San Quentin

For most parts of my life, as short as it is and for as far as I could remember, learning has never been a chore. Quiet joys comes from deriving mathematical models, identifying historical significances, or understanding how water, flour, yeast and salt transform into bread. There were times when I had tried to tear down the doors of my classroom in kindergarten, and when the cane was a study companion. Yet, I have never taken learning as an obligation to achieve some other goal. It is a necessity in itself, as much as it is a desire. For if one could not learn, then one couldn’t be better. If one couldn’t be better, one could only become worse.

Of late, school reeks of rusty metal bars, and curriculum paints the classroom walls a sombre grey. Even so, the nail-scratched markings counting down the days wouldn’t fade. Projects are the shackles, and class participation – roll calls. Resolve is the colour of the uniforms that could only fade; motivation is the meagre light that penetrates the high walls – present, but without warmth.

In the usual case, two paragraphs of cathartic indulgence wouldn’t suffice. One would expect some contorted transition to whimsical talk of coffee or cakes (or both all the better), almost always forcibly so. Today, I’m having ice-cream instead. Maybe, just maybe, there is this little inner imp trying to orchestrate despair so that my old friend would take pity and visit me. O blind courage, where art thou?

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