”Hey, give me that pen,” Smriti said, attempting
to take the pen from Rachana’s grasp.

”I’m writing; can’t you see?” Rachana objected.

”Trying to be a nerd! I, too, must write, but the
ink in my pen has run out,” Smriti explained.

Rachana asked, ”Why are you bothering me?
Use another pen.”

”This Rachana has become egoistic these days,”
Surakshya reacted.

”If she told me that, I would never have tolera-
ted it…” Jeni attempted to evoke Smriti.

”Rachana, who are you to suggest I write?” Sm-
riti tried to start a fight.

”Why are you guys fighting? Just do your own
work.” Sabitri requested that we maintain

”Oh, here’s a goddess full of suggestions,” Jeni
mocked Sabitri.'

“Don’t interrupt Sabitri. I’m talking with her.”
Smriti pointed to Rachana with a disappointed

Smriti snatched the pen from Rachana’s hand,
saying, ”Do you know who I am?What I will with
your pen?” she asked, breaking it and tossing it
in the trash. Smriti behaved like this with eve-
ryone she disliked. She was an egoistic girl who
thought she was better than the rest. She used
to brag about her rich status with her friends.
It was a cup of tea for her to give nicknames
to friends, make others feel embarrassed, and
make fun of teachers. She used to enjoy these
activities. She never took the teacher’s sugges-
tions seriously.

Sabitri and Rachana were stunned by Smriti’s

”Why did you throw my pen?” Rachana tried to
argue, fixing her eyes on Smriti.

”My wish. I hope you keep in mind that if you
tell anyone about this, I won’t spare you. You
know about Prajesh, right?I will tell him to kill
you.” Smriti threatened Rachana pointing a
finger at her.

They had a break from class. Only six stu-
dents were in the classroom: Rachana, Smriti,
Surakshya, Sabitri, Jeni, and Bikash. Sabitri went
outside after the incident. Bikash was in his
own world, without any interest in the ongoing

The teacher was in class after the break. All the
students stood up to greet him except Racha-
na. She was laying her head down on the table.
He told everyone to sit down, went near Racha-
na, and asked her, ”What happened, Rachana?”

”I’m having a headache, sir,” Rachana said, and
again laid her head down. Her eyes were red.
Smriti was staring at Rachana.

”Do you want medicine?” Sir wanted to help

”No, sir. Thank you,” Rachana replied quickly.

She spent the whole class the same way. Pra-
jesh’s mischief played on her mind the whole
time. Prajesh was famous for his bad deeds.
Rachana had heard a lot about them. Beating
others without reason and threatening them
was a piece of cake for him. She knew about his
history of being held in prison. But there was
no change in his behavior, so he was a threat to

Some students used to threaten others by
using Prajesh’s name and used to spend time
with him on holidays. Smriti was one of them.
So, Rachana was frightened even to go home.
She headed home with her friends after the
end of class.

”I’m not feeling well, mummy. I won’t go to
school today,” Rachana told her mom the next

Anjali gazed at her daughter and realized she
was not ill. She was astounded by her daugh-
ter’s behavior because she used to attend
classes even when she was sick.
”Why don’t you want to go to school, darling?”
It’s not a good idea to skip classes. She wan-
ted to know the reason behind her daughter’s

”There is no reason,” Rachana replied succinct-

Rachana hadn’t mentioned being bullied at
school to her mom. When she thought about
the bully, she wished she didn’t have to go to
school. Similarly, she did not tell her mother
about the incident from yesterday.

Smriti’s words played in her ears, ”If you tell…”
”This is not like you. Please tell me what happe-
ned,” Anjali said, concerned about her daugh-

”I feel frightened when returning home. There
are some bad boys on the way home,” Rachana
said, her face hidden. She was happy that she
was able to hide the truth. ”I will go only if you
come to pick me up,” she added.

Because it was winter, the days were short. It
used to be late when returning home. The way
from school home was scary; there was a small
forest as well. Anjali had heard about some
drug-addicted boys fighting on that stretch of
road. She used to worry about her daughter
every time she thought about it. But Rachana
was never scared of those boys or their ways.
She used to come home by herself with her
friends. Even today, schools only sent students
home in groups. ”Something fishy is going on,”
Anjali thought, but she had no time to ask more
questions. It was already late for Rachana to
go to school. So, she promised Rachana to pick
her up in the evening and then sent her off to

Rachana said nothing to her mom while re-
turning together in the evening. Even the next
day, she made her mom promise to pick her up
from school. Anjali was amazed by her daugh-
ter’s behavior. She tried to learn about it at
school by going a little earlier, but it was in vain.

Anjali made Rachana say everything on the
third day using different methods. Rachana
started crying and told everything about the
threats given by Smriti to her mom.

”Don’t you know a barking dog never bites?”
Moreover, you should not hide such things
from us and be frightened. We are always there
for you. At school, you have teachers, and at
home, you have parents. She can do nothing.”
She consoled her daughter.

”Ahh... you know nothing about Prajesh,”
Rachana was not satisfied with her mom’s logic.

”Don’t live in fear. I will go to your school and
talk about it. Is that okay, my darling?” She tried
to convince her daughter.

Rachana’s problem was taken seriously by the
school. The charging officer summoned Smriti
to the office.

”What did you say to Rachana?” he asked.
”What have I told you?” Smriti answered rudely.

”And who broke Rachana’s pen?”

”How could I know?”

Rachana and Sabitri were also called to the

”Sabitri, did Smriti break Rachana’s pen?” Sir

Sabitri looked at Smriti. She was staring at

Sabitri bowed her head and said, ”Yes, sir.”
”And anything more?”

Sabitri looked at Smriti but said nothing.

”You should not be afraid. To tell the truth, you
know,” Sir said persuasively.

”She threatened Rachana by using Prajesh’s

”Why did you do so?” Sir asked Smriti.

”Because she did not give me ink.”

”Well done. Keep it up,” Sir advised.

”I am sorry, sir.” Smriti bowed her head.

”Who taught you such things?Where did you
learn to behave like this?Do you think you can
be better by threatening others?” Sir asked.

Smriti was silent, bowing her head.

”Did your parents send you to school to do
such activities?How might they feel if they
came to know about this?Give some thought
to that.”
Smriti was still silent. She was gazing at Racha-
na. Rachana was shivering with fear.

”If you want to do such things with your friends,
then we should inform your parents about this
and hand you over to them. We cannot take
responsibility for such students.” Sir made his
decision known.

”Sorry, sir. This will never be repeated. I don’t
want to leave this school,” Smriti said, terrified.

”We have already called your parents. Some
paperwork is still left to do; you may enroll
in another school,” sir explained. ”You are in
touch with good people. Your mom might be
happy to know about it.” He mocked.

”Sister, could you please send them to the offi-
ce?” Sir asked loudly.

Rachana’s mom Anjali and Smriti’s mom Rekha
entered the office together.

”We called you only after investigating eve-
rything. She does not care about the lessons
and morals we have taught her. Now, it’s your
decision—what should we do?” Sir informed
Smriti’s mother. ”I have told you everything
about her faults.” Rachana’s mother has arri-
ved. ”Who will be responsible if something bad
happens in the future?”

”I ask for forgiveness on behalf of this evil child.
At some point in their lives, everyone makes a
mistake. Please forgive her for thinking that the
mistake was done in innocence. If she repeats
any such behavior, then I will be responsible
for it. She won’t make such a mistake again.”
Smriti’s mom pleaded.

”You want to say something, Smriti?” Sir looked
at Smriti.

”I unknowingly made the mistake, sir. It won’t
be repeated. I am sorry, Rachana.” Smriti asked
for forgiveness.

”It’s alright. I am forgiving you this time for the
sake of your mother. But….” Sir told her, look-
ing at Smriti.

”Rachana, do you have any fear regarding
Smriti? She has even regretted it and asked for

forgiveness.” Sir inquired, his gaze drawn to

”No, sir,” she answered shortly.

”Okay. Now, hug each other, go to the class-
room, and try to be good friends.”

They hugged each other.

”I am sorry, Rachana,” Smriti said, still asking
for forgiveness.

”It’s okay.” Rachana had forgiven her.

The person in charge smiled. They left the

”I am grateful that both of you helped us bring
children back on track.” The person in charge,
sir, was grateful to both parents.