Skip to main content


Apparently, suffering indescribable torments before being admitted to the dept. wasn't good enough. Either that or somebody conveniently assumed I was a masochist.

Still reeling from the fact that I was to face 10 papers for the mid term exams in a month's time (I was already a month behind, remember ?) I shakily made my way for my first class which happened to be in the lab; Anth - 110: Biological Anthropology (Practical I). It may not sound like much, but in my condition that was probably the best place to begin. For one thing, I didn't really have to speak to any one (not that that stopped a few, mind you). For another, and I'm not being morbid, there were skulls all over the place. I quietly took my place in a suitable corner.

A big chap with a tentatively curious yet friendly expression on his face stepped up and introduced himself as Gaurav. We chatted for a bit before in walked a lean, unshaven, dishevelled looking fellow in spectacles who from first appearances, seemed to have spilt half his lunch on his t-shirt. Now, over the years I've had people introduce themselves to me in a variety of ways, some polite and some not so. This fellow obviously believed that the accepted ways were for the birds because... and you have to picture this... he steps up, looks at me, looks at Gaurav, points at me and waves his hand in that classical way to ask who I was. I wasn't amused at all, but that was how I first met Shreyas. Talk about contrasts.

There were others there seated in the lab already, but I was interrupted from looking around by the arrival of the professor.

The class was all about the detailed study of the human skeletal system and my partner for the class (well, he was a person at some point in the last century anyway) was skull 16, who I named George. The Harrison of the same first name had recently passed away and I had been listening to 'Here comes the sun...', so. In the same vein, the chap with the prominent hip bones dangling in the glass case became Elvis the pelvis. Not exactly hilarious, I know but at the time, I needed all the distraction I could get. Why ? Let me explain... a guy who has just been put through the emotional wringer and a touch apprehensive to boot, does not need the professor to begin by, and I quote "Norma Verticalis. Make sure you all can see the Saggital suture, the lambda, the bregma, the parietal bones, the occipital bone... "

I lost him after the 'make sure you all can see...' and for all I knew, he could have been speaking a foreign language. Day 1 went by rather quickly after that and I went home thinking that there was a lot of catching up to do. By the end of the week, I began to wonder whether I was even in the right race, forget catching up... the feeling 'all at sea' seemed apt enough. My classmates were nice but the stuff I was learning, or for accuracy's sake, staring stupidly at, was going way over my head. Remember, anthro was a totally new subject for me. One does not coolly jump from schizophrenia to debating the emic versus etic perspective.

I was reeling... and after the Hominid Evolution class, beginning to panic... and wondering whether I had made the right decision. I needed a sign to tell me that everything was fine, that it would all work out, that there was hope.

On Friday afternoon, in the last class Shreyas leans over and in an offhand way asks "Did you know Rhesus are Old - World monkeys ?"

Black gloom descended.

Next: Of frying pans and fires


bhumika said…
oh lord! i can imagine shreyas...and elvis the pelvis!!! i think i shouldn't read your posts in office. People think i'm an insane who keeps smiling without any reason :)

i'm sure by the end of this series you'll be in a position to publish something on the lines of 5 pt someone. this one will definitely be a 10/10!

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Drink up and be somebody

Dear Reader,

History will boldly testify that your favourite blogger is usually slow on the uptake, a state of affairs that's blooming with each passing year like a reverse-Revital. "Why this self-harshness, G", you may ask? Well...

I've been doing the Bom-Pune-Bom trips for 9 years and it's taken about that long to accept that MSRTC Shivneri, still the best bus service of them all, simply cannot (or, realistically, will not) cope with 3-day weekends. Since my job profile does not allow me to plan my travel in advance on said Fridays, I land up at Dadar, view the queue of potential passengers snaking a long way from the ticket window and mentally prepare to arrive home at the hour of morning reserved for sheepish teenagers and dacoits. The Expressway doesn't help anyone's cause thanks to truck drivers spreading themselves generously across 3 lanes and clogging the Lonavala pass to a point where the traffic jam is about 3 km long. A stretch that would tak…

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …