Friday, August 17, 2007

Space out.

The professor was, simply put, fat. There was no way around it. He walked like a large slow duck towards the classroom, and a ring of fat just above his belt wobbled about like gently heated jelly. He was about to enter the classroom. The class, reached a state of stability from one of chaos as soon as he cleared his throat. He gave a broad smile to all the boys on the last bench who had been shouting in some childish mischief some time ago. Inwardly he thought, this was going to be another pleasurable day.
The professor walked slowly to his desk and sat down. He looked at the monitor, rewinded it and saw a video feed of the class just before he entered. He snorted at the picture, turned it off, inserted his portanet drive and a presentation flickered to life on the whiteboard. It had a single question. "Where is space?"
He looked around at the students, and asked anyone who thought they could to answer the question. One of the boys in the last row raised his hand. They were bold and clever, but their oversmartness made them hopelessly stupid. "Outside the Earth, Sir" he answered. "Class, Arun here is of the opinion that space is outside the Earth. This classroom is not inside the Earth, so according to him, we are all in space. Is he correct?"
The classroom echoed with murmers nobody could comprehend. One girl from the left hand side corner raised her hand. She did not wait to be asked to speak, she was the only one raising her hand, so she said "Space is everywhere". The professor was incredulous. "What about the Earth, is the Earth space or not?"
He was only pretending, hoping someone in the class would be smart enough to come up with the correct answer. "The Earth is occupying space sir". "Very good, Shantanu, that is close to the correct answer, but if earth is occupying space, where did the space go?" Shantanu could not reply. He sat down thinking hard about space. He did not know where this was headed. The class was silent and watchful. They were all, for once, paying attention - somewhat. The professor clicked his clicker and the slide changed. Another question came on the screen now "where is space not?"

The class laughed. They had understood.

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