I said, ”He depends on his wife; his wife depends on his servant; his servant is just a fool, and I have to depend on him? A great chain! But the man is good; just don’t ask me to depend on him, instead ask that I should remain available to him. That’s enough for teaching – why dependence? He is not my boss. In fact, I am his boss.”

He was a retired headmaster, but I don’t think that he ever had a head. But that’s how people are divided in the whole world, into heads and hands. Laborers are called ”hands,” just hands, as if there is nobody behind the hands. And the intellectuals, those who call themselves intelligentsia are known as ”heads” – whether they have any heads or not. I have seen so many so-called heads of departments that I have always wondered whether this was a law: that anybody who has no head will be made the head of a department.

I simply jumped out of the tree, over the tutor! What happened next was really great, just great! Something I never expected…. (LAUGHING OUT LOUD) His pants gave way! He ran away without his pants! I can still see him…. (ROARING WITH LAUGHTER)

Chapter 49

Even I was surprised when I saw him so terrified. He was just fear. The man disappeared. For a moment I even thought to put an end to it, thinking, ”He is an old man; perhaps he may die or something, may go mad, or may never return to his house,” because he could not reach his house without again passing that tree – there was no other way. But it was too late. He had run away leaving his pants behind.
But what happened to the man? I even searched everywhere in the town, but naturally he was not to be found in the town because he was naked.
I just did a simple thing. I sat in the tree, with a drum, struck it loudly just so that he would take notice of what was happening and forget everything else in the world – and then I jumped to the ground.” And it was my usual practice. I had made many people run. In fact my grandmother used to say, ”Perhaps this street is the only street in the town where nobody walks at night, except you.”

But this man who was known as a madman immediately became my friend.
for the first time I realized it is not good to be really sane in an insane world.
I said, ”Can’t we remain silent?”
He said, ”I would love to be silent with you, but let us finish this dirty job first, then we can sit silently.”
The way he said, ”Let us finish this dirty job first…” was enough to show me that here is a man who at least knows what is dirty: the bureaucracy, and the endless red-tape-ism. He quickly finished, closed the register and said, ”Okay, now we can sit silently. Can I hold your hand?”
I was not expecting that from a teacher, so I said, ”Either what people say is right, that you are mad, or perhaps what I am feeling is right: that you are the only sane teacher in the whole town.”

For example, you would see him going to school on a horse; that was not a bad thing in those parts, but sitting backwards…! I love that about him. To sit on a horse, not as everybody else sits but looking backwards, is a strange experience.

I was determined to do everything that was not allowed. For example when I was in college I wore a robe without buttons, and pyjama pants.