Hari looked at his watch. His eyes had temporarily closed and he woke up with a jolt. It was 3.30 pm with half an hour of lecture yet to go. “Are you with me, Hari”, a loud booming voice that had been going on monotonously for the last hour or so, boomed. Dr Mishra, the owner of the monotonous drawl. All eyes were on Hari as he looked up and mumbled ‘Sorry Sir, I am a little unwell’.
Dr Mishra stared at Hari, his eyes revealing a menacing glint behind the spectacles dangling awkwardly over his nose. It was an embarrassing silence as Hari racked his brains for an answer. ‘Couldn’t sleep properly last night, Sir’.
‘You could not sleep properly or had a drink too many’, Dr Mishra’s voice boomed menacingly.
Dr Mishra was a short unkempt man with peering eyes behind those horn rimmed spectacles. He took a perverse pleasure in tearing his students apart. It was rumored that he had been having an affair with his maid and that was why his wife had left him.
‘No. No Sir, I did not drink at all last night.’ Hari Muttered meekly. ‘What was that’ Dr Mishra boomed. I did not drink last night Sir’. Hari summoned up enough courage to be audible. Hari had been drinking the night before, with his friends and had gone to sleep at 4 am.
“And who do you think you are – Dr Einstein or something”, Dr Mishra said, continuing to stare menacingly at him. ‘Which idiot allowed you admission into this college’? ‘You Sir’, Hari mentioned. ‘Are you calling me an idiot, you buffoon’, Dr Mishra yelled. The entire class burst into laughter as Dr Mishra turned pink.
‘No, No Sir, You took my interview’. ‘Then you are right. I am an idiot’, Dr Mishra said. ‘And I will correct my mistake. Let us see, how you get through my paper.”
‘Please Sir’, Hari’s eyes welled with tears. I come from a poor family. We will be ruined. ‘Then take care Young man and do not sleep – ever in my class’. ‘I will take care Sir’ said Hari, meekly wiping his tears.
‘And so, a Markov chain is a memory less process. Any outcome in a Markov Process depends only on its current state and not on its History’. Dr Mishra moved on with his lecture.
It was 4.10 pm and the next teacher was already at the door. ‘You are lucky Dr. Biswas, Dr Mishra said. ‘ I, normally do not leave my students very early.’ Mr Biswas smiled. ‘You are a kind man’, he muttered.
It was night. Dr Mishra sat in his room alone, looking at the TV. He had been watching inane programs for three hours with only whisky to keep him company. He felt lonely, very lonely. It was as if he was a machine caught up in a mechanical system. He had done his PhD thinking he would do research and come up with something path breaking. His guide had been merciless. It took him 7 years to get his degree. By that time, the grind had taken out all the fire from him. He had become just like his guide – merciless and Sadistic. He did not enjoy making students miserable. But he was so cold inside, he needed to get it out, on whosoever he could.
Back in the Hostel, Hari was with his friends cursing Dr Mishra over a round of drinks. ‘Hey Fresher, come here’, he yelled. The tables were turned. It was Hari’s time to take out his frustration. Education had become a mechanical process. It was as if he had entered this factory. He had to go through the process and the mindset and come out as a standard product. Was not education about thinking for one’s self? Something, somewhere was missing in this machine.