The slap was such an
integral part of growing up that I miss it sometimes. By the time I passed
school, I got so used to getting slapped that it really didn't matter anymore.
The normal reaction to the phase - "If you do this, you will get one tight
slap" was kind of like - "Just a slap? I mean...that’s all?"...and
off I went to the liquor shop after college to get myself a beer.

But yes...there is a
difference between getting slapped by someone you know and getting slapped by a
policeman. The latter (always delivered harder and with sheer precision) often
left a ringing sound in the ear for a good hour or so. My study (done during
the last 3 years of college, sitting outside 'Aunty’s Tea Shop') revealed that every
time a policeman slapped someone, (especially college kids caught drinking beer
behind the liquor shop) it was delivered with an undying sense of passion and
honesty...words that were missing from the police dictionary (owing to the fact
that all the pages after the word Corruption went missing). It was a policeman's
divine duty to slap 'peace loving beer drinking college kids' behind the liquor
shop...if slapping was a sport, I know one or two policemen who would have got
the Khel Ratna. It was what God, in a dream, told a policeman to do as often as
he could (apart from taking money from truck drivers) to ensure that he was not
a policeman again in his next life. The other difference was that a policeman
would never say - "If you do this I will slap you". He slaps you
straightaway. For a 'peace loving beer drinking college kid' such a slap was
often very difficult to anticipate. Like the slap the 'peace loving and
probably beer drinking kid' in the in the center fresh chewing gum ad got from
his dad after failing in his exams. (Link to the ad, if you have not seen this –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StO0Ok3yiOU
)

Slaps in school could be
classified according to the subject. The hardest came from Math teacher,
followed by the Science teacher, then by the Social Science teacher, the
English teacher, the Language teacher...so on and so forth. I was not
particularly good in Math and the Math teacher was not exactly my best friend.
(In school, even if you are not good in Math, you can still be best friends
with the Math teacher if you take private tuition from him...along with all
the other students who were good in Math but still wanted to be best friends
with the Math teacher...just in case). So being bad in Math and not being best
friends with the Math teacher lead to situations like these:

Math Teacher: One pipe can
fill a tank in 5 minutes and another can empty the tank in 10 minutes. If both
the pipes are opened together how long will it take to fill the tank? Any
Questions?

Sanjit Phukan: Yes sir!
Sir, what is the objective? Is it to fill the tank or empty the tank? If it’s
to fill the tank then why open the other pipe at all? (I always found it
amazing that people required Math to solve such simple, man-made problems of
life)

Math Teacher: You think you
are very smart?

**SLAP**. (Completely un-anticipated, quick swing of the arm, flawless)
I know text books can’t be
wrong but it’s been more than 16 years since the above slap and I have not come
across a tank that has 2 pipes, (one to fill it and one to empty it) with both
of them opened together with an objective to fill it. If you tell a plumber
that this is what you tried to solve in school in the Math class...he would probably
never send his kids to school. But change is constant! I have heard that the
above problem was removed from the text books a few years back. It has been
replaced by this one - 1 labourer can build a wall in 5 days and one labourer
can break it in 10 days. If both the labourers are working together, how long
will it take to build the wall? Sure someone somewhere is getting slapped. (Btw:
Now that Bal Thackeray dead, I wonder who is paying the other labourer to break
the wall)