Sangbad entered the school and found to be lost. The new faces of students, teachers, and staffs made him felt to cry. But, Didi says, boys don’t cry. So, he felt he should scream aloud. He holds his step and looked back. The gate was few pace back. He decided to turn around in intention to run to his Didi who might be still waiting for him; if not him, then for her bus.
“Are you not Sangbad…” a heavy female voice jerked him back to the unacquainted crowd.
It was the voice of Mrs. Sushmita Sen, the Head Mistress of Silver Star School. She was a woman in his late thirties with a compressed skin color and a tall strong stature. The most striking features of her were two—her voice which was female-baritone and her eyes—sharp and pacific all the time, but, once she got agitated or angry the eyes were the most fearful feature of her that used to get highlighted sending a chill down the spine.
Sangbad looked at her with aloof teary eyes. He couldn’t reply due to choking in his voice.
“You’ll get adjust soon…now, don’t cry…boys don’t cry…” she said.
She was standing at the small landing near the gate. There was a door behind her. The door leads to the classes.
As, it was said, Silver Star was a year old. So, at that time the class used to get held at one side of the first floor of the building. The classes that were operative during that time was four to ten. The side that the door leads to was divided by plywood partition to segment two big rooms into four and thus serving spaces for four classes—four to eight. The remaining classes were held at two separated mid-sized rooms on the other side of this side.
The right side of the landing leads to another portion which was closed and not in used. The left side was a sort of courtyard with a wide cemented pathway leading to another building—another extended separated portion of the mill which was there. Between the two brother-building, there was a small field.
Sangbad looked around once more and took a little step towards Mrs. Sen. He had to peak his head to look at the face of the headmistress.
“Dipanwita, take him to his class…which class are you in…” she asked leaning down a little. She had a photographic memory. The reason for the asking was to ease the shaken Sangbad.
Sangbad looked at the teacher whom Mrs. Sen had beckoned. He found she was a fat and short height lady with a serious face and she wore a spectacle—a golden round frame as his mother wore.
“Class Five…” was his replied as he was scared by the new teacher. She is a very angry woman you know…he heard s’one saying him from inside his head.
“Okay…come quickly…the prayer will start in a minute…Sushmitadi is we going to start the prayer at 10 or later… ” she had a narrow shrill voice, unmatched to her heavy body.
Mrs. Sen looked at her wristwatch and said “it’s almost 10…let’s wait for five minutes more…and that’ll continue for this week only…’til we all get accustomed to this morning routine…now take him…there’re two more new admissions…they haven’t come yet…sent Ratnadi… I need to visit the field to see e’thing is going accordingly…”
Dipanwita replied in monotone and turned around silently saying follow me now.
They enter the big room. Few students were still there—putting down their bags and drinking water—lazily and slowly. As they saw Dipanwita a shade of being frightened passed on their faces. See, I say you, she is a very angry Auntie, Sangbad heard the voice again. She took him on the other side of the plywood wall. It was at one corner of the big room.
Sangbad saw there were two windows and a door. It was smaller than a class of his last school. He felt sick at the stomach. He looked around. The walls were damped one like the walls of the big room of his home with various abstract shape etching out different shapes similar to that of continents and countries in the Atlas.
He also smelled a strong pungent smell. He recognizes the odor. It was of burnishing, Samir Kaku had said after he asked of the odor that had filled their workshop a few days back after an order of windows grills was dispatched.
“Hurry up…the prayer will start soon…” Dipanwita said in a mellowed voice with a smile on her pouted lips.
Sangbad put down his bag in the first bench as it was empty with one bag at one side. He took a sip from his water bottle and ran beyond Dipanwita as she was walking first towards the field through another room.
Why she doesn’t take this door…a flash of thought passed Sangbad’s mind as he followed the angry Aunty to the field.