Punishment - Part II
by Lakshmi Menon
Read Part I here.
Back at home, Kumar couldn't forgive his Master for making him a laughing stock before his classmates. His blood was boiling with anger. He decided to take revenge on his master.
In the night he took some sharp pins in a cover and walked towards the Master's house in the dark. His eyes were on the old cycle which Shanku Master used to go to the school.
He had made up his mind to pierce some pins on the cycle tyres, without the Master's knowledge, so that Shanku Master wouldn't be able to ride it the next day to school, on time. He giggled softly at the thought of his wonderful plan and the Master's struggle the next morning.
Hiding under a mango tree in the garden, Kumar observed the Master's action. Shanku Master was sitting in the veranda on his armchair, with a newspaper in his hand, but his eyes were not on the paper, he was looking afar. The cycle was parked at the other end of the long veranda.
Kumar waited for the right moment to execute his wicked plan, without having the Master's attention there.
After a while, Shanku Master's wife too came and sat on another chair next to her husband. She noticed that her husband was not concentrating on reading, and his mind was elsewhere.
"What happened to you today? Since the time you came back from the school you've been looking upset. What's the matter with you?" asked his wife with great concern.
"I've been thinking about the boy Kumar, about whom I've told you. Do you remember the boy who never answered any questions in the class, but did all his home work correctly?"
"Yes, I do remember. What happened to him now? Is he not well?"
"No, I'm worried about his future. In all other subjects he manages somehow. But he is very poor in Maths. Today I told him to stay back after the class for special coaching. When all other students pass out and go to the next class I don't want him to fail and waste another year. But he didn't stay back. If he doesn't show more interest in studies I'm worried about his future. As a young boy he won't understand my words now. By the time he realises I'm afraid it'll be too late."
After a pause, he continued, "So as a teacher I feel that I cannot allow him to sit back in the class another year. I want to see him do well in life. That's the reward a teacher looks forward to," sighed the Master.
"But if he doesn't come to you what can you do?" His wife tried to console him.
"No. I cannot give up like that. Tomorrow I'm inviting him home in the evening. You make some special sweets for him. Perhaps in the school he doesn't like to talk to me openly. Here, he may open up."
Kumar was stunned hearing his Master's love and concern for him. He felt guilty for having misunderstood his loving master. Slowly he came before his master and began to cry in repentance.
"What happened to you, my boy? Are you alright? Why are you crying? Where are you coming from at this time of the night?" asked Shanku Master anxiously and hugged his student and wiped his tears.
"Sir, please forgive me," Kumar fell on his knees and continued to cry with more force. As the Master wiped his tears he told the whole story of his ill-feeling and begged to forgive him. "Sir, you can give me any punishment for my sin. I'll readily accept it."
"Yes, Sir. I'll do anything that you say"
The Master smiled and held his student closer to him. "The biggest punishment I want to give you is that you should study well and pass out," said the Master patting his back. "That's the punishment to you and a reward to me."
Kumar passed not only that exam, but all the examinations in flying colors and became a great person.