The classroom had begun to smell;
it was difficult to figure
where it was emanating from.
For some time everyone
breathed from mouth
and clipped their noses
but the fetidness, as was bound
reached the teacher.
She cleared the air around her face
thinking somebody had been eating
fruit with black salt
and expected the miracle of
clean, fresh air in a bit.
But nothing of the sort happened.
She darted a questioning look at everyone;
almost everyone giggled.
She stood up and commanded
the class be emptied at once.
As we stepped out, one by one, single file,
one remained glued to her chair.
It was clear:
there was an accident.
I was the class head-girl,
she lived close to school
and that translated into
me walking her to her house
so she could “wash” and “change”.
Ah the tragedy!
The house door had a lock. . .
whatdowedo whatdowedo now?
We returned to school
much to the chagrin of the teacher
and amusement of the classmates.
Seventh graders can be bullies.
I don’t know what was going on
in the little head of dear classmate
but I was taking everything personally.
I decided to return with her to
the same lock, beating Sun.
After two hours her mom arrived.
I handed her to her.
Upon reaching school
I found my lonely school bag sitting on my desk
the final school bell had rung long back
the school bus had left.
I started walking to the nearest bus-station;
there was some change given as pocket money in my bag
that I could use for the ticket.
That was the first time
I took a civil bus
from the town of Laal Bazaar;
before that I’d never travelled alone,
before that the meaning of “change” was irrelevant,
the big first was “compassion”.
The bus honked
as it took me home.
(The doodle “Girls at School” has been done with pen and watercolours)