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The Boy From The Village

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    THE BOY FROM THE VILLAGE
    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy
    Lekha was in her class – Class 9A of the city’s most prestigious school. The first term had started two months earlier.

    As she was straining herself to listen to the teacher she saw the Headmistress of the school walking towards her class holding a boy’s hand. The boy was shabbily dressed. His complexion was pitch black and the oil in his hair - you can fry papads for a whole family with that oil.

    The Headmistress whispered something to the class teacher, left the boy with her and went away.

    The teacher now addressed the class:

    "Class, This is Poopandi."

    The whole class burst out into a thunderous laughter. The teacher silenced them.

    "Poopandi has joined our school and our class today. Welcome him as your friend."

    Then she turned to the boy who was almost shivering.

    "Poopandi, where do you come from? What is your father?"

    Poopandi opened his mouth and said in a faltering voice.

    "My name....my name......Poopandi. I.....I..... village Vikravandi come. Forty miles from Madras. My father... my father business."

    The class broke into a laughter for the second time.

    "Thank you Poopandi."

    The boy was staring at her through a wall of tears.

    “Lekha, you give your seat to Poopandi and go to the second row."

    Lekha was shocked. She spoke with defiance:

    "Miss, why don't you let the new admission sit in the second row? "

    "Lekha, do what I say. Now."

    When the teacher turned to the black board Lekha spoke into Poopandi's ears: " Your bad time has started, country brute."

    When the English period was over the Teacher called Lekha aside and said: "Lekha, you are in Social Service, right? "

    "Yes, Miss."

    "Lekha, you need not attend your bi-weekly field work for the rest of this term. Instead, you help Poopandi with spoken English and bring him up to our class level. OK?"

    "Miss?"

    "This is not my wish, but HM's order. You will be given full credit for this work. To help your classmate is the best possible social work. Isn't it?"

    The teacher left the place without caring to listen what Lekha had to say.

    Lekha was fuming.

    As Lekha's ill-luck would have it, she had to teach English to Poopandi that same afternoon. The Headmistress herself came over and directed Lekha and Poopandi to an empty class room. She instructed Lekha as to the method of teaching spoken English and left them alone.

    Seeing the village boy in such close quarters was even more disgusting for Lekha. After assuring herself that they were alone she shouted at Poopandi:

    "Why the hell should your learn to speak English? You.. you.... you could have stayed back in your village and looked after the buffaloes there.”

    Poopandi stared at her in total disbelief.

    "Hey man, look, your dad might be a big money-bag and might have thrown in tons of money for your admission. But don't you think that my dad is an ordinary person. He is an IAS Officer in the State Education Department. He has the powers even to close down this school. I can't - I wont teach you English. Understand? I am going to just read my comics here. If you tell anybody about this, consider yourself dead.”

    Lekha tortured Poopandi in all ways imaginable. One day she spread a powerful adhesive on Poopandi’s seat and when he sat there he got stuck up. When he tried to get up from the seat by force his trousers were torn and the whole class had a good laugh at him.

    But Lekha was not satisfied with just minor pranks. She wanted to do some thing very serious so that Poopandi would never again dream of coming to the school. She started hatching a murderous plan along with the class bully, Ajit.

    The last period of the forenoon session that day was Chemistry Practicals. The entire class was in the chemistry lab.

    The teacher explained about the experiment they were going to do in that period and went away.

    The lab was semi-dark. Poopandi was trying hard to concentrate on the experiment. As he was bending down to take a chemical, a long stick appeared from nowhere and went straight to the cupboard right over Poopandi's head. The stick gently nudged an open bottle in the cup board. The moment the bottle fell on Poopandi's head, his shout "Aiyoo" echoed throughout the building.

    Poopandi was rolling in the floor unable to bear the pain and irritation. When the teacher rubbed Poopandi's head, a lock of his hair came out in her hand. Then only she found out that somebody had spilled concentrated acid on Poopandi's head.

    In the afternoon Lekha learned that some Government officials had come to investigate. Lekha was summoned to the HM’s office. When Lekha saw her father sitting before the HM she thought the game was over.

    The Headmistress just nodded to Lekha and quietly walked out of the room. Lekha had never seen her father so tensed and so worked up.

    "Lekha, somebody spilled acid on the head of your classmate, Poopandi. He is still unconscious. Do you know who did it?"

    Lekha felt a sense of relief.

    "Dad, should a person of your rank come for such a small matter?"

    "Do you know, Lekha, that Poopandi is the only son of the Education Minister of the State, who is more than my boss. The Minister is terribly shocked and deputed me personally to investigate the matter."
    Contd. in Part II
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    The Boy From The Village - II

    THE BOY FROM THE VILLAGE - PART II


    "But Poopandi said that his father is a businessman."

    "No Lekha that was a lie which the Minister himself wanted him to tell so that the other students would treat him normally. Only your HM and I know the truth."

    "Dad honestly I do not know who did it. In fact I came to know about the incident only later."

    "Talk to your friends. If you suspect anybody, call me on my mobile."

    "OK, Dad."

    "The Doctor says Poopandi will become conscious by evening. And he will definitely know about the culpirit. And once we have information about the wrongdoer, we at the Education Department will see to it that his studies and his life are ruined. The culpirit will be dismissed from school and will be debarred from attending any other school in this State. He will also be prosecuted and sent to the Juvenile Prison. I will return home only after finding out the villain. "

    "..........."

    "You may go now.”

    Lekha was shivering within as she walked back to the class. If Poopandi were to blurt out Lekha's name in a semi-conscious state .... My God... Her father was a very honest and a sincere man and whatever he threatened to do to the unidentified culpirit he would not hesitate to do to his own daughter. Her schooling, her life and her future ... every thing was gone.

    Lekha's father returned home in the night totally exhausted. Lekha did not even allow her father to relax.

    "Dad, has Poopandi woken up? Has he named the culpirit?"

    "Poopandi became conscious early in the evening. But he says that he himself took some acid to play later on. And he accidentally spilled the acid on himself when he tried to hide it from the teacher. The Minister asked several times; but Poopandi was quite adamant.

    “He told us again and again that nobody was to be blamed. In fact he threatened that if we do not drop the enquiry immediately, he would not go to school, nor would he eat or talk with his parents. Finally the Minister relented and asked me to drop the entire proceedings. "

    Lekha had to take Herculean efforts to muffle her sobs. After a while she spoke almost in a whisper:

    "Dad will Poopandi be all right? Can he come back to school as usual, if not now, at least after some time?"

    "Yes darling. He is out of danger. But it will take three to four months for a complete recovery. But the place where the acid spilled - it is about the size of an one Rupee coin - that place will remain hairless for the rest of his life and continuously remind him of the disgusting incident."

    "..........."

    "But Lekha, somehow I like the boy, not because he is the Minister’s son. I asked him if he wanted any thing in the hospital I could arrange for it. I thought he would ask for a video game. But he said, 'Uncle please get me a good English Teacher. I want to talk fluently in English like others in my class.’ I was moved, Lekha. I got hold of the best teacher in the city. The classes begin next week in the hospital itself.”

    Lekha was sobbing for most part of the night.

    Four months had gone by. Poopandi was to come back to school that day. Lekha who was sitting in the first row all along, now sat in the second row. When Poopandi entered the class, the whole class applauded his arrival. He was now wearing the school's uniform and was looking rather smart. There was brightness in his eyes and confidence in his looks.

    The teacher was also pleased to see Poopandi after a long time and she said:

    "Welcome back, Poopandi. You are all right now? All of us are sorry for what happened to you. And we missed you all these days."

    Poopandi stood up gracefully and spoke in impeccable English.

    "I'm fine, Ma'm. Thank you for your concern. Yes, I too missed you all. "

    The whole class gave a deafening applause to appreciate Poopandi's flawless delivery. Lekha also joined the applause. As she was clapping she saw on the back of Poopandi's head. There was a hairless spot about a size of an one Rupee coin. She could also see the scar caused by acid-burn in that spot.

    The teacher herself was impressed by Poopandi's language and asked about something else. Poopandi was replying with considerable ease.

    Finally the teacher asked the one question, which every one wanted to ask.

    "Poopandi, how come, all of a sudden you speak such wonderful English? Who is responsible for this?"

    The curiosity of the class resulted in a deafening silence for the whole of the next minute, while Poopandi was gathering himself to give his reply.

    "All of this is possible thanks to my good friend Lekha. Had she not taught me spoken English from the very day I joined this school, I could not have dreamt of speaking English like this.”

    The teacher was stunned beyond words. With tears filling her eyes, she commanded the class:

    "Class, will you please give a standing ovation to Lekha the great teacher who transformed Poopandi?"

    The whole class was on its feet. The thunderous applause completely muffled the violent sobs that broke out of Lekha’s mouth.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2005
    1 person likes this.
  3. Shakthi

    Shakthi Senior IL'ite

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    Good one!

    Reiterates the fact never circumvent someone for their looks. Poopandi seems to be the most beautiful if we go by his heart.
     
  4. orion80

    orion80 Platinum IL'ite

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    This story underlines the statement "The perfect antidote of hatred is love"

    Once again Varlotti sir :bowdown
     
  5. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    That's the shortest and the sweetest summation of the story.
    thanks, Lakshmi.

     
  6. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sridhar,

    What a wonderful story.You made this old man cry.Regards.kamal
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    thanks, Kamal. You have no option other than to cry, for your soft heart is full of love.
    love,
     
  8. sundarusha

    sundarusha Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar

    What a sweet story, This is a perfect example for the Kural that says if you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame.
    Lekha would no longer be the same person that she was.
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Usha,
    thanks. Yes you have quoted the apt Kural.
    இன்னா செய்தாரை ஒறுத்தல் அவர் நாண
    நன்னயம் செய்து விடல்
    In 1999 I wrote this story as a five part serial for the Children's Magazine Gokulam. And they paid me a princely sum of Rs. 60 per episode. But I was happy that many children got to read the story though they had mutilated the story with their heartless editing.
    thanks for the nice words, Usha.
    regards,

     
  10. sonasanju

    sonasanju Silver IL'ite

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    Wonderful story Sridhar....I am totally impressed wit ur narration....
    There is always something to learn and something to give a thought for in all your stories...
    You moved me to tears !!
    kuddos to u !!!

    Cheers
    Sona
     

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