Not that I was one is the reason that am writing this. But over the years, most of the people I have met have been one. It’s only now that I realize that if most of the people I have met were really back benchers, who was sitting on the front benches(seats)? There can be only two situations. Either there is something about the backbenchers that at the sub conscious level they connect sooner and better than others and hence form a norm group long after they have left the aisles of schools and colleges. Or there is something about them that makes everyone aspire to be one and hence whenever there is talk of old times, all declare themselves to be from the alleys of the dark.
With backbenchers, the psychology is the same. The interests are the same, mischief. The discussions are the same, the next misadventure. The aspirations are the same, to beat the other in the next mischief mongering, sneaking into class coming late, eve-teasing comment etc. Is the same psychology working with the front bench occupiers? I guess so. The reasons are also pretty much the same. The interests are the same, books. The discussions are the same, the upcoming exam. The aspirations are the same, to beat the other in the next test, exam, appraisal etc. So, I guess, they do form a norm group of their own. There exists a force keeping the two groups away. And it’s much more than just different interests, discussions or aspirations. But then, how is it that most of the people you meet are from the ‘notorious’ norm group? Why do they want to be identified as the ‘infamous’ ones rather than the ‘good’ ones? There has to be some real solid reason.
I believe, the ones who are remembered over time are the ones who make a mark. Not just on the desks where they sat and compassed their names, but on people. They create a name on people who stay back in school/college long after they are gone. It is the bearer outside the principal’s office, the gardener, the bellboy, the matrons and wardens and ofcourse the teachers. Except the teachers, the other people would have never even heard the name of the person who stood first every year. Even if they did know the name, they never could put a face to the name. But the backbencher always had a name and a face to it. He was omnipresent; in the garden, outside the principal’s office, at the playground, on the roof, everywhere. These people keep the names alive by carrying stories over batches and years, of their mischief resulting into a ‘whacking’ session for the whole batch, their acts of annoying the Maths teacher so much that s/he almost fell from the first floor running out of the classroom, their (mis)adventures into the girl’s hostel, getting caught half hanging on the toilet pipe etc. The batches coming later got to hear of all the backbenchers did. They did not have a face to the name. But they knew the name and searched it on one of the desks, walls or books. The frontbenchers never had a face to their names and never managed a name for themselves either. This is why people always take a ‘frontspeak’ to call themselves ‘backbenchers’. This is what most people crave for.
There can be only a set number of front seats and back seats. It is impossible not to come across even one person who was not on the front seat. In reality, I have come across some of them. There certainly is something about them, which is repelling. I can’t pin point what. But I believe, the front parkers take life a little too seriously. They want to create an air of superiority around them. They desire and finally become ‘the one’. Not realizing, its not others, but they themselves who become ‘untouchables’. They never gather many friends.
Having said that, I do have very good friends who were frontbenchers, are doing amazingly well in life and still are my good friends. Not only I, they too have made all efforts to keep the relationship alive although, their social circle, lifestyle and thought process is different from me. But taking a percentage, I can safely say only 1% of the frontbenchers I knew, are in touch with anybody I am in touch with of my class in school or college.
I am sure they are sitting pretty, wherever they are. But it never was a pretty sight watching them, then. It is an ugly sight still.