Saturday, December 2, 2017

Record of absence

The next time you’re absent, phone the new driver, not me.

Clearly, my old bus driver was making sure he wouldn’t get a single call from me again. I couldn’t blame him, though. I was infamous for taking days off from school, every now and then. Mom didn’t have an issue either because it meant she’d have company at home the whole day.

Tenth grade in India was similar, with the only difference being you didn’t need to let the driver know, because the bus would leave on time whether you were on board or not. I stayed at home whenever I fell sick, or had too much to study and too little time. We had exams every week, which meant at one point or another, I felt myself drowning in assignments, homeworks and other school stuff.

I’ve never understood how people come to school everyday and have a perfect attendance. For me, that seems utterly impossible. Just trying to wake up early is where the difficulty starts. During the winters, I can’t seem to push my cozy blankets away.

When I find someone whose record of absence is just as bad as mine, we have an understanding between us that’s close to sibling love. It is very rare though.

Coming back to the present, the little kid next to me had taken his notebook out and was taking down the new driver’s number painfully slow, writing every digit like it was a struggle in his big, loopy handwriting.

Then he looked at our old driver straight in the eye and said “Uncle, don’t come back”; presumably because the idea of writing down a phone number again daunted him.