parking area. We lovingly said, “Happy Diwali, sir.”
To which he lovingly replied, “Vice versa.”
We really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So we didn’t do anything.
He hadn’t taken class the previous day. On the present day, soon after taking attendance, he said, “I can’t come to class yesterday, because I was went to mud-making.” After that he carried on with his lecture.
His bad grammar didn’t amuse us that much, as we’d already got accustomed to it. But one thing that haunted us like never before was the term he used, ‘mud-making’. We scratched our heads, we scratched our chests, but we couldn’t figure out the meaning of this new phrase. We couldn’t even concentrate on the lecture, for our minds were occupied with ‘mud-making’.
After about an hour, when the professor was gone, one of my friends shouted at the top of his voice, “Eureka, eureka, eureka!”
He was now being surrounded by six or seven of us. He was beaming with pride. He kept smiling. I tapped his head and said, “Are you going to say anything?”
“Dudes, do you know what he meant by ‘mud-making’?”
None of us answered.
He said, “He meant funeral, dudes, funeral. You know, the ceremony of burying the body in the ground, and performing one’s last rites.”
Some boys pulled their hair, and some fainted.
Our loving Professor had effectively translated the Kannada euphemism for funeral and told us – ‘mud-making’.
I was sitting next to the window in the class one day, and it was unbearably hot. I had just taken my seat, and the windows were still closed. Professor Rudr told me as soon he entered the class, “Karthik, open the windows, please. Let the air-force come in.”
Ah, was I amazed?!
This was still ok to a certain extent. But on another day, he said to a girl, who was sitting next to the window. He didn’t say air-force this time, but simply said, “Archana, please open the top.” The postfix was dropped.
A few boys and two girls had not done their assignment, and they were all made to stand up. He didn’t say much to boys, as he perfectly knew it was useless. But what angered him was the fact that even girls had failed to write the assignments.
The girls were standing, with their heads down.
He said, “Look at you. Shameless girls. Why you didn’t did assignments, I say?”
“Sir, I had been to …” started one girl.
“Don’t give me reasons. Boys are always like this, I know. But what happened to you? I have seen many girls in my life, including my daughters, who are also girls. But I have never seen girls like you two.”
The girls couldn’t control their emotions and started laughing hysterically. It angered him very much.
“Pack your luggage and get out of my class,” he cried.
“You are still laughing? Get out. No attendance for you today.”
The girls silently packed their bags and headed towards the door.
“And one more thing,” the Professor said, “I know what you will do outside. I have seen you many times understanding the tree and talking. If I see you understanding the tree again, I will never enter you in my class.”
The girls didn’t say anything, for all they wanted to do was go outside and laugh. They simply said, “Yes, sir,” and scuttled away.
Professor Rudr had done it once again.
A few hostel boys complained the Professor-cum-warden that the hostel food was not all right, as they had found some minute stone particles in rice. ‘Stones’ was the term used in Kannada.
The Professor took it to his heart and decided to taste the food himself. So he sat with some boys in the dining hall, for lunch. The food was served, but unfortunately he didn’t find anything wrong with the food.
He finished his lunch, stood up from his place, and asked everyone in the dining hall, at the top of his voice, “Did anybody found rocks in rice?”
Some laughed hard, some sniggered, some banged their heads against the table, and some looked flummoxed. But whatever they did, they didn’t answer the question, as they thought that consuming ‘rocks’ along with rice was better than consuming Professor Rudr’s English.
Such was the beauty of his language!
Hope you all yanjaaayed.
Copyright © Karthik 2010