If you scratch your head long enough, you’ll surely remember your time in school. Where you sat on an uncomfortable wooden bench, next to a creature assigned by the Higher Powers to be your: partner. Benchmate is a better word, but naah, when you’re stuck with someone six hours a day in such close proximity in an unventilated room full of respiratory infections, lice, and the fog of fear emanating from bagfuls of unfinished homework, you call the other person a partner!
The partner system works well as a support group (Can I lend(sic) your rubber(sic)), or a vigilance mechanism (Miss! She is eating her tiffin under the table), depending on the equation between partners. There are those who help you answer tests, and there are those who are eating YOUR tiffin under the table while you asking to lend their rubbers! There are those who weep inconsolably when your seats are changed, and there are those who draw impermeable Indo-Pak borders with a compass to demarcate your area of the table and theirs… And there are always those who have been too busy for weeks to have a bath, which is the reason your mom talks in serious and low tones to your teachers at the PTA, even though you have topped the bleddy class!
The partner assignation processed can be classified into three kinds: Simple, Arbitrary, and Rocket Science. Simple is when the teacher lets you sit next to whom you please, which results in Ekta Kapoor ke soap-like politics among people, and location-wise as well, there will be some prime seats that everyone wants. Also, the people who nobody wants to sit with get emotional scars for life, which is very helpful if they’re gonna grow up to be artists, but very bad if they’re gonna become prime ministers, and since you never know, the simple system should just be considered unsustainable.
The arbitrary system is when the harried lady who steps into a 10feet-by-10feet room consisting of 60 kids, their unwashed aromas and their lunch smells has to, without fainting, assign people seats. Based on an assessment of their characters and natures made during the 40 minute class, where she glances at them once in a while, she decides who sits where. The smart teachers make the tallest girls sit at the back, and the rowdies sit next to the nerds, and thereby all human curtains for mischief are gone! And the nerds never really benefit from being with the rowdies, they just bury their noses into Moral Science books as the rowdies make fun of them TO THEIR FACE!
The rocket science system was tried once or twice in my school with moderate success. It works like this: each row of twin seats has a left side and a right side, right? So all the people on the left stay static in their seats, and all the ones on the right move one seat ahead every week, and the frontbencher moves back to the last seat, like a conveyor belt. So you have a new partner every week, which in the adult week is called being a jerk or being a player, but in school world is called social adjustment 101. When you sit with so many different people, you no longer care who your partner is, you don’t know who has your rubber or whose tiffin you just ate under the table. You learn to go about doing your own thing, and grumbling each time you are forced to accept change JUST when you got used to the previous idiot, and this sort of prepares you for adult life more than the stuff in the books!
Ok. I have spoken enough. In fact, I had spoken enough 100 sentence ago. Now if you please, leave a comment about your most memorable “partner”.