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The Varied Thoughts of a Sketch Artist

Guest Column Vishal Saxena

The pace I'm walking at borders on insanity. While I'm bruising my muscles, those five extra minutes in bed don't seem important, and viceroy - I mean Bertha, versa, whatever. Not enough sleep can do that. I catch an unfortunate glimpse of Memorial Drive, where certain unnerving creatures are in the middle of preening themselves - jogging, and dragging their complaining carcasses in hopes of immortality, and in the additional hope of grabbing approving glimpses from the opposite sex.

Now the despicable elevator takes its time. "I swear, if it doesn't" I wouldn't be a good Christian if I swore - but I'm not Christian, so it doesn't matter. While the elevator moans, showing signs of breaking its cables, nothing bad happens. That distinction is reserved for class, where the instructor blasts away, squeezing and groaning. I swivel in my chair, daydreaming about the fragrant air, imagining petunias floating in the breeze. My mind dawdles on the meaning of the word dawdle, while the instructor by now is in the middle of his exorcism. The class yawns a collective sigh at ten minutes before the hour, only to watch exasperated as the instructor take up the last few minutes, ending our hopes for a leisurely walk to the next class. I don't have time to stop after class. I rush out, wait for the blasted elevator again, and make my way through hordes of students playing tag in the infinite chaos.

The next instructor is in a huff. This time I am stuck looking forwards, facing my doom in a windowless, sunless classroom. A strange sort of primeval dance is occurring: students raising their heads to look at the instructor's scrawl, and then putting them down just as quickly. Taken together, the students look like a flock of birds in a courtyard pecking at their food and looking up constantly. Every now and then, one annoying person or another raises his or her hand to blabber away. To me it seems as good a time as any to ponder yonder on the spelling of the word torchure - no that can't be write. The instructor is like a human typewriter; he has reached the end of the third board and is hopping back like a carriage return. His giant swatter erases my hopes for making a note-taking recovery.

While I decipher the instructor's hieroglyphics, time stops while students transcribe the instructor's set of hieros into their own. Even the instructor stares in amazement at his creations, impressed by his own mental gyrations. But he doesn't stop long to wonder, he has others' time to lay asunder. He asks questions to the class, to make sure the students take note of his brass.

When no one answers his dialogue, the instructor frowns and takes it upon himself to punish us with another cumbersome monologue. Good grief. My sleepy head has a mind of its own; my eyes seem to jiggle while the instructor squiggles and his cords vibrate unceasingly. I can only hear quacking sounds: "Quack, quack, quack." An annoying person at the front is brainstorming an idea; his hands have become a flailing blur as he teases the instructor. I awaken from my dream, and the instructor is staring at me. I hustle, but the he spares me. His squint had me rustled.

The student up front has a stroke of luck, the instructor takes notice: "What is your question, you blistering baboon?" The student stutters, the instructor flutters; the class stares vacantly, blatantly. A student drops his pens, and the instructor turns faster than his shoes can stand. He stumbles and grumbles. But he is thankful for a distraction; he now restarts his rendition.

My artistic ambition takes over, while the instructor graciously chirps in the background. Here is my first pass:

Second pass:

Third pass. I think some of you are beginning to recognize me.