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Short Story: Jennie’s new school

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By Snigdha Saha

Jennie was excited about going to a new school. She recently moved to Agra from Delhi. Her father was transferred there. She was amazed seeing the tall buildings, the zigzag traffic, so much crowd, and the beautiful shops of the city.

Jennie was studying in grade six. “What will my new school be like?” she asked herself. “Will I make new friends?”

Her mother wanted Jennie to enjoy her first day. So she packed her daughter’s favourite – aloo and chapati in a new lunch box. She then dropped Jennie to school.

“Look, mother, the school is so huge,” she said in awe when she saw the building. Her mother smiled. “Yes, Jennie. It’s a very good school too. I hope you will enjoy yourself here. Now be good, and I will pick you up after school today.”

Jennie waved goodbye to her mother and began looking for her classroom. She found it and walked in, nervously touching her hair.

Jennie was chubby and wore thick glasses. Her classmates did not like the way she looked and immediately started poking fun at her. “Who is this fatso?” shouted a student named Vijay. “Looks like a baby elephant has entered the class!”

The others laughed and added their insults. “She’s definitely from some village with that oiled and braided hair,” said another student, Amar. “And she’s so dark, a crow will look fairer,” laughed Meena. “Her glasses are so thick, her eyes look like buttons!” exclaimed Anita.

Jennie was stunned. She was too scared to speak up. She didn’t know what to do and sat quietly at a vacant seat.

The class teacher Ms. Asmita entered. All the students immediately became quiet. “Ah, a new child!” said Ms. Asmita. “What is your name, dear?”

Jennie was so worried and nervous, she began stammering. “M-my n-name i-is J-Jennie KKim” she managed.

The other students laughed at this. But Ms. Asmita stopped them. She began the lesson, and nobody troubled Jennie for some time.

The bell rang for lunch break and all the children headed to the hall. Many of them rushed to the canteen and came back with sandwiches, burgers and pizza. Jennie took out her lunch box and opened it. “Hey, look! Imagine eating chapati!” exclaimed Ramesh. “Oh, she’s from some village. They would never have heard of things like pizza and burgers,” said Shobha laughing at Jennie.

The lunch mom had so lovingly packed, tasted like dust to Jennie. She managed to eat and get back to class without bursting into tears.

The rest of the day, Jennie was missing her small school and hated the large one and all her mean classmates.

When her mother arrived to pick her up, Jennie ran and hugged her. She began to weep, her body was shaking. Her mother took her home and asked what happened. Jennie tried explaining and then said: “I will never go back to that school. They are all very mean to me!”

“Jennie, don’t be scared of the other children,” her mother explained. “You are new and they are trying to see if they can frighten you. You should stand up for yourself and show that you are not scared, and the bullies will leave you alone.”

The next day, Jennie’s mother went to drop her at school again, but this time, she waited to meet the class teacher. She explained what had happened and Ms. Asmita was shocked.

“Please don’t worry,” she assured Jennie’s mother. “I will take care of this.”

That day, Ms. Asmita walked into class and announced that there was a prestigious inter-school drawing competition. “It will mean a lot to the school if we can win this year, so I want all of you to do your best,” she said. “I want all the students to submit drawings for this competition.”

Jennie loved drawing, and she was excited to take part in the competition. She was scared about what her classmates would say, so, she shyly handed in her entry to Ms. Asmita. All the drawings were sent to the competition and the results were announced after a few days.

“The winner of the inter-school drawing competition was Jennie Kim of class 6,” announced the headmaster. The entire school cheered and Jennie was thrilled.

Later that day, Ms. Asmita walked in the class. “Well done, Jennie. I’m proud of you. I am glad you ignored the teasing and bullying and did your best. Class, you did not welcome a stranger, and worse, you made fun of her looks and judged her for that. Jennie’s talent is greater than your bullying!”

The other students realised their mistake. After Ms. Asmita left, they all apologised to Jennie and promised never to tease her. That day, Jennie sat with her new friends and ate her chapati, warming up to her new school.

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