He was trying to bargain, this much or that, but that moment he immediately agreed. I winked at my Nani and said, “Look! This is the tutor you have found. Will he teach me, or will I have to teach him? Who is going to teach whom? His salary is fixed; now the second question is far more important to me.”
The man said, “What does it mean, Who is going to teach? Are you going to teach me?”
I said, “Why not? I am paying you; obviously I should teach and you should learn. Money can do everything.”
My Nani said to the man, “Don’t be afraid, he’s not that bad. He won’t create any trouble for you if you promise not to provoke him in any way. Once provoked, then I cannot do anything to prevent him because he is not under any salary. In fact I have to persuade him to accept some money for sweets, toys, and clothes, and he is very reluctant about that. So remember, don’t provoke him, otherwise you will be in trouble.” And the fool did, the very first day.
He came, early in the morning. He was a retired headmaster, but I don’t think that he ever had a head. But that’s how people are divided in the whole world, into heads and hands. Laborers are called “hands,” just hands, as if there is nobody behind the hands. And the intellectuals, those who call themselves intelligentsia are known as “heads” – whether they have any heads or not. I have seen so many so-called heads of departments that I have always wondered whether this was a law: that anybody who has no head will be made the head of a department.
When this man came to start, he did what my grandmother had warned him not to. What he did…and I can understand now; at that time of course I could not have understood the whole psychology of it, but now I can see why he behaved the way he did.
The more I have known myself, the more I have understood the “robotness” of people. They function like machines. They are really nuts and bolts. Sometimes nuts and sometimes bolts, but both: if nuts are needed, they will be nuts; if bolts are needed they will be bolts. You know the nuts, but who are the bolts?
Now, this will be difficult, and will take me into a long diversion, and I may forget the poor man who is standing before me with folded hands. So, in some other circle we will talk about the bolts. But first, about this man….
He came into my room, in my Nani’s house. In fact, the whole house was mine, except for her room, and the house had many rooms. It was not a big house, but it had at least six rooms, and she needed only one; the other five belonged to me…naturally, nobody else was there.