"Madam" called Siddharth, one of the students.
Malathi awoke from her sleep and looked at him with her half sleeping eyes.
"How long will it take from here?"
"Where is it?", she looked into her unbreakable digital Sonata. "It'll be at least three hours from here", she went back to sleep.
The second class births were hot and they were sweating inspite of the rain outside. It was winter and they were travelling to the capital of the country for an inter-school, national level competition. To be specific 'an aeronautical extravaganza'.
Malathi was the staff assisting them. They were four students- Two teams. Malathi- their physics teacher, a girl from her 'mother-tongue' medium school in South-India; gold medalist in B.Sc., M.Sc. Then, a love failure and an unhappy 'Happy married life'. Today she works for returning the money she loaned for the construction of her house. Today, She and her happily married husband live only to make the next generation live better than them. The thinking she gives, to giving a rupee for a chewing gum, is higher than Everest and vast than Pacific.
The hours, now went in silence and talks of various aeronautical parts and thinking. It was 7 a.m. and the capital welcomed them. Taxi drivers and auto-rickshaws crowded around them. They had to pick up a cab. They had to report at the school before 9 a.m. That left them with no much time after changing. They started their journey.
A board said, 'Connaught place'. As the taxi moved on, they found another board inviting them. "Modern School, Connaught Place, New Delhi". They all elongated their elastic lips for a smile. They got down with all their baggage and looked at the board more carefully.
"At last we're here", said the most traditional person in the group, Raj Varma.
"We paid him to leave us here. So, We need to be here. If we've paid him to take us there, we'd be there", said Thomas not even knowing, that the statement was unnecessary.
As the sun rose to top and set in the west, they had won enough awards to let their school's name be known there.
Malathi was getting a headache. She was reminded that she had no tea in the morning, in all this hurry.
"Mam, We have come to Delhi and we must not return without being to McDonald's", said Vinayak.
Malathy looked into her wrist watch. It was 6:28 in her unbreakable digital sonata.
"OK", she said in reply, keeping in mind, the return train is at 21:30 hours and also that her headache was growing bad.
They left Connaught place at 6:30 p.m. and a taxi took them to McDonald's.
The menu card was given and those students who had never looked out of their car window during a journey, ordered almost everything the menu had.
Malathi had never seen these things. She got the menu and the teacher got to be a student now. Her students explained her about every dish in menu card- What it was sort of...
More than the disgusting explanation, it was the rates that the students told, that made her dizzy.
She looked into the column, with heading 'tea'
Iced tea with lemon
Canadian iced tea
Lipton milk less Tea
Camelia sweet delight
The last one sounded more like an ice-cream to her. The bullets before the news were looking great. and those black bullets on the red background was more good looking. Her headache grew worse.
She ordered. "Tea", she said and smiled to the waiter.
After she could wait no longer a cup of milk, sugar cubes and tea bags arrived. She was in a state of shock. "Is this restaurant or kitchen?" asked Malathi. When Vinayak told her that tea was served this way in this sort of restaurant, Malathi was shocked. She tried to make a decent tea, but something was missing. Her headache grew even worse. She called the man who served it, and gave it back to him saying, "Please give me tea". he tried his best to argue, at last he had to do the mixing.
Even then it didn't taste like tea. She held her head and rested.
By the time Pizza was shared and eaten, it was 8.00 p.m.
"Long supper", said Malathi.
"Thought it was a dinner", told Vinayak.
"I thought both were the same", said the teacher.
"No", said Siddharth and explained it to her in detail.
"OK. I happen to learn a lot of things from you guys. Its time, Lets leave", they paid and Malathi looked at the bill only after getting out of that place. The tea her added more to here fine headache.
By the time, they reached station, it was 21:15 and they hurried to the coach position, and got seated. Train would leave in 5 minutes, Malathi's headache was growing unbearable. She would have cried then...
Students arranged the luggage in correct positions.
"Madam, your supper!", Vinayak brought a box of chappathis.
"Chaaai... Chaaai..." shouting so, a man walked along the platform.
"Paanch Rupya!", said the seller.
Her headache was half gone. She smiled at the five rupees tea, and gave a weird look to all her students.
After a hour and a half, all started to play cards...