“They couldn’t keep students any longer in the school, could they?” Kavya sarcastically muttered under her breath while heading for the last period.
She dreaded school. It wasn’t the studies that bothered her. Why would studies bother such a bright student anyways? It was the people who bothered her. They were so into themselves, never cared to talk to anyone besides the friends they made in primary school. She couldn’t see why some people looked forward to coming to school. Studies could be done from home too. She wouldn’t come to school herself if it was not for the law. After all, there was nothing about schools that appealed to her.
What she did to get through her day was to attend her classes quietly without talking to anyone or bothering them and spend her breaks in libraries. Because spending your breaks alone seemed as sad to other people, even if it wasn’t. She felt that the library pretty much kept her out everyone’s eyes.
One afternoon when Kavya was going to the library after her Algebra class, she saw someone approaching her from across the corridor. They must be going to the people behind me, she thought. After all, no one talked to her. On looking behind her, there was pretty much no one there. She may have had to talk to someone that day. The approaching figure finally came to her and it was Vani, a smart, sharp girl from her class.
“Hi,” Vani said politely, surely not faking it.
“Hey.” Kavya reciprocated, slightly bothered that she wouldn’t be able to spend much time in the library now.
“I’ll not beat around the bush Kavya. The thing is, our school is participating in a reading and analysis speech competition. We need 5 people for the team and we’ve got 4. I have been noticing for a few weeks that you spend a lot of your time in the library. I think you’d be great for the team. Please don’t say no.” Vani explained all in one go as if she had been given a time limit.
Kavya had forgotten how to speak. She gathered her words and apologetically said, “Sorry Vani. But I don’t do competitions. I’ve genuinely never done competitions before. It’d be a shame if I came in and the entire school got its hopes high, only to let you all down in the end.”
“Don’t worry about that at all,” Vani said with a glimmer of hope in her eyes and her faint smile, “we’ll prepare you and we’ll prep you good. The entire team will help you out. Just say yes. I promise it will be amazing and we’ll win. But for that, we need you.”
No one had ever wanted Kavya so bad. No one ever needed her this much. She just couldn’t say no to this. There was just no reason to.
“Fine.” Kavya said, trying to hide a smile spreading across her face. “Who all are there in the team?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes. There’s Chaitanya, Neil and Kisha. Of course, apart from me. See you tomorrow then. Recess, your den – the library.” Vani winked and sprinted away.
Kavya did meet the squad the next day and the following days for weeks. They – mainly Neil and Chaitanya – insisted on calling themselves ‘The reading breed’.
She had gotten used to Chaitanya laughing at the most serious moments, urging Kisha to speak up first and add in her inputs, and Vani being the mom of the group and bringing everyone back on track. What she had not gotten used was being the victim of Neil’s nasty pranks. What he had against her, she’d never understand. So she tried to stay away from him as much as possible even if it was in vain most of the time.
The competition day arrived in the blink of an eye. The reading breed’s school won, thanks to Kavya for breaking the tie. Maybe because she had tons of potential, hard work and a dash of beginner’s luck.
And what came along with the school trophy, was a realisation for Kavya.
All the people weren’t into themselves. Not all the people talked only to the friends they made in primary. Some reach out to others too. Not all people think that school was for studies only. It was something beyond that. It was a place where you made connections, a place where you belonged. And then, you have things to look forward to. People you are eager to meet.
She now no longer felt out of place. Now it wasn’t the law that brought her to school. She felt like she belonged here.
Kavya is still spending her breaks at the library, but is often accompanied by The Reading Breed.
P.S. This is probably the first work that I can call fiction. Maybe? I don’t know, you let me know. My aim was to present something different while still providing a lesson. Hoping it was accomplished 🤞
Also, do you want more of The Reading Breed? Comment down below.
First of all, I loved the beginner’s luck reference. It was on point. You framed the story quite well. It felt as if I was reading those short stories from one the books. I hated going to school. But now when we are stuck in our homes I truly realise that there was much more to school than I had ever imagined. My friends, those recess talks, making fun of teachers, pulling each other’s leg and so much more. I also realise that I went to school with such a dull spirit but always came back with a happy one.… Read more »
Yes! Make The Reading Breed a series!! This was so well crafted and such a great story. Something that gives me hope (lol) to look forward in school. I understand there’s never a place you can’t belong to. The diversity never let’s that happen. Kavya’s misbelief is broken because of the people who weren’t into themselves all the time. This was such a great story. Rock on!!
Your excitement makes me excited too. It is really is an out of the world feeling to feel like you belong somewhere.
Though couldn’t relate to the “Reading Breed”
but school is a place where no one can feel alienated. Those recess talks, changeover time and above all the memories we create I would never ever trade that for anything. At this point of time when we haven’t been to school for months, you have left no stone unturned to take us back by creating a complete image with each and every word here.
I hope we’ll have the next episode of this “In School” series on coming Sunday !
I LOVE UUUUUU YESSSS GO OFF SIS QUEEN
DROP DOWN SHOW ME UR TALENTTTTTT SO GOOOOD
[…] did you guys meet? Everyone knows that Vani offered me a place in the reading competition team and then you guys practically adopted me. But I have no idea about you. I wanna […]