Image by Taufik Abdullah from Pixabay

Nothing Like Holidays

Surpiya Kanekar stepped out on the balcony and took a deep breath of the mountain air. How crisp it was!  And how beautiful the mountains were! On a nearby slope was a village, small houses huddled around steep streets. 

 This was exactly how she had imagined her summer holidays. Supriya had been waiting for these holidays, dreaming of sipping tea on the balcony, while she watched the mountains. 

But within two days she was bored. After all, how long could one sip tea? Of course, the mountains were beautiful and it was her dream holiday but Supriya was restless. Was she going to spend the rest of her holidays watching the mountains and reading? Holidays, Supriya thought, had to be fun and exciting. So far her holiday was neither fun nor exciting.   

Loud voices broke the peace of the mountains and she sat up. It sounded exactly like 6 C when they were excited and eager, shouting to be heard over other voices.  Where was the noise coming from? Supriya leapt to her feet and peered over the balcony wall but there was nothing to be seen. The voices were louder now and Supriya ran, almost tripping in her eagerness to find the children who were arguing.  

She found them under a tree, talking so loudly that none of them heard Supriya.  

 And so, when she asked, ‘What are you arguing about?’ several children yelped and others leapt in fright. They stared at her, suspicious and surprised, unwilling to speak to a stranger.   

But Supriya always knew how to deal with 6 C and she knew now what to do with this bunch. ‘What was it?’ she asked impatiently. ‘Tell me!’

And just like 6 C, these children could not resist her. They burst into speech and the air was full of loud voices and accusations. It was like she had never left 6 C. 

‘You,’ Supriya pointed to a boy with spiky hair. He was so much like Aryan of 6 C that Supriya felt she knew him. And when a black-eyed girl interrupted him fiercely, Supriya was reminded of Tejaswi. Then she turned her attention to what the children were saying. 

When they fell silent, she said, ‘So, you want to start a library.’ All the children nodded. The accusations and mini fights they had just had were forgotten. In hopeful silence, they stared at Supriya.  

‘It’s a wonderful idea,’ she said and they beamed. ‘I’ll tell you what to do.’

And she did. She helped them collect books, suggested how to get donations and even ordered the books for the library. With so much to do, there was no time to sip tea or stare at the mountains but Supriya did not mind. 

The children still had to find a room for the library. But this proved challenging and after much thought Supriya suggested, ‘Why not use a corner of one of your houses?’ 

‘Our parents,’ they told her gloomily, ‘they don’t want books occupying the space all the time!’

‘Hmm,’ Supriya said. ‘We’ll have a library that will move between different houses,’ she announced. ‘What do you say?’

The children had plenty to say and like 6 C they said it with smiles and screams of joy, and their hugs. This, Supriya grinned, this was real excitement. There were other moments of excitement when the books arrived and they all sat around, gloating over them. There was the excitement of teaching the children how to catalogue them.  But all too soon, the holidays ended and it was time for Supriya to leave.   

‘Come again,’ the children shouted. ‘Come see our library!’

Supriya waved till the road twisted and she could see them no more. Of course she would come. She would spend all her holidays here. The return journey was spent planning her next holiday.   

‘Good holiday?’ the other teachers asked on the first day of school.  

‘The best holiday!’ Supriya smiled. 

Then she set off to meet 6C. She could hear them howling and screaming as she walked to the classroom but not even that could wipe her smile off. 

Truly, she thought, there was nothing like holidays!


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