12 March 2009

Being CR

To Myself,
Bickering & Bitching,
Gratifying my own Vanity…
(…is this surprising? don’t delude yourself!)

I’ve been a good CR (class representative for the uninitiated). Yes, I have been quite an efficient, fair and unbiased CR who’s done his work as conscientiously and honestly as possible. I’ve been democratic and open and have always tried to maintain a balance between the interests of the class, the teachers and myself. Yes, I’ve been a pretty good CR.

But I’ve had my bad points as well. I’ve been too efficient, too caring, too considerate, and in being all of this, I’ve spoilt my class, spoilt the whole blooming lot of them. In telling them each and every thing; in meticulously planning out schedules, carefully arranging classes and religiously sending out messages to every single one of them, I’ve made them complacent, assuming and overbearing…

For example, just because I feel everybody has an equal right to know what is happening shouldn’t make people feel that they have an-equaller-than-thou right to treat me like a bloody (or bloodless!) walking, talking, living timetable! First, they can’t call. No sir, they needs must message you! But do try and understand their situation: poor outstation students from small towns surviving on shoestring budgets, living their miserable life somehow or the other away from their home and family…oh how tragic! How moving! Don’t you see, cruel heart, and still more cruel reader, that they have to save, they have to economise, they have to message? How else will they live their life of utmost drudgery? How else will they survive?

So, they message. And pray, when do they message? At the bewitching hour of 12, at 3 in the morning, at nine in the night! Dinner, lunch, tea, study, do what you will, the messages will follow you like that accursed pug, you and I in this god forsaken world! You might be deep in Indian mythology, you might be going along Chaucer to Canterbury, you might be walking with Socrates, but all in vain! Trrrrrrring-tin-tin! A message out of nowhere, a call back from the twenty-first century, rudely waking you up…

And what do we want to know? “hey!r v hvng d 8:40 cls wth bms tomrrw?”

Bloody hell! First you disturb me, you rudely pull me back to the reality which you poison with your presence and then ask me questions in such a preposterously sickening language! Damn you! You spoil my Romantic/Elizabethan/Medieval/Victorian/Augustan dreams with this! This! THIS!

And what if I reply, which I, out of a sense of duty, always do? What then? Nothing. No sign of gratitude, not a single thank you (or “thanx” as you type it!)!

Then, nobody has any phone etiquette. You call somebody to ask something, your call isn’t taken, you send a message stating your query and expect the person to at least message in reply- after all, we are classmates…

But no. Why the heck should I care? Why should I answer your question? Of course, it doesn’t really matter that I always answer your questions, but then so what? You’re the CR, aren’t you? You’re supposed to answer our questions! You owe it to us, while we, oh, we are divinities on earth, we are answerable to nobody. We’re in a bad mood, and we won’t reply. We sooo hate phone-calls. We suffer from amnesia and forget you even exist…

Forgetfulness was really endemic. You sent a message clearly specifying when which class is going to happen, yet the night before the class some bugger or the other would send a message asking for further clarification. You sent messages asking people to note down and choose any one of the ten presentation topics, yet there will be some chu-chu who will message late in the night before the presentations asking you to message back all ten of the topics. Oh gods, is it so difficult to understand instructions? So difficult to comprehend plain English? Have mercy on me, ye lords of swarga; have more mercy still on these poor dumb animals, these wolf-toothed sheep of your fold!

Well, ok, not really. There were a few well-mannered stalwarts, like Aastha, Ishaan, Prashaste, Abhimanyu, Meenakshi, Mayoura and Kiran, who would nicely thank you whenever their queries would be answered…Jonathon was the only person who really came up to my expectations of phone etiquette, calling back, and not messaging, to enquire why you had called…people like these made you feel the trouble was worth it. Yet, on the whole, the job has been pretty thankless.

Thankless. Yes, thankless. And they expect you to do more and more for them. Just because your system works well, they expect you to tweak it every now and then to suit them. A professor gave essays to be photocopied. You sent a message telling interested people to contact you within a time frame. You got them copied for as many people as approached you with money and gave the essays back to the teacher. But the very next day, you get a message asking you to “gt dem cpied 4 me,& ill pay u later”. Certainly your highness, certainly! As you like it! Ja exzellenz!

Teachers, of course, can also be high and mighty at times. Dramatic. Goddess-like (we anyways have a matriarchy in our Department of English…). At nine-thirty in the night, you’ll get a message announcing, nay, pronouncing, this shattering judgement- “Class is on”. If I fix tomorrow as the deadline for an assignment, then tomorrow it will unchangeably be. My word is law, my will immutable. What I wish, even the stars shall obey, for I am the liberated woman (no, female- we’re all gender-less in Literature!).

And to add to all of this, we had the Freshers and the Farewell as well. If the third years were prodigiously kind to direct us with the wisdom of their years for the former, the first years are being (it’s still to happen) extraordinarily generous in refreshing our perspective with their pseudo-suicidal/existential/nihilist tendencies. I’ve had a mood swing, so I won’t complete the work assigned to me. We had a meeting today? Oh, but we have a class and we can’t possibly attend- let’s have it later…What? Could’ve informed you we had a class yesterday evening when you sent the message? Well, I’m a little busy these days you know, and I just couldn’t...

Then, there are people who were so very keen to have the Farewell, people who’ve been thinking about it for a year or so. Sure, I appreciate your spirit, but then why the heck weren’t you ready with your plan? Why are you busy getting your act together now? Why, for blessed heaven’s sake, now, when you had the idea in mind for almost a year? Oh, I know you’ll manage to put up something fair in the remaining week, but then most of your work will be last minute preparation with hectic schedules! Why didn’t you plan in advance, so that we wouldn’t have to work at the eleventh hour? Why make my life difficult!

Of course, there were times when you felt everybody was conspiring to make your life difficult. Having an almost non-existent, embarrassingly invisible Dancing Queen as my fellow CR didn’t-doesn’t-help. People don’t expect her to work anyways, and things would inevitably get messy when she would all of a sudden wake up, realise that she had other responsibilities besides giving audience to all the sundry men of her retinue and assert her right to do as she pleased…this the heavy price we humble mortals pay for having thrice-born Queens amongst us…

Oh, I agree, I’m to blame for all of it. I and my stupid ideas about democracy and equality. “The only precondition will be that we do everything by democratic vote and that all of us be as equals.” Thinking that Athenian democratic ideals (yes, you can laugh- somebody already has, and now I’m more or less impervious) would work with a juvenile bunch of college students. What bosh!

Whatever. Que sera sera. It’s been an awfully great adventure being a good CR. It would be an awfully great one being a bad one…
* * *

Actually, I don’t mean all of it…
(Yes, I know: how disappointingly predictable! Yet, I tried my best!)

* * *


Prashansa Taneja said...

You could try being a bad one. You really could!

Creation said...

Ah! Anubhav, this is just one side of the story; why don't you present your readers with the other side? Let them have an 'unbiased' opinion, won't you?


Amil said...

Gr8 use of words to highlight the sufferings of a CR .Well Anubhav, but after all you won the love and admiration of almost everybody
(haan everybody) in reverse,i know it doesnt matter much to you but then it is atleast something.I am sorry for any of my disturbings.Good Luck and again thanks for everything.Alas wishes that you continue holding the crown atleast for another year.

AP said...

To Prahansa-
I could, I could...don't think I'll become one again though!

To Creation-
Ah, but presenting the other side is not my perogative. I'm not supposed to be fair, unbiased and democratic in this piece (and you know why!).

To Amil-
Thanks! Though I'm pretty sure some people will hate me for this, as I think they do already!