The Gift ( Part 4)

Devasahayam

Devasahayam was very irritated! He was the class teacher for class 9 B which had some of the most notorious students in the school. And he had  just found out that he had been made the staff coordinator for the secondary section – which meant that he  was now responsible for all sorts of stupid administrative stuff!

He wished the management  would relieve him of these additional responsibilities and let him just concentrate  on the academic part of his job.

He opened his desk inside the staff room and looked at it helplessly! It was cluttered with answer sheets and notebooks that were yet to be corrected. And he had to finalize the question paper for the  mid term exam due next week.

“ Where on earth is it”.. he mumbled to himself rummaging furiously through the odds and ends inside his desk for that half finished test paper. The violence with which he ruffled through the contents of the desk let out a cloud of dust which made him sneeze!

“Tchah! I am becoming like these boys. I need to clean my desk” he muttered to himself as he set about removing the contents and arranging them inside his desk. He moved the dustbin close to the desk so that he could tear and throw away unwanted  things- a cartoon of himself , a note with some cryptic message, a strange contraption made with a stone and rubber band designed to injure someone, a couple of paper rockets! Most these items were confiscated from the brats that he taught- each day increasing the loot.

His hand suddenly encountered something solid. He moved it around a bit and pulled it out.

“ Now what is this?” he wondered.

“ Ofcourse this is the book that I got off that rascal Amit” he told himself.

Well, what was he to do with this? Should he throw it ?

“ No it looks too new to be thrown into a dustbin. Should I give it to the library” he thought.

But he immediately dismissed the library option.   He disliked the librarian-a new fangled young Jesuit who thought he was intellectually superior to every other person in the school including the principal. He had often had arguments with him about reducing the number of library periods and the library budget so that the boys could spend more time on their studies. And the books he wanted to buy… not classics like Dickens or Biblical stories but books written by some unknown South American authors which cost a bomb!  He was not going to help THAT fellow !

He wiped the chalk dust off the book and looked at it deep in thought. What was it that the boy had said this book was about?

He suddenly had a brainwave! “Yes, I know who I can give it to. I will gift it to Valsa” he told himself with a smile.

Valsa

She sat down on her desk and wiped her face with her handkerchief. It was a hot day and it was too bad that the art classes were scheduled for the afternoons – just before the end of the day!

Valsa John was the only female teacher in the entire school. A forty eight year old woman and a graduate in fine arts , she had joined the school as an art teacher, twenty five years ago when this was the only career option available for the course she had majored in.

A spinster by choice, she had spent a large part of her working life caring for her father who had emotionally  bullied her into believing that he was just a step away from death. But that step was obviously a very long one because he lasted eighty years before he reached the pearly gates.

An only child who had lost her mother early in life, the death of her father left her very lonely and emotionally vulnerable. This job that she had was not exactly exciting as none of her students were even remotely interested in her classes and the management almost made it out that they were preserving her position as a sort of token appreciation for the number of years of service that she had put in.

She regretted her lost youth and often wondered what would become of her in her old age. She often found herself sharing her fears with Devasahayam – the only one among her colleagues that she liked. During the last five years after Devasahayam had lost his wife, they had become closer.  The boys made a lot of jokes about them and sometimes Valsa wondered if that was the cause for this crush that she seemed to have developed on him.

Whatever it was, she would certainly welcome it if he reciprocated her feelings. But the man was too dry and practical. He never noticed if she wore anything new. Why, it was only after a lot of blatant hinting that he even wished her on her birthday. But she did not mind that. He was a nice man and rather well preserved for someone who was approaching retirement!

She looked at him fondly as he gathered his things, getting ready to leave for the day. The bell had just rung and there was a lot of noise outside.

Should she ask him if they could have a juice at the shop near the end of the road as they walked home?

Just as she was contemplating how to ask that question, the object of her fancies brought himself to her desk.

“ Oh Devasahayam Sir. Ready to leave for the day?” she asked with a smile.

“ Yes Valsa. Can’t stand a minute longer of this brats. They are getting worse by the day” he  said with a sigh.

“ Neither can I sir. But what to do. This is our job” she said gathering up her bag getting up from her chair. Today, did not seem like a good day to ask him for that juice date. He was bound to be at his grumpy  best.

She had just reached the door of the staff room when he called her

“Valsa” he said tentatively

“ Yes sir” she said turning back.

 “ I have something for you. A small gift” he was saying. In his hand was a grey colored book.

Valsa could not believe it! He was actually giving her gift. She could feel her fingers tremble as she took the book from him.

“ Thank you. But what is the occasion?” she asked

“ Oh.. nothing just like that. Thought you might like something like this” he said with an awkward smile.

Valsa could hear her heart sing. This was definitely a sign! So what if it took him so long to make that move. He had finally done it!

She stuffed the book into her bag making a mental note to meet her friend Sharada over the weekend and discuss this! Sharada was more worldly wise. She knew how to interpret these things better than she Valsa did!

Valsa almost skipped along the steps towards the gate holding back that song in her heart. “Fifty shades of grey” like her hair and his- what an appropriate title for a gift!

 ( to be continues)

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Jul 04, 2013 @ 22:41:34

    Hahaha.Great going with exciting possibilities and misunderstandings.you have sustained the interest in the story with readers eager to know what lay ahead.Nice character Delineation of Valsa.

    Reply

    • Meera
      Jul 04, 2013 @ 22:46:04

      Thanks for your instantaneous comment KP. “Readers” is not the word. I think at the moment after that long gap it is a singular- you are the only one 🙂 ( And I deserve this for neglecting the blog for so long!)

      Reply

  2. Krupa
    Jul 05, 2013 @ 09:58:32

    The story is gripping, really enjoyed reading it. AS KP says, we are eager to know the following parts.

    Reply

  3. Found In Folsom
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 04:49:04

    KP send me you blog’s link to read The Gift series…read all of them at a stretch…you narrate so well… Keep writing.. 🙂

    Reply

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