Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nature's Advocate


He walked in, all debonair and slick in his new uniform. It was nothing new for him; he probably spent more time in my office than anybody else in the school.

“Hello, Ryan, happy homecoming.” I said sarcastically.

“Thanks, Mr.D.” He replied in an offhanded manner, the American accent ever so prominent.

The boy was hopeless.

My eyes roved around the tiny , off-white colored classroom with 25 orange desks and chairs lined up one after the other in succession with the air conditioner on full blast. Stepping in to this room felt like reverting back to the ice age. The Detention Room- my home for the past 10 miserable years and probably my home for another 25.
That is when my eyes fell on the sole occupant of a desk in the corner. His hair neatly oiled and combed to a side. With pants pulled up to his waist, well- ironed uniform, greasy wheat complexioned face, and super-shiny polished shoes, he looked like the last candidate eligible for occupying my room. In fact, he probably looked like the last candidate to be in this school.

My attention came back to a dismal Ryan holding out his detention slip. It was time to snap back into sad, harsh, boring reality.

“What’re you in for, this time?”

“Coke.” He said grinning.

I pursed my lips. No guesses as to what 25 bank accounts filled with millions can do to a child who stands the sole heir.
What a waste of space and air.

I stamped the slip and handed it back to him, without meeting the careless, mocking eyes. There were better things to do in life. I pointed to the seats and said without any hint of humor in my voice, “Be my guest.”

He looked around to see the lonely boy and dragged off to sit with him while I went back to the papers that I was grading.

“Hey, hey! what up, bro?” Ryan’s cheerful voice interrupted my flow of thoughts. I looked up, alarmed at the thought of having a conversation with Ryan Carbonero. But it wasn’t me but- the decent kid next to him who was the victim.
However, to Ryan’s surprise, the boy with a blank face flipped through the pages of the Physics text that he was reading.
Never being used to be ignored in such a blunt manner, Ryan began again, “You deaf or what?”
The kid looked away with obvious annoyance. He turned and snapped, “I do not want to fight. Leave me alone.” His voice was emotionless. The words carefully chosen, carefully pronounced, and conveyed with extreme difficulty.

Ryan smiled, “Why would I want to fight? You’re in my grade, aren’t you? You’re the lonely one in the corner.”
The boy in question, nodded.

“You seem like you're from the EWS category or something?”

Lack of tact. Clearly Mr. Carbonero needed to build his son a finishing school.

But the aloof boy nodded again.

Ryan exhaled loudly and said theatrically, “I don’t know how you do it. I mean living a life without all the basic stuff. You got some caliber.”

The last line saw the immediate arousal of passion in his eyes as he spoke out defiantly. “And what are these so-called ‘basic stuff’ that I’m living without?”

Ryan knew a challenge when it faced him upfront. He sprung up to the occasion.
No AC’s, no cars, empty wallets, huts... You want me to say more? Hell, you study on my money!”

There was a resounding silence that followed this statement. Right now, the harsh reality of life had opened old wounds within the kid as pain sprung to his eyes.

He shot back, “What good are your ‘Basic stuff’ doing you when you get detention every second day for drugs? Is that what a full wallet does? Is that what you call life?”

Ryan’s eyes narrowed, “Not exactly, but at least ten years down the line, I will have a nice beach house, car, a beautiful wife and kids worth showing off. I won’t be a waste of space!”

I smirked at the irony.

But I heard the kid replying, “Ten years down the line- Your house will not be of much use when the floods destroy it. Your car will not be of much help when it’s petrol dies, and about your wife and kids? Well, they will not be worth showing off when they die with cancer in their body. And you can thank your current ‘basic stuff’ for all of that. ”

I looked up, stunned. Wasn’t that too harsh?

Ryan laughed an evil laugh, one that echoed in the small room. “You serious? You actually are giving me a lecture on the global warming crap?”

“Yes, actually, I am giving you a lecture on the ‘global warming crap’. You call me dissatisfied? I have love from my parents, a life filled with laughter and simpler joys. You have just Jacuzzis but no human touch to recount. You will be your own murderer.
My countrymen die because your father does not bother installing good quality machines in your huge factories, we are scared to breathe because you’re busy driving your Porsches and we cannot live, because people like you are busy enjoying. Oh and by the way.”
He paused to indicate the ceiling, “Your AC’s aren’t helping matters either.”

After this, he stood up to leave the room; his time at detention was nearly over. He collected his books and walked towards me while I stared at him- too stunned and overwhelmed to speak. Someone just put the Carbonero heir- the heir of this school's owner- did someone just put him down?

“What were you in for, again?” I stammered looking at him as I returned his detention report.
“For asking Ryan’s dad to not cut the trees next to my rural settlement.”

Ryan gasped. This was the kid who his father had wanted to jail but couldn’t due to lack of plausible reasons, which had later led him to plot ways to get him punished.

You’re Ajith Paramar?” I asked with admiration.
“Yes.” He replied on his way out.
“Well, do not come back to the detention hall. I’ll have a word with the school trust.” I responded curtly.

I looked at Ryan as his eyes followed Ajith’s departure.

He turned to me and said, “Dad found an enemy in nature. And his enemy got a good lawyer in that fellow.”


I had written this story to send in a writing competition that targeted global warming and its drastic influences. My teacher chose not to send this but another that I had written. Yet, this remains my favorite.


Priyanka Banerjee said...

Hey! That was pretty cool! Ending was very awesome. Post the other one too? :)

Charu said...

Do I detect an Artemis Fowl?

An unconventional setting for a great message. Love the story. Any chances you could post the other one?

SOUMYA said...

gud work sis..there was good amount of passion in both the kids's charachetrs.!!
but i found the ending a bit abrupt.!

Remya said...

@Priyanka: Oye, Hi!!
I LOVED your delhi waala post..I was planning to rant on will be there in a minute..
Oh yeah..I'll put the other one too. Once the results of the competition are declared.. Apparently Im not supposed to publish that piece before the results are announced..

@Charu: Umm. Artemis Fowl? Absolutely not. Even if there, it was purely unintended. I'm glad you liked it even though there were no goblins and pixies in this one ;)
I could have posted the other one but read what I wrote for Priyanka.. then you'll understand why I can't..

Remya said...

@Soumya: Sweetheart, it was written as a short story..they are always abrupt ;)