"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

"So children, we shall quickly discuss a chapter in Greek mythology today, and then you will all sit down to complete your project work, okay?" exclaimed the teacher as she surveyed the classroom to make sure all heads nodded.

The chapter she planned for today was the mythical story of a Greek hero called Sisyphus. It was a simple story and she could wrap it up in ten minutes. She needed the rest of the day for completing the heavily backlogged record work. She threw one glance at the mountain of records piled up in her cupboard and cringed her lips.
"So open your books fast, lets start the lesson..." she commanded the students. There was hurried book opening on all the benches.
"Sisyphus was one of the wisest of Greeks, who, once, fell into temptation and broke a promise made to the Gods..." teacher saw some confused faces and clarified, "you can read about the promise and all from your book. I will only focus on the main part, okay?"

All heads nodded
"So as a punishment to him, the Gods ordered Sisyphus to carry a huge boulder to the top of an impossibly high mountain. Every morning Sisyphus would lift the boulder on his shoulders and start climbing. He would toil till evening, carrying the boulder upon the onerous slope, whence he would get tired and sit down to rest. As soon as he would keep the boulder down, it would roll down the slope, back to where he started. And then the next day, Sisyphus would start the work all over the again. He had no choice." teacher happened to sight her cupboard again and it heightened her urgency, "so that is the gist of the story, okay? Now I want you to read the lesson silently and answer the questions in your classwork. I want pin-drop silence, okay?"
And so teacher went up to the cupboard, picked up a pile of record books, and, balancing it carefully on her shoulders, carried it to her desk.
The record work was demotivating task, and all teachers were, understandably, irritated by it. But it was mandated by the school and they had no choice. Every year they had to do the same thing over and over again - only the names of the students changed. It took away all their free-time.
"Ma'am can you please help me with this question? What do I write for the moral for the story?" enquired a bespectacled student from the first bench.
He was her pet student so she whispered only to him, "It is that meaningless work is one of the biggest punishments in this world." She looked up at the class which was beginning to foment some murmur, and shouted, "Don't you boys understand what I said? I want absolute silence, else I am going to come there with my stick now. I am already frustrated with all this record work and you boys want to irritate on top of that."
She rapped her desk with the stick and it silenced the class. Teacher went back to the record work.