Seven-year-old Shashi did not want to go to school when she woke up in the morning. However, her mom was very strict. So, Shashi knew no excuse would work. Halfheartedly she got ready. Everyday her mom walked with her to the bus stop and today was no different. Shashi went to school in a corporation bus, as school buses were not yet plying from her newly settled locality. The buses were crowded as usual during office and school hours. Shashi's mom made her climb the bus and she paid ticket money from the window to the conductor signaling Shashi that ticket is purchased.
Shashi reached the bus stop near her school and she made her way to her classroom. She remembered the time her grandmother made fun of the fact that she is going to a school, which has thatched roof for classroom rather than a proper building. When she had shifted to new school, she felt very happy seeing the tall two storied buildings and was glad that she is finally going to a 'pukka' school. However, to her dismay, the principal pointed to the two thatched structures alongside the buildings and saying that that is her new class as they are still expanding and providing for primary sections.
Shashi’s seat was at the last row as she was among the tallest in her class. As the class teacher arrived, all students stood up and wished her. Shashi's neighbor pointed towards a snail, which was crawling in the ledge behind them. Shashi's focus was on the snail's progress during the day. The snail left a wet trail behind as it trudged towards an unknown destination.
As the last bell rang, Shashi marked the snail's position and made way to the bus stop. She planned to measure the total distance travelled by snail over the night. Shashi sat at the bus stop and opened her bag to fetch her bus pass. Oh no! The small plastic cover with her bus pass was missing. She searched and searched but no avail. Tears welled up in her eyes, as she knew the bus conductors are merciless and would not allow free loaders. She reprimanded herself for keeping the extra change in same plastic cover as the pass. With despair, she thought what could be options now. She can continue to wait at bus stop or start walking home which was almost five kilometers away. This was back in those times when telephones were luxury. Shashi told herself there is no other route now. She pulled her bag closer and started walking towards the way her bus takes her home. The route was familiar even though Shashi had shifted to new school only a month back. Five kilometers was a distance she could not phantom about. She mentally reminisced the route and walked along. At one point, she knew she could take an alternate route. She asked the fruit vendor if that road lead to her colony. As she took the road little did she realize that her father for looking for her on his scooter in the regular route. Her mom had called up at her dad's office when she did not turn up in any bus at her regular time and her dad was scanning her possible path from school to home on his scooter.
Shashi felt herself in same position as the snail in her classroom and quickened her pace as she was nearing her home. She spotted her mom waiting and looking worried. Shashi ran the last few steps towards her mom but slowed down as she saw her mom's angry face. Mom's anger was more because of the worry caused. However, Shashi was confused, why her mom was angry when she had finally shown up. Shashi ran up the stairs and first thing she did was to keep the evasive bus pass in her school bag. Shashi was unaware as to what tension her parents has undergone and she was oblivious to the fact that next day she woke up fresh and fine, thanks to her parents who massaged of her legs during the night.