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Fiction

BLIND MAN’S BUFF

In July, Satish entered the school for the first time after his father shifted his family from Puri to Vadodara on his. The schools had already opened and started in the month of June. Satish was directed to his class, 9A, by the peon. The class was already full with nearly 40 students and the teacher was teaching mathematics.

“May I come in, Sir?” Satish halted at the door and sought permission from the teacher.

“Yes. So you are the new student. Take a seat.”

Satish looked for a vacant desk and kept his school bag there. He took his position.

Taking a pause for few moments, the teacher said,” Ok. Please introduce yourself.”

Satish stood up. “I am Satish Waghmode. I have come to Vadodara from Puri, Odisha.”

“I plan to make my career in I.T. Engineering. My hobbies include playing cricket and write poems and short stories.”

“Good. So you write poems too. Can you say a few lines from your poem?” Teacher asked.

“I will try, sir.”

Satish started.

“Initially, worried and anxious about co-students.

Now, I feel I have found my long-lost friends.

Want to make a career in I.T.Engineering

By putting in my efforts untiring”

All the girls applauded. They were impressed by the poem. But none of the boys clapped. Nitin was unhappy that Satish had succeeded in making an impression with the girls. He signaled his group members not to appreciate the poem.

Satish was surprised that the boys had kept quiet and did not appreciate him. He sensed some sort of jealousy among boys. He had anticipated some non-cooperation from them. But not so early. Anyway, he smiled and sat down. Sir taking note of this behavior from the boys, said that he was surprised that the boys did not enjoy the lovely poem. He appreciated Satish and patted him. Latika got up and said, ”Very good poem. We girls enjoyed it.” On seeing Latika openly admiring Satish, Nitin’s blood was boiling. But he managed to keep quiet.

After the class was over, Satish mingled with other boys. He found them cordial. Then Satish approached Latika.

“Thank you for admiring my poem. May I know your name, please?”

“She is Latika. She not only tops our class but is the first ranker of the entire division for the last two years.” Sushama intervened.

“Oh, great! Nice to meet you.” Satish said with a smile & folding his hands.

“Sushma is exaggerating. Nothing great. It just happened.” Latika said.

“That is modesty. Thanks, Sushma for introducing your friend.” Satish added.

Quickly Satish was accepted as a friend. But Nitin was hurt by Latika’s admiring Satish in the class. He could not forget this incident.

Slowly, Satish became popular among his classmates, boys as well as girls.

Soon there was an inter-class elocution competition. Satish sparkled with a gold medal. That scaled up the popularity of Satish. And Nitin was extremely upset.

On Sunday, the boys planned a day picnic at Sayaji Garden. That being a festival day, the girls did not join.

All the boys were enjoying the wonderful landscapes and the lovely weather added spice to their merrymaking.

Nitin was contemplating how to avenge his insult from Latika. His mind was working on an opportunity to get it straight with Satish.

In the afternoon, they decided to play the game BLIND MAN’S BUFF. After two three rounds Satish was the blindfolded man. His eyes were tied up. He had to touch or catch one of the players blindfolded to give him the blindfold.

Nitin’s crooked mind took over. He told all the boys to leave the site and let Satish move blindfolded all alone. Everyone followed Nitin’s idea. Sincere Satish was moving around blindfolded for quite some time. When he did not get any response from other players, he suspected some fowl-play.  He took out his blinding folds only to find the entire field empty. There was no one from his class to be seen. He looked around but no one could be traced. He waited at that place for some more time. But he realized all the boys had played a fast one on him. Then he returned to his home.

The next day in the school, each boy asked an innocent-looking question to Satish, “Where did you go?” Satish did not answer any one of them.

When Latika came to know this pulling the fast one by other boys on Satish, she knew the main person behind this must be Nitin. The girls decided to teach a lesson to Nitin and his friends, in defense of Satish.

Latika arranged a dinner in one of the restaurants, for some of her classmates.

A few hours before the dinner, one girl contacted Satish and told him about the change of venue. Satish reached the new place in time. All the girls had gathered there. Latika took care of Satish. They had a very nice dinner. Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.

The rest of the boys had got together as informed by Latika. But the boys were not informed about the change of venue. They waited for quite some time for Latika to arrive. But the absence of Satish and all girls were linked by Nitin.

The next day, in the school, all boys from class 9A were searching for Latika. That day Latika deliberately reached late. The boys could not shower anger on Latika. In fact, Latika started expressing her annoyance with the boys that none of them turned up for the party at the changed venue. A lot of heated arguments were exchanged. But Latika was happy that the ill-treatment to newcomer Satish, was repaid. 

Then the season for cricket tournaments started. An external cricket coach was appointed to pick up the team for school and training them for the inter-school competition. To the surprise of class 9A, Satish was nominated as captain for the school. Annoyed Nitin spread a rumor that the coach knew Satish and his pick as the captain was an act of nepotism.

Soon the coaching sessions started on weekends. Still, Satish’s performance in studies was not hampered.

The interschool cricket tournament commenced and Satish remained absent in the class. The reports of the school performing well started pouring in. Finally, the news of the school winning the Trophy made everyone ecstatic. His century in both the innings was termed as captain’s leading from the front. He was adjudged as the man of the match and the man of the competition. Most of the students were extremely happy. Nitin had to express gladness even though he was very unhappy. He was not getting any opportunity to ridicule Satish in front of the girls. Satish had become a heartthrob for not only class 9A, but the entire school.

After the cricket euphoria was over, Satish turned his attention to the studies. The topics which were covered in his absence, Satish tried to make up. He sought some help in mathematics. Latika was more than eager to help him out. Nitin was getting irritated over the idea of Latika going closer to Satish. But that was that.

Once Nitin was trying to complete the science journal in the class. He was not able to draw the diagram. He rubbed it several times but could not make a neat presentation. Satish too was giving finishing touches to his journal. He saw Nitin struggling to complete the diagram. He came close to Nitin and asked in a low voice, ”Could I draw it for you?”

Nitin looked around. No other student was in the class.” Can you do it?”

“Yes. Let me try.” Satish said. He pulled Nitin’s journal near him and started drawing. In a few minutes, the drawing was complete. Nitin was amazed. “Thanks, Satish," Nitin said.

“My pleasure.”

“But do not tell this to Latika.”

“Are you mad? Why would I tell her? Don’t worry. We are friends.” Saying this Satish picked up his own journal and walked out.

Nitin was surprised that despite his being cross with Satish on many occasions, Satish had never behaved badly with him. He started liking Satish due to his wonderful behavior.

Nitin conceded his defeat in the one-upmanship. He realized the virtues are eternal and Latika was attracted towards Satish’s ethics, decency, honesty, kindness. By showing someone else down, does not lift the person’s position. One needs those qualities which stand out and make the person attractive.

Nitin changed his way of thinking. He wanted to surpass Satish by making himself better than Satish. Nitin started studying seriously. Instead of whiling away time pulling other person’s legs, he tried to acquire good qualities.

Nitin approached Satish. Asked clarification on some topics. Satish explained the subject and tried his best to make Nitin understand. Slowly Satish became a fast friend of Nitin, a changed Nitin.

As the annual examination approached, Nitin spent a considerable amount of time, studying. When the examination ended, all the students were curious to know the result.

And the results were declared. As expected Latika ranked top. The second in rank was Satish, narrowly missing the first position. The third position, to everyone’s dismay, was occupied by Nitin. The teachers were also surprised. But that was reality.

In June, the schools reopened. The entire 9A class had gathered in a happy mood. Latika was being congratulated by one and all. Nitin’s group was extremely happy that their leader had sparkled at third position. Nitin was also elated. He was searching Satish. He could not locate him. He spotted Latika. Quickly approached her. His first question to her was about Satish. She said that she also had not seen him after the examination was over. Nitin was disappointed that nobody had seen Satish for long. He was rather as upset as Latika was. He wanted to meet Satish urgently to express his gratitude towards him for making him understand the meaning of life.

After an hour, Satish arrived. Everyone wanted to talk to him. Paving his way, Satish came closer to Nitin. They both hugged.

“Where were you during the entire vacation? No contact at all.” Nitin said in a choked voice.

“ Actually, my father got transferred to Mumbai and we had to leave Vadodara urgently. We shifted to Mumbai. I had to choose the right school as this year is extremely important in our life. S.S.C. is a deciding factor in our life. Finalizing my school was critical.

I finalized all those matters. And now I am here to say bye to all of you.

Congrats Nitin, You stood third in our class. Great.”

Knowing that Satish would be leaving the school, Nitin was sad. Tears filled his eyes. Latika joined them.

“Look Latika, Satish is leaving us. He has come here just to say bye. He has turned totally inconsiderate.” Emotional Nitin somehow completed his sentence.

Hearing this Latika too was disconsolate.

After completing the formalities at the office, Satish came out only to bid goodbye to a big crowd of friends. They were reluctant to let Satish leave them. The students in a gloomy mood presented a small souvenir to Satish.

Satish with Latika & Nitin along with a few more classmates visited a restaurant and had a small party. They exchanged their contact numbers. Finally, Latika with tearful eyes wished Satish the best. Nitin had a long hug that dampened Satish’s shoulder with Nitin’s tears. His group members had never seen Nitin getting so emotional.

Satish bid bye to all of them with heavy hearts. He could not control his tears. He turned back and left the place.

October 08, 2021 11:02

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1 comment

Shivam Mishra
12:33 Nov 14, 2021

The story teaches a very important lesson. loved it.

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