Sugar Time

22 classes end on 22nd June. Smile. My sailor friend pointed that out to me. And so it is indeed. It is such a big pity though that the 22 classes end at 12:00PM and not at 22:00.

These past few days I have been measuring time. Measuring it in little teaspoons. I feel that somewhere through the course of my life I have distilled time, which has turned into sugar immersed in a cup of water. Each time I need time, I turn to the sugar cup. But you see, the more I stir it, the more the sugar of time dissolves. The water in the end will taste the sweetest but by then you will know that although the sugar is there, it’s no longer for us to have. It’s the same for these last few days in China. I wish I could have more of this sugary sweet called time, I have a sweet tooth for it – but the more I stir and wish so – the less I get of it. The first time I left China after ten months, I was elated to go back. Now, I still am. India is home to me. The moments of my childhood, the agonies of adolescence, the threshold of adulthood – every breath of the life that has shaped me grew first in India. There was one piece missing. In China – I met the Buddha and found the missing piece – peace. But lost time.

Today was the 3rd day of the exams I am conducting. And I find it so strange that many of my students who previously never used to talk to me (the juniors) now find an exam the proper stage to unburden themselves of their problems.

The exam is like this: I have already graded them around 40 for activities performed in the previous two weeks and now the final 60 is reserved for a brief one or two minute conversation or talk with me. Considering that there are around 55 students in each class, I have just 100 minutes to go through all of them. Sugar Time is again in short supply. Yet, I find that instead of just chatting up on the weather, some of them – mainly the girls – use this to talk about their lives. Their frustration. Their angst. Their happiness. Their problems.

One student tells me that she received a letter from a boy – the boy in question is in the same class – and she replied back to his letter in English because she wants him to improve his language skills! I could not help but smile at that. Another tells me that her dorm-mates have had a fight – no one is talking in the dorm and the atmosphere is oppressive. Can I give her some advice on how to break the fight? I look at the tick tock of the watch. She is number 42 on my list. There are 15 more to go, I think. I have no advice worth the time.

Another student tells me she is unhappy because she lost her boyfriend. Someone else says that her parents are hurt because she doesn’t confide her feelings in them. Yet another feels that she would rather be alone in this world – “I take walks alone so that I can be alone.” And I sit now in the comfort of my room, my thoughts to myself and a keyboard to share and I wonder now – is there a person in this world who doesn’t feel alone?

And now I will leave you to the peace of the evening – Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Ah, the sugar is fast dissolving! 🙂

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