It was a new school for him but the building looked rusty, as if it had stood there for centuries. Changing schools had never been easy for Viren but with his father’s job, he had gotten into the drift. Although this particular time, it was a whole different game because he had just finished his high school and was still uncertain about his subjects. The fact that he no longer had those ever so caring teachers to help him make that decision didn’t help too. And now, he had to go in for tentative classes in a new school and decide himself. His parents, although caring and considerate towards his feelings wanted Viren to take that decision himself. “We’ll support you with whatever you feel is best for you. We trust your judgement in this”, they had told him. And so, there he was, asking for directions to his classroom as the first day of the new academic year was to begin in the school.
He was quite early to the school, somewhat deliberately and only one bag could be seen in the whole class, with its owner missing. As he settled his bag on the last bench and got out, he almost went head first into a girl rushing in who seemed to have had an extra large doze of caffeine that morning. Thankfully, his reflexes came to the rescue of both of them. The girl moved away a bit to look at him and apologized. She asked if he were a new admission and he nodded in a yes. Being the only company for each other, the two of them started getting into quite a conversation, with enquiries made about each other’s board exams, future plans and what the school had to offer. She even offered to show him around the school, considering they still had about forty minutes before the assembly. By the time they were done, they knew as much about each other as two classmates of long. Only one thing was missing. As she bid him goodbye after showing him the queue he was supposed to stand in, it came to her that she hadn’t still asked his name. The jolly thing she was, she had gone about taking a sort of intro of the new guy, only throwing in all the matching data from her side too. Wasting no time, she asked his name.
“Hello Viren, I’m Vanya. Nice meeting you” as she shook his hand and disappeared into the crowd to her queue.
As the classes unfolded, Viren found himself at relative ease with the things around. He quite liked the teachers that came one by one. Although they didn’t teach much on the first day, they gave a general introduction of the subject to the students, telling them what they could expect from each in times to come. The day was over for good and Viren had made some acquaintances. As he was about to leave, Vanya came to him again asking how he liked the first day. He said it was just fine to which she said- “Come to me if you need any help”.
The next few days would leave Viren a more informed person. He would learn that Vanya was the busy bee of the class and as such the most popular. He would also learn that the choice of his subjects didn’t really lie in which among Maths or Biology was better but which could be tolerated. He would, by some dumb chance walk head first into another girl and would learn that she was the preordained topper of the class. As such, she was not be messed with. After what seemed like the blink of an eye but was 20 days by the calendar, the students were finally asked to fill up their chosen subjects form so that sections could be divided accordingly.
Viren got the document signed by his parents, still not having made the choice between Maths and Biology. The next day, as every student was called by his roll call and made to join his/her group according to his subject, Viren’s choice box still remained unchecked. As he was a new entrant, his roll call would be the last. The moment the second-last guy was called and sent to his group, Viren glanced to his left, looking at Vanya sitting in the Maths group with her eyes intact on him. He wasn’t much of a face-reader but in that second, he could read clearly all the things written on her face in bold, capital letters. Then he glanced to his right and saw the topper girl he was not to mess with. But this time, he didn’t just see but really looked at her- The boring, languid frame with a lifeless face and crude spects. He returned to the document in his hand and checked it just when his roll was called.
As he handed over the paper to the teacher concerned and walked to the Biology section of the room, he once again looked at the topper girl, trying to recall her name. But at that second, he couldn’t as he said to himself- “I am surely in for a mess.”