My first day as an engineering student in a respected Pune college was a memorable one.
As can be expected of mischievous teenagers, we were up to no good. Chalks were being hurled across the classroom, conversations were continuing loudly in plain disregard of the presence of our Applied Sciences professor. There were probably just a few students paying rapt attention to the lecture on Polymers. Our professor was becoming increasingly irritated with every passing minute.
Suddenly, the students began to stand to attention one by one. This spontaneous act surprised the professor. As pin-drop silence descended on the class, he realised the reason -- a nearby college was playing the national anthem!
Santosh Dawara, Rochester, USA
My son Partha was studying in grade II at the Junior Modern School, New Delhi.
He had brought his report card home and was eagerly waiting for our reaction. He had mostly received remarks like 'Good' and 'Very good' for the marks he had scored in his various subjects, spelling, etc.
Against the column marked 'Behaviour' however, his teacher had entered 'Satisfactory.' This perplexed him. "What does it mean?" he asked. "Does it mean I was very good or just good?"
"Neither," I replied.
His face fell. "Does it mean I was very bad or bad?" he asked.
"No," I answered. "It means you were neither good nor bad, you were so-so!"
He was very disappointed.
Then, I asked him, "How did you find the teacher who wrote your report?" Pat came the reply, "Satisfactory!"
Today, he is a professor at Columbia Business School, New York. He teaches Financial Statement Analysis to graduate students of business management.
Captain Mohan Ram, Basavangudi, Bangalore
From Pakistan with love
This incident took place during a visit to Boston about four years ago. We were put up in a hotel with scenic surroundings; the woods behind the hotel were especially beautiful.
One Sunday morning, as I was returning from a refreshing walk, a car stopped near me.
"Hello," said the gentleman.
"Hi," I replied, glad I was talking to a fellow Indian. "Nice weather!"
"Yeah," he answered, looking at my salwar kameez. "From Pakistan?"
"I'm from Pakistan."
That made me nervous. "Neighbours! Nice to meet you," I said and walked away with a thumping heart.
At the hotel, I told my friends what had happened. Dismissing the incident from our minds, we decided to get ready and meet in the hotel's porch in half an hour.
As I was returning to my room, the door to the room next to mine opened and the same gentleman stepped out. He waved to me, "Hi, neighbour!"
Abhaya Hasamnis, Pune
My wife is very suspicious of the fact that I have more female than male friends. She does not like me smiling at other girls and believes I continue to have girl friends after marriage.
One of our first trips after marriage was to a holy place. After visiting the shrine, we went shopping for handicrafts and women's trinkets. We kept getting separated by the crowd.
Meanwhile, I found a beautiful hair accessory for my wife and insisted she try it. Unfortunately, I did not look at the face of the woman I was talking to. She was a stranger and my behaviour was obviously worrying her. My wife was quietly observing all this.
It took me a long time to convince my wife I had never met the other girl before. But this incident has only made her more suspicious of me.
Benny George, Delhi
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh