Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Kalloori Salai – Part 2 – The professors; weird and otherwise

What is a college without weird professors? There was this professor called Jose – eccentric to the core and was HOD of Mechanical Department. In his very first class, I asked him what an emery sheet was and where I could get one. He answered that if I had a passport, I ought to go to Japan where apparently they make the world’s best emery sheets, get one there and come back. I was upset. I was also appalled to say the least, I still am appalled.  

Among the many incidents we recalled, one was related to the English teacher who had an amazing inferiority complex. I had a senior called Meenakshi. She was in the bus and was commenting on the buffaloes that were grazing in the fields. Eruma maadu evlo karuppa irukku, evlo sorana illama irukku nu edho comment sonna avlo dhaan. Roseline Superial, the English mam, was black as ink and was sitting right behind Meenakshi. Immediate aa ennavo thanna dhaan sonna madhiri kathu kathu nu kathra. I am the terror of this college, adhu idhu nu ore scene. Whether Meenakshi really had meant to comment on Roseline Superial, I never asked. I like to think she did. 🙂 🙂

On Valentine’s Day, one of my classmates had dressed in green. And this irritated Roseline Superial for some reason. She started accusing my classmate that she was parading herself as available and reduced her to the verge of tears.

She bandied around the college saying “The director is in my pockets”. Someone went and told our director this and he immediately tore her seat. She was left with no pockets.

There was this mam called Sasikala (Maths) who couldn’t say sa and sha together in the same word. There was a guy called Sesha Sai. She either called him Sheshasha or sesasai. Anne mam (Civil) always droned on and we usually spent our time in her class playing hangman or tic tac toe on the corner of our notebooks. Arun Kumar (Materials) sir could never say Sunanda. He always called her Sunaananda Das Gupta making her out as some sort of swami, you know like Sachidananda, Sukhabodhananda.

Annadurai sir (Maths) taught very well and mostly people listened in his class. One day, Valli and I noticed that there was something wrong with his socks. One of us said the socks were torn and one of us said they were small. We were so busy looking at his legs and talking that we forgot we were in class. He also realized and asked us what we were looking at. We hurriedly gave some excuse and started paying attention. We never found out what his socks were. 🙂 🙂

Remembering our HOD is as fun as ever. He was more interested in the food than in the class. He used to say always in the hour after lunch – “iniki chicken try pannunga pa, romba nalla irundhuchu.” We had a professor called Dr.M.Balakrishna, a short, pot-bellied, cheerful, old man. He taught us a few subjects through our chemical engineering course. He was younger at heart than most others. He used to celebrate his birthdays by giving chocolates. 🙂 🙂 He had most fun teasing our HOD. Recently, when I had gone to give my wedding invitation in college, he asked me, ‘HOD ya, yaar adhu. Oh, Ravichandran aa?’ 🙂 🙂 The sarcasm was too hard to miss. He calls me professor. He never told me why.

How can I forget the ‘what appa, Ramachandra?’ and ‘Naaice’. He was my favourite – Venkatesh sir. He let those who didn’t want to listen to sleep (literally) in class. He taught very well and I also remember the one time we all voted him for best teacher. Usually, it was Baskaran sir who got the award because he gave most classes free, rarely ever taught and when he did, always only dictated notes. There was some infighting also once when some refused to vote for Baskaran sir. The teacher’s day function was also good – I remember some sir used to play “andru vandhadhum adhe nila” on a mouth organ.

All you had to do was excite Rama Sundaram sir into talking about some current issue. He would forget the principles of management that he was there to teach and talk all Loka Ramayanam and brood over how he just missed becoming an IAS officer, etc. He liked Shyamala because both of them boarded the bus at the same stop but could never get her name right. He always called her Sayamala.

Baskaran sir never really cared much for molarity or molality of the solutions which we prepared. He would just say ‘summa kalakki oothu maa’. For someone who was taught chemistry by Padmini mam, this was too much. Sundara Vadivu mam’s labs were one more comic thing. I don’t even remember what we did in that lab. Tajudeen sir never wanted to teach, really. He spent much of the Thermodynamics and Design classes talking to us about himself and what he might have become had it not been for a few unforeseen things. Whenever we wanted spare time, we went into a ‘saaaaaaar saaaaaaaaaar’ mode and he always ended up saying ‘Come to the department’. 🙂 No class ever took place in the department and we would criminally waste time.

There was this ECE mam called Malarvizhi, who taught Microprocessors in 7th sem. She used to be extra thin. The common practice as she entered class was for the front benchers to hold a pen in one hand, squint through one eye and say she was invisible. Then a couple of rows behind, someone would hold a pencil and say ‘mam idhulayum therila da’. The back benchers would hold a 5 mm pencil lead and pass the same comment. All of us would giggle, mostly, pretty audibly. At one point, she asked us, “enna pa unga class la pasangalum seri, ponnungalum seri, eppa paaru palla palla kaati kittu irukeenga”. We laughed harder for that and then she quit asking.

Lily (Comp Sci – 4th Sem) mam used to squint at us horribly with a smile on her face when saying something. We always enjoyed Selvarani’s mimicry of Lily mam – especially the facial expressions.


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This entry was posted on May 16, 2012 by in Thoughts and tagged , , , .

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