Journey of Teaching Lifelines #9
Chapter 9: What? is a question
(continued..)As anger took over, I clenched my fist, and I could hear Maaran gripping his stick tightly. The rubber grip on his hockey stick squeaked in his sweaty hands.
Me — “Bunny! Pooja, your childhood nickname was bunny. You are now free of harnesses and chains. The rabbit is loose.”
Kiran said to us, “Rahamat! Let me tell you why I joined the dark side.”
Maaran — “See, I feel like this is between us. Leave the kids!”
Kiran snickered and laughed keeping her hand over her mouth, “Oh, for crying out loud. It’s never about them. Pooj! Now’s the time.”
She went downstairs and started to walk all the students outside. The looks on their faces were nothing but pure horror.
Me — ‘Folks! It’s okay, we’re here. Don’t worry.’
Walter and Geethu held Abhirami’s hands by their shoulder as she was unconscious and her feet dragged.
Ran to them and sat down to lay her head on my lap and applied some pressure on her forehead. Waking up with a soft scream, she cried and hugged me.
‘It’s okay Abhi! You’re okay. Everybody’s okay.’
With a weepy voice, she said, “I’m sorry Mr. Ray! I failed to help you.”
Maaran replied, “Don’t worry Abhirami! Your intel was just the beginning. The bad people didn’t expect your skills to be that advanced.”
Kiran had a smirk on her face.
Kiran — “Oh my brother! We’re just the tools at play.”
I stood up while I asked Geethu to take care of Abhirami. Stepped forward and my shoes made a huge sound on the metal path. The echo made at the kidnap room downstairs was heard.
“Look Kiran! I do not know who’s here. I want my kids outta here. Let’s deal with this like grown people.”
Vasu with a funny but terrified tone, “Uhn, speaking of grown-ups, sir! Look at the silhouette in this dark tunnel. It’s like Ben Affleck is walking toward us.”
Walter — “Dude! It’s Robert Pattinson but with dim yellow lighting. Probably I think the main villain would be the scarecrow.”
Vasu — “Yes, Walt! It’s definitely…”
Me — ‘Guys!’ and they shook their heads rapidly in acknowledgment and stayed silent until the batman’ish figure stood a few feet away from the entrance of our side of the tunnel.
Kiran — “So, this is why we took a dark path, my brother!”
The dark silhouette spoke — “Hello Hasan! Did you miss me?”
My spine felt a chill and the brain hit F5 in my nervous system and gave a subtle shake to my body, involuntarily.
Vasu whispered, “Mr. Rahamat! I’m sure it’s batman. He’s come to save us.” I looked at him raising my eyebrow and he kept one finger on his lips and said he’ll shut up.
I asked — ‘Who the hell are you?’
The dark silhouette walked out — “So asked, the housefly to the spider.”
Sangeet walked out. A loud thud was heard at the other end of the tunnel and he replied, “Oh yeah! Someone might wanna help out the Sub-Inspector. He tried to fight me off, unfortunately.”
Me — ‘Did you just kill the police?’
Sangeet — “I’m not a fool. He can’t walk for a couple of months. Emotional recovery should take atleast 6 months. Ray, you know a good psycho-therapist right? Help him, would ya?”
Jacob said, “I’ll take him to the hospital” and ran to help the S.I. Few of my students also followed.
Maaran took a step forward and I signaled Walter and Vasu to catch him. They held Maaran by arms and stopped. With that force, and if Sangeet stood like a statue, his head would’ve broken like a coconut.
Sangeet — “Avi! Are you angry with me too sweetheart?”
Avanthika — “You moth..”
Me — ‘Whoa, whoa whoa! What happened man? What’s gotten into you?’
Sangeet chuckled and said, “First of all, that’s what she said.” And he laughed for almost a minute.
Sangeet — “Remember when you said you were smarter than me and you kept proving your point with your smart kids you just rescued?”
Kiran — “Then why bring me and Pooja into the picture?”
I continued, ‘To frame poor Francis! Just because he did not comply, doesn’t mean his actions are wrong. He’s being accused of something he never did.’
Sangeet cracked his knuckles, “You know what? He’s far more worthy than Kiran or Pooja. He would’ve been enough to take my plan next level. He was too straightforward. Critical oversight on my part, bro!”
Me — ‘To prove a point to me, you ruined so many things?’
Sangeet — “It’s not just that, my man!” and he threw a smoke bomb in the middle of the crowd. Descending sound of a man walking through a dark tunnel was heard.
His voice echoed, “One thing you should know about me. No matter when or where I exist, no matter what my memories are, I only look out for one thing. To defeat you. Until next time, brother Hasan.”
Avanthika coughed incessantly and asked, “Ray, what does that mean?”
Next week at Class
‘Alright, gang! Before we break for lunch, who wants…’
Michael cut me off mid-sentence and asked, “lunch sponsor for all of us? Sure, Mr. Rahamat!”
Meena smiled and blushed.
Abhirami — “Damn! Did you guys switch brains or something? Blushing Meena and Great comeback there, Mikey!”
Walter — “So, Mr. Rahamat! How’s the inspector doing?”
‘Well, Walter! He’s not gonna be able to walk for at least 2 hellish months. His knee is damaged badly so he’s getting it replaced next month. And an anticipative follow-up question, No! My brother hasn’t popped up yet.’
Walter — “But we’re safe right?”
Vasu — “Buddy, doesn’t mean Mr. Rahamat is safe” he looked at me and continued, “Sir! We’ll stand by you. No matter what. Ain’t it folks?”
The entire class roared with cheer. The bell rang and everyone walked out for lunch. Meena stood in her place.
Me — ‘And what might my class topper be helped with?’
Meena — “Is it really true because of sibling rivalry?”
Me — ‘I clearly do not know! There’s something more to this. Although the court has no concrete evidence of Kiran and Pooja working for him, it proved that they were innocent. And we all debated that it was wrong to fall on his side. Turns out they were threatened in a different way. So, only thing is, they might be demoted and removed from the Worker’s council. But thanks to Francis, for accepting the permanent position as Principal. I feel something else is at larger play.’
Meena — “I clearly lost confidence in everyone.”
Me — ‘It’s fine! Go have lunch. Let’s discuss more later. I’m so hungry, I’ll consume whatever comes my way now.’
Maaran knocked on the door pane — “Hey buddy!”
Meena mocked, “Hi Mr. Maaran! Good afternoon. He was waiting to eat you alive.”
As she stepped outside he spoke, “Alright, this week’s drama has already started. It’s Avanthika! She quit yesterday! I confirmed it with Francis and somehow he wasn’t able to convince her to stay back. I didn’t know that yesterday but she messaged me to pick her up today morning and when I went there, her house was squeaky clean. Her number’s unreachable!”
Me — ‘What?’