As I write this a hundred poor finance focussed people are reading obscenely long questions on options pricing and arbitrage and swiss bonds and understanding jack. My exquisite portfolio of courses, which is sheer Andrew Fastow on the fraud scale, have no midterms whatsoever. So I sit around and think of education, which makes me think of school, which makes me think of how it was, and how I wished it was.
I always had this fantasy thing going on when I was in school. In my moments of self-aggrandizing introspection I would oh so often make these wild disaster movie type stories in my head, all with me walking in through thick white smoke, and saving the exploited black guy, his dog, one national monument and getting the girl. I would then walk far far away into a blazing orange sunset, valiantly dwindling in size till the curvature of the earth got in the way and you couldn't see me anymore.
There were no bad guys in any of them I think. I used a lot of guns and bazookas and longswords, but never killed any people. Only animals that were definitely not endagered and aliens I was sure had no emotions and no families back on their home planets. When I shot a cloned rabid Saturnian chicken it died immediately and without pain.
Once a rather lissome belle of a teacher invoked in me a vivid fantasy that never leaves me to this day. It all starts off as a normal day in school. Hundreds of little children bounce into school in their white shirts and blue bottoms, gleefuly unaware of the fact that a RIP-ROARING APOCALYTPIC EARTHQUAKE IS ABOUT TO HIT THE SCHOOL IN HOURS!!!
I arrive late that day to school. Its the fourteenth time and this time the Principal summons me in no kind terms.
"Thats the fourteenth time this year Mr. Vadukut"
"Yes, your teachers have taught me to count..."
"I will not be spoken to in this tone...I am the principal!!!"
"You are a sharp one arent you..."
"Enough!!!... your mid term papers are with me. You have topped in everything again. If it weren't for your inexplicable intelligence you would be out on the streets... a long time ago..."
"Sir, I came from the streets. The street is my domain. Streets dont scare me..." (I shift in my chair impatiently, sending ripples of muscle through my razor sharp tight white shirt.)
"Ok get out of my office and don't do anything stupid. We dont want heroes here, only straight As..."
"I do what I have to sir... good day..." (Cue thick white smoke outside principal's office, assorted administrative staff, the hot school nurse, and some girls from senior school whisper behind my back... fade in electric guitar riff...)
Its halfway into math class. As I walk in, there is a deafening hush. The teacher stops mid sentence, he is intimidated. I walk to my usual place in the left rear corner (so I always get a clear view of everyone in class), prop my feet on the table and slip a strip of gum into my mouth. The bottom of my shoes, as always, are chunky and sparkling clean. Class resumes. And promptly comes to a halt. They just can't prove the Pythagoras theorem. Having spent years training for a top secret UN agency dealing with evil unendagered animals, and criminal aliens abandoned at birth, I have an IQ beyond my years. Snapping shut the book on particle physics spread on my desk I walk across to the board and write out an elegant proof in yellow chalk. As the drumrolls subside, I walk back to my desk... Just another day for Sidin Vadukut ace student cum secret agent cum cubist painter cum opening batsman cum best dressed male in 8th grade.
Suddenly I hear a soft beeping and I whip out my UN issue commset that has an inbuilt radio, cellphone, pager, xerox machine, microwave oven and orange juice dispenser. All packed into a small plastic cube the size of a 2 by 2 inch plastic cube. What I read off the LCD screen makes me speechless... (Cue small sweat globules break out over forehead... clenched fists... violins...)
Deep under the school, directly below the Women's staff room, two tectonic plates, Joe and Bartholomew, rumble expectantly against each other. I rush out of class and run to the principal's office, someone has to warn these innocent children. (Thankfully my parents are out on vacation to the Bahamas and I dont have to worry about them...)
"Please, not another one of your hairbrained ideas Sidin..."
"Sir, we have a situation. At exactly 1400 hours GMT there will be an earthquake beyond anything this school, leave alone the womens' staff room, has ever seen. If we dont act now, hundreds of innocent lives will be lost..."
"I will not listen to your paranoic schemes. I have good people on the Emergency School Earthquake Response cum Library Maintenance team... Go back to your classes..."
"Sir we have only one hour left... do you want the lives of these children on your hands? Or do you want to do the right thing... Sir, the choice is yours, only yours..."
(Suddenly one of the goons from the Principal's Secret Service retinue enters...)
"Sir, the vice-principal..."
"Mr. Principal, we have to listen to his man. He may have low levels of class participation, but noone has ever made a still model of the Solar System like his in the history of this institution... he is a good man"
(The Principal thumps desk...)
"Okay start evacuation procedures... and Sidin I want you to go the shelters with the others... our team can handle this... dont stick your insolent business in federal school business..."
"Sir, thank you.. I just hope your not too late..."
Alas the earthquake strikes ruthlessly. After around 20 minutes of hajaar special effects, some heriocs, I finally rush to the staff room to make sure its safe, tremors after tremor rips across the school. As I rush in I see "Le Hotte Teacher" struggling to get out. Her micro mini is stuck to the coffee machine in the room... I run into save her... a huge tremor... the lights go out... there is a thud as I hit the floor...
Now everything in my fantasy falls into place see. We are stuck in rubble, just the two of us, for over 48 hours. The nights are cold, the days are dark. No sunlight comes in through the packed rubble around us. Steamy scene, cut to rescue effort outside, cut to steamy scene and so on back and forth. The ending is a blaze of light and sirens and press reporters and a standing ovation when I walk out of what could have been rubbly grave. Sunset, walk, curvature, cut.
I also had fantasies of going to watch the interschool football match. Due to a traffic jam, blocked roads and a plague epidemic not too many students come to support the team. Alas in the dying minutes, one of our finest forwards is mowed down by the opposition. Victory is essential. (The money we make from the first prize will keep the school alive, else we will be closed down and the land will be used to make a Gujju Thaali place...) The team has no substitues on the bench. They turn to the audience. Only I stand firm. I step on the field, and in three minutes of sheer footballing brilliance, I score 19 goals, thus making our team win 19 - 18. The opposition and the scheming thaali people are foiled. I am carried around on many shoulders...
Then theres the one where aliens attack earth and I make a computer virus to fight them and stuff. I wrote a nice 7 stanza poem on it and send it to my German penfriend Roland. He mailed back saying it was too far fetched and even worse than the one I send him about floods in New York. Dammit.
But anything is better than Swiss bonds.
P.S. Thank you thank you all for the wonderful piece you all earned me in the Indian Express newspaper. And thanks Kiruba for hosting it.
I am famous!!!