The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Live-in: Part 2 - The New Entrant

          All the students were comfortably seated in their respective classrooms. The first session, Physics, by Mr. Rajender Sinha, the tyrant on campus. He entered the classroom. After taking attendance, he started the session on Electricity & Magnetism. All the children were looking at him as if they were in a trance. His class wasn’t new to them, in the sense, they had heard their seniors narrate fables about him. They already had pictured him as a six foot tall man with the arrogance of Hitler, wits of Chanakya, and attitude of Alexander. Moreover, the feeling of being promoted to a higher class, was still ringing loudly in their minds.
 “May I come in Sir?” came a voice from outside the classroom.
“Why are you late? What happened Mr.?”
“John Matthew”
“Oh, Mr. Matthew. How do you think you can reach the class late on the very first day? Don’t take it for granted you have your first chance as always,” said Rajender with an air of sarcasm.
“Excuse me Sir, I’m a new student. My father has been transferred to this place this year. So, I had to change my school. This being the joining day, it took me some time to complete the formalities, and hence the delay.” said John in a stern voice.
The clarity and the tone struck a chord in the class. They felt awestruck at the stern response by a young new lad to the Don of the campus.
“Hmmm... so, that makes you special for the day, Right kids? So, here is Mr. John Matthew, your new colleague for the year to come, what say John?” replied Rajender with a tinge of his arrogance.
          Not caring much for the irrelevant comment, John walked in and took his seat in the first row. The class resumed. At the end of the class, Rahul, sitting next to John cautioned him, “Dude, you have committed a grave mistake. I’m sure Don would see your end. He would do everything in his power to make your life miserable throughout the year. Better go and seek an apology for having spoken to him like that.”
“Rahul, if I go and seek an apology, that means I consider what I did was wrong. I don’t think I did any mistake in replying to his sarcasm. I don’t really care what he thinks about me. I can’t subdue myself just for the sake of someone else.”
          The reply stunned Rahul. “What an attitude at such an age. What kind of a family is he from? Does he come from a family of Business magnates? Or politicians? Or is anyone in his family from the services? That attitude should be definitely from someone who belongs to a family with a high social esteem.” thought Rahul.
          The day somehow ended with no big happenings later on. Lisa came back home. The stern replies of John were still echoing in her mind. “What a tough guy he is,” she thought, and got back to her studies. Days passed on. John’s replies were getting sterner with Rajender. The other teachers liked him for being frank, but Rajender was not at all happy with his attitude. The more he wanted to kick him down the least chances he found, to suppress him. This was frustrating him a lot. Added to this were John’s responses in the class. Lisa somehow started developing a liking towards this attitude. All these days, something was bothering her in being open and frank with her teachers. She was afraid that they might assume it as her arrogance purely due to her exceptional academic performance, or the likes. But the repeated onslaught of John’s words somehow left a deep impression in her mind.
          She used to have occasional chats with John and the topic of conversation was mostly about John’s responses, and how can he even dare give such responses. John used to give his reasoning as if he was an ascetic and finally both used to have a hearty laugh. She even shared with him about how she felt under such situations and what her instincts usually said and also why she did/didn’t act on her instincts, and so on. Every conversation ended in an increase in Lisa’s Admiration Quotient for John.
          One fine day, Rajender scolded her for having forgotten her assignment copy, which was due submission that day. She had genuinely forgotten it while rushing for college. Having not been able to take the remark, she got into John’s shoes and gave a bleak reply which infuriated Rajender.
“What do you think about yourself? I have heard a lot about you. Just because you are the topper, do not be under the impression that you can make people dance to your tunes. Come out of your world if you want your life to be comfortable. And don’t give such stupid excuses again. Please get out of the class”
“Sir...”
“Leave NOW... or you’ll see me leaving.”
“Sir, actually...”
“Enough of it Miss. Lisa.” Shouted Rajender and left the class.
          For the first time in her life did someone chastise her. That too, in front of an entire class that adores her. She felt humiliated. If there is any worst thing that can happen to someone, she prayed that it happen to Rajender. She tried her best to control herself throughout the class, and after the class, when everyone left the room she just fell into Anjali’s arms and cried. Anjali consoled her and at the same time, tried convincing her that the way she responded wasn’t right. Meanwhile, john entered the room to pick up his calculator that he forgot in the class, and saw Lisa. He immediately came to her and knowing the reason, started consoling her.
“Lisa, think of what you have done. You have frankly told him the reason and that infuriated him. Do you think you were wrong? Absolutely not. At least I feel so. If you are crying now, it would reinforce the feeling that you were wrong. So, stop this child’s business and get back to normal.”
          Those words somehow had a magical effect on her. She immediately got back to normal. “Thank you John. Had you not been here this moment, I don’t know what would have happened.” she said. Anjali suddenly felt shocked, and left out, the moment Lisa said this. She suddenly felt lonely. There was a recess between two classes and so, john asked Lisa if they could go for a walk. He behaved as if he was completely unaware of Anjali’s presence in the room. Lisa got up only to realize that Anjali was also there. So, she turned towards Anjali and said, “Anju, would you mind coming for a walk?” John’s face turned a little serious, for he had probably not expected this to happen. However, he did not open up then and there. So, the three of them had a walk around the campus before they came back to the classroom.
          As days passed, Lisa started going around with John frequently. Anjali felt that she was being distanced from them and so, she started politely refusing whenever they offered her to join them. Slowly John got into the groove and on one fine day, he asked Lisa out on a date. Though not explicitly said, it was understood as it would be just the two of them.
...To be Continued...
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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli