Mishraji was the most hated member of the staff. He was a lazy slob, was known to rap his students on their knuckles with a wooden ruler, asked his students for gifts and favors, ate from everyone’s tiffins, and never shared his own. He was fond of ‘updating’ the Principal about the goings-on in the staff room and making Rakesh, the peon, run his personal errands. If that wasn’t enough he looked down upon everyone, because his sister-in-laws’s elder brother-in-law’s daughter-in-law’s younger sister’s husband worked in the PMO office, though as what he was always reluctant to share.
Sushmaji on the other hand was the darling of the staff room. Her side of the table was always immaculate. Books neatly piled, pens and pencils in a marble holder shaped like the Taj Mahal. She even kept sprigs of Rajnigandha on her desk occasionally, which perfumed her side of the room and made her smile all day. Her students loved her as she was warm, kind, and patient and was immaculately dressed in crisp organza sarees. Sushmaji also made the most delicious mithai’s. Every Friday the staff would wait to see what delicious secrets would be inside the big steel dabba she carried to school on Friday’s hold.
Omprakashji was one of these rare people who was probably born disgruntled. He hated the overtly fragrant hair oil Mishraji used liberally. He hated the fact that Sushmaji always had a mysterious smile on her face, the cat that got the cream he liked to call it as he harrumphed to himself! He was still mad that Pankaj Awasthi had been chosen as the Principal over him. Imagine that! That youngster was chosen over HIM, Omprakash, who had years and years of experience and who had already decided that he was the next in line for the principal’s seat. But much like Lal Krishna Advani of the BJP, the seat he coveted most eluded him.
Pankaj Awasthi nervously wiped the sweat off his brow when he was summoned by the School Management. He tried to guess, for the umpteenth time, about why he had been called so unexpectedly. His mouth had hung open when he had been asked if he would be willing to accept the post of Principal? When he, rather reluctantly, suggested that Omprakashji was the natural ‘heir’ to this throne he had lain claim to years ago the Management smiled politely and informed him that they were looking to upgrade the school. They had received an unexpected grant from the Government and thought someone young and dashing like Pankaj Awasthi would be the person to head this change.
Of course, Pankaj Awasthi said yes immediately.
Omprakashji boycotted the ceremony, alone. He asked the rest of the staff to join him for solidarity’s sake but they ignored him as he had always ignored them.
Pankaj Awasthi smiled lasciviously as he bit into the grainy Besan Ladoo which melted in his mouth. Ssuhmaji sat coyly opposite him, offering him another. He wished his wife was as good a cook, and even as beautiful as Sushmaji, that thought crossed his mind yet again as he reached out and bit her proffered fingers instead of the Laddoo it offered.
Sushmaji’s laugh tinkled, the sweet sound of which made Pankaj Awasthi fall in love with her once again. Just as they had when they first met in the staff room as newly appointed teachers.
Sushmaji walked back to her desk humming a little tune under her breath, springs of fragrant Rajnigandha flowers in her hand. As she washed her little vase and filled it with water, she looked at her fingers, blushed, and smiled to herself.
Rajesh, the Peon, who sat outside the staff room peeped inside to confirm that no one was watching him, specifically looking out for Mishraji who would summon him to fetch him his afternoon post-lunch Paan soon, before he stealthily whipped out his mobile phone to watch the film that had him entranced.
Better than looking at these boring people inside the boring staff room, he chuckled to himself.
The topic of the Blog Hop is ‘Volatile Lives’.