I have been a backbencher all my life. And, I have thoroughly enjoyed it!
My peers always thought of me as a dull boy when I was in school. My teachers never thought differently. That was because I was indeed a dull boy. I was a backbencher, after all!
I could never have been a frontbencher for obvious reasons. I had a perennial paranoia of being under the watchful eyes of the teacher. That used to make me self conscious. I hated being under supervision right from childhood. I wanted to hit out on my own in life. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be my own boss!
I have no regrets about having been a backbencher. I have no regrets in life. Being a backbencher was fun. It is true that I used to occupy one of the seats in the last row of the class. But, that does not mean that I did not listen to the teacher or cheated on my homework.
In England, there used to be a dunce’s corner in classes for students who were slow learners. A student in the dunce’s corner was supposed to be the equivalent of a backbencher in India. I am told that some of the world leaders and top scientists belonged to this category early in life. I feel honoured by their company!
All said and done, there was something nice about being a backbencher! I have never shared it with anyone until now. But, I would like to share it with you.
The frontbenchers were the teachers’ favourites. They listened to the teachers, learned a lot and scored good marks. But, nobody ever bothered to find out as to what it feels like to be a backbencher. Believe me, it feels great! Because, you not only learn what the teacher teaches in the class but also get a back-eye-view of everything that happens there. The college was no different.
I have seen students slipping in and out of the class. I have seen students popping chocolates into their mouths. I have seen students stealing goodies from their neighbours’ lunch boxes. I have seen students sketching cartoons of our teachers. I have seen students making fun of the lecturers. I have seen students sharing jokes while the class was in progress. I have seen a lot of other mischief.
The frontbenchers learn a lot from what the teacher teaches. A backbencher learns not only that but also a lot about student behaviour. They get a wholesome view of what happens in a class. That is the wisdom of a backbencher!
As I said, I have been a backbencher all my life. And, I have thoroughly enjoyed it!