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How Do I Add “Masala” To My Hard Earned ‘Plain’ B.A. Degree?

By Sridhi Dash:

I tilted the freshly washed ‘dekchi’ made of stainless steel. The few droplets of water still clinging to the lustrous skin of the steel utensil glided down lazily like young housewives after the day’s unending chores.

arts in indiaAh! My reflection; I observed my perfect geometrically round face; my lips- overshadowed by an outline of accumulated water along the curved base of the shiny utensil- creating the haphazard illusion of a human smile. Noticing the satire on my gloomy mood, I chose to subject myself to a few more innocent moments of playful observation- meddling with the poor inanimate thing that might have chosen to rest after a fresh bath. After a few lonely moments of self admiration, I forced my mother to take a look at my discovery of the abstract image. However I found my busy mother least interested, thus depriving me of my artistic joy harboured on the behest of idleness.

It never occurred to me why I couldn’t enslave myself to the much privileged class of study in our education system- the arithmetic. Not that I have been enough faithful to ‘them’; both the curvaceous ‘8’ and ‘6’ nor the tall and slender ‘1’ could have their much gimmicked charm upon me. In fact I found the sun, nothing else but the neighbourhood guy tangled within self conflict. ‘He’ (can be otherwise read as ‘helium’) juggles within himself a million outbursts of internal commotion, failing to recognize the blinding effect it has on the entire galaxy. This capacity to look at ‘normal’ objects with a so-called ‘abnormal’ edge of the eye is something quite inbred in many of us— the students of Arts.

However, one fine evening, a well read friend of mine made a rhetorical statement after which I found my very foundation a subject to merciless scrutiny. Being an Indian, it becomes almost inevitable to break free from the bondage of spice and palate. Just like the age old reliability on ‘arranged’ marriage and ‘spicy’ item numbers , my dear friend had fallen prey to the earthly values of ‘arrangement’ of words.

The phrase plain B.A’- was all that had been blurted out…

Poor me! I suddenly felt like a spoon full of well smoothened white batter poured on the even slimy surface of a fuming Indian tawa, just to be ignored as ‘plain’ B.A on the latest menu card of a South Indian restaurant. Gibbering with self mockery at my status compared to the ‘masala’ B.Tech, ‘spicy’ B.Sc and ‘Continental ‘M.B.B.S, I suddenly felt unnoticed in the glossy menu chart of the social group. The question that has kept bewildering me since then is: How do I add ‘masala’ to my hard earned degree?

With due respect, after a long research on the various fields and genres of academic study, I had to accept my defeat. Here it goes:

I failed to please thee, my friend!

The old neighbourhood aunt finds my degree of Arts -‘plain’ (P.S: she is advised low calorie intakes though). However my Argus’ eyes have well concealed the count of ‘improvement’ papers she had to pay for her ‘engineer’ son.

You must be to comment.
  1. AB

    It’s an aesthetic piece of writing.

  2. Andeel Ali

    I can’t understand the theme here! Either it is about how the “marriage maker aunties” “judge” or “weigh” the “girl” or it is about how people of the sub-continent disregard, liberal arts a.k.a social sciences as “plain.” in either case it highly sarcastic! That’s why I had difficulty in identifying the theme(s).

    There are two ways to “justify” your plain B.A. as worthy:

    1. For those who can understand scientific theories, give them a lecture on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and tell them that all humans are unique and different! Thus not everyone is good at Maths, Logic and Algebra, similarly not everyone is Extrovert, kinesthetically Intelligent or have excels at Music.

    2. For those who can’t can’t understand scientific theories, use Rhetoric and tell them that the Founding Fathers of the Nation weren’t Doctors or Engineers! They had Plain B.A.s (Few of them had L.LB too) and them emotional issue resolved!

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