“Courtesy”…..the word that was drilled into me from the day I started understanding human behavior. “Courtesy”…a lifetime of carrots that were promised to me if I could ingrain its real essence deep within. “Courtesy”….a seed that was sown in me by my parents which I had to water regularly and transform it into a flowering plant. According to them, these flowers would be plucked up by people you would interact with in your lifetime and leave behind an everlasting impression. The fertilizers which were added to assist this seed in sprouting were the never ending training sessions at home. “Beta…give love and respect to all…specially your elders”, my parents used to say. I was asked to greet all elders by touching their feet. So whenever someone came home…I just rushed to their feet…till…one day I touched the feet of a plumber who was home to fix the pump…leaving him and my parents shocked! Then, ‘elders’ became more precisely defined as relatives, family friends and teachers. ‘Respect your teachers’ was something that we heard everyday in the school assembly too. I watered the plant religiously and came across as a courteous guy. School, college and now MBA….I made my mark as the most chivalrous and courteous guy of the batch. Mom Dad were right after all…!! The blooming flowers were creating that strong impression everywhere. But somehow, using this ‘courtesy’ to achieve ‘courtship’ was something which always eluded me! “You cant kill all birds with one stone right”, TJ said. He added, “You need not loose heart Balu. You need to keep on trying different techniques. You never know which one would click bro. Luck also has a huge role to play yaar! Who knew that bugger Champu(Adi) would get a yes from that Garg gal!! And you know what that Garg gal claims gave her in?? The fact that Champu had been courteous enough to drop her to station at the dead of the night!! He was plain lucky that he decided to stay back in hostel that Sunday night! The day when we were busy noticing Bipasha’s assets in that good for nothing movie we had gone for……Bipasha was anyday out of equation, those 3 hours of absence meant that another one of the rare “single” category we have here in the School of Management was taken!! I always believed I had a chance with her yaar…..Shit man!! That damn movie…Anyways, leave it. Happy for Champu….Or am I?? I donno…but then the point we were discussing was that though “Courtesy” is important, to replace the last 3 words with “ing” takes a dash of lady luck as well brother. Understood??” I nodded. How could I ever disagree with the great TJ’s thoughts!! Everytime he spoke, he seemed logical to me. The case methodology of explaining things to me that TJ adopted to had me hooked from the first day I met him. But neither TJ nor his lessons had prepared me for that day when not only did my courtesy backfire….it left me precariously placed as far as my stay in the School of Management was concerned!!
I have this very bad habit of walking the tightrope every time!! I think almost all who share similar behavioral and personality traits as mine have this strength (it is in no way a weakness because it shows how good you are at meticulously planning each detail). In School of management we had to maintain a decent academic record to stay in the institute. 2 F’s or 4 D’s would guarantee a return ticket for one to your hometown. You could miss up to 5 classes out of the 20 sessions for each credit course in every trimester. My kinds are the first to notice the opportunity in this and end up consuming these 5 holidays even before the course starts gathering considerable pace. Same was the case with me. But I had decided to mess up with the wrong subject and the wrong teacher. QT was in itself a monster. Not to speak of the professor who taught us. I had never known of any woman teacher who had taught me till date to be such a strict disciplinarian. Dr. Maria Joseph was a hard taskmaster. “You all will not be allowed to enter the class once I m inside”, she had declared in the very first lecture itself. And she…well…suffering from the ‘punctuality syndrome’ was never late! Such was her command over statistics that it left us with a feeling time and again that we were biological wastes on this planet! I had already sacrificed 4 out of the first 9 classes to my habit of adhering to the IST(Indian Students Time) i.e. Lecture time + ‘x’ mins (a measurement of how late you were)….’x’ being a variable depending on the Prof. It still left me with 1 day which I would save for the last class. MBA does not give you the luxuries to miss classes at your will if you don’t have nerves of steel. There are surprise quizzes which are designed to stump you. I had done my research well. I got to know from the senior batch that the major “Surprise” quiz would be held in the 10th session immediately after she covers the Decision tree topic. Today was the 10th session. I had prepared all the relevant topics which the seniors had told me to. QT was the first class scheduled for the day at 9 am. I had slept at 5 after completing some assignments and then revising the topics which were in the “Could Come” list in the surprise quiz which could come up tomorrow. I had set the alarm for 8….but the soothing alarm was of little help in waking up this giant from the deep slumber! I woke up at 8:30….saw TJ still snoring away to glory. I got up and kicked TJ. This moron never ever used his alarm clock. Such was his trust on me that he was sure that I would get up in time to wake him up as well. He got up with a start. We brushed, combed our hairs after wetting them and rushed to the classroom. TJ ran faster and managed to get into class before me. I was also there…well almost…the Prof. and I entered the corridor at the same time…step by step…we moved towards the class together…it was at the very last step, when I was again reminded of my parents advice on good manners, and with all grace & chivalry, I opened the door for her and let her in…I lifted my feet to enter…and what happened next was something that erased all my lessons on the ‘C’ word forever!
She entered the class, turned back to me and shouted, “You are LATE again!! Get Out!!”
She held the “Surprise Quiz” that day which had a 20% weightage. Courtesy raped me that day!!
(This incident was shared by Priyanka over the mail. So clear was her description of the event and the commentries that it hardly took an effort from my side to add in some stuff and mould it into my writing style. Hats off Priyanka!!)