The second year had brought with it its own blessings and miseries. The 8:30 AM class was abolished much to the relief of the nocturnal MBA. However we now had a class at 2:15 PM – right after lunch, an hour where most of us where stupefied to stupidity.
Today the post lunch session was to be handled by G.D.S who would explain the intricacies of supply chain management. G.D.S was old, competent, confident and had a large and lovable pot belly that hung wearily over his belt. With his thick glasses and acerbic manner, he gave the impression of a disgruntled communist. With a no frills presentation displayed on the screen, he would walk around with his arms folded, chin tucked into his chest as he held a long sarcastic conversation with himself. The monologues were meant to be enlightening but we merely found them enervating.
However today when we opened the door to enter class, it was a new face that smiled at us. G.D.S slouched morosely at the back of the class looking like a wise hippo with a tummy ache.
“Mrs. J.R will be discussing the use of data mining and date modeling in supply chain management.” He announced grumpily before resuming his wounded expression.
We gazed at Mrs. J.R, waiting patiently for her to begin so that we could let voice gently numb our senses before we toppled over. Mrs. J.R however looked fresh and eager and she played impatiently with a piece of chalk as she waited for the rest of the students to enter.
And then suddenly she began “ Good Afternoon students! My name is J.R and I will be talking about the uses of data mining and data modeling! Now you are all marketing fellows and you must be asking yourselves why must I study Data mining and Data Modeling?? But my dears, these days IT is in yeverything! Suppose I go to a supermarket and buy bread and butter on Monday and milk and beer on Tuesday and nothing during the rest of the week then the marketing fellows at the supermarket can look at their database and say ‘Oho! J.R shops only on Mondays and Tuesdays!’ So they use my buying patterns to decide what I will buy and where I will I buy it next! Are you getting me dears??”
Her onslaught was met with a stunned silence. The enthusiasm and energy coupled with a strong accent and the ability to recite the entire Indian Constitution in one breath proved to be a little too much. The students shifted uneasily in their seats, unsure of what to make of this new specimen that bought milk and beer on Tuesdays . I however only had to hear her say “Good afternoon!” before my heart began to throb with affection. I knew she’d used the beer example to try and reach out to us. Her accent, her simple chappals, her sari, her flushed and sweating face but most of all the earnestness with which she addressed us caused the years to fade away. I was 12 again, listening to a school teacher.
My school had been filled with these motherly figures. They were pious, intelligent, hardworking and radiated affection. With cheerful smiles that lit up their faces they waged a constant battle against time to complete the syllabus. They worried about your health, comforted you when you were depressed and celebrated your small achievements. After a year of being taught by unsmiling disinterested men who kept to themselves outside class, listening to Mrs. J.R was balm to my soul.
She continued with vim and vigor, like she was entertaining a roomful of children with a scary story. Her voice rose and fell as she led us through the treacherous paths of data mining. As she performed a variant of Kathakali, opening her eyes wide to stress a point, I caught a glimpse of the thirty year old marine engineer smiling shyly at her. As the minutes ticked by, we slowly stopped mimicking her accent and mannerisms and grinned at her, letting her know she had our attention and our affection.
I was sorry when the class ended. Time caught up and once again I was twenty four, a so called MBA expected soon to increase profits, reduce costs and keep shareholders happy. Mrs. J.R thanked us for our patience and began packing up. I smiled again at her as I passed her by on the way out, silently thanking her for taking me back to a time I would stand up with my little finger sticking out and earnestly say “Miss, I want to piss” without ever intending to be funny.