It’s horrifying what a university education does to you.
Last night, I was watching The X-Factor on NDTV 24×7. The topic of discussion in the first segment was, well, yes, the CAT leak scandal. NDTV had invited Bakul Dholakia, the IIM-A director, and Murli Manohar Joshi, the minister of the ridiculously-named human resource development ministry. The aam junta was represented by two people who had given the CAT- some bloke whose name I forget, and Sakshi Sharda.
I had last seen Sakshi Sharda a little over four years ago, when she had represented Vasant Valley School at MSVV’s biology symposium, LifeBeat. Back in 1999, she had been one of the fixed stars in my firmament of hot women.
So much so, that one of the reasons I’m so unenthusiastic about college is that the DOSA (Dean of Student Affairs), HB Sharda, just didn’t live up to my expectations of what a Sharda should be. On registration day, I found out that he was a gent named Sharda. Exposed until then to a very high standard in Shardas, I expected a graceful and distinguished professor, who possessed an inherent nobility. Two days later, I discovered that he was a pompous, puffed-up, and portly popinjay. I never really recovered from the disappointment. Had I know back then that Patiala possessed a Canal, I would have unreservedly leapt into it, seeking to end it all in a watery grave. Well, I wouldn’t. But I was looking for an opportunity to use that phrase.
Which is why I felt like weeping when I saw Sakshi Sharda last night. Far from being the vibrant damsel of years past, she looked like a toad beneath the harrow. Her eyes looked like dark pits. Add a couple of pendulums, and you would be wondering why she was on a news channel, rather than in an Edgar Allen Poe short story. Her face was sallow and drawn, as if she had been through some terrible experience. And though giving a CAT in all seriousness only to find out that you’ve got to do it again is disappointing, it’s not that bad.
Which is why I repeat my starting line. It’s horrible what a university education does to you. Or if not a university education, the passage of time at any rate. Not only has it stolen my own boyish good loooks (though, I confess, the depredations I have suffered are in no small part also due to my orthodontist and the constant company of sardars), but Sakshi Sharda’s too (though her good looks, of course, were not boyish). Nobody is safe.
Anyway. I’m returning to Patiala now, so this is probably it for this spurt of writing.