My Dearest K-Nearest-Neighbor

One evening over dinner, we were swapping stories of the day when I told the daughter that she must sit up and pay attention in class, and not ‘droop like a plant in the desert’.

“If the teacher has deemed it important and relevant for you, you must pay attention”, I said ticking off a box on the Parenting list, and hoping my guardian angel was paying attention.

What had happened was, their History teacher had made them watch a documentary on the Civil rights movement. As far as documentaries go, this particular one seems to have been one of those glacier drifter-paced ones with soothing lambs-bleating-on-distant-hills sound effects. The class had fallen into a stupor, and the daughter’s friend had told her she saw her ‘wilt’ in her seat.  With many giggles, she assured her that she had seen her go from sitting straight backed to ‘drooping like a plant in the desert’. Whether these children imbibe any lessons in History or not, they certainly seem to have picked up a thing or two on the poetic touch.

Their teacher also noticed the supine trend in fashion, and quizzed them to see what they had managed to learn, only to be greeted with blank stares. So, he set them an essay to wake them up. The sleepy heads heard him mumble, “I want an essay, hand-written, not typed, on Edgar Evans’. Those who had not heard were helpfully enlightened by their fellow snorers, and they set about writing about Edgar Evans,  all the while wondering why their teacher, usually sound in the head, would set them an essay on a Vietnam war veteran when they were being woken up in a Civil war lesson.

k-nearest

After the busy pens had scratched for 10 minutes, one genius decided to ask the teacher Why Edgar Evans? To which the surprised gentleman fell off his seat, and said Medgar Evers(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medgar_Evers) – the Civil rights activist hero, not Edgar Evans.

The poor teachers!

‘Sleeping in class – tut tut!’, I said ticking the daughter off, though I had to admit the Edgar Evans gaffe was sound stuff.

In other news, you may have noticed that the New Year rolled around, and January whisked past. Resolutions were obviously taken with earnest in January.

The husband has resolved to read more. Now this is a resolution that has far reaching consequences, and we were not entirely sure we were ready to deal with it. What is the problem you ask? No? You did not ask? Well, never mind, I will tell you. It will be a good thing to get off my chest.

The husband is one of those people who beam at charging sockets and wi-fi connectivity in airplanes. While beaming, if you catch his eye by mistake, you can be treated to a most helpful dissertation on how wi-fi over the Arctic tundras should set your senses tingling. His engineering brain marvels and explains. If ever there was one who should’ve been a teacher, there he is readymade. So, of course, we groaned at his resolution. We know what that means.

Right enough, one day, as I was finishing up with the last dregs of cleaning up after a long, arduous day, the daughter came running to me , and said something had to be done about it. “He is boring me with sentiment analysis and K-N-N algorithms and stuff Amma.”

The husband said that the K-Nearest-Neighbor algorithm was most fascinating, and that we must show more curiosity, and showed every inclination to get started on K-N-N 101 right away.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-nearest_neighbors_algorithm

I raised my eyebrows, and shoo-ed them both away – where were those noise canceling headphones when you needed them? A while later, the moon had said Good night, the books read, and I was ready to drift to that beautiful ocean where the spindle of dreams spins, and embrace that soother of souls, Sleep, when the husband traipsed in all set to deliver K-N-N 101 Lecture #2. Evidently, the daughter had firmly put her foot down, and sent him to explain elsewhere. I groaned and let him patter on.

k-nearest_1

I have often observed this during my college days as well. All I needed was a professor to lecture on topic-dear-to-his-heart and the mind would most suitably wander. I could see the senses quiet down, almost like I am paying a spiritual homage to the lecturer. The glazed eye has been mistaken for sleep, but it is a homage really. I found the intervening decades have done little to stop this trend, and I found myself pleasantly drowsy as his soothing voice explained depths in trees and coefficients. Mozart and Brahms could not have done better.

I could hear my guardian angel scratch furiously in the margin, the unsavory word: ‘Hypocrite!’

I assured the husband that I wanted only him to be my dearest K-nearest neighbor in the tree of life for many long years together yet, but would he mind very much if I listened with my eyes closed instead of open?

He guffawed loudly at this waking me out of my reverie most rudely and said,’TCHAH!’, and stormed out of the room in mock protest. It seemed like an apt teenage reaction to our teenaged marriage.

“Amma! Sleeping when Appa is explaining? Tut Tut! When knowledge is being shared, you must focus, concentrate and absorb it Amma, not sleep.” said the smart-mouthed scholar drooping like a plant in the desert.

 

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