I’ve learnt the
least common denominator of a common normal human being is a good joke.With the prefix ‘good’ being ‘yourself’.
So I pepper my speeches
with an overdose of my fallacies and even those of my family’s and colleagues’.
In fact, my local club is so familiar with the people whom I sit, eat, sleep and
work with, that they guess my protagonist before I could even gesture.
Recalling one such incident
Here’s a pick
from my first workplace that I’ve recounted several times over…
The first editor
whom I worked with [am too modestly averse to use the cliché - ‘whom I had the
privilege to work with…’]. And trust me, I don’t fool my readers. That’sagainst my salt.
Well, he was a
gentleman, nevertheless. Always marching in on polished black pointed shoes, thick
rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose, wearing full-sleeved striped shirt
and thigh-hugging trousers. Now, that’s something I’m in the process of
understanding. Why do men flaunt their figures? Check this space, I’m nearing the secret.
Okay, getting to
the man, he wasn’t that gentle ‘cos his pet peeve was to teach me English
grammar, with a pencil, cigarette stick and coffee cup.
I’ve lost the
number of times he tapped the burning stick on my story to explain a compound
adjective. The complexity of the term would be lost on me while I gaped at how
his hooded eyes protected the pencil end from rupturing his eyeballs as he
drained the silt off the cup onto his smoky teeth.
One day, he was his
usual angry self. He wrote [I’m yet to see a man with such a beautiful
handwriting, I admit] the sentence - ‘The truck driver had a near death experience’
and asked me, puffing in his stick, “Is there a mistake in this sentence?”
As I sat recollecting
all the grammar I learnt and unlearnt, he was fast losing patience. I heard him,
stern and coarse, “Did he die?”
And my mind
raised in a totally different direction. “Need to check with the reporter.”
“You asking me to
check….” He was glaring from across the table.
“No, I mean, I’ll
do it.” I replied in all innocence.
“When did those ****
write in English? And the light blinked inside me. Meanwhile, he had lost it completely.
He began underlining the sentence. With each puff he scratched harder on the
paper. For the life of me I couldn’t think of the answer as his actions were more
gripping. He was tapping the cigarette end into the coffee cup after each puff as he held me with his burning gaze.
After a minute of
scratching and tapping and staring, he barked, “How many times do I explain
this”, and emptied the cup into his mouth.
His bushy ash-laden
moustache, set above angrily quivering lips and those blazing eyes looking for
cover was a sight to behold.
Thanks to Mr Banerjee,
I’ll never miss hyphenating a compound adjective.