2nd row… 3rd bench

“Did you bring my cards?”
“Do you intend on playing cards before your presentation?”
“I am talking about those cards on which those gibberish names were written, which makes English a language of aliens to me.”
“You’re talking about your cue?”
“I forgot. You should have reminded me about it.”
”Doesn’t messaging you 5 times in a day constitute your definition of a reminder?”
“You should have called me you miser. Do you intend on building a Taj with all the money you save, while not calling your friends? Don’t blame me now. Just concentrate on the 2nd row, 3rd bench and everything’s gonna be all right.”
These words of Wasim sounded like those hollow speeches of Bush after the Iraq war. Everything’s gonna be all right. Wasim was the Bush in my life (except that he looked better and his enemy has never sported a beard).
I was jolted back to reality by the words of Vibha Mehra, our Botany H.O.D. The sentence which came out of her parted lips was the most fearful sentence of my life (leaving my girlfriends favorite line- “It’s time to talk about our relationship”).
“A wonderful presentation by Asia has come to an end. It’s now time for Sumyth to come and raise the benchmark which she has set for him. So Sumyth would you please come forward and do the honors?”
It was a rhetoric question otherwise I would have replied in a no. It took time for me to lift my weight out of the bench, as though it has been doubled (for records, even doubling my weight would be less than the average). I took a long walk from my bench (no points in guessing that it is the last bench) to the stage at the front. This walk evoked those memories, the consequence of which has outlined the start of a disastrous day. It all had started on a Wednesday.
“So today, the Vodka plan is on?”
“The plan is on schedule without you. After 2 pegs your memory diminishes to such an extent that you are unable to tell the difference between your mother and sister” sneered Aniket.
Meet Aniket. The guy who has answers to all the girls questions and questions to all their answers. On a second thought, maybe not, considering that he is still single.
This remark from Aniket brought out muted laughs from Wasim and Sundar. Wasim is the wannabe of our class. He is sure to receive raised eyebrows and glances, whenever he walks down the corridor of our college, from girls as well as from guys. Sundar is a contradiction to his name; which means beautiful. It’s very difficult to point out him from his shadows. He is darker than the dark.
“All right guys have it your way on the highway. But remember that every dog has his day.”
“And today is surely not your day”, said Wasim.
“So class this was the end of your topic-meiosis. A very important topic. Hope it has penetrated your grey matter.” The booming voice of our H.O.D. was loud enough to obliterate any swear words that came from my mouth.
“Thank you so much madam. We have been waiting for this moment ever since the start of this damned lecture.” Aniket comically said.
“Oh, so the 4 of you decided to give my lecture a visit. I am honored by your gratitude.” She paused to grasp the effect generated by her sentence from the class. “On a serious note, why did you guys gave this topic a miss?”
“Ma’am this topic was worth a miss. We decided to concentrate on other important things at hand”, said Wasim.
“Like watching 2012” whispered Sundar.
“So if it is so simple, why doesn’t one of you guys give a presentation on this topic?”
Furtive glances were exchanged between the 4 of us. To comment on a topic was different while being a topic on which others would comment was different.
I stole a look at her. She was sitting in her usual place. 2nd row, 3rd bench. She had a i-know-you-can-do-it look. This was my opportunity to shed my back bencher look and prove that I could tell the difference between the cell of the plant from that which is inserted in gadgets.

My hand shot upwards, defying all laws of gravity in the process.
“All right Sumyth. Let’s see what you have rolled up your sleeves the next Wednesday.”
The bell rang and the class emptied leaving only the four of us. “So Mr. Champ, what was the reason behind your momentary lapse of nervous breakdown?” asked Aniket.
“I was just doing it for her”
“Who her?
“2nd row, 3rd bench.”
“She has got a cool name.”
“Shut up.”
I reached the end of the row. Wasim never brought the cards on which all the big names of the presentation were to be written. Without it, my presentation was a waste. A house without bricks. I was worried. I looked up at the sky (not literally, ceiling in my case) and prayed that my presentation would not result in my mockery.
“Good morning Madam and all my friends. I am going to acquaint you all today with the different dimensions of meiosis and alter your picture of meiosis, since reality is just a perception. Your perception of me is that I am just a guy with no interest in studies, whereas I perceive you all as a bunch of folks with brains canalized in altogether wrong path-studies.”
A thunderous ear shattering applause erupted. Thanks to my friends at the back bench who have been promised a free treat.
But that was the only high point of the presentation, considering the turbulent turns it took during the course of time. You can fool someone all the times but everyone can be fooled only sometimes.

“Prophase can be divided into 4 stages- Pachytene, Zygotene, Diplotene, and Seventeen.”
The class broke out into a laugh. Shivangi- a girl whose feelings shall always be transformed into her talkative eyes, spoke
“Isn’t that supposed to be Leptotene?”
“As cross pollination spoils the individuality of a strain, cross questioning hampers a good presentation.” These words came out from my mouth with no intention of hearing any laughter from the class, which eventually I got to hear, but to be evasive from her question. I continued.
“The deoxyriboseneuclotide of the cell is our genetic material which gets exchanged between the daughters and sisters of the chromosome family.
Someone please remind me to check whether that is the longest word in the dictionary. And don’t be surprised when I say that word in one go. I have derived a picture to memorize it. Two ox with their ribs exposed are swimming in a tide, whilst a nuclear bomb was hurled at them.
And on and on and on my presentation went, with the intellect of the class barely raised. I took a look at her. Her eyes were shining brightly. But it had nothing to do with the illumination my intellect had dawned upon her. The afternoon sun shining brightly from the open window was the culprit.
Some men are born great while others have greatness thrust upon them in their lives. I belong to the latter category but I rued my chance of making the opportunity count.
“Well Sumyth, you can take back your seat. I see that your knowledge about meiosis is far from complete. So, Safa would you please help Sumyth in his presentation, so that we can expect an enlightening lecture rather than a stand up act.”
My heart leapt at the sound of her name. For she was the ‘her’ in this story. Some people lose even after winning, whilst others win even after losing.
I have a knack of belonging to the latter category.

“Yes” she said.
After the end of the lecture she walked towards me.
“Hey Sumyth, you need to walk a long distance before you will able to talk about meiosis.”
Ill walk across seven seas, girl.
“So let’s start from today. My place at 6 p.m. And don’t be late. I hate latecomers.”
And I love people who hate late comers.
“So will you come?”
I don’t think so that there is any need to tell you that my answer was in affirmative. I have to save some typing efforts to conjure the sequel to this one. 2nd row, 3rd bench to the last bench. An odyssey.

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