The Interval | Sunday Observer

The Interval

5 June, 2022

The bell was rung just after the fourth period. It was the interval. Almost all the girls and boys left the class to have their breakfast, but there was one boy seated. He did not have the intention to leave the class either.

“Don’t you have breakfast?”

He said nothing. I looked for his lunch-box, but it was not there.

“Where’s your lunch-box?’’

His tears gushed out. He could not stop crying.

“What’s wrong with you?”

He didn’t utter a single word. His tears fell down like rain drops. I did everything possible to console him, but could not.

One of the girls came to the classroom.

“Why’re you crying?”, she asked him. He maintained the silence though she tried several times.

“Sir, he never brings breakfast.”


“Don’t know.”

“Is he with his parents?”.

“Yes, but his father has got married again.”

I was shocked to hear it.

“Is his mother employed?”

Not regularly. She does odd jobs. Like taking care of children. Rearing the cattle of others. Sometimes she helps my mom in our chena activities as well.

He was a boy who needed to be helped.

“They manage only one diet”, she continued.

One diet! I was surprised.

“You’ll be surprised to see his house”, another boy said.


“It’s a small watch-hut like one. They’ve got one room. No power. Once it’s attacked by two herds of elephants”

“Were they hurt?”

“No, they weren’t at home at that time.”

“He doesn’t have clothes or shoes. That’s why he comes to school barefoot”

“He loves to be alone, sir. He’s a good swimmer. During the Poya days, he plucks lotus from the tank over there and sells them.”

Of course, it was a reservoir.

“During the Poson season, he brings his breakfast and eats ice cream. Sometimes he buys me one as well.”

“So, how can we arrange breakfast for him?,” I asked them.

“We’ll have a schedule. Twenty girls and boys are here. We’ll divide the days as we do cleaning and bring him breakfast.”

I was happy about their suggestion.

“Okay, allocate me a day as well.”

“By the way, will your parents permit you all?”

“Of course, they”ll. No worries over it, sir”

I was thrilled over their togetherness.

“Tell the others as well”

“Sure, sir.”

The girl promised to bring him breakfast the following day. As she promised, she had brought breakfast. We were all looking for the boy. It was 7.20 a.m., but he had not been to the class. Five minutes remained for the bell. Finally, the bell went on. We were disappointed. He did not come.

“We’ll see.”

He was absent that day. He was absent the following day too. He was absent for two weeks. As soon as I got to school, I used to visit the particular class to see whether the boy had come. I was sad because he was a nice cute boy.

One day a boy brought me unexpected news. His mother had decided to go to the Middle East as a migrant worker. Just before her departure, the boy had been sent to a hermitage. I lost track of my thoughts. [email protected]