If I could receive one gift for Christmas, my answer would be “Time Travel”.
I don’t claim to be clairvoyant.
Frankly, that’s the last thing I’d ever want to be, because I have the attention span of a fruit fly, and if I could predict everything that was going to happen in my life, I’d be so bored that I’d just bounce from this life to the next and then the next, etc., until I’d exhausted the maximum number of lives a human was allowed to have. If I believed in the after-life, of course. Which I don’t. Just like I don’t believe in clairvoyance. Which is why I don’t claim to be clairvoyant.
But there was a really awful moment in my life when I looked up at Mrs Fonseca’s bulldog-like face and said to myself, Diya, this moment is so going to come back and bite you in the butt someday. And I was not wrong. I’m never wrong. (Try telling that to my mother, though.)
Who the hell is Mrs Fonseca, you may ask? I envy you your ignorance.
Mrs Fonseca, of the polyester dress, rubber shoes and bright red lipstick, was my high school math teacher. To this day, whenever I see a floral polyester dress, I have PTSD-type flashbacks of failing to explain the damn Pythagoras theorem. I swear to you, if I was in high school today, I would have taken twitter by storm with #DownWithPythagoras. That’s how much I hated him and his damn theorem.
But this story is not a plug for Pythagoras, so moving on.
There I was, quaking in my boots because I’d learnt the hard way that when Mrs Fonseca smiled at you, you’d better brace for trouble. I’d been hauled into the Principal’s office at eight in the morning, and the last thing I wanted to see was the bane of my existence smiling at me.
“Come in, Diya,” said the Principal, wiping his bald pate with a kerchief. It was a cold December morning. Yet, something had made the poor man’s bald head sweat. I looked around the room and set my eyes on the probable cause of the sweating. Oh, please no!
Col. Dhirendra Singh, my best friend’s father, stood by the window and flashed a reassuring smile at me. I’m sure he meant to be helpful, but he was only going to make things worse.
“Diya, it has been brought to my notice that yesterday, Mrs Fonseca, in the heat of the moment, said something to you, that was…”, the Principal looked at Col. Singh for guidance.
“Hurtful, insulting and very very untrue,” he put in, helpfully.
I groaned silently as Mrs Fonseca clenched her fists and stared at me with a glint in her eyes.
“Quite so,” said the Principal, running a finger under his collar.
“I have discussed the matter with Mrs Fonseca, and she would like to say a few words to you, Diya.”
My eyes went wide with horror.
Mrs Fonseca gave me a thin smile that failed to reach her cold, beady eyes, and said, “I’m really sorry for what I said, Diya.”
This woman hated me, really really hated me. So, having to apologise to me was definitely not one of the high points of her life. And this was a woman who had turned grudge-holding into an art form. Which could only mean one thing.
Mrs Fonseca was going to nurse this little grudge until the day she died. And the cranky old crone would probably outlive me by a hundred years. Which brings me back to my original feeling, that this moment was going to come back and bite me in the butt.
And it did, merely ten years later.
My best friend, Paddy, was planning a secret Santa thingie for all her loved ones, and I had been mulling over her question.
“If you could receive one gift this year, what would it be?”
Just then, my phone pinged with an e-mail notification.
I read it absently while laughing at Paddy’s crazy gift ideas, and then, not believing the evidence of my eyes, I read it again. And again.
It was from our high school reunion committee, informing me that I was being uninvited to our ten-year high school reunion.
Because, our school had offered to host the whole shebang, and the perpetually bankrupt reunion committee had jumped at the offer. Even though the new principal, Mrs Fonseca, clearly stated that Diya Sharma was not allowed to enter the school premises.
In other words, I was banned from my school reunion.
Which is why, my answer to Paddy’s question of what I wanted from Santa, was “Time Travel”.
I’m participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop, which celebrates the written word, as well as the pleasure and pain of regular blogging. I was tagged for this blog hop by Shalini Baisiwala of http://www.shalzmojo.in/, and in turn, I will pass the baton to Nikita Dudani of https://aakrutitarotandreiki.wordpress.com/. We are a blog chain of 25 awesome bloggers. Do try and catch up with all the posts that will definitely add joy and verve to your Christmas.
By Kimaya Kolhe
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