THE NEWBIE

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Sweaty palms, dry throat, and  heartbeat galloping like a mad horse. These must be the bitter woes of anyone’s first day at work.

I sat in her plush office, trying hard to focus on her last-minute instructions but wasn’t too successful.

She must have noticed my slouchy posture, for she paused  to ask, “Nervous?”

I tried to smile.

“It is nothing. You will be fine.”

Her words did nothing to allay my anxiety. For the thousandth time, I pondered,

‘Why, did I agree in the first place?’

I had no answer to that.

I looked at her across the table. “Will I ever be like her? Poised, calm, immaculately dressed, and cold?”

She got up. It was time to go. I left my chair hurriedly, forgetting that my file of documents rested in my lap. Next, I saw myself struggling to hold on to the leftovers of my dignity, scattered so embarrassedly all over the grey carpet.

I muttered some incoherent apology.

She stepped out of her office and  I tried to keep pace with her impatient gait, cursing the ill-fitting shoes that I chose to wear on the first day of work to look taller.

It seemed morning assembly had just culminated. I could see them all making a beeline towards their respective rooms. Had I not been so consumed by my trepidation, these perfect, impeccably formed rows would have impressed me.

We crossed a long alley to climb the steps. At the far end of the corridor, my boss halted in front of the classroom. It was X C.

I would have known, for this was the only room that defied the decorum of this ultra-quiet and peaceful place. Here the noise and laughter were loud and riotous. We entered.

Inside, everything was in disarray. All we could see had gathered around the teacher’s table. They reluctantly moved back at the sight of the principal. No one noticed me.

“Silence.” Her commanding voice brought back order. They settled down and waited.

“Ms. Supriya will be your new teacher in charge.”She continued. Twenty-five pairs of curious eyes suddenly turned towards me as if sizing me up. I felt miserably inept.

I was soon left alone, the newbie  with the most notorious and rebellious batch of the school.

“Take it as a challenge.” She said in a slightly softened voice.

I closed the door and prepared myself for a face-off. There was expectant air in the atmosphere. I heard someone snickering. I ignored. Clearing my throat, I spoke, “Let’s begin with introductions.” They complied readily. So far, things were fine and I began to feel a little at ease.

I moved around the teacher’s table and decided to sit down.

As I bent to put my weight on the chair, a crackling sound reflexively made me hold the table but it was a double edge sword to teach this newbie a lesson. Everything came crashing down followed by pin drop silence.

I became conscious of a hand supporting me. The table and the chair had succumbed to their injuries. I realised, then that no one was laughing.

It was the boss lady who stood beside me. I knew where this was leading now but for some reason, I couldn’t let that happen. Right now the most notorious seemed to be the most vulnerable. This was my chance and I didn’t want to lose it.

I could think of only one thing to do. To laugh out loud. And I did till the  Infection of laughter melted her hard looks. three of us welcomed her warmly. She, students of X C and I cheered for the newbie.

 

 

 

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