Teja likes to switch on his night lamp and open a book the first thing he gets into bed. He started doing it first to impress me. Now it’s a habit.

The other day, I walked in and he was holding up a book. I rolled up his ‘charsa’ and put it over his eyes. He continued holding up the book.

I said, “You are still reading?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “I’ve covered your eyes, and you are still reading?”

He said, “Yes.”

I gave up, and removed the ‘charsa’ from his eyes.

I said: “How?”

He said, “I’ve decided to give 30 seconds to each page. That’s it. That’s the only way I’ll ever complete a book.”

I said, “So whichever line you are at, when 30 seconds are up, you move to the next page, is it?”

He laughed.

He said, “You are very funny. What’s it got to do with the lines?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “How would I know 30 seconds are up when I am reading?”

I said, “Yes, how?”

He said patiently, “Obviously I cannot read the lines. I keep my eyes on the page, and I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 up to 30. Then shift my eyes to the next page.”

I was tongue-tied.

He said, “I sense some things on the page. And make up my own story.”

I said, “Hmmm. Nice.”

He said, “Look, this last page, I know there is a girl waiting at the bus stop, it’s late at night, she was at a disco earlier. Maybe, there will be a murder, maybe something else.”

I said, “Seems as good a way of reading as any.”

‘Boi Dekha’ or “Viewed the Book” is popular Bengali slang for watching a film. So, Teja is in good company, as Punjab-da-Puttar would affirm.

Later, at dinner, Teja missed an entire conversation between Pu, Sesh and me. After the Ramayan was over, he said, “You know there was this story about Ram.”

I said, “Teja, where have you been? We’ve been talking about this for the last 10 minutes.”

He said, “Oh, I was talking to Sesh.”

I said, “You were not.”

He said, “Yes, I was. Without saying anything.”

It didn’t matter that Sesh hadn’t heard him.

We all agreed that Teja is moving to greater philosophical heights than we are yet aware of.