Idon’t exactly know when or how the whole thing started. I think it was two years ago, when this classroom was Grade VIII-A. It was then that a strange incident occurred and the rumour spread.
First, let me start by saying our school is over 60 years old, so it has an old fashioned plan — large windows, small doorways and high ceilings.
It was the first day of school, in August, so naturally the students switched on all the fans, which due to the high ceilings, are also a long way from the floor.
The moment the fans were switched, ink splattered on the students. As it turned out, an open ink bottle was on top of one of the fans! But the mystery was, the fans were so high up that even the tallest student couldn’t possibly reach up to them after standing on a desk. You would need a long ladder to do it and the only ladder in the school was with the peons. We were positive that no peon would drag a heavy ladder through a small classroom door, make his way through the storm of desks and chairs, balance it with nothing to support, in the centre of the classroom, and reach up to put an open ink bottle on a fan.
That happened two years ago, but the incident that restarted the rumour took place recently. There was an extra chair in our classroom, the same classroom in which the ink bottle mystery took place. On a regular, boring Monday, we left for home, when the chair was completely intact.
The first group of girls arriving in the classroom on Tuesday noticed the chair spray painted a bright orange. The headmistress had a serious talk with us about destroying school property. We pleaded innocence, but were not believed.
We tried to solve the case. We got to know whose spray paint it was, and she would have been a major suspect if she had not been absent on Monday. Our next suspect was Hira, the last girl to leave the classroom on Monday and who was a daring sort of a girl.
Me and my two friends, Aliza and Irum, asked the suspect a lot of questions until we were certain she wasn’t the culprit, and that, despite the fact she had been the last on to leave, she had exited the classroom with the teacher, and couldn’t have returned later because she went by a van, at a fixed time.
In the end, the whole class had to contribute money to buy paints, and paint all the chairs and desks in the classroom, and finally the matter was settled, sort of, though the culprit was never found.
Next Tuesday, the same chair lost its back, which was ripped right off, as if by great force, a force that no student could ever muster. First we had to become a painter, and now, a carpenter? What next?
The classroom was really cursed!
Published in Dawn, Young World, December 9th, 2017