Prof. Michael W. Hitch (from University of British Columbia) is talking about mineral carbon sequestration. It’s an interesting concept,one that probably holds the potential to solve the world’s ’emission’ problems! I am trying to listen to him attentively.But every now and then, my view is obstructed by the peon who is performing the most important duties of all. Distributing teas and biscuits to the ‘junta’ present. Several hands rise up, not to ask questions from Michael, but to signal to the peon to bring the tray of 50-50 biscuits towards them! And then the nightmarish ‘classical tea-sipping’ sounds!! SURRRRRRRRRRR……A guy behind me is furiously munching on the biscuits;loud enough to be heard across the border!
And there’s the door,which creaks in every 2 minutes,signalling that yet another person has entered the lecture room. IST(Indian Stretchable Time)!
Michael seems to be unaffected by these disturbances.I am not. What the hell is tea and biscuits doing at a guest lecture? At 11:30 in the morning?
My thoughts wander to the numerous occasions when the tea-biscuit couple make their presence felt! They are like the VIP’s of any Indian social gathering.Whether we are mourning, celebrating, discussing or simply idling away, WE WANT OUR TEAS AND BISCUITS!
My thoughts are crash landed upon by a voice.“Bhaiyya chai?”- the peon gestures with the politest smile.
“No,thank you bhaiyya.Le jaiye”– I answer and try to focus on Michael again.