Yes, this is another rant.
I have lived and grown up in India. The farthest I have gone from my country is into Nepal for about 20 minutes (I’m not kidding). There are many queer things you see in this country. They have become a part of my life. The only reason I call them queer is because of the heavy influence of western civilisation which makes me realise that there are places on this planet where these things are not normal.
I would list all of them in one single place. I have a penchant for writing extremely long sentences (a la Charles Dickens) and conversely, I can be concise when the need arises. Also, I write a lot. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. I could list all these oddities in a single post but I thought I might as well make a separate post for this particular oddity.
I call it the Singular Hubris Induction Theory – S.H.I.T (obviously, I chose my acronym with care … or it may be that it just happened to shorten to this). Every Indian who has ever been a student has seen this. Every Indian who has studied in Chennai would have seen this. Every Indian who has had a tambrahm for a classmate would have seen this. In short, every effing Indian would have seen this.
But first, the choice of the name. As you can see, S.H.I.T can be broken into four parts – S, H, I and T (see what I did there?).
S – Singular – I use this in reference to the Sherlock Holmes series. Conan Doyle tends to use the word “singular” a lot to ascribe queerness to an event. I use it here to signify that this particular trait is queer to India since I have never seen it in any novel, film, cartoon or other western media. Either they deliberately keep it out or it just does not happen there.
H – Hubris – Superiority complex. All of us have it in one form or the other. I needn’t elaborate much.
I – Induction – As in the present perfect form of inducing (if I’m wrong about this, just correct me). Pretty straightforward.
T – Theory – As in that thing you study all your life but never understand. A theory is different from a law, as one teacher used to remind me. I call this a theory because I have concluded the existence of S.H.I.T purely through experience and I have no physical proof that this is a genetic trait.
Now, to finally get down to what I actually mean by S.H.I.T. Also, one final digression – I’m really starting to love using the acronym 😀
I have written exams all my life. Since my Lower Kindergarten until now. Every “academic” year is filled with exams. Class tests, mid terms, terminals, finals, periodicals, end semesters .. From what I can see, there has never been a stretch of even 6 months in my life wherein I have not written an exam. Every single exam, there will be this one dude – I call him Srinivasan. Before you start creating all types of theories, I assure you this is no reference to anyone. The reason I selected a name like that is many fold. I will digress on that (yes, I like digressing a lot).
1) Why do people like naming these perfunctory common type characters as Jack, John Doe or whatever? I find it more intuitive to use Indian names.
2) I chose a tambrahm name because the person I am going to describe is almost always a tambrahm. I may be statistically wrong but in my experience, it has been so.
3) Srinivasan is actually an extremely common Indian name. Every Iyengar family has a Srinivasan embedded in the names of male progeny. Sometimes, it’s almost implicit. Also, it’s so common that no one is ever called Srinivasan and everyone has a pet name – ambi, suresh, chari etc etc. which can either be a surname or just a pet name. If you went to a crowded tambrahm household and called out Srinivasan, you will probably get around 4 or 5 acquiesces.
Srinivasan is a very clever fellow. He has a top order brain which can become an equation solver and a vegetarian food connoisseur at the drop of a hat. He is also extremely child like – jealous, egotist, secretive etc. Before every exam, Srinivasan would have made sure of at least one revision. During his school days, four or five revisions would be the order of study for every exam. He will not let anyone copy from him. Not even in a class test. Not even on the feedback form for teachers. He follows many tactics for his own amusement and to make sure he does not lose his topper status in class.
Tactic 1 – Before every exam, he will make sure he comes to school with this one question which he has found. It will be a tricky question. He would not gave been able to solve it. It will not come for the test fo shoo’. But that is no reason not to let the others panic a little over nothing – a proverb about cry wolf comes to mind. When he shows the problem the first few times, everyone starts panicking and forgets what little they learnt hence ensuring his continued dominance in the top ranks of the class. After some exams, everyone is wise to his game and won’t give 2 hoots.
Tactic 2 – He will lament about how he does not know anything and how he hasn’t studied a word. At this point, you should have a pair of nunchucks in the vicinity. Your next step is to take said pair of nunchucks, load a program for fatal usage of nunchucks into your brain (a la The Matrix) and beat the holy hell out of Srinivasan. Once he has been KO’d, you pick up his unconscious body by his collar and spout some awesome rhetorical dialogue which is to the tune of “You want me to believe that you, a class topper, somehow did not come prepared for an exam, however unimportant it may have been, but somehow had the time to brush, take a bath, comb your hair, polish your shoes and come to the exam hall well before time? You deserve this just for the mistake of thinking that I’d be so stupid as to believe that” … Now cut that down to like 10 words and add good phonetic-al emphasis on the requisite consonants or whatever.
Tactic 3 – He will come to the exam hall and ask you – “Did you study, macha?”. At this point, you repeat all the actions described above and replace the rhetorical dialogue with something suitable.
Clearly, if you have not been able to correlate the character Srinivasan with anyone in your life at any point of time, you have not lived in India very long or you come from a very decent, completely un-competitive (not incompetent) society.
But the reason for this post and that particular title is some experience I had recently. Extrapolating the behaviour of Srinivasan from before exams to after exams, we see that he starts spouting sentences like “You are geththu, macha!” and things to that effect and tries to convince us that we are better than him and he will score lower than us no matter how well he studied. He tries to induce in us a superiority complex (hubris) through highly singular behaviour – Singular Hubris Induction Theory.
Dear Srinivasan, I would like to address you in first person, wherever you are and inform you of a certain few things. You know you’ve given your heart and mind into the exam. I know that. We both also know that I have not done all that well. Why, in the name of all that is holy, would you want to convince yourself of otherwise? Do you get off on this in some perverse way? Or is it that your mind is just too hyper and you cannot waste this one opportunity to make it hell for the guy who dreads his very results in the first place? I find your behaviour utterly despicable. I have been a victim and I can tell you what you do is not pleasant to the psyche. At least not the first few times. Please to be stopping such activities and giving a shit exclusively about your own damn life. I have enough to take care of besides your insistent chiding and veiled deriding. Ok va?
Also, stop asking people if they have studied before an exam. Unless you think I am some sort of born loser who has been orphaned in the streets, you can be sure that even if I did not personally want to, my parents will make sure that I have studied. Just as yours would have made sure you have revised. Capisce?
I have lived with Srinivasans around me my whole life. It is not pleasant at first. Then you learn not to care. After that, you learn to give some back by exhibiting similar behaviour. At this point, you realise you have become a bigger loser and simply stop caring about these things. But sometimes, you feel that hatred again and you get pissed off. At these times, you rant on your blog to let the whole world know.
PS: I’m serious. The name Srinivasan was a completely random thing. I have known and still do know many people with this name (not to mention my own grandfather) and I assure you that I am talking about no one in particular who happens to be named Srinivasan and is one of these people.