Wednesday, November 18, 2009

dead professors

I had a strange disease.

Not to say there aren’t stranger diseases. My mother once mentioned a man who got an asthmatic attack every time he saw a cat jump over a cupboard and walk along
a carpet, another time an acquaintance claimed to have suffered from a bout of madness (the neighbours called it possession) after he took a piss on a grave. I could go on, but that would be deviating, not to mention boring (Anumitra sips on her coffee pretending oh so politely to look interested).

This is about my disease.

I kill professors.

I don’t know exactly how. It happens like this. Over 10 years ago, Ma’am B. Bobb gives our class a lecture (Class VIII C with an asbestos roof in what used to be a mad bounty hunter’s exaggerated crypt) on the moral inadequacy of theft. Seven years later, as I present an idea I stole from an intern in a client meeting, Ma’am B. Bobb dies.

Similarly, around 3 months ago, I notice a mullah sitting next to me in the airport lounge (Aeroplane crashes into WTC on a 21” colour screen, thank you Rupert Murdoch) and I go and report him to security. 2 guards walk upto him and drag him, indiscreetly, to a security kiosk. There, they strip search, humiliate and arrest him for a can of shaving foam and a razor (quite like the one in my bag).

3 years ago, Professor Deo is giving a lecture on how ethnic discrimination is malevolent to the concept of public spaces (‘take Peer to Peer software’, he says, ‘closing out a community might mean closing out an entire pool of material.’). 3 months later, at roughly 3 in the afternoon, while eating lunch at the high table, he dies. ‘His body just shut down’, said the doctor to the sister to her friend to a reporter. That was around the time I reported presumed Osama Jr. to
the cops.

Till date, I’ve killed at least 7.

And I say at least 7 because a lot more have died.

The 7 I’m sure about, I’m sure about because of Venn intersections in taught curricula and my inaptitude in the same in a real world environment.

For instance, because of the event mentioned in the above diagram, my Economic Development Professor, Mrs. Leema Prakash Mohan died.

So, in no uncertain terms, we’re talking about 7 murders.

7 complete universii destroyed.

7 sets of possibilities, tending to infinity, rubbed off the board.

Not that I’d give a damn. It was just that there was this really hot Politics Professor who taught us a sectional on Ultra Left Radicalism and wore a red lace bra, the straps of which were often visible behind her white shirt (top two buttons left undone).

I was born to graduate in English. Family, however, decided that the course was for girls and forced me into Economics. I used my instinctual understanding of the Arts to good effect, throwing around ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ in Macroeconomics, Milo Minderbender in General Equilibrium, Orwell in Systems, Beckett in Statistics and Marx in Math (I obviously mean Groucho here).

Nobody fell for it.

That is, nobody except Anumitra.

Anumitra, half French, with light grey eyes, skin as white and soft as milk, a Paris Hilton haircut that looked its best when she was naked, a frame that had found and kept its niche when she was thirteen and a bastard heavenly cocktail of marijuana and whisky as breath, was my politics professor.

The hormones had kicked in in my first tutorial with her. In the nervousl flowchart that mapped fight/flight, my adrenal gland followed the synaptic straight line to perform. If my natural talent had been singing, I would have broken into song, if it had been Math, I would have proven Bernoulli wrong (or was it Fibonacci). Given that mine was talking, I simply talked her into bed.

We’d avoid eye contact during classes and have the tutorials in her quarters on the kitchen table, in the shower or with her blindfolded and tied to her bed posts. Somewhere, between orgasm and orgasm, she unwittingly gave me a lecture on the Naxalite movement in Bihar and its importance in a socio economic context such as ours. I asked no questions, eager to move the discourse to more relevant topics.

After graduating, my marks were good enough for absolutely nothing. A brainwave said
Advertising. Another couple of them agreed.

In the business, I was a roaring success. I was the toast at Cannes, New York and wherever else they celebrated triviality. I was exchanging numbers with the hottest film stars and sexual favours with contracts.

Unbeknownst to me, all this while my mind had been working on the algebraic equation of my life, taking the vast and swampy material that constituted the autonomous (what happened to me) and the exogenous (what I did) and differentiating it with respect to what was happening around me.

One night, with the suddenness of a coupon popped out of one of those railway weight
measuring machines, it shot out a result.

I woke up to the realization that I loved her and was going to kill her.

If my career in Advertising had killed my Economic Development Professor, it was only natural to presume that my Politics Professor was already dead.

My arterial muscles shattered against my cardiac walls, giving the sensation of falling to a hundred pulpy bleeding pieces.

I went across to a nearby 24 hour pharmacy and bought a carton of cigarettes. I smoked and smoked till the night dissolved to day and my tally stood at 7 20’s and 3 (N.B. I had stopped smoking since I had started believing the 1 cigarette for 5 minutes statistic, so this was me committing suicide five minutes a time).

I felt the nicotine move in my blood. The tar from the No Smoking TV Commercial moved like worms in my veins. I swallowed hurt, thick, mucousic, slowly. There was an ache in my stomach that said ulcer, a heaviness in my lungs that said lung cancer and a sting in my mouth that said mouth cancer. I was a discarded cigarette packet that I was tossing into a dustbin with the used tissues, the crumpled balls of paper and the pubic hair. Thankfully, shortly it was 10 and I could stop pretending to be Saul Bellow.

A large number of kilometers and a few traffic lights away, a phone rang in a college office.

Hello, said Michael Bannerjee, with Gandhi glasses and long sideburns.

Is Anumitra Breuiller dead?

No, she is alive.

The roof above me opened up and there was a pillar of light stretching from DX-12, Kendriya Vihar to the heavens. The angels of high surrounded it in a symmetrical spiral that resembled a creeper. I believe, there in the sky, I saw god, smiling at me and saying, ‘she’s all yours, go fuck her.’

But I knew this was just the joy.

I couldn’t let her die.

I’d leave my life, travel to the war torn districts down south and start fighting for justice, for socialism and (what was infinitely more important) for her.

Around a year later, I was out there in the wild, gun toting and a lot less fatter than I was in the city. Ripe in my mind was our last conversation.

‘No, I’m not in Advertising anymore.’

‘Oh’, she said, ‘so you’ve moved to the client’s side.’

‘No’, I said, ‘I’ve moved to a jungle in central India where I’m a terrorist. I work in the typewritten threats and general nuisance department’ (delivered like Eddie Izzard without the cross dressing).

We made love then.

It worked out. She, the academic with the cause for a boyfriend, me, a freshly sucked cock glistening with joy.

I tried to make it at least once in 2 months. Camp fires became UV, mineral water became beer and Navy Cuts became Camel Lights.

Speaking of Camp fires, a funny thing happened around one once. We were sitting around smoking some Malana Cream someone had sneaked in.

‘So’, said Commandante Maya, ‘what made ‘you’ decide to join the ‘cause’.’

The ‘you’ here was indicative of my academic inferiority to everyone about. They were all PhDs.

I was a yuppie Copywriter.

The emphasis on ‘cause’ was purely satirical and indicative of Commandante Maya’s incapacity for Copywriting (you can’t emphasise 2 things in a single line, it’s like praying for a baby with two heads).

‘It’s a funny story’, I said, and before I knew it I had told them everything you’ve read up till this fullstop.

‘Hey’, said Maya, ‘that happened to me.’

‘Oh’, I said, ‘you were in Advertising.’

‘No’, she said, ‘the dead professors thing.’

‘Me too’, said someone else. And then everyone kept saying it till everyone was saying it.

‘Very funny’, I said.

I went back to my bunker annoyed.

I hated ridicule.

Later, at night, the paranoia crept in.

What if one of them told Anumitra. What if she took him/her seriously.

She’d just have to put 2 and 7 together and I’d be found out.

And what then?

Would she be grateful, disgusted, dismissive, what?

I resolved to tell her myself to find out.

After, when the girl’s just starting to get in the mood and the guy’s trying hard not to nod off, I told her.

It turned her on and we made love again.

The next morning, we decided to go to McLeodganj, a nearby hill station.

On the way, she bought a blonde wig. Wearing it, she looked like Scarlett Johansson. I loved it for the enormous erotic potential.

We stayed at a place called Nick’s which only served vegetarian food. We weren’t vegetarians but it had the best view in all of McLeodganj.

The last night, she tied my hands to the bed posts and blindfolded me.

‘So, now you’re going to take my clothes off’, I asked (like Jude Law from Closer).

‘No’, she said, ‘I’m going to kill you. I can’t live hinged on your love.’

‘But I’d never’, I protested.

‘You’re only human’, she said, and tore me open with my pocket knife.

‘Does this hurt you?’, I asked.

She didn’t hear me, and I realized I was dead.

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