Indrani Banerjee

For the most of us, our fondest and perhaps the funniest memories are from school and college. I particularly remember these twin incidents from college that were so funny that recounting them today after so many years brings back a smirk and a giggle.

It happened one day in the Chemistry lab in our college, among the hills, in Shillong.

It was a dark, rainy afternoon, and the rain gods were having a ball. The last period was dedicated to Chemistry experiments. Although I loved the subject, that specific day, I was very sleepy after a long day of too many classes. My friend Rini (name changed) was probably groggy too, as I figured from the incident that followed.

We were asked to take our places at our tables in the lab at the basement, which was very dark that afternoon, from the heavy showers outside. We pushed ourselves to start with the experiments, yawning, and hardly interested. As we talked about how tired we both were, Rini said she needed to sit for a while in what she thought was a stool behind her, without really looking at it.

I suddenly saw the ‘stool’ behind her, near the cupboards, jiggle. It wasn’t a stool at all! It was the tallest professor from our Chemistry department, stooping down behind her, taking out some stuff from the cupboard!!!


Just as I shrieked out to her, warning her, the professor stood up, alarmed at my scream almost knocking Rini off, as she tried to sit on him, the ‘stool’! You should have seen the look of surprise and disgust on the professor’s face! We stood giggling uncontrollably and apologizing at the same time.

After about 15 minutes, our giggling stopped and we got back to our stations to finish our experiments. I filled my test tube with acid and Rini filled hers. We looked at each other and the giggling fit started again, remembering the look on our professor’s face. I suddenly saw smoke emanating from somewhere and warned Rini again, sure that she had dropped her acid somewhere and burnt something. We smelt burning leather. We looked around frantically and suddenly Rini pointed out that it was my shoe that was burning!!! This time it was me who had goofed up. I had spilled the acid on my shoes, when giggling.


We rushed out to the cleaning area to wash off my shoes, still giggling at the two hilarious incidents that brought brightness and cheer to that dull, rainy afternoon in the Chemistry lab. When I narrated these incidents to my husband, Rajiv, years later, he sketched the two cartoons that you see.

Memories of those growing-up days of innocence, of incessant laughter and fun is what keeps you going, when the world today is a far more serious and solemn place.

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