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Reading tables! For laughs and tips on life

We've seen them on monuments, trees and walls. But the art of doodling has taken on a new meaning in Panjab University with messages and graffiti scrawled on desks and sometimes read years later - some witty, some banal and others profound.

"Overnight success normally takes 15 years," said one message engraved on a desk in one of the classrooms of the Department of Law. It may scare some young minds on the long road to success, but, for optimists, the message for hard work has to be read between the lines.

 A message engraved on a table in a classroom

Hundreds of students, who have attended lectures "sometimes interesting, sometimes boring" in that classroom, may have read the engraved phrase but not many would have remembered it. Certainly, not more than a handful would have spared a thought to the soul who took the time to carve it in.

Doodling, the art of writing aimlessly, but sometimes with a lasting meaning, is something that most students may have attempted during their student years. According to the dictionary, it is a pattern, writing or picture that one makes when one is too bored or the mind is thinking of other things.

At the A.C. Joshi library at Panjab University, the study tables have interesting things written on it. "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you do not try," is one pearl of wisdom left behind by a student.

"The art of doodling does not require any equipment. You just need to have a pen, a permanent marker or any pointed thing to do that easily. The victim is the table or desk in front of you. The impression you leave could be there for years," second year science student Radhika Kumar told IANS.

Some have even made a habit of it.

A student of the political science department, Stanzin Kanzary, has written many such words with permanent markers at different places.

Sample some of his one-liners -- "It is not a disgrace to fail; failing is the one of the greatest facts of the world!" or "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity".

Ratika Thakur, a student of masters in anthropology, was quite intrigued. "These caught my eye the moment I sat down to study," she said about Stanzina's writings.

There are also those who make for a good laugh.

Apurva Gautam, a microbiology student, said: "Once, I read a very witty quote written by someone on the table when I sat to study. Therefore, I keep searching for more whenever I sit down to study. The table is the first thing I read now. They make a good Facebook status."

One of the quotes that Apurva read was "love is as private as a toothbrush".

At times, there are messages addressed from a boy to a girl. One such message read: "I saw you studying Hindi. Please do come on Thursday at 6 pm here only- Gaurava".

Udit Dureja, a final semester student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), said: "In our college people have signed wills. This scribbling was one reason that our tables are being replaced from wood to black marble and tiles. Now only pencils are used by some to write pointers to recall answers during exams."

Here was one 'will' that Udit read: "I hereby announce that after I leave the university, my room, books, bed, other belongings that I do not need will be passed on to my junior Karan. Undersigned. Ashish".

Said Liza Mittal, a postgraduate bio-physics student: "It is always fun to see that the silly things we wrote while being students now amuse our juniors."

At times, the writings do not have a message. They can just say: "Gurpreet Singh, B.Sc. (Hons School) Biochemistry; Batch of 2009".

Just to say, been there, seen that.

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