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Chapter 39: Session 39

The thing Masto was insisting upon was that I should see the prime minister because one never knows, perhaps someday I might need his help. “And,” I added, “perhaps..” [Rattling noise from the air conditioner]

This is the devil I was telling you about, who types poor Devageet’s notes during the night. Look, now he is typing directly. Even Ashu is laughing because she does not know what to do - perhaps nobody knows.

[Noise stops] Great! I had to stop talking myself, that’s why he has stopped. If I speak again, unless something is done, he will start again. [Rattling noise again] This is too much! Typing during the night, in the dark, is okay..

What was I saying?

“That Masto insisted you should meet the prime minister because one never knows, you may need his help one day.”

I said to Masto, “Please make a small addition to it, that perhaps someday the prime minister may need my help. I am willing to go, because if Baba told you, then it is not so much trouble as having to disappoint the poor old Baba. Okay. But Masto, have you got the guts to also make the addition?”

Although a little hesitantly, he rose to his full height and said, “Yes, one day, not only perhaps but certainly, he or somebody else who occupies that chair is going to need your help. Now come with me.”

I was only twenty at that time, and I asked Masto, “Have you told Jawaharlal my age? He is old, and the prime minister of one of the biggest democracies in the world, and of course he must have thousands of things on his mind. Has he got time for a boy like me? I mean a boy who is not even conventional; I mean, from a convent?”

I was really unconventional. First, I used to wear wooden sandals, which were a nuisance everywhere. In fact, they were a good declaration that I was coming, coming closer; the louder the noise, the closer I was.

My headmaster used to say, “Do whatsoever you want to do. Go and eat the apple again” - he was a Christian that’s why he said that - “or, if you want to, eat the snake too! But for God’s sake don’t use those wooden sandals!”

I said to him, “Show me your rule book, the one you show me every time I do anything wrong. Is there any mention of wooden sandals in it?”

He said, “My God! Who would have thought that a student would turn up wearing wooden sandals? Of course there’s no mention of it in my book.”

I said, “Then you will have to inquire at the Ministry of Education, but until they pass a bill against using wooden sandals in school and let the whole world laugh at the foolishness of it, I’m not going to change. I am a very law-abiding person.”

The headmaster said, “I know you are very law-abiding, at least in this matter you are. It is good that you don’t insist that I should wear these wooden monsters too.”

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