The world is devoid of showing any mercy on school kids he concluded grimacing. And life sure as hell wasn’t and never is fair dammit. How much could a high schooler take on a horrible and hot day like this? Hell, it’s a Saturday! He has never even seen his college going sister toil so much as him! School every goddamn Saturday, half the days they conducted tests for what joy he had no idea and he worked for 6 days a week with Sundays left for studying most of the time that there was very little or no time left for Fb-ing and for tv. And he was left to trudge back home in this hot sun which shone mercilessly down at him giving him even more of a hard time. Add to it his every heavy school bag. Grrrr.
Today was exceptionally a bad day. Hurried breakfast. Horrible bus ride. Pathetic test. Sudden flip over from yesterday’s announcement of only-test-today to you’ve-class-today. No lunch. He was starving. Another horrible bus ride awaited him now as he reached the bus stand from his ever so famous school. Bloody school. Making them work every- his classmate reena whizzed past him waving as he waved back at her sheepishly trying to hide his blush. He finally smiled to himself for the first time that day as he caught his reflection on some random car in the road. He was contended. Thinking of her made butterflies swirl in his stomach. Even though she was a far cry. His thoughts were back to the horrid day again almost instantly. He scowled as his bus bulging unnaturally on both sides on a Saturday ‘noon went by without bothering to stop. He kicked a so stone hard that it refused to move. Sweltering heat it was. And not one bus that’d take him home.
His academic life not withstanding, home life wasn’t exactly pleasant either. Sure mum and dad are ever loving and the perfect parents but there was a part of him that was sworn to being rebellious that made matters worse for him. Every single thing mum said, he rose to say something against her. Unpleasantness at its best he thought. Things never went his way. He always had to do as he was told, watch less tv, study more (to hell with it), Fb less (as if), don’t be too obsessed with cricket (grrrrr again), socialize more (if they only knew), talk to his sis more (not like she gives a shit about me) and the list was endless. Things were bad. He always seemed to be distracted and cricket always found its way into his math homework and economic situation of India in the last decade. Nobody understood his passion for cricket. None. It frustrated him more than ever.
He wasn’t and has never been much of a sharer that he didn’t talk much about his very less friends to anyone. He usually pretty much kept everything to himself fearing that if let out, they’ll all mock him or advise him to do this or that. It seemed that they always kept telling him to do this or that never pausing to ask his decision or intention or opinion. He kept everything under cover. At this time, he hated their interruptions in his life and wished they’d simply stay out. He wanted to hang out a ‘do not disturb’ sign to buy him enough time to grow up himself without any interruptions. He wanted to weave a cocoon around him and never come out until he felt he was confident enough to face the damn world.
More than once he wished his life would be as simple as his sister’s was. It seemed she was completely at ease, at leisure all the damn time, having no commitments or responsibilities whatsoever. She never understood him either. All he ever saw her do was either stick to the phone and never get off it or her laptop. Leaving no space or time for him. Maybe she stopped caring for her little brother, he thought. She was one soul he could confide in and ask for advice when in dilemma and the many times he was confused. He never took the initiative fearing her reaction. Prolly she has a boyfriend, he thought. The lucky bastard. They were close once…..which seemed ages back. So he just let her be. He felt he was living with a stranger at times. Sigh.
His bus arrived finally as he heaved a huge sigh of relief; it was thankfully less crowded leaving a few seats here and there. Home sweet home at last he thought! Food at last! He was parched and almost dead. Cool breeze ruffled his hair as he dozed off and woke with a start miraculously minutes before his stop. There was countless number of times when he dozed off and got off some 4 or 5 stops way ahead of his and had to catch another bus to his house again. Agony.
As he neared home, he could make out his mum, dad and sis staring intently at him standing out, with both a scared and relieved look in their faces; his dad just getting off the phone. It was odd, the scene before him. It looked like they were waiting for his return. Something which never happened. Ever. Whats more, it included his sis. The look on her face as she smiled warmly and sighed upon seeing him surprised him the most.
‘Whats up ma why are you all standing out?’ he asked wearily.
‘Well son, your mum and sis were wondering where you might’ve been strolling around without coming home at the mentioned time as you said you’ve only a test today’ his dad replied with a smile. And then he remembered that he’d forgotten to call up and tell them about the delay in reaching home cos of a particular teacher he loathed.
‘Why’d they keep you back today despite saying its only for the test?’ his mum’s turn next to grill him with questions.
I come weary and tired and all they can do is greet me with questions, he thought with a sigh.
‘Oh don’t get me started ma the bus made matters worse for- hey wait a minute how’d you know we were kept back today????’ he demanded impatiently while his sis calmly and casually replied ‘oh we called up a couple of your friends to figure out what took you so long’.
He froze as suddenly the glee at being cared for by his sister turned to frustration. My friends? They called up my friends??? He felt the anger rise inside him as he groaned ‘seriously? Just stay outta my personal stuff ammu akka’ he yelled and slammed his door shut behind him, furiously checking his phone as he threw his bag across his bed.
She blinked, confused. And then sincerely resumed her texting. Teenagers, she thought, amused.