Developing a story ..
Opening lines …..It was the last class before the summer vacation. We heard the rumbling sound of bulldozers and earth movers approaching our school.
Curtains come down on our school.
It was the last class before the summer vacation. We heard the rumbling sound of bulldozers and earth movers approaching our school. Being located in a coal mining area, we were no stranger to such sounds, but never had we heard it from such close distance. At the beginning of the class, the teacher had asked us to sing a pleasant Tagore song in chorus as a fitting act to welcome the holidays. But, that was not to be.
The grey-coloured monsters drew near menacingly. We all felt bewildered. The teacher stepped out of the class room to see why the giant machines had come so near our school gate. It emerged that a mining department official had come with some court papers to demolish the 100-year old school building. The official headed straight to the Principal’s office.
All hell broke loose, as we saw our venerated Principal literally begging something from the official. Soon, we got to know why he had come. The school building was to be razed to the ground, and the area had to be evacuated forthwith as some underground mining tunnel was to pass under our building. The building had to go to preempt any dangerous caving in of the soil.
The Principal hurriedly summoned the teachers and asked them to let us leave immediately. We were utterly confused and were in a quandary. How can our 100-year old institution be targeted like this?
The General Manager of the mine accompanied by the local MLA soon arrived. We ran towards them. With tears rolling down our eyes, and faces looking totally crestfallen, we beseeched the dignitaries to spare our dear school. ‘No,’ said both. The country needed coal: the local power station needed coal. Coal came first. A dilapidated school building couldn’t stop the country’s progress. The words were too rude to be fathomed. We were transfixed by this rationale. We were told that a new building would be built to house the school, and we would use the mining guest house as our temporary school.
We were powerless before the monster machines and the high-ranking officials. Some of us wailed loudly. Some rushed to hug the guava and mango trees we had planted. We couldn’t savour their fruits, we concluded.
Our Principal and our teachers were in tears too. Overwhelmed with grief, we trudged back home looking back over our shoulders at our school building that would vanish from the face of the earth in a few hours. Only the rubble would be left. We cursed the monster machines as heartless creatures. None of us ate our dinner that night: none of us slept even for a second.