It’s been four years since I wrote something expressly by way of bidding farewell to my outgoing batches (Bye bye time again). If you look it up, you will find a link to an even older post in the same vein (To those about to become ex-students), which I think you should read first, if you intend to read at all. This year there were some boys (and a very tiny handful of girls) who have been reading this blog in a sustained way for quite some time, so maybe they – and a few much older old boys – might not be entirely uninterested if I added something to these last two posts.
Some of the boys hung back for quite some time after the rest of the horde had left. One of them, imagining he was revealing a great secret, whispered into my ear, ‘Do you know, Sir, many of these people who were eagerly clicking photographs of you speak ill of you in the coarsest way behind your back?’ I disappointed him, I think, with a smile: ‘Of course I do, and how does their very existence matter after they have paid their fees in full? It’s a democratic country, after all, and the essence of democracy is that the worst of absurdity and filth passing under the name of opinions must be tolerated and ignored, isn’t it?’
Some of those boys, as always, had tears in their eyes. And it was they whom I hurt most, quite deliberately, by shooing them off, saying after 33 years and 5,000-plus students, I must be excused for not being affected by their ephemeral sentimentality. Most of them would forget me completely within a couple of years; some would remember, and wish in a vague, lazy sort of way that they could get back in touch again but never muster the courage or energy to do so; only a very tiny number would surprise me pleasantly by staying closely and warmly in touch for years and decades together. Tanmoy and Rajdeep and Nishant and Aakash and Subhadip and Harman would know what I am talking about. And all those who would forget and drop out of my life for good, may they know that they are certainly not the ones whom I would despise and condemn: they are just no better and no worse than the commonest human beings. If God has made them that way, the fault is God’s, not theirs. And besides, I have always had a certain grudging respect for people who stand permanently by their opinions even if they are silly or uncouth: those who have disliked me from the start and expressed their feelings without inhibition in their own circles are at least integral personalities…Jayastu Senapati was certainly not the worst human being in his batch. There was a skunk compared to whom he was a saint, only it took me a decade to find out!
All my contempt and disgust is reserved for those skunks. In earlier posts I have adequately hinted at what sort of people I call skunks. This is my plea to every single pupil in my outgoing batch: don’t get close to me and then reveal yourself to be a skunk. The stench is truly unbearable, and I have had more than enough of it to suffice for a lifetime, thank you very much. A skunk cannot help being a skunk: so let it be, just so long as s/he doesn’t come too close to me.