Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chalk and Talk

Humanities didn’t offer many great options for this semester. Thus I stuck to the one, which seemed most sensible within my domain of study, i.e. Literature. I had opted for Indian Writing in English, and when the teacher asked for volunteers to present presentations, my hand went up in the air. Only did then I realize, I hadn’t been told the topic. Now one of the things I must say here is this course when compared to Contemporary Fiction seemed too boring. The Indian novels didn’t suit what I read, and the name ‘Mulk Raj Anand’ seemed overrated to me after reading his novel ‘Untouchable’.
The topic was ‘The Characterization of Bakha’ (Bakha was the central character of the novel) to my utter dislike, but I didn’t withdraw considering the odd feelings it would bring up. Slowly I found myself working on the subject, Humanities more than all the other subjects, as I did a page-by-page analysis (147 pages) of the novel to do justice to the characterization, which I understood was different from the character. To drift into my memories, while presenting about ‘Fairytales’ in Contemporary Fiction, I had Pradeep as my partner and we had enacted a self-created fairytale. However, this time the lack of a partner and the urge to do something different from the conventional presentations made me decide in favor of the concept of ‘Chalk and Talk’ (as named by Multani Ma’am), that is to teach. One of the sad things which happened into this journey of completing the presentation was the mail I sent to the teacher 4 days before, referring to a doubt in the interpretation and to review the work I was doing, to which she mailed only the night before the presentation sighting with regret, she had no access to mail. Till then, my compilation was over.
It was only when, I picked up the chalk and began to speak did I realize how difficult it was to be a teacher. As I held the final 7 pages of compilation, and read from it while vowing to write crucial points on the blackboard, I found myself struggling. While writing, either I had to move on with the next line which digressed off the topic I was writing on, or bear the uncomfortable silence behind my back. Though silent they were, when I occasionally looked at their faces I felt as if I could read their minds, and abuses echoed in my mind. The 35-40 minute long presentation ended with a sign of despair, as I myself had realized how bored I would have been had I been in the audience seat. Yet speaking with the high enthusiasm, I tried to force doubts out of the students where I realized my interpretation of the word ‘Characterization’ had been bizarre, and the whole presentation became a farce. The way I had dubbed the word (with the help of Wikipedia as well) was the character building, the aspects of character which the narrator revealed slightly with the passage of pages. To my astonishment, this definition was only half correct and the word dealt more with the impact on the reader (which had been nil in my case, while reading the novel) and why the character was the way he was.
So till then, what seemed a dejected ending to my presentation started becoming a misery. Though some doubts were forced by some students and the teacher herself, the verdict was clear- I had messed up. However, the teacher felt a little guilty since the delay by her in mailing, had been one of the reasons I did what I was not supposed to. She could see, I had worked hard towards it, but also could feel the direction was wrongly headed. To conclude, she presented another opportunity for redemption in the essay. But the feeling that bubbled in me was wholly different- I miserably failed in an attempt to innovate.


Divyam Singhal said...

I never got it, why couldn't you just stop for a second and write the whole word. Not that I'm trying to prove that I would have been better at it, but telling you as an audience.
Secondly, you could've cut out on irrelevant parts, was too long. But that's acceptable, how could you judge that how much time you would end up taking...
About the characterisation, I was seriously expecting an analysis from you, behind those traits...
And a question.
If I'm not mistaken, characterisation is like "characteristics" of a person like him(and the reaosn behind) and not exactly the "characteristics" of the character?

Siddharth Bhattacharya said...

I didn't understand the topic at all, even Wikipedia doesnt mention anything which I didnt think.
I didn't for a single second imagine, we have to speak on impact it had on the reader (it had no impact on me, other than counting the pages remaining)
This was the minimum I could make of the presenation. My rough work was far far longer.
And it was really odd, when I stopped to writen the board. It feels odd, and time was not on my side.

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