Last week I spent an afternoon at a home for Cerebral Palsy children. They were kids who could barely speak their own names. They needed help to even do simple things like eating food and changing clothes. Interestingly, first thing I noticed in them was not their deformities, but their cheerfulness. It didn’t take much to make them laugh. When one kid looked at another they laughed. When I touched my steth on their chest they laughed. When I asked them their name, they laughed. I saw them helping each other out. A kid with and awkward squint an and lop-sided mouth was pushing the wheelchair of a kid who could not walk. They seemed genuinely happy
As I came out of there, I could make out the stark difference. People walking on the street minding their own business, cellphones to their ears and abuses on their lips. When they looked into another’s eyes, they frowned. They rarely smiled. People trying to pull other people down in the rat race to the top of the dung hill. Queues, fights and arguments. I wanted to escape it all. I decided to go to the world online.
Even in the world of social networking, I found people arguing and fighting. They were calling each other names for having a different opinion. I found it odd that people were picking fights with people they had never even met in their life. I logged out.
I sat back and thought about those cerebral palsy kids. We call them brain damaged and mentally retarded. If that were true, why are they so carefree and happy and why are we “normal” people so bitter and unhappy?
I hated biochemistry (it hated me too). All those weird tongue-twisting organic compounds going around reacting and overreacting instead of minding their own business. My biochemistry theory pseudo-exam went so bad that the professor who had corrected my paper was sure I would flunk my universities and gave me special tutorials (sssh, don’t tell this to anyone).
It was the biochemistry viva and I was standing outside the examiner’s room. I was in next. My head felt woozy and catecholamines which I had recently read about were hypersecreting. The skilled assistant signaled me to go in. I slowly walked up to the door.
Inside I saw the professor yelling at the guy who had gone in before me. “Why do you idiots even come to an exam with out studying anything?” My heart rate got faster. There is nothing worse than dealing with an angry examiner during an exam.
The guy who was yelled at, turned round and swung his arms in disgust. His arm accidentally hit a beautiful crystal vase on the table. The vase toppled and fell off the edge of the table. The professor’s eyes widened with horror. The student saw his already derailed viva going off the edge of the cliff and dived to catch the vase. He mistimed the catch. The vase hit his outstretched hand and bounced off. He tried catching it again but this time he managed to lob it towards the professor.
Time slowed down. The vase flew in a slow arc towards the professor’s face. Her already widened eyes dilated. Just before the vase hit her face, she brought her hand in front of it. The vase hit the back of her hand, fell on the floor and cracked into a million pieces. She slowly turned and looked at the student lying face-down on the floor after the failed dive. It was only a whisper, but I could hear it loud and clear standing at door.
“Get. Out. I never want to see your face again.”
He mumbled a faint apology and scrambled out of the room.
I walked in for my viva.
King Krishnadevaraya, the ruler of the prosperous Vijayanagara empire, ruled over the Deccan, from Karnataka to Kanyakumari. His empire was the last of the great empires of the south. Once the king set out from his capital at Hampi and went on a tour of…