Part - 13
They had painted the slide red. It used to be green to match the colour of the uniform. Red just didn't seem right in the surrounding. Did they change the uniform to red while I was away?, Padamaja panics. But the sight of the students in their green and white uniforms as they stream out of the classrooms for the morning interval (the bell had just gone), reassures her that they had not.
Lalitha teacher is in a meeting with someone from the Education department. Padmaja has been waiting for over half-an-hour and it appears that she would have to be there for much longer. Not that she minded, not at all. Some of her older students come up to her and ask after her well being. She notes that the boys have grown taller and girls more rounded. She may not recognise them next year, she remarks to herself. Though it might be that they would have forgotten her by then.
The door to Lalitha teacher's office swings open letting out a young man with a purposeful stride.
'Ah, Padmaja teacher', says Lalitha teacher catching sight of her old colleague, 'how are you? Come in , come in!'.
Laitha teacher has a new chair and she has stopped wearing glasses (how could that be? Has she converted to contact lens? May be she has had laser surgery. She was always going on about it and had promised Padmaja that she would ask her more information if she ever considered having it.)
“I'm sorry to have kept you waiting”, says Lalitha teacher as she rummages inside her handbag, “it has been one of those never-ending days. All well with you?”
“Yes, yes, teacher. I am fine, same as ever. I was just passing by and thought I would drop in to say hello.”
“Of course, teacher. You are always welcome here”, says the headmistress fishing out a pair of glasses, “thank god, they are here. I was practically blind all morning.”
“Do you have my contact details, teacher? In case you need to get in touch with me? I am available any time, even at a short notice.”, says Padmaja.
“Why don't you check with Sharadha on your way out to ensure that what we have in the records is the right address and telephone number? It have two reports to finish and send by Friday. You know how this Education department people are, teacher...”
Padmaja writes her details down in a piece of paper for the headmistress' secretary to verify. The lunch bell goes off and the students roar out of their classrooms. It must be twelve-thirty, Padmaja remarks to herself.