They had reached a small bungalow surrounded by a fence. Sagar unlatched the gate and they stepped in. Aamir looked around. A pathway led to the veranda of the house.
That evening, after dinner, they were sitting in their room when Sagar said, “Dude, I think you went too far with Shantanu. How can you imagine you’ll be able to do better than him in English? He is the best in the class.”
“You are right Sagar. I think I shot my mouth off without realising. But what is done is done. Now I’ll have to somehow beat him or he’ll make my life miserable.”
The two friends were silent for some time then Sagar got up.
“Come with me.”
“To Sharma Sir’s house. He lives just behind the Principal’s bungalow.”
“But it is past nine. Won’t we be disturbing him?”
“No, no! He won’t mind. Mrs Sharma is also a very nice lady. And they are both very fond of me.”
“But why are you taking me there?”
“Get moving, I’ll explain on the way.”
They locked the room and stepped out of their hostel.
“Sharma Sir is a terrific teacher. If you can get him to spend some extra time with you, it will really help you.”
“But how do I do that?”
“That is why we are going to his place now.”
They had reached a small bungalow surrounded by a fence. Sagar unlatched the gate and they stepped in. Aamir looked around. A pathway led to the veranda of the house. On both sides of the pathway was a neat garden. To the left was a small lawn surrounded by a bed of flowers on all four sides. To the right was a mini nursery of the most beautiful roses Aamir had ever seen.
Sagar rang the bell. A few seconds later, the porch light was switched on and Sharma Sir could be seen peering through the grill.
“Good evening Sir; it is I, Sagar, with Aamir.”
“Good evening Sagar. It is rather late, is everything okay?” Sharma Sir said unlocking the door and letting them inside.
“Everything’s good, Sir. Aamir needs your help and we thought …..I hope we are not disturbing.”
“Of course not, child! You and your friend are most welcome anytime,” said a lady entering the drawing room with a plate laden with gulab jamuns.
She was short, plump and very fair. She had a very animated expression on her face and Aamir took an instant liking to her. She reminded him of his naani.
“That was real fast work,” Sagar said, helping himself to a couple of gulab jamuns.
“I heard your voice and I thought the most promising sportsman of TPS should not be kept waiting,” Mrs. Sharma said.
“Aunty, this is Aamir. He joined our school a month ago.”
Aamir did a formal adaab.
“Now, Sagar, tell me what brings you here?” Sharma Sir asked.
Sagar related the morning’s happenings after the English class.
Sharma Sir looked at Aamir, his face stern. “That was a foolish thing to do. You have come here to gain knowledge, enhance your learning; not to indulge in silly challenges.”
“I am sorry, Sir,” Aamir said, not meeting his teacher’s gaze.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Sir, we want you to spend some extra time with Aamir so that he can improve his English.”
“And beat Shantanu, is it? In a silly fight between two students you want me to support one against the other? I am the last one to do anything like that.”
“Sir, as I explained in the class this morning, I have started with a disadvantage. My background is not the same as that of Shantanu and Sagar. With your guidance, I shall be able to get over this disadvantage. Please Sir, won’t you help me?” Aamir said.
Sharma Sir looked at Aamir and reaching out patted him affectionately on his head.
“Okay, son! The way you have put it I can’t refuse you. But I shall be your Guru, not for helping you win a battle of egos but to win a war against your own ignorance.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Aamir and Sagar said together.
“Aamir, I am the teacher in charge of the Literary Club. This week we are going to take in new members. You can join the club. That way you’ll get to spend more time with me. Also, whenever you are free on Saturdays and Sundays, you can come over.”
Read on to Chapter 6
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