-Ashim Kumar Kar
Note: - This is a short story. Names of all persons, places, etc. are fictitious.
Again… again Meena arrived late in the school. The classes already started. First period she had to go to the seventh standard. She was a teacher of social science. The students were waiting for her to come and give lectures.
The school started at seven o’clock in the morning. All teachers and students were at their respective classes. But Meena had not come. She had joined the school almost a year back. She never took any leave. She was regularly coming to the school. She was a good teacher. All students were very happy with her. But only problem was that last two months she was coming late to the school.
Like other days, that day too principal of the school was waiting for her. He was very angry. He knew Meena will come hurriedly and sign the attendance register.
So many times the principal thought to take strict disciplinary action against her. He even decided to take the matter to the school management. But he could not take any action against her.
Meena was coming late to the school was the only mistake, otherwise she was very good in teaching. Students liked her behavior. Other school staffs, teachers were also very happy with her. She was taking extra interest in other school activities.
At last Meena arrived. She entered the principal’s cabin.
She understood principal was annoyed on her.
“Good morning, sir “Meena said in very low voice “today again I have come late. Sorry sir, from tomorrow I will be very punctual.”
“Tomorrow never comes. Everyday you come late and repeat the same words” the principal shouted.
Meena signed the attendance register. She looked at the wall clock. It was showing 7.12 a.m. She adjusted the time of her wrist watch with that of the wall clock.
She said, “See sir, my wrist watch is not working properly. Everyday it is showing wrong time.”
“Better you throw this wrist watch and buy a new good one. Everyday I can not allow you to come late in the school. It will give bad impression to our students.” The principal said.
As Meena was coming late to the school, she was leaving the school late after completing all her work. She knew late coming to the school was not her habit. She would wake up early in the morning at 5 o’clock, everyday.
Meena was unmarried. Every body in the school surprised why she was coming late to the school everyday. Few students had some curiosity on it. They wanted to find out the reason. It was the main topic of the students in the recess time.
One day Meena did not come to the school. Everybody including the principal of the school surprised, as she had not taken any leave since she joined the school.
Next day morning Meena arrived in the school much early than the school timing. No other person except the peon and sweeper arrived in the school.
When principal and other teachers came they surprised to see Meena.
After regular Morning Prayer completed and all students went to their respective classes the principal called Meena in his cabin.
“Good morning sir, you called me” Meena said politely.
“Yes, Meena, please sit. I am quite surprised to see you so early in the school. Very good” the principal said with a smile on his face, “How this improvement? Please tell me.”
“Sir, today onwards I will never come late. Sir, let me tell you the story behind the late coming.” Meena said.
Meena continued, “Sir, I have no brother or sister. I was the only child to my parents. My father expired long ago when I was very young. My mother helped me to grow up and complete my education. Before I joined this school my mother was staying with me. Every day morning and evening my mother and I used to go to a nearby temple.
“But one day my mother died after brief illness. I was alone at home and very much depressed. After my mother expired I was going to the temple alone everyday morning and evening. Even after joining this school I continued to go to the temple.
“One day I saw an old woman in the temple. I found some similarity of my mother in that woman. Slowly I had developed friendship with her. Everyday we were meeting there and talking for sometime. She was staying in an old age home near to the temple. But, sir, last almost two months she was not coming to the temple. Everyday morning I was going to the temple and waiting for her. That’s why I was coming late to the school.
“Yesterday morning when I went to the temple, the priest of that temple told me that the old woman expired. So, yesterday I could not come to the school. I went to the old age home to see her for the last time.”
Meena stopped. The principal saw some tears in her eyes. He too could not keep control of his emotions.
“Sir, I do not have any relatives. I see these school staffs, students as my own relatives. I wish to devote my full life, energy for the betterment of this school” Meena was very emotional, “Sir, sometime I see my father in you.”
The principal said, “God bless you”.
********** End *********