Thursday, September 22, 2011

Professor Masturbation

Believe it or not, my first lesson in college life was on the subject of masturbation. Quite literally. The person preaching this singular sermon was none other than my talented roommate who, for obvious reasons, shall henceforth be respectfully referred to as Professor Masturbation (or Professor Saab or other such dignified titles). Perhaps I am supposed to elaborate. Where did it all begin?

Those Eyes! Those Eyes!

On a stifling August night, we had lain in the darkness of our respective beds, trying to escape the infamous ragging at the hands of our zealous seniors. It was rumoured that once the shadows lengthened, they prowled the corridors in search of hapless victims who could not (and would not) get their pronunciation right. The halogen lamp on the terrace of the opposite hostel had thought it prudent to announce its doleful presence in our lives through a rectangular block of light on my wall. It was under such a circumstance that the Professor had explained to me his outlook on Life, the Nipples, and Everything by means of a discourse on the more familiar subject of masturbation. My silence spoke volumes about my ignorance and I had basked in the wisdom of his erudite scholarship, occasionally disrupting the flow of his speech for answers that had so far obstinately eluded me. Thus began an association which would have long been relegated to some insignificant slice of spacetime had it not been for my inherent ability to ignore everything substantial in life and his capacity to fend off attacks that sought to bring his honoured name into disrepute.

Contrary to expectations, this tribute – my humble offering to a great mind – is not going to progress chronologically for such formalities are the sole reserve of the unimaginative. It shall, in a manner befitting its subject, dwell solely on the charismatic aspects of a personality which eclipsed everything else (or at least made an effort to) competing with it. Now that the mandatory disclaimer has been suitably dealt with and the necessary bhoomika built, let me see what I can remember.

Professor Saab and Me: Sharing a light moment.

Professor Saab is, in the opinion of all involved, not only very wise but extremely good looking as well. I.C. Balu chronicles that on the first day of the Professor’s college life there were no less than twenty six reported cases of babes fainting at the very sight of him. Such is the nature of his Greek-God looks. As Balu aptly surmises, Saab is a “lethal roll of dynamite”. Things were not always this rosy and perfect. In his teenage years, the Professor had been a gawky geek, who could only be described as plumb, cuddly, and cute, with a fondness for the Earthly sport of cricket. He was uncouth, abusive, abrasive, and quite a character. A chance bout of pneumonia and a near-death experience, however, forever turned the tide in his favour. Never since has he looked back.

The fact that he is afflicted by the curse of vanity does nothing to cast a shadow on his charm. Indeed, he almost makes a virtue out of it. Many a lovely maiden have cast a disdainful look in his direction because of his pride and his unapologetic attitude about it. This unadulterated beauty, this perfect narcissism thus for some time served the purpose of shielding him from the all the dazzling beauties in our slice of spacetime. But soon these very damsels were won over by his scholarship, diligence, and ‘sense of humour’. Once word got out, each and every one of them was dying to grab a piece of him. Our Saab, though, is a man of honour. He maintains that only true love can stake claim to his affections. Such wonderful ideals, I tell you!

It is unfortunate, therefore, that the Professor has so far been unable to find love in his life, leave alone the love of his life. His disappointment is evident, desperately making an effort to hide behind his smiles and his cheerful demeanour. But I know that what sadness stirs his heart at night. In his weaker moments, he daydreams that a girl will serenade him one fine evening. She will smell nice, be well endowed as far as breasts and butts are concerned (34B or 34C – 26 – 34), kiss him on the lips, and fall so hopelessly in love with him that his mere existence will provide her with all the comfort in the world. I know all this because I have been at the receiving end of such leaps of fancy. And ever since I was jolted out of my own daydreams by the undeniable verities of life, I have refused to partake of such fruitless labour. I merely listen in silence, hmm from time to time, and pray to This-God-Person for granting him the happiness that he has so viciously denied to me.

It is said that some prophecies have a tendency to fulfil themselves. I would like to think that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of one. During the early days of our camaraderie, I followed Professor Saab like a lost puppy. He would guide me to the lecture theatres that seemed to shift in space every single day of the week, thanks to the weird principles of quantum mechanics. We would religiously share our lunch and dinner, our appetites too stunted by the workload to dwell on such insignificant subjects like food. And we would spend our evenings staring at the rectangular block of light on my wall – a regular fixture in those days of translucent curtains – and talking about, well, Life, the Nipples, and Everything. It is thus not inconceivable to imagine why some sadistic gossip began to gain ground. We, poor friends, were branded as Miyan and Biwi – it still being unclear who was the Miyan and who the Biwi. The Professor dealt with such tittle-tattle in his inimitable style and with time the malicious slander died out. But the seeds of love that it had sown in our young hearts continue to blossom even today. Though I have grown a lot wiser and attuned to the ways of this wicked world, Professor Saab still insists on professing his undying love for me. I blush every time.

Saab and Me: Thoda contemplation ho jaaye!

Often, it appears that Saab is a reincarnation of some Jane Austen character, pruned at just the right places to fit into contemporary Indian society. He is extremely devoted to his parents, makes no bones about his rustic cultural heritage, and does not have a single truant bone in his body. He is the ideal student who values hard work more than everything else and does not wince like a baby (or me) when his efforts are not rewarded generously. He takes the good and the bad in his stride. Though he is known to shed his suave and refined persona to talk about such subjects as hagga, tatti, and copulation, these instances are far and few between and are more than made up for by his umpteen virtues. He is a matchmaker’s delight if ever there was one. He is not only self-righteous, but also incorruptible. Here’s why.

During our formative years, I.C. Balu and I were ardent champions of the Coca Cola generation. We listened to Pink Floyd, read Upamanyu Chatterjee, and drooled over Kubrick. But no matter how much I tried, my exhortations refused to have any effect on Saab. It was as if though we shared space and time, we did not belong to the same universe. He sometimes listened to me, rarely followed my advice, and almost always did his own bidding. Unfortunately, the same can be said about his overall effect on me. So though I lived in the shadow of such a great personality, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy reincarnate, I failed to learn anything worthwhile from him. But such misfortune is entirely due to my own insufficiencies and does not reflect poorly on Saab.

In this long and eventful association, there are two episodes that somewhat overshadow the rest of the lot quite unabashedly. The first one, which I have christened SIDH for convenience, took place after the first year of college. Bound by regulation and cast ashore together in a remote village in the Himalayas, Saab and I went on long walks through the lush countryside and shared afternoon siestas under a mango tree. I would lie awake at night, writing juvenile poems, while he would be his enigmatic self – reading, writing, staring blankly, or just wondering why I was wasting my time on verse. And while he would entertain the teachers in our school, I would lecture them on the finer points of Science and Mathematics. It was quite a jugalbandi. Though we returned to civilisation and waxed eloquent about its benefits, we never stopped reminiscing about those perfect days when solitude did not mean loneliness.

The second episode, or Orange Dates, has a special place in my heart because of being symbolic of the nature of my relationship with Saab. Trust me, despite the tone of this essay, we have had our ups and downs and a particularly long period of down towards the end of our time in college threatened to engulf everything beautiful we had ever shared. Then one day, out of the blue, Saab enquires of me – “Is there a problem?”. Of course, since there was no problem to begin with, the entire interlude of strained conversations was quickly forgotten by both of us. Thence commenced weekly trips to a nearby restaurant where, over mouthfuls of a particularly delectable sandwich, I regaled Saab with my non-existent future plans, half cooked existentialism, and tragic love affairs while he pledged his blind support in all my harebrained schemes. Such is his magnanimity.

When Saab meant Sexy : )

I have on several occasions been flummoxed by the Professor’s out of context monosyllabic or one-word comments and remarks. Only yesterday, he had thought it wise to call me ‘chichhora’. Why he would do so is, quite honestly, beyond me. After nearly 6 years of half-understood responses, I have stopped trying to make sense of them. Perhaps, my limited wisdom prevents me from understanding the hidden connotations. In my foolish ignorance, I rant and rave against this injustice, instead of humbling accepting it as a fact of life, and have been known to become grumpy and taciturn then. Saab politely pleads and cajoles until I am my usual self once more, waiting for the cycle to start all over again. We have our roles cut out and both of us play our parts to near perfection.

This is where things stand today. To say I have learnt a lot from Professor Saab would be incorrect. I am incorrigible enough to learn from no one and none of my mistakes. But through his eyes I have seen what life can be and perhaps should be. In my conceited world, where romanticism is more essential than reality, that is often more than enough.

So long, and thanks for all the love.


  1. :P

    tum to sab bol diye. even figure bhi. tum ... mat bolo

    and it was decided (and finalized) that you are the biwi. forgot? haan. you ghajini!!

    and about one words. dekho. simple rakho. jo bhi main bolun, tum chaddha (ya koi bhi, even IC Balu) se confirm karo whether i am right or wrong. abhi mail karke poochho sabse ki calling you chhichhora was right or wrong :-\

    post name :x :x ... yellow yellow old and dirty fellow

  2. Oh, fuck off. Leave me alone.

  3. Pertains to a certain Orange restaurant in InfoCity. We used to go there almost regularly.

  4. @ Marvin: Ainnnn ... ::like Gru's mother::

    @PDD: abey orange restaurant. bhakosoon

  5. Pehli baar koi post mujhe samajh aayi hai :P Ya to ye 'Saab' ka jaadu hai.. ya u describe things really well !! :P
    "Professor Saab is, in the opinion of all involved, not only very wise but extremely good looking as well." agreed !! ;)

  6. O bhaisaab!!!
    @above comment
    there was this comment... and then saab lived in peace. forever ;)

  7. Main kya bolun? Sab Saab ki maya hai. Hum to bas zariya hain.