Joined: 08 April 2012
The sheer audacity of the man still rattled her as she drove home in the evening. She was not an easily rattled person. Her calmness and composure under pressure was what made her good at teaching stubborn adolescents. She dealt with situations as they arose, and had the instinctive ability to choose the best way to solve it, whether it was by discussion, by sternness, or by humor. The "split personality" as some of her students called it, made it possible for her to gain the attention of the boys who would rather be thinking about more interesting things.
But that man had rattled her, and she didn't like it. His intense gaze had stirred something in her, something that made her keep thinking about him more and more. Oh God, stop thinking about him already! She said to herself, irritated because he wasn't getting out of her head.
As she entered the house, she was surprised to see it empty. "Where are mom, dad, and Ayesha?" she asked the maid, who had been with them for as long as she could remember.
"Mom and Ayesha have gone to the market, and your father isn't home yet," she answered.
"Hmmm, please make me a strong cup of strong tea," Sara requested as she went upstairs to her room.
She thought about her first class. It had been full of discussion and a healthy discussion where all the participants were encouraged to speak their mind instead of the chosen few. The teacher had even hinted at the "taboo" topics, saying that the teachers and parents increased the fascination of children towards these topics by not discussing them at all. There was a slight smile on her face as she thought about the stunned silence that had followed this proclamation. The concept in Pakistan was to completely avoid the realities of life, and skip through the topics as if they didn't exist at all. Well, it is nice to know that there are professional out there who agree with me, she concluded as she went to take a shower.
The next day, she rose early, after having slept fitfully throughout the night, and sat besides the window feeling the cool air on her face. The only time for the next 16 hours when the air will be a bit cool, she thought ruefully as she closed her eyes and let herself absorb the coolness. Hardly anyone knew that the cool exterior of Sara Farooqi hid a deep romantic nature. She always saw the best in people, but was realistic enough not to be surprised when it gave way to a poisonous centre. She helped everybody she could, but hardly ever asked for help herself. The only person who knew the real Sara was her childhood friend Farah, who had been with her since grade 4. She thought of the future and what it might bring, well whatever it is I will deal with it, she thought as she closed the window and went to change for school.
As she reached the school, she saw Ali getting out of Civic, keys in his hand and arrogance of youth on his face. A sixteen year old driving a car? She reflected as he turned towards her and gave her the slightest nod to tell her that he understood her shocked facial expressions.
She parked her own car, and went inside. She didn't have a class with Ali till midmorning, and that gave her sometime to think about how she wanted to handle him. She decided to do nothing for the time being, as it was apparent to her that he thrived on attention. She entered his class, and started discussing the salient points of Shakespeare with them; the usual chorus of "It's boring" and "It's useless" greeted her. She secretly agreed with them, having no taste for classics but it has to be taught and she had tried to make it more interesting for the boys.
"Okay we are going to act out the scenes, instead of reading them!" This was met with more groans as boys and no intention of putting effort into English which they considered too tedious.
She ignored the groans and assigned roles, knowing that after ten minutes the boys will start enjoying, and the speakers will actually start acting. She deliberately didn't assign any role to Ali, although it had been apparent to her during the class debate the day before that he was a gifted speaker.
The role play started, and soon there was loud laughter in the class as the boys got into the play and started enjoying themselves without realizing it. She laughed along with them, sitting at the very back of the class with a thin and shy boy, and at the end of the class assigned them a short report on the play being performed in the class. She asked them to write about the positive and negative aspects both and also give recommendations on how it would have been better. She knew the students had enjoyed the class when the announcement of homework was met by immediate response of "Ma'am I couldn't hear Rayyan talking!" and "Ma'am we should have had costumes!"
She smiled, and asked them to write it all down, so that next time they could done it better, and left the class, seemingly oblivious to the thoughtful stare of Ali who was used to being the centre of attention in any spoken activity.
After a hurried lunch which consisted of a packet of biscuits, she hurried off to college to attend her class. It was supposed to be Basic English, and she had seen almost a hundred people who had signed up for it. She parked the car, got her notebook out, which she had deliberately put in the car the night before so that she didn't forget it, and went to take the class.
Fifteen minutes were still left for the class to start, but the hall was already half full. Habitually, she climbed the stairs until she came to the empty second last row. Here she put down the notebook and the cup of tea she had bought from the caf on her way to the hall, and sat down to read a novel for fifteen minutes. Many people had different ways of relaxing themselves and her way was—reading. She loved to read books and buying books was the only extravagance in her life.
She was reading so intently that she didn't realize the class had started until a loud voice said, "Hello, class!" hurriedly putting the novel in her bag, she looked down to see a tall woman with a mike in her hand talking to the class. She reached to her left, in to her hand bag to take out a pen, and a casual glance to the person sitting on her left, made her freeze in half action.
Mr. Rude Stare was sitting on her left with a smile on his face.
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