Saturday, May 23, 2009

An act of loyalty

Vignesh was in class seven. He was taking regular tuition from his Sanskrit teacher as his father wanted him to become highly proficient in that language. He went to his master’s house in the evenings to learn. His teacher was dark complexioned, frail and small built man in his early forties. He had a dangling tuft in the unkempt hair that was not tied properly. His face always bristled with unshaven hair. He was on the whole an unattractive person. But he was a great scholar of gentle disposition and soft in words. One rarely saw him smile. He had a soft corner for Vignesh as he was studious and excelled in Sanskrit. The teacher’s wife slightly taller than him was very fair and exceptionally beautiful. Slightly plump with a twinkle in her eyes, she was always well dressed and appeared graceful in her deportment. She too liked Vignesh very much and gave him often some delicacies to eat.
Vignesh found that his teacher was always morose and lost in thought when he was with him in the evenings. The lady would be watching TV serials or reading some film magazines or novels. He had not seen them talking much with each other. There was always a tight atmosphere in the house. But when the teacher was not around, Vignesh could see her happily laughing and playing with small babies from the adjoining houses.Vignesh felt that the couple did not get along well as they had no children of their own.
The teacher had a strange habit of forgetting to bring some thing or the other to the school. He would send Vignesh almost daily to his house during the day at no fixed hours asking him to bring a book or pen or lunch box. When he returned he used to pat him and ask him whether he saw anyone in the house.Vignesh would reply that he saw none as auntie always gave the article through the window. It appeared to the boy that the teacher was not satisfied with his reply. Months flew by but the routine remained unchanged.
One afternoon when Vignesh went to the house, he did not knock the door as he usually did but peeped in thro the window that was partly closed. To his great shock he saw an uncle reclined on the lap of auntie and both of them laughing about something.Vignesh quietly withdrew and knocked the door and asked for the book the teacher had forgotten. As usual she did not open the door but gave him the book thro the window.Vignesh was confused whether to tell the teacher or not. To his young mind it struck for the first time that auntie was not good. He started disliking her but did not tell the teacher what he saw. He felt sad for some unknown reason for his teacher. Nevertheless he chose to peep thro the window thereafter before knocking the door. He found the same uncle frequently in the house hugging the auntie or caressing her till one day the auntie found out the peeping Tom. She pushed the man aside and came running to Vignesh highly excited asking him how long he was there.Vignesh pretended that he had just come and gave no indication of what he saw. She did not appear convinced of what he told her. She said she became afraid thinking that a stranger was peeping when she was alone in the house. She asked him to wait and brought a box full of chocolates. She told him after giving the box that she liked him very much and that he should not peep in future. On his way to the school Vignesh threw the box in disgust into the garbage bin.
It was a week after this incident that one day when he came to the school in the morning, he found all the teachers standing outside in groups talking in hushed tones with many boys milling around. Sensing something was amiss he went near them only to learn that his beloved Sanskrit master had committed suicide in the early hours of the day. The teachers were all discussing what could be the reason for him to take this extreme step of hanging at this young age. He had no worries financial or otherwise and seemed happily married to a charming wife. What more one could want? True he had no children but these days so may people adopt children. None were the wiser for the reason the gentle teacher chose to inflict upon himself this ultimate and irreversible punishment. Tears trickled from Vignesh’s eyes. But he was determined to remain quiet to keep his revered teacher’s fair name and dignity unsullied by lowly gossip.


  1. They say silence is golden. This story enhances that as the boy chose to do so in spite of whatever he witnessed. It also made me realize that ignorance is bliss but is it worth something that may end up one in a perenial fools paradise?

  2. Wow.. What maturity at such a young age !!

    It was obvious that the teacher knew and yet did not take steps to catch the culprits red-handed and instead chose a rond about method of seeking to find out..

  3. Why did the teacher have to kill himself? This life is given by God, and not by spouses or parents or anyone else. No one has the right to insult God by killing himself/herself.

    Marriage is just a relationship; it should not be made more important than life.

    Pain, often physically/emotionally crippling, is a part of every being's life on earth. If all were to commit suicide, life as we know it, would vanish.

    So, from spiritual, emotional and biological angles, suicide is self-defeating.

  4. Lovely story, brings out instances when humans fall prey to circumstances, and the weak at heart give up.

    soo many stories..i have a lot of catching up to do!

  5. A story very closer to reality that happens around.. i loved Ayesha's comment.. i agree to it completely..

    the story is a different one among the many i read these days.. i like the different subjects on which u base your story..