First Day in School
by Svatee Bedi
The girl entered the classroom. She was new to the school and it was her first day. She quietly went and sat in the vacant seat in the front row. Aarushi was five years old and had taken admission to the first standard in a reputed school of the city. Earlier,she was studying in a school in her locality.
“Hey! This is my seat.” A voice called out. Aarushi looked in the direction from which the voice had come. She saw a tall,sturdy boy standing. The boy’s hair were unkempt.
Aarushi slowly got up from the seat picking up her bag. The boy immediately sat on the seat without even looking at her again. She introspected the classroom once again to see, if she could find another seat. None were vacant. Either the seats were occupied by the students or by their huge bags. Aarushi felt a little disappointed and went and stood in the corner near the blackboard.
The classroom was in a simple rectangular shape and the chairs and desks were arranged in four rows. The whitewash on the walls was a mere touch of pale yellow with shoe marks on one or the other corner. The blackboard was near the main door and on the opposite side of the blackboard were the windows. The windows had red colored frames and overlooked the playground.
Aarushi observed her classmates from a distance. There was a lot of hustle and bustle around her. Some boys were fighting with each other. They were punching and kicking each other really hard. And it seemed that all the boys of the class were enjoying the scuffle. A couple of girls were standing near the window. Their faces were grim. They were discussing an important matter. At least, it was important for them. A few girls were running around in the classroom,trying to catch hold of each other. And for the rest, they were sitting in their seats either completing their homework or just yawning away sitting idle.
Aarushi stood in one corner unnoticed. She wanted to talk to her new classmates and make new friends but was really nervous. All the students were looking so comfortable and well adjusted to their surroundings. She was literally on the verge of tears, when she heard a clap.
Mrs. Sharma, the class teacher had entered the classroom and there was a pin drop silence on her arrival. Mrs Sharma was a very kind hearted and gentle person. She loved children a lot.
“Good Morning Ma’am.” All the students said in a chorus.
“Good Morning class.Please sit down.” Mrs Sharma said.
All the students except, Aarushi sat at their respective seats.
Mrs. Sharma saw Aarushi and called her, to her desk.
“What is your name?” Mrs. Sharma asked.
Aarushi looked at the floor and didn’t reply.
Mrs. Sharma looked at her intently and tried to coax her once again to tell her name. Aarushi looked at her face and saw a kind expression in Mrs.Sharma’s eyes.
“Aarushi!” she said finally.
Mrs Sharma stood up and came towards Aarushi. Aarushi felt a little scared. She could feel her legs trembling and her hands sweaty. Mrs Sharma stood beside Aarushi and announced to the class.
“Students,this is Aarushi. Your new classmate. Please make her feel really comfortable.”
Aarushi felt really relaxed and heaved a sigh of relief on hearing her teacher’s words.
There was a slight commotion in the class on Aarushi’s introduction.All the students had started talking to each other at once. Mrs Sharma raised her voice to make the class quiet.
Aarushi was feeling really tired standing. She had no clue that for how long was she standing and for much more time will she stand like that.
“Let me find you a seat Aarushi.” Mrs.Sharma said looking around the classroom.
Aarushi felt as if Mrs. Sharma had read her mind.
“Aarushi go and sit next to Neha and Neha remove your bag from the other seat.From now on, Aarushi will sit next to you.”
“But, Ma’am my friend Shivangi sits next to me.” Neha scorned and had almost got up from her chair.
“Mind your manners Neha. Besides, Shivangi is on leave for some time.”
Neha was flabbergasted on hearing her teacher’s words. She became silent.
Aarushi noticed Neha’s expression and realized that it would be difficult to make her a friend.
Aarushi went and quietly sat next to Neha. She smiled and said “Hi.” Neha made a face and didn’t acknowledge her.
The bell rang and Mrs. Sharma left the classroom. The English period had begun. The English teacher, Mrs Pinto came and all the students stood to wish her. Mrs. Pinto was a very stern person. She was short tempered and arrogant.
Mrs. Pinto looked around the classroom and said
“take out your English books and read chapter 5. I will give you a test towards the end of the class.”
All students felt really scared on hearing the name of test and quickly took out their books to read. Aarushi didn’t know where to study the chapter from. She wasn’t carrying any of her books as it was her first day. She had brought one notebook and a pencil box only. She wanted to ask Neha to share the book with her. But on second thoughts, she changed her mind. She couldn’t even muster the courage to go and tell Mrs. Pinto that she is a new student and had joined the school the same day. Aarushi sat in her seat quietly,with a blank expression on her face.All the other students were busy reading the chapter.
She glanced at Mrs. Pinto once or twice and found her engrossed in some book. Aarushi tried to read the name of the book. The name of the book was peculiar or it seemed to her. She turned her head and saw a playground, towards her right. She saw boys much elder to her playing football and on the swings were toddlers. Suddenly Aarushi felt a tug on her hair, she let out a squeal.
“Where is your book? Why aren’t you reading?” Mrs Pinto was really furious.
“Ma’am I..I” Aarushi stammered.
She tried to look at her classmates to get some help,no one looked in her direction.
“Just go and stand outside the classroom. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
Aarushi stepped out of the classroom and stood.
The corridor was empty.
While standing, several thoughts were coming across her mind.
Lost in her thoughts, she suddenly heard Mrs. Sharma’s voice calling her.
Aarushi related the whole incident to her. She took her inside the classroom, where Mrs. Pinto was taking the test of the other students. She introduced her to Mrs.Pinto and told her that Aarushi is a new student. She glanced at Aarushi once but was not apologetic.
After the English class, all the students were taken to the Library.
The library was really huge.
This was the first time Aarushi was seeing the Library. She liked reading books, and felt glad seeing so many books around her. She went to the Children’s Section and saw all the books with the fairy tales and the fables.
Aarushi picked out a fairy tale and sat on the carpet to read it. She flipped from one page to the next imagining all the characters in her mind and seeing the lovely pictures. Aarushi was totally engrossed in the book, when suddenly she realized her skirt had become wet,she got up and saw that she had stained the carpet as well. She felt totally embarrassed on this and didn’t want anyone else to notice this.
The school bell rang and it was time to go from the library. Aarushi waited for a few minutes so that she could go follow her classmates. She reached the classroom slowly following her classmates and quietly sat on her seat.
There was one more class in which the Hindi Teacher came. Aarushi didn’t want to stay in school anymore and wanted to go home.
After the Hindi class,it was time to go home.
Aarushi’s parents had come to pick her up.
She quietly went and sat in the car.
Her mother asked her about her first day in school, she didn’t reply anything.
She turned around and looked towards her new school with blank eyes. ***