2 + 2 = 5 ( a short story )

It was just anyother day in the school. The kids were playing around before the class teacher enters. They were running from one corner to another sharing their experiences and enthusiasm. Amidst the enthusiastic and energitic joy of the students, teacher enters the class room. All the enthusiasm, energy and joy gets silenced in no time. All the minds that were filled with confidence a minute ago, suddenly numbs in submission to fear. Their bodies that were running around in freedom comes to stand still in obedience to authority. They just wait for the order to be given.

The teacher yells at the students to stand as straight as a stick, exibiting arrogance and demanding complete attention. The tender heart of the student, who already is under pressure because of the very presence of the teacher, further goes pounding responding to his loudness. With a military obedience students further straiten up their bodies. A further order from the teacher to sit, the students with utmost care not to exibit any casualness unconciously take to the hard school bench, keeping the backbone straight.

Teacher finishes a round of walking around the class observing all the students. He gets back to his position from where he gives his lecture. With a stern and military voice he informs the students that there has been a change in the syllabus. The change in the syllabus should be obeyed by all the students. They obey to it without any discussion or even a surprise. They remain still as even a show of consent would attract an attack from the teacher. Turning his back to the students, teacher begins to write on the board. He writes 2 + 2 = 5.

Teacher after writing the new equation on the board turns back to student. He orders “Repeat after me. 2 + 2 = 5”. Students with much more loudness repeat the equation together “2 + 2 = 5”. Teacher further orders the students to keep repeating the equation again and again. All of the class goes into a rhythamic chanting equation again & again “2 + 2 = 5”.

Amidst the rhythamic chants of the new equation, a hand from penultimate row of the seating begins to raise slow and with full of fear. Just when the hand is about to straightenup, the sound of the rhythamic chants suddenly increase to their loudest. This triggers the hand to low down, immediately. Another hand raises from the back row. This hand has come up fast. Looks innocent but straightforward, more importanly gets the attention of the teacher.

The teacher frowns even before the student begins to speak. But this innocent and straightforward student doesn’t stop with just raising his hand but stands up and asks the obvious. “Sir, isn’t 2 + 2, 4? beca…”. Teacher without even allowing the student to complete his question responds back loud. “Donot question, have faith. Can’t you see 2 + 2 = 5”. Student startled at this equation’s absurdness begins to confront other students “Guys can’t you see 2 + 2 = 4” by bringing 2 fingers from each of his hands together. Other students just keep quiet, the teacher looses his cool as he himself is surprised at being questioned. Teacher further claims what the questioning student is doing as blasphemy. But the innocent student just doesn’t give into agreeing what teacher puts forward and continues his argument. Teacher orders the student to stand still in his place and moves out of the classroom. Meanwhile, the innocent student continues to convince other students and asks them to realise the obviousness of 2 + 2 = 4.

The teacher returns back to the class room bringing along with him 3 more students. The teacher shows the newly invited 3 students to the class and says “Look at these 3 students. They are brilliant. They are successful. They have been toppers of the school consecutively for 4 years. Listen to what they say.” The teachers asks these successful students the same question. The 3 students respond concurrently in chorus “Aye Sir, 2 + 2 = 5”. Looking at the response of these 3, the questionning student stands in disappointment, he had his hopes on them. But, they let him down. They not only looked normal but more obedient than anyother student in the school.

Now, showing this case of 3 successful students agreeing to the equation 2 + 2 = 5, the teacher demands the questioning student to repeat it. But he just remains silent and still. The teacher further looses his patience and calls the student to come up to the black board write the new equation. With bent shoulders and disappointed face, student drags himself upto the black board. He picks up a chalk piece and begins to write.

Meanwhile, the 3 successful students get their guns ready aiming point blank at the student. Under the equation written by the teacher as 2 + 2 = 5, questioning student writes the obvious equation 2 + 2 = 4. As and when he finishes writing the equation the 3 successful students trigger the gun aimed at the student. The boy falls at the gun shot right at the altar of the learning classroom. The blood of the innocent spills on the black board erasing the equation 2 + 2 = 5. The 3 students drag the body of the innocent out of the classroom. And the teacher continues his class.

The rhythamic chants of 2 + 2 = 5 begin again in full throttle. This time the teacher demands all the students to write it in their notebooks. All the students write the new equation in their respective books. But, one student at the back, hiding in privacy of the notebook stops his writing at 2 + 2 and thinks. Before closing his notebook, he finshes the equation by writing the answer as 4.

PS : Adapted from a European Short Film

Siddhartha Malempati


Hyderabad, India http://about.me/sidmalempati