MALKEET KAUR “Musings of a Teacher” New Short Story # 01

Musings of a Teacher

MALKEET KAUR “Musings of a Teacher”  Short Story

Walking to school in the early morning chill suddenly made me feel exposed.

To the dubious elements.
To the earth and celestial will.

I felt a sudden influx of far-away possibilities in my precocious heart. The breeze that left me mildly chattering held a promise of what life was capable of giving. The rosy sky turned the umbrageous apartments sepia, ingurgitating the sullen fierceness of the summer Sun. I welcomed the first pinch of winter on the tips of my toes and fingers. I promised myself to buy a pair of thumb socks soon. The necessity of it was pointed out by a caring colleague.

My heart went out to the hollow piece of the tin square once a ‘Tapri’ — a puny shanty of a shop. In the initial years, while returning from school, I would find kids from the municipal school nearby crowding the shop, buying fancy, motley candies without an adult’s obsession with ‘expiry dates’. I noticed the adults simply passing by, oblivious of the shop. I felt my heart swell with empathy for the octageranian shopkeeper and wondered about the sons — the proverbial Indian walking sticks of the old age.

I would try to fill his pocket with ten to twenty rupees whenever I found myself overwhelmed by the impersonal loneliness by buying things from the shop — things that were of no use to me.

Or anyone with easy access to ‘press a button shopping’ and Mall and Mart culture.

I bought things like shining pouches of ‘mouth fresheners’, satches of shampoos I would forget to use, ‘butterfly hair clips’…

Then one day I forgot to notice as my pace had increased and I had started soaring through the air. As if life was slipping by with the proverbial

Tick Tock…

And when I did notice after a long span of time, I found the shutter gone. I found a void in place of dust-covered candies and the little toys made of cheap plastic. And the kids were gone too. Although there was a dramatic change in the infrastructure of the school, the kids mostly went to the other local, semi-government schools now.

A mechanic from the neighboring car repair store told me that the old shopkeeper had died a year back.

Life had again played a trick after the initial shock of the death of a dear student at a very ripe age had just started fading, leaving behind an inexplicable Saudade.

When I felt I could hold it, trap it, understand the arcane meaning it tantalises the philosophers with, it left me groping again for the foothold in the ground of the morbid reality of a guilty survival…


Malkeet Kaur resides in Mumbai, India. Although she is a teacher and fervently loves her job, she also enjoys writing poetry. Innumerable anthologies and online journals, including Episteme, Barking Sycamores, Acerbic Anthology against gender violence, Twist of Fate-charitable Anthology, Yellow Chair Review, The Awakening of She, The Significant Anthology, Degenerative Literature, Dead Snakes, Tuck Magazine, Incredible Women of India, and Diff Truths, to name a few, have published many of her poems. The majority of her poetry is existentialist and feminist in style.

“Musings of a Teacher”  Short Story

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