Joined: 25 December 2006
Joined: 30 March 2012
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Joined: 24 February 2008
Joined: 24 February 2008
CHAPTER 1 The New She
22nd Feb, 2002
First day of sophomore year and the teacher was late. Usually the class teacher was the first one in after the morning assembly. Possibly because exposure to the harsh Middle-Eastern sun could trigger an outbreak of Acne Vulgaris, or as the common man calls it "pimples". Pimples in your thirties is bad news - it could send your marriage on the rocks as it essentially means you have a horrible diet, zero self maintenance, and oil drops making ridges on your forehead. NOT a pretty sight. Major turn-off.
The girls on the other hand, couldn't care any less. They loved it as the sun kissed their fresh, pink faces, giving them that Megan Fox like "sexy tan" they've always dreamt of. Acne was welcome as it hinted the onset of puberty. They looked forward to it as a leaf-caterpillar looks forward to growing its first pseudo-wings hoping that it'll grow out of being a lowly caterpillar into something more graceful, a butterfly. So they took their time as they trudged on to their classroom in noisy bunches, discussing in unnecessarily hushed voices about the latest developments in the so so scandalous affair between their 8th grade teacher with the pockmarked face (Ms. Nora) and the Slightly more blessed in physical appearances Economics teacher (Mr. Allen). It was spring in Fujairah, and they were thirteen. Their life, which revolved around Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar (or N*Sync for the more Western savvy), padded bras, girlfriends and prospective boyfriends, was good. Way way better than that of sad, old, destined-to-be-single Ms. Nora, bless her soul.
Five minutes since the morning assembly was over and she wasn't here yet. Unlike her jaded classmates, Alizey had initially harbored a mild curiosity regarding the new class teacher/chemistry teacher but now even she was resigned to doodling on her notebook out of boredom. She looked out the classroom window which was just behind her, onto the makeshift basket ball court cum school assembly point. She still remembered her first day at Sea-view High and she'd hated it, day 1 on. It seemed like it was just yesterday she swung her backpack and dragged herself along the cobbled driveway that led to the entrance of the main-building. Her head still hurt from the numerous times it banged against the head-rest of the seat in front of her throughout the hour long drive to the new school in a bus that should've been scrapped ages ago. Although she suspected her mom's constant nagging about finishing her milk and sandwich for lunch, keeping the headscarf on, and the lecture about not talking to boys had something to do with it. Seriously who packs an 8th grader sandwich and MILK for lunch?! And asking a 13 year old to keep on the headscarf under the fierce middle-eastern sun is like asking an LA babe to go to the beach in plumber's overalls. As for boys I mean come freakin' on If you don't talk to boys, who'll you play football with!?
So instead of going directly to the classroom, she took a detour to the restroom, the directions to which a freckled junior thankfully pointed out. First things first. She ducked into a cubicle and took off the offending head-piece and shoved it into the backpack. Folding the elastic along the waistband of her coal-grey skirt thrice over itself, she un-tucked her shirt over it so that it covered the folds such that instead of the dowdy, matronly sweeping-the-floor-length she wore from home, her skirt was now well above the knees. She unbuttoned the cuffs of her shirt and folded the sleeves so that they were a nice 3/4th. Once outside the cubicle, she fished a comb out of her backpack and combed the fringes back and forth so that her hair had a kind of tousled, right-out-of-bed look. Just the way she liked it. For final touch, she the flicked the top button open and eased the tie out the death-noose around her neck until it hung loosely below the first button. Yup, Alizey M. Khan was now ready to take on high school.
She took the stairs to the first floor girl's wing and walked upto the door that said Junior Year, Section C. She knocked lightly and a serene voice bade her to enter. The classroom was your ordinary room, with chairs table, boys and girls of all shapes and sizes in drab grey and blue uniform, complete with a teacher with a medi skirt with a ruler in her hand. What was NOT usual was the German wall in between. Rows and rows of desks and chairs thrown around haphazardly and boys and girls on polar opposite ends of the room Oh right China , chopsticks Middle east , segregation
The sound of the classroom door slamming brought Ali out of her reverie.
Back to the teacher who was late. She looked like your run-of-the-mill post-graduate from some third grade University in Kerala, India who struck gold and got herself a position with a GEMS institution in the UAE and she was to teach chemistry. The lady wore a tacky saari with horrible colour combination that hinted cheap upbringing and even cheaper taste and the students dismissed her at first glance as someone they didn't need to take seriously. Very soon, they knew better.
For the reader's benefit, although one of the "branded" schools, the GEMS chairman was notorious for his partiality in picking out oil-slicked South Indians for teachers. The State Governor of Kerala loved him. The students, of course, hated him.
Naseema, was one of the first to stand up to greet her. (In an Asianized school like theirs, students were expected to stand up in their seats and greet the teacher in a ridiculous chorus of "Good Morniiing Ma'am") Naseema, born to a Bangladeshi shop-keeper father and his very submissive wife, was the most obedient and polite of the lot. So no surprises there. She was soon followed by the desi trio: Zaraa (Missy perfect) and her friends Farzana (hella tall and dusky, she'd be almost sexy if she wasn't so stupid in the head) and Asra (pimple issues.)
This was the "nice" lot. Next to get up was Rosa and Rosy, the oh-so-annoying twins (they were rumoured to have been BORN in the school and beteen the two of them , planned to bury their bones in the school, but that's a story best reserved for some other day) followed by Ahlam (Palestinian, had her native home blown to bits by bombs but lives quite the life here in the 16 Buildings, Fujairah absolutely oblivious to any bombings whatsoever.), Farzana 2 (Half Sri-Lankan, Half- Bengali, frizzy haired, the kind that lived through high school hating the prettier girls and generating vicious gossip about them) and Heba (A not-so-Egyptian Egyptian. Very pretty, very sweet.).
The last one to get up was Alizey. Defiance written all over her face, this was one kid who never failed to piss off a teacher or superintendent. So naturally she was the first one to irk Ms. Priya (the new class teacher cum chemistry teacher).
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