When it’s cold and wet outside, it’s best to be indoors, preferably in bed with some hot tasty snacks. Well, that’s what Ajay thought too…till, he unwittingly landed up in school one rainy day.

“Have they declared?”

“No”

Ajay grabbed the TV remote from his grandma and switched to another news channel. But didn’t seem to find what he was looking for.

“Have they declared?” asked Ajay for the umpteenth time.

“No, there is school today. Now hurry up and get ready,” said his mother.

Wishful thinking

It had been raining heavily all night and Ajay was disappointed that there was as yet no announcement of a school holiday, because of the heavy rain. Reluctantly Ajay got ready. It was 7:00 a.m. and his van arrived. Ajay got in and his disappointment was shared by all the children in the van. There was a heavy traffic on the main road and his van stood stationary for several minutes. “We are sure to be late,” said Ram who sat next to Ajay. They reached the school at 7:30 a.m. Ajay’s van driver was mighty proud of bringing the kids early to school, despite the heavy rains and traffic. He was disappointed that none of the children thanked or praised him, as they all got down with a grumpy look on their faces.

The school wore a deserted look. “Looks like most of the students will be absent today,” said Ram. Ajay entered his empty classroom. After a few minutes, his class teacher Mr. Ashok entered the class with a smile. “We just got information that a holiday has been declared.”

Ajay jumped for joy, but his van driver had left the campus. The school asked parents to pick up their children. But since Ajay’s grandma had a knee pain, she could not pick him up.

“Ajay, your father said he has an important meeting and your mother will be able to pick you up only at 3:00 p.m.” said Mr. Ashok. Ajay was crestfallen.

“I’ve to spend my holiday in the school! What bad luck! I hope Mr. Ashok doesn’t start to teach math,” he grumbled. As if reading his thoughts, Mr. Ashok said, “Ajay, come with me to the music hall.” Inside the music hall Ajay saw some teachers packing cardboard boxes.

“Ajay, pack these water bottles and food packets in separate boxes,” said Mr Ashok. When everything was packed, they carried the boxes to their school van.

“Where are we going, sir?” asked Ajay.

“To Sirumaipuram colony,” said Mr. Ashok. Ajay had never heard of that place. On the way, the van stopped near a sports equipment store. He saw his teachers carry something heavy out of the shop.

They reached Sirumaipuram colony. The rain had stopped. When Ajay stepped out of the bus, he was shocked. The small houses in Sirumaipuram colony were half immersed in water. It looked like swimming would be the only possible way to enter the colony.

“Sir, how are we going to enter this colony?” asked Ajay. Mr Ashok and other teachers inflated a small rubber raft.

“I got this for free-rental from my friend who owns the sports store. Hop in, Ajay,” said Mr. Ashok. The residents of the colony had taken shelter in the municipal school. They went in and distributed the water bottles and food packets. They rowed back to the van and brought some more cardboard boxes. Ajay’s seniors who were a part of the NSS also arrived to help and they too brought with them some essential commodities.

“Sir, how did you know about this colony?” asked Ajay. “We come here during the weekends to teach the kids,” said Mr. Ashok. “It’s the Principal of this municipal school, who called me and we decided to take a day off and distribute the food and water. But thanks to the rain, it was a holiday and I called the NSS team and they were glad to help,” said Mr. Ashok. Ajay’s heart filled with respect and admiration for his teachers.

They got back to school well in time. Ajay’s mother came to pick him up at 3:00 p.m. “I am sorry dear, that you had to spend your holiday in school. You can stay home if it rains tomorrow,” said his mother.

“No! I will go to school tomorrow even if it rains cats and dogs,” said Ajay to his greatly surprised mother.