Monday, July 18, 2005

Dares and other techniques to embarrass yourself (or some readily available scapegoat)

These anecdotes of real-life dares performed by real people should give you an inkling of the kind of dares you can perform (and the kind of people myself and my comrades are.)

Dares to pester the teacher with-

For years, I have mulled over how lecturers manage to make topics which make such interesting reading in magazines like Chip and Digit so dull when it comes to putting chalk to blackboard.

And therefore, due to this enforced idleness, I have spent many of these aforementioned idle hours researching how a student could contribute to the fair cause of making lectures less tortuous.

And indeed, nothing livens up a boring lecture more than some student playing a prank on the lecturer as a dare.

Students who are game for a dare or two can be classified into two sub-genres –

1. The insanes–

These are the people who are ready to do anything for a lark. And thankfully for bored instigators like myself, their definition of anything really means anything! Sadly, the insanes are a dying breed and their declining numbers stand testimony to the increasing efficacy of lunatic asylums around the country.

2. The mercenaries

The mercenaries are, quite literally, mercenaries.

These are the blokes who refrain from spitting on Singaporean streets only because of the fines, and not because of Lee Kuan Yew’s efficient handling of the whip.

These are the blighters who would dance naked over a minefield in Doda if paid five rupees to perform the feat. Most people who agree to do dares are, rather unfortunately, mercenaries.

Anecdote # 1 - ‘Miss, miss, this boy, no, miss…‘ – a.k.a The Return of Gandhi

NOTE: To gain a quick introduction to Gandhi, the character who features prominently in this tome, please read my earlier post on PRANK SMSes

It was during a lecture which was breaking every contemporary record (by turning out to be the most boring ever in the long and dreary history of engineering education)
that one of my friends placed the offer on the table.

I was astounded, shocked and proud of my friend for coming up with the idea. It was an idea worthy of Gandhi, that reincarnation of Machiaveli who had repeatedly proved himself to be twice as villainous as the original (readers who have read the post where I had spoken of my tryst with being a prank SMSer will definitely agree). I told him so.

The chap seemed pleased as punch and beckoned to Gandhi who was sprawled over the last bench, snoring.

‘Dai, Gandhi…’

The snoring continued unabated.

However my friend was a rubber-band snapper of such note that he could have won India an Olympic medal in the event, if only the Olympics organizers showed enough sense to turn the ancient rubber-band snapping into an event. So, he decided that the moment was ripe to snap a rubber-band or two at Gandhi.

The rubber-band achieved what neither the monotonous drone of the lecturer nor our repeated pleas could. Gandhi snapped up, wide awake.

The lecturer looked startled as this was probably the first time she was actually seeing signs of life in Gandhi. Till that moment, she had imagined Gandhi to be a motionless mane of shaggy hair buried under the desk. Gandhi’s sudden movement moved the lecturer so much that she took it upon herself to thank Gandhi for indicating to her for the first time that he was not part of the classroom furniture.

My friend beckoned him over. Gandhi rose up groggily and walked across the classroom to where we were. Since the lecturer’s back was turned by then, she was not witness to this astonishing sign of life in the man!

My friend quickly explained his master plan to Gandhi.

‘Good… I’m proud of you, m’boy…’, said Gandhi, in a fatherly manner I found terribly patronizing.

‘Shall we do it?’, my friend asked, bouncing up and down in his eagerness.

‘Sure…go ahead. I plant firmly my seal of approval on this plan…’

‘Er… I was more like, y’know, thinking of you doing it, y’know!’, said my friend in
a rather awe-struck manner which was entirely unbecoming when he was talking to a rank swindler like Gandhi.

‘How much do I get?’, asked he.

I couldn’t stay silent any longer.

‘How the f*** can you sell yourself in this way, you &%^&!!?’, I screamed. A first bencher turned around and glared at me for disturbing her concentration with such ungentlemanly language.

‘I’ll leave being a gigolo to you. I’m a mercenary, pure and simple…’

Ignoring my guffaw that was laced with the purest brand of sarcasm, my friend forked out a twenty rupee note out of his wallet.

Gandhi viewed his (unfortunate) namesake who beamed at him beatifically from the face of the note greedily. The deal was sealed…

A few minutes later, the lecturer turned towards the class and began reflecting on the wonders of the RISC architecture. Gandhi stood up.

The lecturer stared at Gandhi, dumbfounded. A few seconds later, she collected her wits and had a pleased expression on her face. She was probably congratulating herself for weaning someone she considered a dreg of society back into the world of the living. And he was actually attempting to ask a question.

‘Yes, tell me, S&^&%&, how can I help you?’, she said rather expansively, referring to him by his given name, which had never been used by a single one of his classmates in the three years he had spent as a student - most of us preferred to savour the irony of calling the blighter Gandhi.

Gandhi stood silent, staring at her with a blank expression on his face. Then he slowly lifted his hand and pointed a finger at me. The lecturer was taken aback. She could see nothing on my person that had anything to do with RISC architectures (or other less RISCy architectures, if that came to that! ;)). She goggled like lecturers are wont to do.

Gandhi blinked a few times, stroked the abomination he pompously proclaimed was a beard, and opened his mouth.

‘Miss, miss, this boy, no, miss… I am asking him for pencil and he is instead poking me with compass miss!’

This done, he sat down, still with the same blank expression on his face.

The lecturer stared at me in disbelief, made a general plea for order during her lecture, and continued…

A few minutes later, Gandhi stood up again, his previously dazed expression giving way to a more annoyed one.

‘What?’, said she, hoping against hope that he actually had something important to state.

The hand went out again in the same direction.

‘Miss, this boy is scribbling in my Rough note book, miss. I won’t be able to write notes into fair copy tonight, miss…’

This from a bloke who was still using the same exercise book he used in his fifth standard for ‘writing’ notes in class…!

The lecturer did not say much, but threw a terrible glance in my direction.

I began to have misgivings. The lecturer did not seem to be reacting the way I had hoped she would. But Gandhi and my other friend (whom we fondly call Big Ass for obvious reasons) over-ruled my objections and proceeded with the plan. I silenced the little voice in my head that kept reminding me of what happened the last time I ignored a bad feeling.

A couple of minutes later when the lecturer was clarifying one those doubts that first benchers seem to perpetually keep asking, Gandhi leapt up screaming shrilly,

‘Miss, miss, this boy is troubling me too much, miss… he is pinching me and grabbing my pen and trying to push me, miss’

‘Get out!!!’, the teacher yelled.

Gandhi tried to look shocked and maligned, though he just succeeded in looking more like a gargoyle than he usually did.

‘Ma’am, this boy only no…?’, he said, forgetting to put his falsetto on.

Then the teacher made the most ludicrous statement that I had ever heard in my life.

‘Not you, dear… you sit down…’, and pointed her finger at me.

I was at a loss of words. All my mind could focus on was the little voice which kept yelling, ‘Machiavelli strikes again…’

She turned to me.

‘You are a total menace. I’ve been watching you torture this boy for so long. Can’t you see he’s trying to rehabilitate himself – become a good student! People like you are enemies of mankind’.

Upon giving the request to leave a little more thought, I realized it wasn’t such a bad thing after all. The canteen offered immensely greater scope for entertaining onself.

But as I stalked away, the lecturer – who had probably spent her time till the year before last teaching inky fingered first standard babies – called to my retreating self.

‘And you dirty boy, you just watch what happens to your internals this semester!’

And a few months letter, as I beheld a scoresheet which read like Ganguly’s batting average, I knew what she meant…

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