Life has its own ways of putting the mediocre in their place. The odd Devarshi Patel apart, we are all shown our respective places on the social ladder so often that we accept them without a whimper. The kiwi doesn’t fritter away its good karma praying for flight. The crow doesn’t spend all its life cursing its Creator for the voice He had bestowed it with. The Scousers don’t weep all day over the fact that they’ve won just about nothing in the last two decades. One way or another, we reconcile ourselves to the fact that we suck. To varying degrees, of course.
Then again, there are a good many who live a life denial, merely to feel better about themselves. The image of John O’ Shea hopefully eyeing every single free kick comes to mind. Defiance is one thing; delusion of glory quite another.
It’s been an awfully chilly month and the weather’s put paid to all my hopes of making a good first impression on the men in front of the blackboard. It isn’t my fault, you see- the soporific effects of winters are well-documented. Never one to throw in the towel, I have been working that extra bit harder for the spotlight, however big a nuisance Lady Slumber made of herself.
It was a deceptively banal Friday afternoon and I was one tutorial away from a long-awaited weekend. The Journeyman, whose reputation as a tyrant preceded his pot-bellied self, arrived sooner than we’d expected and turned Room 311A into what seemed like Modern India’s answer to Auschwitz. Sparing myself the drudgery of solving the worksheet didn’t help a great deal either. The situation was growing grimmer by the moment. I had to separate myself from the DANPARC-clad masses and time was fast running out.
I didn’t have to wait too long though. “Why is an asynchronous machine known so?” bellowed the Journeyman. The discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, Buddha's enlightenment, the fall of the WTC, the manufacture of the first Snickers bar - there are some moments in history that the world will never forget- moments when the destiny of the world would literally change courses. This was one of those moments. Twenty pairs of eyes stared in collective disbelief. The waves in the faraway sea ebbed for a fleeting moment. The frigid January breeze paused. A hand had been raised. A voice long-suppressed was asking to be heard. It was mine.
I strung together a reply laced with every single bit of technical jargon I was aware of. The impossible had just happened. The Journeyman had been silenced. Staggering, he exclaimed, “Dela, you’re the man.” That, at least, was how I’d pictured it in my mind. Truth, as always, wasn’t only stranger but harsher too.
“Utter rubbish”, he exclaimed with an expression that wasn’t unbeknownst to me. He seemed to want to add to that, when, thankfully, She Who Must Not Be Named interrupted. “Sir, the actual reason is that *random electrical funda goes here*.”
Cristiano Ronaldo lines up a long free kick. Two yards away, John O’Shea watches on in mute envy.