Rituparna, Aprameya and Anubhuti come to see me. Like the Magi they arrive, bearing gifts to preside over a new confinement. There are long stemmed red zerberas reaching out to the sky, a gauzy gold and translucent bag filled with chocolates wrapped in pastel metallic foil and chocolate fudge icecream, a flavour wherein Mother Dairy surpasses itself. We move upstairs and settle down and I catch up on their lives. Graduates now, Aprameya and Ritu are moving into top-gear and are enrolled for a Master's Programme In English Literature at Delhi University, while Anubhuti is in her second year of MA at Arts and Aesthetics at JNU and has a musical timbre to her voice that definitely evokes associations with vintage Shubha Mudgal. My life revolves around reading these days and so i tell them about my first blog, initiated by the event of getting my fingers in the way of the whirring mixer grinder.
All of them exclaim then. They had thought that bandaged fingers were part of the treatment for carcinoma. When i tell them it is an independent injury i have contracted they are in a state of disbelief as they had not wanted to draw attention to my "unwellness." Anyway over ice cream and home crafted khakra and tea we quickly laugh and share a host of other details about academia.
They leave shortly and it is time for me to meet my surgical oncologist who has had a long day. He doesn't notice my solidly bandaged three fingers at all, till i draw his attention to it. He is immediately contrite and concerned. Probably the repeated barrage of gauze and surgical cellotape has rendered him immune So while he is pronouncing the health or otherwise of my fingers, i tell him about my visitors of the day. He is very amused that such possibilities of non-knowing exist and he laughs and says "literature walone ki kya baat hai' and suddenly the air is light again.
Driving back home i wonder at the innocence and joy de vivre of my students and their palpable concern for me and the practical efficiency with which Harit Chaturvedi deals surgically with threats to bodily well being and this brings me back to my favourite rumination..,,when we distribute the spoils of education and give all the literature and the humanities to one section of students and all the physical and empirical sciences to another does this choice in effect develop some aspects of personality and push into cold storage other aspects? Should we rethink the paucity of options we provide for our students at secondary schooling levels..?