I speak today of a tried and tested boredom-combat technique which is used to its fullest by militant student unions around the country. It is much less prevalent in Chennai, as opposed to strike patterns observed in certain other states where a strike is more the rule than the exception.
We, on the other hand, being members of a highly disciplined student body, do not believe in going on strike more than once a year.
Its timing, precision and planning make it more an annual picnic where we spend a few hours sunning ourselves on the college lawns which, according to some, were designed explicitly for that purpose.
I shall, being a veteran of three strikes, provide interested students with pointers on how to go on a strike and how to stay prepared for any contingency.
1. The author is a certified lunatic and mental institutions around the world vie with each other to get him admitted to their respective asylums. Therefore, anyone taking anything that he ever says seriously runs the risk of being locked up in a padded cell for a considerable amount of time.
2. If any student is suspended, flogged, impaled or sent to labour camps in Siberia as a direct/indirect result of following these pointers, the author is in no way responsible
3. If the author is sued under POTA, sedition or some new law he hasn’t heard of yet, he would like to assert that it was all the ISI and Musharaff’s doing.(If not, it was the CIA)
And you thought only cigarette packets carried statutory warnings! But as Siddhu’s first law on the war on the boredom [SID95, MIT] states –
Anything that is fun is dangerous and must carry statutory warnings. These include everything from watching WWE to attempting to do a Schumacher in Chennai traffic with a Maruti 800 made of Aluminium foil.
So, without further ado, I shall put forth these statutory warnings:
1. Please check how brutally or liberally your college would treat strikers. If you are an unfortunate student of these dotheboy halls where they impart engineering education these days, please don’t attempt anything of the sort. (Unless you want to sun yourself while kneeling down outside the Principal’s office for fifteen days, and bankrupt your parents as well). In such a case, restrict yourself to such acts of daredevilry – like daring to talk to a girl or wearing pants without cleats – which will result in relatively lenient punishments like being caned by the Chairman.
2. In more normal institutions, attempting to avoid participating in a strike could actually turn out to be much more dangerous than being the life and soul of it. For more information, contact your local college bully.
The Five commandments of a striker
With the statutory warnings done away with, I think it’s time to list the five commandments on how to go on strike and how not to get BORED when striking. (For the benefit of the curious, there are five because I couldn’t think of any more.)
1. Thou shalt not attempt to sneak out of class into labs when thy student leader hast called a strike-
This is a commandment, which makes sense, apart from being the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. The student leaders and their minions are, as a rule, not people to upset or annoy. That’s because they don’t retreat to a corner and cry foul when every student runs to the lab instead of the lawn. They haff methods, so to speak, of making you walk out. And those methods are not particularly pleasant and involve a certain amount of manhandling as well.
2. Thou shalt not adhere to a lecturer’s requests to sit in class during a strike, even if he offers thou the last five minutes of his class to strike to thy heart’s content
Nothing much to be said about this commandment, except that one of our lecturers actually made us the offer. Offshoot – the entire class which was vacillating till that moment decided to walk out en masse, leaving him alone holding a piece of chalk and the attendance book. (Rumour goes that he actually taught the empty classroom the instruction set of the 8086 and went on to take attendance, dutifully listing the names to the walls– ‘just in case the principal comes on his rounds, no?’)
3. Thou shalt identify in advance the possible days for a strike
College is the Al-Qaeda of the war on boredom. The only day when one will not be tortured by pangs of boredom is when there is a strike. Therefore, being a dutiful footsoldier of the war on boredom, you should always pay attention to the rumour mill. You can always get some information on the next strike so that you can actually ‘live a strike’.
4. Thou shalt cometh prepared for the strike, otherwise thou shalt suffer from boredom during the strike.
If you follow Commandment 3 like a dutiful practitioner should, you should have no problem preparing for the strike. Strikes, especially in normally disciplined colleges like mine, have all the hallmarks of a garden party. But without entertainment, even this can turn boring. Therefore, as a reveller, one must carry with oneself the following essentials:
a. Two packets of potato chips
b. One 2 litre bottle of 7 – up. The sceptics among you may scoff at my specifically mentioning 7-up, as the drink of choice. That’s ‘cause 7-up looks like water and so it is unlikely that unprepared revellers will attempt to join the party. Besides, I like Fido Dido…
c. One MP3 Player/Discman/Walkman with detachable head phones (in case somebody else wants to listen to the music as well)
d. A musical instrument (optional – applies to musicians only – and definitely not to those who think they are John Lennon reincarnated)
e. A pack of cards to play with when one debates the reasons behind the strike with one’s friends
f. If one is more adventurous than most, one can carry along with one a little bottle of the blushed hippocrene – something which goes very well with 7-Up! But, of course, under the influence of this stimulant, one may partake more actively in the strike than one may in other circumstances when one is less high.
5. If thou faileth to follow the aforementioned commandments, thou shalt be deemed to have sinned.
-General Siddhu Warrier
Commanding Officer, War on Boredom