Aroba's Home Sojourn
- Part 1 -

S Waikhomba Mangang *

"Please! It is me who always call you up. What happened? You don't love me anymore?"

"It's not that way. I love you but I'm tired by the time you call me," replied Tomba Hanks.

"Your calls are mostly at late night," continued Tomba.

"So, that means you no more love me?"



"Yes. No. Umm… I mean yes, I love you"

"Ok. Tell me how much you love me?"

Tomba scratched his head for the answer. How-much was a never-ending and a never-satisfying question. He looked around the room for some hints. Aroba laid on the bed with thick volume of the Indian Philosophy book replacing his pillow, that was on the floor. The wall clock displayed the time as 1:13 AM.

~Bhai, Sachin ne kya shot diya yaar. Lag raha hain agla inning kafi romanchak hoga~

"Tomba! Are you talking to someone else?!"

"No dear. My phone is not working properly. I have to turn on the speaker to hear properly," said Tomba Hanks. Some boys were chatting along the corridor. Those were pre-swine flu days when mobile handsets were still very costly. Tomba and Aroba had the same model-Nokla.

"What?! So, your room-mate Aroba is hearing all our conversations? Tomba that is so insensitive of you!"

"No dear. Aroba is asleep"

"Bhai! Ei tumdriye," yelled Aroba.

Aroba's voice was the trigger for the next few unhappy minutes for Tomba Hanks. Tomba's girl friend went hammer and thongs at him. She launched acidic missiles on him for sharing her private moments with his room-mate.

"Hey listen, I love you but you should know that Aroba is my best friend. He never spoke anything ill of you"

"Oh really! Then who am I?" questioned Tomba's girl friend, visibly piqued at not being accorded top priority.

"You are my girl friend"

"And whom do you love more-me or Aroba?!" she thundered.

"Of course, you both are important and I love both of you equally," came the response from a peeved Tomba, unhappy on being asked to compare with Aroba.

"Ok! You continue to love your Aroba and live with him forever. But spare me puhleez!"

"Shut up!" Tomba could not take it anymore and snapped the call.

Aroba heard all. Aroba always assumed that after their infamous fight over the girl from the Mamang Leikai, Tomba would never be good friends with him. But Tomba was still his best friend. Aroba felt good.

~Drrrr.... Drrrr.... Drrr...
Drrrr.... Drrrr.... Drrr...~
"Tomba phone!"
"Bhai, ngasigi yajare. Natradi overdose tarani"

The phone kept on vibrating for the next few minutes till the vibration-sound was drowned by the combined snoring sounds of Tomba and Aroba.

"It seems that my students are improving. However, some of you need to up your ante." Prof Chhavi searched for the sheet in her file.

"Ok. Here are the scores of the sessional test. Rengnu and Nikita scored the highest. Each of them scored 26 out of 30."

The class gave a thunderous applause. Rengnu and Nikita beamed with joy.

"Parul scored 22 out of 30." Prof Chhavi continued.

The scores gradually inched towards the dreaded low-score territory dominated by the smart-pants of the class.

"Varun has only 8 out of 30!" There were whispers and giggles at Varun's score. Some students clapped animatedly. A beleaguered Varun had to put on a bold face.

"Ma'am, I'll improve in the next test"

"You don't have options other than that," said Prof Chhavi.

"Ok. Students. One more score"

"Aroba scored 3 out of 30"

The class was silenced by Prof Chhavi's announcement. None could believe that low score in Philosophy. The class turned towards Aroba. From being a member of the crowd, Aroba found himself at the centre of the crowd-for wrong reasons. He faked smiles.

"Aroba, you meet me after the class"

"Yes, ma'am"

Prof Chhavi continued her lectures on the principles of Jainism and its co-relation with the main religions of the world.

Aroba was worried with the thoughts of being admonished by Prof Chhavi. He took heavy steps towards her cabin. Prof Chhavi was checking some books over the book shelf in her cabin. Aroba entered the room.

"Aroba, what went wrong with my teachings that you got such a low score?" asked Prof Chhavi with a heavy voice as she removed her specs and placed her hand over Aroba's shoulder.

"Aroba, you have really disappointed me," said Prof Chhavi helplessly.

"Do you know that your score is the lowest that I ever awarded to any students in my entire career?"

Aroba listened attentively with his head stooped. More than himself, he felt bad for Prof Chhavi and vowed to himself all those numerous next-time-I-will-top-the-class type of promises. Great teachers know their art of hitting the students really hard where it matters the most.

To be continued ...

* S Waikhomba Mangang wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on March 15, 2013

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