June 24th, 2005
An unexpectedly pleasant Kolkata morning. The bread suppliers and newspaper distributors were cycling hastily to reach their customers. As always I am waiting at my self-proclaimed bus stop for Rohit. It is the third time in this week when we are attempting to reach school before the assembly bell strikes but it seems like a superficial hope as variables are more. Even if Rohit showed up now in no way could we cover 6kms in 13 minutes.
*Skipping my frowning period and fast forwarding to 3 minutes later*
*Rohit is a dedicated student with an urge to stay as the teacher’s pet. Sahil on the other hand is a carefree teenager.*
“You finished your homework?” asked Rohit while trying to stand firmly in the HVM students’ filled bus.
“What homework?” I asked casually.
“Hindi homework. Mam gave nine questions two days back. Today is the submission date”.
“I do not recollect any Hindi class this week. Where have I been?”
“I remembered it today morning while arranging my copies. Hindi class is in the end; don’t know how I will finish”.
“Oh yes! I was playing basketball with juniors”. I replied with a twinkle.
“How we will complete homework bro? There is no free period today” exclaimed Rohit.
“Dude lets first dodge the punishment for coming late”. I replied looking with a plan.
We left the bag in the sitting area beside the main entrance and ran towards the loo. In two minutes the bell rang signifying the dismissal of assembly prayers. We gently walked out and acted like we are guiding the Upper Kg students to their classrooms. Swiftly we picked our bags and mingled with the juniors before hoping into our classroom on the top floor (we are the senior batch).
In the first two periods Rohit tried multi-tasking but failed miserably as the teacher caught him. He skipped lunch and pursued his mission. Although it isn’t an easy one however Rohit is one tough warrior.
“Dude lets race to the court. Physics mam won’t come”.
“Sahil you can play basketball tomorrow. Sit and finish the homework with me”.
“Dude forget it. I am not writing 12 pages”.
After 40 minutes we came back drenched in sweat and Rohit is still struggling to keep his answers original in spite of having Ayushi’s copy as aid.
In the next 3 minutes he jumped up on his seat with pen in one hand and copy in another and announced “Mission accomplished”.
He came to join the discussion on – who deserved to be in the ‘morning shift basketball team’.
A fellow classmate came running and gave a blissful surprise. “Hindi mam is absent today”.
‘Yaayyyy’ enchanted all … except …
Evidently the joyful news for us was a heart-wrenching headline for Rohit.
A brave warrior had just encountered a terrible shock. A heroic act will not be rewarded today. The chance for an underdog to shine was dismissed brutally.
The teacher had killed a student’s dedication (unknowingly).
Rohit ‘was’ a dedicated student. Yeah he was. Now he is one amongst us.