Hello, how are you today? Come in.
I took a seat. I sat crumpled up like a ball on the seat. All this demeanor, for what?- I thought. I wondered why I was cowering away from him like that. I just took relief from the fact that I was the most incompetent unconfident moron on the face of this planet. My timorous nature has often lead people to interpret me as an obedient and decorous man. Yet, few took it for arrogance, weirdness, and eccentricity.
I thought I will leave by 3-he said. He smiled. I saw two or three of his teeth, misaligned. My smile is worse though.
I have thought about a topic for your thesis. I think you must have read my mail.
Yes was all I managed for the reply.
There is very little study on the travel to work attributes and their influence on teleworking. I suggest you start out by reading about this from the literature. There is a lot of literature out there on teleworking. However, you may start by reading potpourri paper. Wait, potpourri is it, or…
He sat and thought for a while twisting his chin with his hand. I thought that there probably cannot be a person named potpourri though it is a perfectly legitimate word in the dictionary. I concluded he must be some sort of poppuri or something. Could be a Telugu guy, for all you know. You couldn’t ask him for it meant inability. You should never ask silly things to big shots was an aphorism at the back of my mind.
Yes poppuri and Patricia’s paper also. The paper by me and Pat you can find in my webpage-he continued.
All that thinking gave me the time to open up my bag and remove out my only book.
I have mastered the art of maintaining a focused and attentive countenance while remaining as inattentive and unfocussed as one can be. It’s all in the eyes and the forehead actually. The angle of inclination of your head counts too.
To be honest, it is not that my recklessness is deliberate. My effort to shield it is deliberate though. I try hard to concentrate and fail. I fail and fail and then act.
I noticed that he had brown eyes.
In fact, Pat mailed me regarding this. So the possibility of adopting teleworking or not can be studied and then the frequency can also be studied. While adopting teleworking is a yes or no kind of a decision, the frequency is ordered.
He went on to explain me this and I understood it too. I then mentioned that frequency comes into play only to those who actually adopt teleworking. I said this so as to say something. Yet another strategy I have mastered. It turned out to be an excellent observation. Now, that is a rare thing though.
Good, I think we can employ nested logit model for this. But we will try unordered binary mnl. That is more sophisticated. Hmmm…this is very exciting…wait let me mail Pat regarding this.
He turned to the other side and started writing a long detailed mail to Pat.
I sat motionlessly for a long while. When I was confident that his concentration reached a level where he was no longer aware of my presence in the room, I breathed easy. I looked around. I looked out through the window.
It was raining heavily some time back. Now it wasn’t. There was a small windmill rotating over a building. I figured it couldn’t be a windmill as it was too small. It could be a miniature model or something I thought. There was an anemometer to its side, an instrument with rotating cups to measure the velocity of wind.
I wondered why windmills were always fixed in a particular direction. I pictured an innovative wind mill which used something like that anemometer to sense the direction of wind first and then align accordingly to ensure maximum output. I concluded that it didn’t make sense somewhere, else such a thing would already have existed. I always keep thinking of such silly innovations.
Out in the distance, through the window I saw the stadium. It was empty now. I remembered how we went to see the stadium during a match, a few months ago. The atmosphere was electric and filled with orange color then.
Just in case he was still aware of my presence in the room, I had to act busy. I took the pen in my hand and started to fill out the page behind the current page of my notebook through punching holes. I filled about three holes blue before the ink started to smell nauseous and I had to stop. I concluded that ink in US smells bad too.
The whole of his room was ordered. All the journals, books, course material, assignments, all documents, all labeled, all arranged, all referenced. He was a great man. He was the best in the business and he knew it. I deeply admired him and the aura around him at that moment. I looked at him and he was all immersed in the mail. I figured a snapshot of the place at that particular moment of time, with the thought processes of both the brains revealed. His brain would show all the rays of thoughts focused, concentrated in one direction, aimed towards one goal, perfect, untarnished and immaculate. Mine would show rays distributed like a glowing bulb, in all directions, all over the place. I smiled at myself.
There were a pile of papers in an open wooden container labeled “in” and a similar container with papers labeled “out”.
He hung all his certificates on one wall, framed in costly wood. There were many. Above all of them right in the centre was his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology
Below this huge gamut of certificates and awards were a few paintings by his daughters. One of them said Happy Fathers Day. I remembered a close friend of mine who also made similar hand made greeting cards for her parents. She said it meant a lot more than purchased cards. She loved her parents a lot. I knew that. I ventured on her memories for a few minutes.
There was an Australian flag above the racks containing all the books. I remembered that he would visit
His board was not erased since months. There were random strings of letters here and there which, probably, only he understood. Amidst the maze of letters and numbers I recognized 8 9 and 7. Then I discovered all the other numbers too. Then that board also seemed organized with bulleted points. Nothing was unorganized actually.
Then, Ipek came into the room suddenly. I stopped looking around and went back to my clear, poised, concentrated visage.
I want to take the presentation that we looked at before- she said.
Her distinct Turkish accent was very evident. She gave me a smile, leaned over the table, over my book, grabbed the print of the presentation and left the room with that smile. She always smiles. She looks good when she does. After she left I looked at my book and discovered that her brief rendezvous left a strand of her hair on my book. I took it in my hand and examined it closely. This strand of hair is in some way related to
There were three very colorful umbrellas to one side, near the door. I wondered why he had three umbrellas. I pictured a very rainy day when, somehow, his daughters and his wife entered his room totally wet in the rain with those umbrellas in their hands. I figured they left it there for some reason and never took it back. They probably had too many umbrellas at home already.
As I observed all this, I got the idea that a nice blog was underway and then I quickly turned a page and started to note down everything I saw. My notes ran thus:
Stadium --> full -->we attended
windmill, cups rotating.
Stacks of ordered paper, books, in-out.
Certificates-lined up --> IITM, Vtech (big) , nu(med).
Which order? Order of grad.
2 --> ASCE
1 USF ???
Ipek --> Hair -->
3 colorful umbrellas
Aarti --> greeting card --> Pu
Aus – flag
9,8, other nos. on board.
filled holes --> ink smelled.
US ink smells too.
While I was writing all this down, he moved a few times as if to talk to me. I quickly put that page away and came back to the page in which I previously was.
He finally finished the mail and turned towards me. He was very sharply looking into my eyes with his brown eyes. He had the firm face of a great scholar. The look of a hard-working genius was written all over him. I was cringing with guilt for all that I did while he wrote the mail with total concentration. He was a man of fame. He was a man of achievements, awards and laurels. I was so small he had to look at me through a microscope. He was so big and so far away I had to look at him through a telescope.
He then went on to explain me a few more things with a clear one-pointed consciousness. I struggled to gather what he was saying. My mind was working on the lines that I have written above. He wrote a few things on my page. I let him write on my book like a patient lets a doctor operate on his body.
OK? Is that fine? So read all the papers I have suggested and you will get a good start.
Yes-I managed, as usual.
So, I am going to meet your former guide on January 9, 10 and 11. Do you want me to tell him something? How you are liking the place, how your studies are going on …anything?
He probably wanted me to tell him that I was happy and satisfied here or to ask for his regards or something like that. My mouth was thoroughly zipped and I struggled to get words out. I wanted to tell him how much his favor meant to me, how much of good his recommendation letter did to me, how indebted I am to him and all that. I managed to squeak out one sentence. “He has given me the greatest gift ever.”
Is it? Interesting-he said.
In fact, I will mail him. He is coming here for TRB also I think.
Is it? Very good then. Ok, have a good day-he said.
Ok. I smiled and walked away with a myriad of emotions-happiness, sadness, excitement, curiosity, and satisfaction.Life can be exciting, full of small thrills and small joys. These moments, these small moments of joy, that is what we should live for. This is what should give us happiness and satisfaction. Small things add up to great joys.