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The Universal Notebook

Remember when you were in school? And you had to carry 17 notebooks for every subject to class daily? Aditya Kulkarni’s solution to that problem, became his very own problem.

Back in school, they had this really weird concept of maintaining a different notebook for each subject. Not just one notebook, but several per subject – Home Work, Class Work, Neat Work and whatnot. I didn’t believe in this system. Instead, I just had this one 200-pages long note book that I called the ‘Universal Notebook’. It contained everything. At least everything that I managed to write down. Needless to say, the teachers were not very impressed with this radical innovation.

But the real problem is that I used to forget to bring my Universal Notebook as well. I would come to class like I was on a picnic. This would irritate the teachers no end, and I got screamed at a lot. This one time, I was sitting in the last bench telling some silly jokes, when the teacher yelled at me.

Teacher: ‘ADITYA!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’

Me: ‘Not much, actually. I was…’

Teacher: ‘Come to the first bench and sit! And bring your notebook!’

Me: ‘Hmmm… OK!’

The fact that the teacher had explicitly asked for my notebook worried me a little, because I didn’t have any notebook with me. The teacher had turned towards the board. As I sat down in the first bench, I was wondering how I could get hold of a notebook. I looked around. Next to me was Drinivas. Regular JAMmers will know Drinivas, but for those of you that don’t, Drinivas is this super-nerdy, obedient, teachers-pet, first bench sitting, fully-homework-doing goody goody boy.

Me: ‘Pssstttt… Oye. Oye? Hello?’
Drinivas is busy writing down whatever the teacher is writing on the board. I nudge him

Me: ‘Do you have a notebook?’

Drinivas: ‘Which notebook do you want?’. He opens his seven-and-a-half-ton backpack of notebooks and starts rummaging through.

Me: ‘Any will do.’

Drinivas: ‘What?’

Me: ‘I just need to open a book and keep it in front of me.’
At this point, Drinivas experienced what is popularly known as a culture shock. His central nervous system just froze, unable to comprehend how someone could live without having 27 different types of classwork and homework notebooks. As he stood there, just gaping at me, I figured a joke would be appropriate to cut the tension.

Me: ‘Tell me, if the teacher makes a spelling mistake, do you copy it down as is? Hehehe…’

Drinivas: ‘Yes, and I circle it with my red pen so that I can go to the teacher and point it out after class. It is good to give constructive feedback. Everyone can learn this way!’
At this point, I experienced what is popularly known as a culture shock. He was actually serious! Man!
Seeing that my notebook request had not gone down well with Drinivas, I put my hand into his open bag and pulled out one. ‘This will do!’, I say as I help myself. ‘GIVE ME BACK MY NOTEBOOK!’ Drinivas screams, almost like someone has deeply insulted him. We tussle over the notebook, and just as the teacher turns away from the board and towards the class, I snatch it from his hands and open and keep it in front of me.

Teacher: ‘…so write down the solution to this problem, everyone…’

Me (Looking at Drinivas): ‘Psssttttt… Oye. Do you have a pen I can borrow?’

Drinivas: ‘Grrrrrrr…..’
The rest of the day doesn’t go so well sitting next to Drinivas, so I’m really glad when the day is finally over and I rush off. But Drinivas catches up with me outside in the parking lot.

Drinivas: ‘Where’s my notebook that you borrowed earlier?’

Me: ‘Oh, I submitted it as my Physics homework.’
Drinivas: ‘WHAT?!?!?! But that was my Computer History classwork book! How can you submit it as your homework?’

Me: ‘Well, the teacher came around collecting the homeworks, and I didn’t have any other book, so I submitted it. Don’t worry. You should get it back in a couple of weeks!’

Drinivas: ‘Arrrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!’
I don’t think Drinivas slept for the next couple of weeks. But that’s OK, because these kinds of experiences build character, and I’m sure Drinivas is indebted to me for that. He owes me one.

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