Let me introduce before you Mr. Ronak (his name itself is weird, isn’t it?), better known as ‘padaakoo’ in my close circle of friends. There is practically nothing under the sun or above it which Mr. Ronak has no idea about. If you go to him asking help for a seminar, he would snatch your notes as if those were his own property you had run away with and keep you hanging up for a good length of time teaching you how ignorant you are on the topic. If you want me on my knees begging for mercy, ask Mr. Ronak to give me a lecture on ‘black holes’, or let him visit my home with an idea for an essay when I am planning to go for fishing. I feared him so much that whenever I saw him coming towards me from the other end of the lane, I immediately crossed the road. The most horrible fact is that he is my classmate.
I remember our first class in Physics. Our Physics teacher was enthusiastically explaining the properties of light, Corpuscular Theory and so forth( I was too busy to listen because I was having a good look at the girls sitting in the front row). “The velocity of light is approximately three hundred million metres per second”, she said.
“Two hundred ninety nine million, seven hundred ninetytwo thousand,four hundred and fifty eight as estimated by Michaelson’s method”,Ronak interrupted.
” You are right”, Ms. Physics (let us call her so) said dryly and continued her tale on Corpuscular Theory ( I was half asleep by then). “Long back Issac Newton had said-”
” In 1675, exactly”, it was Ronak again. We all stopped writing notes and gazed at him. He was beaming with pride. Ms. Physics turned red. She opened her mouth and closed again, showing a set of pearly white teeth (false teeth, I doubt) without uttering a word.She continued the class, keeping her eyebrows knitted. Occasionally, she asked a few questions, all aiming Ronak, but he was too intelligent to be outsmarted.
Ms.Physics turned our attention to Electromagnetic Theory(Now I was admiring the beauty of Mother Nature). Without any provocation, Ronak stood up and said,”Proposed by Maxwell, in 1873″.
This time,Ms. Physics burned with rage, surpassing red and becoming maroon. “Well, if you are thorough with the subject, why don’t you handle the class yourself?”, she asked him with a bit of sarcasm in her tone.
Ronak rose. He proudly stood near the blackboard and lifted a chalk piece. He explained all those stupid theories one by one giving accurate facts and figures. We listened,in a horrific sort of silence,wondering what Ms.Physics would do next. Fortunately, the bell rang soon and Ms. Physics left the class, keeping her lips pursed.
Day after day, his actions became more annoying.Whenever Ms. Physics or any other teacher explained something, he dramatically stood up and corrected the errors or simply added more details. He would submit his projects far ahead of time, and would win every quiz he had participated. He would work tirelessly in the lab checking and rechecking results. He even had written a letter to the publishers pointing out the errors in our Physics textbook. Anyone who stepped on the stray electric wires in his room and did not come out trembling, with spiny hair, blackened face and a permanently surprised look were far too exceptional.None of us fools could match his caliber. We feared the idea of being his partner in the chemistry lab because he made his partner repeat the experiments until he turned up with the correct value accurate to three significant figures (Moreover, it stinks!!!,hydrogen sulfide smells much better).
One day,to everyone’s relief, he was absent in the class. He did not come thereafter. Rumours spread that he had moved to another college. I was sure that the news was true because Ms.Physics looked more cheerful. Long after, we got busy with our own chores and forgot all about Ronak.
After three years,I passed out with a B.Sc degree (I shall not reveal my marks,they are tremendously good). I soon started looking for a job. Two months passed, and I got the first call letter for an interview.
On the day of the interview, I was particularly enthusiastic about the outcome.I was early to reach the scheduled office. I confidently walked into the interviewers’ room, to meet just one person, sitting on a turn chair on the other side of the table.”Good Morning, sir”, I greeted. He raised his head and kept aside the note he was busy writing.
He was pale and skinny.He glanced me through his steel rimmed spectacles and said “Good Morning, Please take your seat”.
His voice was oddly familiar. I examined his face carefully. I quickly scanned my brain and identified the person (After all, I am not a dung head) and I felt a kind of electric charge passing through my spine.I resisted the urge to kick him and walked outside the room, sweating.’No job’ is better than this job, I thought.
A name board was nailed on the wall close to the door, which read, “Ronak Singh, Managing Director”.