Sunday, May 25, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms from the 80s…Me and my conscience

Me and my conscience
It’s like a venomous serpent lurking somewhere, raising its hood and striking at the most inopportune moment! It’s like an octopus, gleefully spreading its tentacles, when everything is tikety –boo. It’s that horrible thing called Conscience that has been bothering me ever since granny gave me that word at the age of seven. In school, it prevented me from having fun and smote me just when the teacher was about to sit on the chair on which we had spilled glue. “Madam don’t!” I shouted as she lowered her generous bulk. The culprits feigned ignorance and I was hauled up by head mistress for the mischief. My friends shunned me and I was getting nowhere. “Your conscience is clear, my dear, so why fear!” quoth granny solicitously.
In college I sat through painful lectures, all because my conscience whispered dire consequences if I were to bunk. My friends got away scot free and passed their exams, while poor me plodded on.
Many people travel ticket less on buses and trains and get away with it. Even financial crisis will not induce my conscience to permit me to do this. What price conscience? While traveling in a bus in Bombay, my arms were loaded with packages; and in the process of clinging to them, the strap overhead and my modesty, the ticket flew away. When I got down, an Inspector surfaced unexpectedly, would not believe my hard luck story and charged me a penalty of Rs.10. yet people say truth will prevail.
Why this hue and cry, you might ask and well you might! This afternoon, I wrote an exam – a difficult one, which warranted much head-scratching and pen-nibbling. While I scratched and nibbled, all around me students pulled out slips of paper from under their belts, hats, watch-straps and blouses and wrote furiously. The guy before me temptingly displayed his answer book; I could not help reading it. The girl next to me whispered loudly to the boy in front of her, the dates which were eluding my memory. The boy on the other side accidentally let a printed page flutter near me. My pen hovered hesitantly over the paper and I had visions of a I Class.
But with regret and a sigh, slowly I kept my pen away, closed my answer book – gave it to the supervisor, and walked out of the hall with a ‘see-you-again’ air.
If only, if only I didn’t have a conscience.