Friday, November 04, 2005


I went to school at a time when strange people were called 'Samples'. 'Sample' was, in fact, more than a trivial dismissal of snuffers who got singing tiffin boxes. It was a very sturdy social construct that rose above gender and class differences. Of course, I went to a school where the only gender was female and the only class was middle. But then, if one were to use a reductionist perspective, (and who doesn’t), 'Sample' was a nail that usually hit odd heads pretty often. And it was cheerfully accurate. In fact, a testimony to its dogged endurance is how people, despite learning new words, will slip in 'Sample' calling ever so frequently.


Two ten year old girls are punished at P.T. The thin one who doesn't like being punished wants water from the flask kept nearby. The tubby one who hates P.T. is taking the opportunity to follow dust motes swimming across a sun beam.

'You want water?', thin one asks, offering the flask.

'Not from that cup', tubby one answers.


'It looks like a plastic piss-bag'.

'Piss-bag?' No, not at all.'

'Yes it does. It looks like the plastic piss-bag of a plastic cow.'

Thin one looks at the plastic cup again and laughs at what she suddenly sees.

'Sample', she guffaws.


A group of seventeen year olds are waiting eagerly for their Psychology papers. The teacher saunters in and paces to and fro.

‘How have we fared, Ma’am?’

‘As expected. And I’m not an optimist, so you know what I’ve been expecting.’

She gives out the papers. Tubby girl walks up to get her paper.

‘Hmm, Mukta, your answers were rather good’, she smiles.

Tubby beams.

‘They’d have been better if they were correct.’

‘Sample’, Tubby mutters under her breath as she mentally curses teacher using her new Wicca crafts.


Tubby has grown up, moved out, and made friends. Her friends are smart and funny but a little soft on the top. Typical conversation:

Soft top A: ‘You know what? I had set a reminder in my mobile to alert me when it’s time to pay the bill. Hee hee ha ha ha ha!

Tubby waits patiently.

Soft top A: I had forgotten all about it. Hee hee ha ha ha ha!

Tubby waits patiently.

Soft top A: My reminder hee hee ha ha was: ‘You moron! Pay the bill!’ Then I ..hee hee ha ha..forgot about it and when I got it, .... hee hee I thought Orange had sent it to me.

Tubby: Hee hee ha ha ha! Sample!


Conversation with Soft top B:

Tubby: You should quit smoking now.

Soft top B: I’ve decided to. But I can’t quit it totally.

Tubby: Try.

Soft top B: I think I’ll reduce the number of days I smoke.

Tubby: Yeah. That’s a good idea. Do it only on weekends or something.

Soft top B: Yes. I’ll smoke only on days starting with ‘T’.

Tubby: Hmm. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Soft top B: And today and tomorrow. Snicker snicker!

Tubby: Sample!

Now, as chance would have it, soft top B (lawyer with baritone voice) somehow got talking to soft top A (colleague with soothing voice like a needlework teacher who only whispers unto her yarns).

Then, Tubby gets a call from soft top B.

‘She sounds nice’, he says at midnight.


‘Umm… know…umm..her.’

Tubby first rolls eyes, then closes them, and goes off to sleep.

Next day, while Tubby tries to reason with a spider to move out of her hair-twist, soft top A taps her from behind, making her leap.


‘He sounds nice. I’d have never guessed you’d have pals like that.’

Tubby would have rolled her eyes but then quickly notices the accommodating spider exiting from hair accessory.

So, she benignly states in what would have been mellow, treacly light on a film set: ‘Samples!’


oglidonkee said...

This is a lovely post girl!
I mean you could intertween the days yonder and the times now......
love it!
Beats that Suitable Boy thing you like reading ;-)

Hey u know Happy Diwali and a Happy New Year.

the One said...

Ah .. that word takes one back to one's college days. A fine sample of a post.

Mukta said...

Hallo Oglidonkee,

You NEVER reply to your emails. Why? When you said you would keep in touch...why then do you not reply? How baffling?! Happy Noo Year to you as well. When are you coming back? Have to tell you so many things! Sheesh!

Hi the one,

I get this urge to curtsy politely and step away quietly. hee hee! Nice name. Very, ahem, regal. Thank you.

Oh yes, ogli....thanks for the kind words; but hey! That book was an 'equal Music' and it's a LOVELY book! Hmmph!

Nagesh Pai said...

I sometimes wonder if you call the wierd ones as "sample".. what do you expect of the population from which the sample is derived???

Alas! SOrry just remembered by stats lessons :-)

Mukta said...

Hi Nagesh,

A very good point! hee hee!

Ravi said...

Sometimes all we have are samples & the "normal junta" (if there is any such thing) are a minority.

Mukta said...

Hey Ravi,

Hmm...valid observation. :-)

~Sen~ said...

Conclusion 1 :
Tubby had one hell of a time in her childhood !!

Conclusion 2 :
Spledid blog ! Will come often. Linking it up soon.

Conclusion 3 :
We need a Tubby series !! Start one pleeeeessssss :)

Mukta said...

Hi Ravi,

Thanks for visiting. Tubby series? :-)

~Sen~ said...

Inertia is really too lazy to budge sometimes.Makes you address the next person still as the one from the previous comment :D

Mukta said...

Dear Sen,

Observer of something that has made me smile sheepishly. I stand corrected.

Shall address you correctly hereafter.

Scribbler said...

one question: How do you write such long posts? I sort of lose my way in between and end up writing 3 different posts in one... maybe time to quit smoking...

Mukta said...

Hey scribbler,

Long - hmm, never thought of my posts that way. I just begin to tell my story and stop when I'm one. he he! Neat graphic though.