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Zaman and the impeccable reforms

Zaman felt a dreariness that he had felt many times before. It was an annoying presence initially, a reminder of the mediocre existence that he led. But it had become a friend, a presence that he almost grew comfortable in. He did not feel that he himself was mediocre, rather he felt that he was being lulled into it by a place that was supposed to raise him into new heights. And now he was halfway through his penance, but the the next two and half years felt like it would take a lifetime to complete.

He put a solitary notebook in his bag, and yelled out his customary byes  before walking to the Kaloor bus stop to catch the University bus. The driver, affectionately called “Alikka”, was a maniac who drove the rickety old Uni bus to the campus in 20 minutes for a route that usually takes 45. The bus journey was certainly not safe, but it was better than staying at the feculent dwelling they call a hostel. It was a new semester, but he had no hope for any change in the teaching methods or the teachers. At least he could look forward to Constitutional Law classes last semester. He felt a streak of hopelessness, a notion of the inevitable. Maybe it would be a little fun to see his friends again after the break.

By the time he grew comfortable in the stiff bus seat. Allika had successfully guided the metal box to the campus without incident. He lived to see another day. He leisurely entered the academic block of the university, which resembles a 2000s commercial complex than the classroom complex of premier law university. It had a huge clock at top, which added to hideousness of the brick colour  paint the building was covered in. He strolled up the flight of stairs to the first floor classroom, where he was to spend the majority of the next 5 months, in graceful atonement. He went to the corner bench in the semi – oval classroom. It was 9:00 am, and the classroom barely had anyone inside, as one would expect on the first day of a new semester. Or for any other day, thought Zaman.

Ajay entered the classroom just before the clock struck 9:00. Zaman smiled at him, and he smiled back. They had seen each other before during the break, and there was no need for the usual pleasantries. Professor Anthony, the seniormost faculty entered the classroom in his trademark stagger, much like a penguin. Zaman struggled to suppress a smile. He was to take environmental law, much like he expected.  He took his notebook and went to the first bench, to sit with Ajay.

“You know, they changed the attendance rules” he said nonchalantly.

“Yeah? They made it electronic?” Asked Ajay, eagerly.

“What do you think, eh?” Zaman scoffed. “This is KNLU you are talking about.”

“Ah, well. One could hope. It’s probably something very complicated and bureaucratic, isn’t it?”

“It’s the ultimate bureaucratic reform” Zaman replied.

Prof. Anthony had meanwhile, proceeded to explain his subject in broken English.

“Instead of marking it on a single register for each classroom, the teachers are going to mark it in individual sheets, and then they will submit it to the registrar every month”.

“Quite ridiculous it is” Ajay said. “ My contention that this uni is the best argument against state control of institutions finds even more ground”, he said as he smiled at being proven right.

“And that isn’t the whole of the “reform”, either”

“There’s more? Pray, tell. Do they have to submit the attendance sheets in physical and electronic forms? Has the teachers council objected to the change and made it into a voluntary reform?”

“Something even better! They have to mark 1,2,3 and so on for each class that you attend, instead of a one/zero matrix in a usual attendance register”

“What the hell is that stupidity for? Is this meant to help the teachers and administration in some way or the other?” Ajay asked, his face frowning.

“ Absolutely, yes. The teachers don’t have to count how many classes you’ve attended. That is the great objective of this most pious reform” Zaman said, breaking into stifled laughter.

“Wow, that is something” Ajay replied, himself dissolving into a slow laugh.

“This is going to be a brilliant semester”.

“You can always count on this uni for unfettered brilliance.” Ajay chuckled.

Prof. Anthony went on about the importance of environmental law in his montone rhythm, paying no heed to the two young men laughing heartily right in front of him.


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