Aaron missed the bus again. The day began with a hint of disaster. Daddy was grumpy as he was late to wake up again and mom was nonchalant and served the breakfast without any smile. Aaron knew he would not be able to attend the Mathematics class and it would make daddy angry again in the next meeting with principal madam as she had already complained about his regular absence in her class.
He kicked a pebble in disgust and was visibly upset at the bus-stop. He was always like this; an average student, never the athlete type, not good at anything and an awkward among friends. In college, he was considered as neither an activist nor revolutionary type but was accepted as a non-performing-below-average guy who could vanish easily in among students.
He looked at his wristwatch again. He would have to wait for another seven minutes for the next bus. He wanted to have a smoke but the cigarette kiosk was off-limit. Khan chacha would not mind selling him a packet of Goldflakes but he might spill out to daddy, which would add another dark feather to his crown.
A continuous thud-thud of a white Royal Enfield grabbed his attention. The bike stopped in front of him. He could not recognize the biker at first. It was Rohan, his best buddy in high school. They group studied, played cricket, and learnt to smoke, argued over girls and more. But, when Rohan cracked the medical entrance and went to Kolkata, every equation changed between them. Rohan became very busy and Aaron withdrew inside his shell.
Aaron gave a shy smile. Rohan hugged him and punched in his belly, “Hey, brother, how’s everything?”
“Good and boring as usual. When did you come?”
“Yesterday. There’s something urgent and I want you to meet someone.” Aaron could not conceal his frown but said nothing. He knew, and he needed to dodge Rohan. He couldn’t miss the next bus which might arrive at any moment. Rohan grabbed him by his wrist and asked to hop on the bike. Aaron dreaded that; he knew how persistent he could be. Ultimately he had to give in to Rohan’s whim and went to meet Shikha at Guru Café near M.G Marg. He not only missed the Mathematics class but six more classes.
Sikha reminded him of Prachi in school. He liked her but could never say a simple ‘Hi’. With time Aaron felt incongruous among the love-birds who were not even paying attention to the red velvet cake or latte on the table.
By two o, clock Aaron knew he needed to go, otherwise, he would miss the most important event of his usual mundane days. He didn’t mind disappointing his parents or friends but he could not afford to make ‘them’ sad.
Despite a lot of reluctance from Rohan and Shikha, he was able to reach his cherished place on time. Around four p.m the children poured in and Aaron greeted them with his brightest smile. They were slum dwellers of varying age, the youngest one was six and fifteen-year-old Aman was the oldest. Most of them worked in gloomiest places but they had only one mission. They wanted to be illuminated with education and Aaron was their only light-bringer. Be it rain or shine ‘Aaron sir’ never missed a single day of their dinghy class under the new highway. The open class was special to them as it was the only place where Aaron and his pupils could find radiance in their not so glorious life.
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Loved the story❤️