The next day was a Sunday and there was no coursework. Advay decided to write off the report on his visit the day before, for the fear of forgetting whatever happened later on. After all, he had to submit it in the class the next day.
He sat in front of Tevy and opened a book. The four had small tables and they put them together. They all sat in a circle and studied daily. But Sunday no one except Tevy opened his books.
Tevy’s eyes did not move off his papers. Advay also started to write:
Report: WRO, 15-Jan-2021
I met the gatekeeper.
I met the receptionist.
I met the in-charge.
I had lunch in the hall.
I met a little girl.
The little girl drew me.
She was bad at drawing.
I met a few more children.
And his report seemed to be complete. Advay was about to close his book.
“What the hell is that?” Tevy growled at Advay and the latter looked up with confusion.
“Reporting an orphanage visit.”
“Whatever it is about, how can a piece of writing be that way?” Tevy cursed the moment his eyes caught sight of Advay’s book. As a literature student, he hated anything that lacked art.
“I don’t know how your department works but no one is going to accept a report like that. Elementary school kids write better.”
Advay also felt that way. “I should write more, right?”
“More? You should write way more. It was about a whole day.” Tevy felt hopeless for this junior.
“What is supposed to be in the report?” Tevy thought he’d help him. He wasn’t very busy.
“He said anything within reason… some observations.”
“Alright. So think of the purpose of your visit and describe the details.”
And Advay started writing again afresh. Tevy kept watching him and his anger kept growing. He read what Advay had written and had a rough idea what their course demanded. After a few drafts and many edits, they were done.
“The next report you write better be this way. Never forget what this place is. You are in one of the world’s top universities and I honestly don’t know how you got in.”
“Alright, alright. It’s lunch time. Let’s go.” Advay tried pacifying Tevy but the senior guy just turned his head away.
In a classroom of the Administration and Diplomacy College, Prof. Logan was barely satisfied with his students’ work. And that day, his smile was found nowhere.
“Are you sure that this is the old home you were supposed to go to?” he questioned a short guy.
“Sir, the place I initially proposed has been closed down recently. I went as per the navigation on my phone but the people there said that it was closed down two months ago. So I went to another old-age home nearby.”
“So are you saying that when I gave you an entire week to pick a place all you did was browse on your phone?”
“And you should have called my staffroom when you came to know that the place didn’t exist. Why didn’t you do that?”
“And you are saying that you didn’t find your friends in the new place.”
“Yes sir, and I stayed there for five whole hours!”
A one person team had collided with a two person team. And the two produced reports on the same place. He turned to the other team.
“How much time did you guys spend there again?”
“Sir… we stayed,” suddenly the student was cut off and her other teammate took the lead to explain things.
“We actually went very early. We were at the old home from morning 7 A.M. until 11:30 A.M.”
“You do not know the consequences of lying. Just because you two don’t stay at the university dorms and that there is no record of what time you left for the place or from where you started, doesn’t mean you can fool me.” Prof. Logan said calmly.
“We are telling the truth.” The student insisted.
The professor gave them a stern glare but that did not make the two students yield at all. He knew he was not going to let them pass but the fact that they were so low on their morals upset him. He pinched his frown.
The student slowly tested the waters saying, “Sir, there are just the two of us in our team. So why don’t we include him in our team as well?”
“Sure do what you want. Combine the two reports and submit it by the end of today.” The professor surprisingly granted the request. All the three students were evidently relaxed and had expressions of a victory on their faces. Looking at the scene his mood increased considerably and he started feeling smug again. The smile on his face was also back.
After all, he was not going to let any of them pass after this fiasco. If they were all in the same team then better for him. He had one less report to make at the time of their dismissal. Ha ha ha. The professor imagined himself sitting on a higher ground in front of their defeated faces and laughing like an evil villain. His smile became so broad that the dimple on his left cheek was visible once again.
“Alright next, the Khatri siblings.” He took another report from those stacked on the teacher’s table. He browsed quickly.
“No problems here. Then, Srnuta!” Suddenly the pitch of his voice increased as he grabbed the next report.
“Why is your submission so lengthy? Ha ha ha, did you take it to heart when I said your grades were poor?” Advay did not know what purpose this man had in humiliating that way. But he did not like whatever the so-called professor did.
“No sir, my senior insisted on editing my report. He made me do four drafts until he was satisfied.”
“Oh, nice senior you got there. You have so many helpers!”
Advay was displeased and a little angry. Perhaps he could plan an assassination on this man, if he was lucky and Aris lent him a helping hand for a certain grant.
“I did not seek help. And my grades are not the worst.”
“How can anyone be so angry early in the morning? Tsk, don’t make noise and sit down.” Prof. Logan smiled.
The whole class has been on tenterhooks ever since he started checking their reports. Now to hear that statement come from his was nothing less than a satire.
Advay sat down and decided to pretend to go to sleep. He soon fell asleep though.
Saturday came again and this time also Advay reached the White River Orphanage at 11:00 A.M.
The receptionist wrote down his name again and called the in-charge. The in-charge then took him into the hall and did not bother with it anymore. The children were calmly doing whatever interested them. The little girl from last time saw him and in a quick motion she stood up and ran to him.
Advay was a little scared looking at her speed. He could easily steady the girl but he did not like her. The two dimensional image, who the girl had said was him came to his mind. The way she dashed towards him felt like either the girl herself or he would take a fall. Kids had the fastest reflexes and those made up for their lack of experience in combat. This little girl looked to him like a little villain, at the same time his conscience pricked when he thought of dodging her and let her hit her face to the wall behind him.
“Stop right there!” Advay suddenly glared at the child.
She looked confused but slowed down a little and came to him.
“Hi big big brother.”
“Hi,” Advay gave her a stiff smile.
“Big brother, do you want to play with us?” Shouted another kid. The small boy seemed to be a better friend than this little girl so Advay soon went to his side, “Sure!”
He saw that the children were playing some board games. “What’s your name again?” He asked the boy who called him. “Milo.”
“Our team is losing, help us!” Milo said. There was a checkers board with a game in progress in the middle of the children. The other team did not seem to approve of him joining the game. Advay turned to Milo asking him for confirmation.
“You are a person more than us!” Milo said to the other team and pulled Advay down into a chair on their side.
Time went by quickly. Advay thought he could not lose to some children so he went all out. There were times when he took one full minute to make his moves but the children only had curiosity and admiration for him. He was made to alter between the two teams and the team in which he was, always won. All this while Advay was checking if he could see the boy. Finally after six games, he saw the boy.
The boy came out of a room behind the cement counter and he went outside the building through the door on the right side of the hall. Advay got up amidst the protests from the kids and walked outside the building through the same door. He saw the boy going into a small shed, which seemed to be a toilet located between the compound wall and the building at the backside.
Advay turned around and decided to wait for him inside. The boy walked in and Advay took a few steps forward. That soon caught the boy’s attention and the boy was scared. He was vigilant at first but then seemed to realize him. The boy's green eyes opened bigger and Advay knew he was saved from the trouble of explaining what he was sorry for. Thank the heavens!
“I’m sorry for last time.” He quickly said.
The boy blinked his eyes and the shock on his face disappeared. He said nothing. There was still some evident fear.
Could it be that the boy did not understand what he said? But it seemed more like he purposefully did not want to acknowledge his words. Did he scare the boy by appearing suddenly this way?
“I’m sorry.” He said what he had to say. Rest had nothing to do with him.
This time the boy gave him a questioning face, as if he could not make out what he said. But he still seemed fearful of him.
The in-charge spoke Eastern language and so did everyone else in this orphanage and it was the same language Advay also used just now. There was no chance that this guy did not understand him. So what was the problem?
It really seemed like his apology was not accepted at all.
The in-charge suddenly appeared in between the two and her back was facing Advay. She quickly pointed at the kitchen and that guy turned around and walked away.
She then turned towards Advay, “Did you need something?” She smiled.
“Nothing actually, just wanted to speak with him.”
“Oh, he does not like outsiders. Ha ha…”
“Who is he?” Advay asked. He thought there was something wrong but killed that thought soon.
“Just a worker here.”
“Well, I should be going. I have some work.” The in-charge went away.
Advay only saw the boy again when the dishes were shifted to the counter from the kitchen.
This day he had not brought his food. He ate the food at the orphanage along with the children. It was a decent meal. So, he decided he’d do the same for all of his next visits.
After sometime after lunch the boy went back into the first room behind the counter, the same from which he had come out before.
The day went by and Advay was pestered by the little girl. Her name was Nanine. Everyone called her Nana. There was another girl called Rosy. She was a little older than Nana and was calm and did her own work. She was another person who seemed to be done with Nana’s annoyance apart from many including him.
At the end of the day when Advay was leaving, he caught sight of the green eyed boy again. He smiled at him and waved but the boy looked away and proceeded on his way.
Advay did not mind it very much. The boy was scared of strangers, after all.