Chits and Pieces

It all began when he wanted to send her a message. He tore a piece of paper, wrote down the message, folded the paper and sent it to her through various hands. That was the first note. And soon a new era began.

Now before you think I am telling you another mushy love story, let me make things clear. I am talking about the latest craze that has hit our small class of post-graduate students—note-writing.

It’s a unique way of having a discussion with someone in the class without opening your mouth. You send a small chit to the person with a comment. The other person replies to you with another chit and this process goes on. Hundreds of such chits are transacted every day.

Perhaps everyone just took a fancy to it. Or perhaps everyone was exhausted with the busy schedule of back-breaking work that our faculty was piling on us and here was something to let off steam. I really don’t know and don’t care. It’s there and that’s enough.

But it really started when we had to go on a field trip to a tourist city. While everyone around us would be on holiday and casually admiring things, we journalism students would be attending lectures and viewing every tourist spot as a story for our training periodical. This concept was too much for anyone who needed a break from endless classes, assignments, subbing, reporting, page-making, project work…

We attended our first boring lecture and started looking at each other. Some bright guy took a chit and sent a message. And soon everyone started tearing pieces of paper furiously and exchanging “notes”… This went on to the next class and soon we were exchanging notes in the dining hall, in the matador and even on the road!

Now you might ask, what’s so big in a chit and why am I going gaga over it. Well, apart from being an extended discussion between two people, there are other options. I ended up asking such questions to people which I never dreamt of asking on their face. I exchanged life’s philosophy with some and got an insight into people I didn’t know well. One girl wrote to me in a chit, “I think this note-writing in some vague way brings two people closer.” I can’t help agreeing with her.

With others I exchanged nonsense. It’s also fun to pull someone’s leg through a piece of paper. A girl and I started exchanging notes in rhyme. This caught on and I was amazed at the poetic talent running in the class.

Now all this is done with such impunity that the person giving the lecture cannot fail to notice. Note-writing has reduced us to a bunch of rude inattentive scholars. Once when note-writing was in its primitive stages, a guest lecturer’s daughter sat with us. The whole atmosphere was too much for her, so she got up, fired the class for not paying attention. After that she burst into tears and went running to the faculty. Sigh! We were such a mean bunch. Another lecturer asked us if we were on some sort of “paper-chase” or something.

But now the course is coming to an end and note-writing is the thing I’m going to miss the most. “Don’t worry,” said my friend, “We’ll continue this glorious tradition to our work place.” Even if we manage to do that, I don’t think the same magic can be recreated again.

© Sunil Rajguru

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