Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Of Classrooms and Graffiti

Classrooms – the rightful abode of modern education, worldwide. The word brings in a plethora of assorted images to the mind of any adult who’s been through school/college. High aired ceilings, black/white boards, an assortment of educational aids and paraphernalia that includes ergonomically designed furniture with slant panels for easy writing and niches for bags .

Apart from these usual suspects, there is another entity common to all classrooms worldwide. It doesn’t show itself at the outset. You’ve to keep your eyes open to see it. But once you get a glimpse, the discreet quality of this item metamorphoses into a totally different one. Into something glaring and in-your-face.Your reaction would, essentially, be binary. Either you’d grope all about your torso, as you roll over the floor in in-suppressible laughter, or you’d find your face quell up all red, in deep anger. There’s a worst-case scenario – you could even be transmogrified into a living-breathing straight-face smiley! 😐

True, the graffiti that adorns all our classrooms are universal paradigms of modern art, with oeuvres of shock-value to boot! πŸ™‚

Image Courtesy: Good schools Pensylvania

The reasons behind such works of art are myriad, but the key lies firmly in the locks of youthful exuberance. The human mind, as they say, is a receptacle at its best, in the heydays of youth. From suppressed rage and existential angst to mind-numbing boredom rooted from lack of satiation, the causes are numerous. Kindled by the blitzkrieg of incomprehensible knowledge, imparted through droning voices, floodgates of inscrutable emotions are let loose. Having waited long for the cue, forearms bustling with raw talent transform, cheap ball-point ink into two dimensional objet d’ art. Ta dah!

There’s a strangely common feature among all such works of art. Despite the spontaneity, despite the supposedly-amateurish feel, there is an innate professionalism in these works. Hidden deep down in the most illegible of graffiti, there’s angst and passion, and that makes it original. Unlike toilet graffiti, which comes out of an urge to deface a public place, classroom graffiti has nobler intentions. It’s more of an outpour and rightful employment of the freedom of expression right enshrined in the constitution. Most graffiti are texts. Abuses top the list, followed by names, nick names, crushes, love-you lists and the like. Some even engrave rib-tickling jokes. The common writing instrument is the ubiquitous ball point pen (blue/black). Whiteners are also prefered for the exclusive ‘contrast’ effect they provide. In times of need, even pencils fill the void. Dividers and compasses serve the purpose with an irreversible ‘engrave’ effect.

The lesser minds (or higher authorities, as they so self-respectfully term themselves) aren’t quite enamored with such graphical brilliance. Their craniums fail to interpret the dexterity and the artful panache of such works of art. For them, the full blown proclamation of ‘mech-spirit’ emblazoned in stylish font is but gibberish. The spectacular curves of female anatomy magnificently compressing three astute dimensions in two, is pornography! Phone numbers, “call me” signs, email ids, nostalgic farewells, historic proclamations, in-your-face truths, defamation of lesser mortals, – all are absolute sacrilege! Once discovered, a red alert is sounded. Heads roll. Codes of conduct are imposed. Notices are read. The random victim is pulled up and grossly fined.Β  Inexperienced local painters, armed with low quality sandpapers and cheap, glossy distempers devastate hours of careful craft with pale, staid disfigurement. The entire room – benches, desks, walls, stare back at you with a pale blankness. An absence, a void, as if beseeching for more graffiti.

The nameless artist is never deterredΒ  by such acts of forced-removal. He displays his wares in the classroom canvas, within days of the gagging act. Soon, many more are inspired, and normalcy is restored. The classroom is a full-fledged art gallery, once more. The lecturers, blissfully unaware of the art-gallery metamorphosis, due to the discrete nature of the act, go about doing their duties, until a very deviant artist portrays a rather outrageous piece of art (a laughably poignant piece, for the students) that suitably enrages the guru.

The cycle repeats itself, and hopefully will, for the rest of eternity! πŸ™‚

P.S.

23 days without posts – yes, I had an eventual month. πŸ™‚ Very bloggable. BRB with a post on what actually transpired. πŸ™‚

1 Comment

  1. Praveen

    I loved tht para whr u mentioned the reasons for classroom graffitti..

    it indeed is one of the noblest art forms beyond any selfish reasons of money or fame…just an outpouring

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