My little friend

It was April 13th, the last day of school for my sister and the other kids at school who weren’t preparing for their board exams.

Since morning, my class felt unusually empty without teachers making us study hard about why Donald Trump is the president of the United States or why one plus one equals two. My classmates decided to go play but I, being as different (myself) as always, decided to go to the staff room to do my own work.

I sat at a table and opened my rough book, twirling the pen in my hand and breaking my head, to get myself to write something interesting. My English teachers, who were near me, gave me ideas for topics on which I could write a short story about. But I wasn’t interested in anything. I wrote down random scenarios, tore the sheet of paper and threw it away in the recycle bin. (I’m still sorry, trees. I love you guys.)

Soon the one hour activity hour finally came to an end. I collected my stuff and walked back to my class through the long corridor. I kept my stationaries on my desk that was just next to the door and grabbed my bottle, walking to fill it with water. As I filling water, I felt tiny fingers pull the hem of my t-shirt.

I looked down to see Kundavi, smiling at me. “Hey..” I greeted and she smiled. I bottled up my water and bent down par with her height. “I saw you last week!” She exclaimed making me smile. “Oh yeah!” I told her like I knew it only then.

She waved and ran off to get her snack. She sat down with the bowl next to her group of friends, outside her class and munched the food cutely. I walked into my class and as usual, it was noisy. I sat down and started reading for history test when grade 1’s class teacher called me.

I walked to the classroom opposite to mine and Mrs. Kalaivaani smiled at me. She wanted my help arranging for the science exhibition that was about to take place in an hour inside the classroom. The kids were taken downstairs so the teacher and I could arrange everything without trouble.

Walking around the classroom, I tied balloons to corners and paper crafts too. After we were done arranging the small tables, I decorated the board using colored chalk pieces. Soon we were finished working with the classroom and I went downstairs to get the children back up.

They sat down according to the places they were allotted and Mrs. Kalaivaani checked if the kids knew their dialogues. She walked up to Kundhavi who was talking to me and asked for the dialogue.

Kundhavi picked up her bag and handed over the piece of paper which had her dialogue. “Say it.” The class teacher said and she pouted. “I didn’t study..” She whispered and the teacher sighed. She scolded her student for not doing her work and Kundhavi was soon on the verge of tears. I couldn’t let myself see her cry. Quickly I interrupted and offered to teach her the dialogue and she flashed a smile at me.

With permission I took her outside and to the staircase. “Let’s sit here.” I said and she shook her head. Her tiny hand grabbed my big one, pulling me inside my class. Everyone one of my class mates were busy doing their own thing until we appeared. “Up!” She demanded, making grabby hands towards me and I gently lifted her up. She sat comfortably on my hip and scanned the room.

Noticing all the activity that was happening, few girls talking and laughing, boys playing with pens, a gang formed in the corner and discussing seriously, she looked at me cutely. “What do you want to do?” I asked and she spotted my empty seat that was right next to the door frame and in the first row. “I want to sit there!” She said and I sat her there.

“Shall we learn?” I asked and tucking a lock of hair behind her ear, she agreed. Her dialogue went something like ‘The environment gives us things humans need for their basic life. They are Oxygen, Water, Food, Warmth and Shelter.’

I read this out loud for her and she looked at me naively. “Didn’t understand?” I asked and she shook her head. I explained to her in a detailed manner until she understood what she had to learn. But she couldn’t remember what to say so I wanted to do something so she would remember.

Lifting up my right hand I showed her my five fingers and asked her to lift hers. She followed. “This is Oxygen.” I said pointing to the pinky finger. “Water.” At the ring finger. Food, Warmth and Shelter to Middle finger, index finger and thumb finger respectively.

She remembered a little but that wasn’t enough. She saw my pen and rough book on the table, making her eyes light up. She flipped through the pages and stopped at a plain one. Picking my pen, she drew a pipe, a can, a big circle with three different sized circles inside, a misshaped flame and a hut. She named the pipe as the Oxygen and the can as the water.

Confused I asked her what the number of circles meant. Resting her chin on her hand and twirling the pen in her hand, she answered. The big circle was a plate. The other three circles inside were - An Idly, Chutney and Sambar (South Indian Food). I smiled and she told me that she happened to like it a lot.

Soon we were done and she went to her class which was right opposite to mine. From my desk I could clearly see her and until 12 pm all I did was admire her cuteness.

I had to leave early at 12 from school, so packing my bag I walked out. She was by the door, holding books in her hands. Not wanting to disturb her, I decided to walk away but she pulled me, smiling wide. “Where are you going?” She asked. “Home.” I replied and her smile faded.

Holding my collar she pulled me close and kissed my cheek softly. “I will miss you.. “ She said softly and I pulled her into a hug. Giving her a kiss on the cheek I left unwillingly, my best friend behind in the grade 1 classroom.

Going back home in the school bus, only then did I realize that all day I wanted to write something beautiful and nothing could’ve bet the happiness my little friend had gifted me with.

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