A few isolated thoughts for now.
It truly bemuses me to see that more and more of my old boys who have gone in for engineering are turning to cinema as a serious hobby now, and even secretly dreaming that they might succeed in making a profession out of it. One has left behind two short movies that he and his friends have made which I found to be pretty good, given that they have been done by young amateurs with very basic equipment and software. I wish them luck (they want me to act in their next production – what will people think of next?)
A girl in college who was visiting recently told me that her boyfriend has been shocked witless by the teachers at a coaching class he has just joined in the hope of ‘cracking’ the CAT (toughest management-school entrance test in the country) because they have told him he will have to read up at least a hundred story books in the next six months.
Will someone run a survey to find out whether in this country there is a strong correlation between people growing up in culturally deprived backgrounds (no music, no art, no good movies, no political, economic or philosophical discussion at home, and above all, no books) and those professing to be interested in physics and math from an early age? I am talking about people who have grown up in the last thirty years, of course: I am perfectly well aware that people were different earlier.
I have been seeing photographs on Facebook of some who used to be my friends and students in the 1980s and ’90s, and I wouldn’t be saying this if it didn’t hurt badly, but many of them look not just old but positively decrepit and ugly. What have they been doing to themselves, for God’s sake?
Listening to people all around me speaking a strange hybrid of broken Bengali and pidgin English, I wonder how much longer the Bengali language will survive. Indeed, had it not been for Bangladesh, maybe it would have been dead already (how often do you hear people saying dhonyobaad or suprabhat, or amar duschinta hochchhe instead of tension korchhi?)
And finally, I am feeling rather doleful because the long winter (it lasted a full three months this time) seems to be leaving. That means we shall not only have to brace ourselves for another – presumably unbearable – summer, but I shall be doing double duty round the week as soon as a host of new batches come in, which will be from the end of this month. Every year I fear a little more that I cannot take this for very much longer.
But my daughter is growing up fast. My mind keeps going back to February 1980, when my friends and I were getting ready for our ICSE examination. An entire generation has passed, and it’s my daughter’s turn now. She’s been studying at the same table which I used back then – that’s good teak wood for you! Dollops of nostalgia...