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Admissions Closed!

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I walked past the waiting room to my office, avoiding looking at the parents seated with their tots. Admission times were stressful, especially the week after closing the admissions. To me, it was a professional obligation to entertain the hopeful parents and render undefined promises “to get back to them if someone doesn’t join”.

There was one more parent to deal with.  A man appeared to be in his forties, walked in with a weary-looking little girl. The manly peppered stubble and aquiline nose he sported complemented his prominent cheekbones. Handsome in an understated way, he looked quite familiar.

“Good Evening Ma’am. I am Thyagarajan,” he introduced himself in a mellifluous voice that made me look up from the application form.

“I am looking for the kindergarten admissions for my daughter.”

The little girl was playing with the dummy apple on my desk and looked petulant.

He continued,  “I am told that the admissions are closed. I pray she gets admitted here in the next list. As an alumnus, I have an emotional attachment to this school. 95-97 batch, Plus Two.”

My batch!

My lips threatened to spill an uncontrollable gasp while the revelation took hold of me.

And “ma’am?” Didn’t he recognize me?

“Thyagu! Is that you? Where have you been all these years?” I blurted out brazenly.

“Do you recognize me? I am Gundu Gayatri da.”

It was a delicious moment to absorb as Thyagu’s face washed blank with turmoil like his brain cogs couldn’t turn fast enough to take in the information. A grin crept onto his face, it soon stretched from one side to the other.

The conversation after that did not even remotely involve the admission of the child. He had recently moved back to the city for a new job with his wife. He had married late and moved to his old house. His wife was at work.  I remember that house on our way to the school vividly. 

He was an automatic choice for Head Boy, being one of the regular toppers. The boys called him “chick magnet.” Girls found excuses just to be with him for a while.

But I knew I was the girl he never noticed.

I was short, fat, freckled, and an introvert who didn’t stand any chance with male interest.

I knew I was straying to the wrong side of the line between love and infatuation. It was one-sided and taboo.

The quiet roads of empty infatuation abruptly ended as we parted ways after school days. Destiny brought me back to the same school, as its principal.

I couldn’t forget him. I assumed men would be like him. Maybe that’s why my marriage failed. I had set my bars on him, and my ex-husband turned out to be a different species.

Wishes are great motivators. They are also at times precursors of depression since unrealistic and unfulfilled wishes hurt a lot. 

I sighed and looked down at the application form.

Name of the Pupil: Gayathri. T

Glossary: Gundu (Tamil)- Fat

Pic credit: Element5 digital/

The Butterfly That Guides


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