Section E 

Chaitanyamoi Chetia

© Copyright 2023 by 
Chaitanyamoi Chetia

Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash
Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash
The school examination admit cards had been issued to the senior students of our school with the seat allotment. The students were not allowed to appear in their own school, so they were assigned to different schools. There were a few higher secondary schools in the town, and one of them were quite old and well furnished.

My friends and I used to pass by this school boundary while on our way to the playground.

Look at the school boundary, the school looks so beautiful,” I used to say to my friends on our way to the playground.

The playground and the school are close to each other; and the playground was vast and could accommodate thousands of school students comfortably in the gallery. In the playground we would watch matches played by the senior boys, and sometimes we would do jogging, and some boys would run in the field as a part of their exercises.

Sometimes, we would sit in the gallery and watch the games; during school weeks, the gallery would be packed with players and supporters of different schools; and at such times, the play ground gave a festive look. Students of many schools of the area would assemble there to participate in the games during the school week. Besides, football matches were held frequently in the playground, and many school students and participants were seen then.

Once, my friend and I took our seat in the upper gallery, eagerly waiting for the football match to start. We watched as the players warmed up themselves, and took their positions on the field; it was clear from the start there was a player wearing jersey no 10, who was exceptionally skillful. As the game started, we saw a player making some great passes and dribbling past defenders effortlessly. My friends and I were amazed by his skills, and commented on how he had many assists to his name. But our enjoyment was short-lived.

While watching the match, we saw a brawl between the referee and the players that caused the match to pause. This was the second time it had happened, and it was frustrating for us as we were enjoying the game. At this, some of my friends decided to leave the playground and enter the school building; as the entrance gate of the school building was open.

The school was a single-story building that covered a large space, and all the doors of the classrooms were locked and the windows were closed. Though it was not our school, we got immense pleasure entering inside the school gate. The atmosphere in the school was cool, there were a few lychee trees with branches and green leaves spreading near the school boundary walls; and the school field was greenery everywhere. The window panes were clean and transparent, and standing in the verandah if we gazed at the classroom, we could see the desks and benches of the class rooms evenly arranged. As we walked along the verandah of the school building, we saw some senior boys entering the school gate to see the sections were they were allotted to appear for their 10th board exams. It made us realize that we too would have to appear for the exams at this school some day, as we were not allowed to appear our board exams at our own school.

Some of us peered through the windows and saw the blackboards, teachers’ tables, and chairs. There were separate classrooms for different sections of the students, and we saw the recreation hall of the school and the science laboratory. We knew that debating competitions were organised in the recreation hall, and sometimes, art competitions as well as quiz competitions were also organised there. As we walked through the verandah of the school building, we saw the section tags on top of the doors, ranging from section A to section F. However, we could not find section E in any of the classes in class 8 and 9.

Strange, really strange, where is section E!” I said to my friends.

We walked repeatedly from this section to that section, raising our necks up to the doors of the classrooms where sections were tagged, but we couldn’t find it. This became the prime matter of discussion among our friends, and for many years, we couldn’t forget about it.

As the years passed, my friends and I forgot about the missing section E, until one day, we stumbled upon the reason for its absence. It turned out that the school had six sections each for class 8, and class 9; but, due to a shortage of classrooms, section E was located in another building, a few blocks away.

It was a small discovery, but it brought immense joy to all of us. We laughed for several minutes, reminiscing about the days we spent walking through the school building in search of section E. As we still remembered, we talked about it for several minutes in the school verandah with our friends with suspicion as to why that section was missing, and how we wasted many times that day searching for it. It was rapturous how sometimes, small things could capture our attention and curiosity, even if they seemed insignificant at first.

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