And her eyes were about to burst out in tears. Anyhow, she controlled herself and tried to explain, “Sir, it was due to……”

Sir interrupted, “not again, this has become your habit of giving silly excuses every day. Don’t you get tired of these defenses?”

Once more she tried to elucidate, yet derided again. But she insisted on marking her arrival in the attendance register, which was in the custody of sir. To abdicate her, sir again enquired her about the work given to her on the previous day, as he knows that she must have some pendency. I saw the duo from the corner of my eyes while sitting at my workstation. As I was busy checking the mails and important notifications, someone entered from the door after seeking permission formally. The permanent staff has a precise stature in the school. As he is the one among them, he was not investigated for whereabouts by sir. But being a makeshift staff, she, like other guest teachers, was treated as a guest, who someday, have to fade away from the school. 

The exchange of arguments was going on until sir finally notify that everyone comes to school to earn in lieu of the work assigned to them respectively, therefore all staff members should respect their job and must be punctual. I calculated, taking into consideration, the per day salary of mam, which comes about fourteen hundred bucks per day only. And she was being ridiculed for that much only. In the contrast, a precise stature staff costs around three thousand to five thousand per day or more. More than the double. The huge difference between the honorarium and the stature thus naturalized. While I was thinking about all these pointless calculations, the negotiations were nearing the end. Sir was persuaded by her only on the pretext of not getting late in the future. She signed her arrival with slightly trembling hands. When she turned around my eyes meet her and she smiled a bit from beyond her loose mask, which was half-covering her nose. Her shiny hair locks were hovering around her face. As soon as she left the office, sir got busy with his customary work of files and registers. I marked the online attendance and walked out of the room to get some fresh air. The petty discussion was there about the incident at the secluded place near reception. Getting fresh air was an alibi for some gossips which was quite impossible in front of sir. The endless discussion was about all other staffers, who too are slowpoke.

“He always comes late to the school, but sir never ask him anything,” said one of the participants of the symposium.

The other one said, “He is in the elite group”, “He is in the cabinet”…… and so on.

“But he holds important charges at-least. He has responsibilities in school.”

“For hell good only. If something goes wrong, the onus is on us.”

I was listening carefully. I know about the arrival times of almost all the staff members as I have to mark the online attendance daily. It was unfair to be biased for regular and guest staff. But I was helpless as I too was a contractual worker, and people like me are not allowed to talk about such grave matters.

Out of curiosity, sympathetically, I asked the one who was late today, “what happened? Sir haven’t listened to you. You were interrupted in between by sir.

” Oh, that was nothing so serious. I was usually late due to traffic on the road.”

“But your eyes were full of tears. I remember.”

“That was due to the dust and pollution on the road, dear. Don’t you know the condition of traffic and fractured roads?”

“So why were you giving excuses?”

“Then what should I say to sir? I went to my friend’s birthday party and thus the household chore was unsettled. Hence I am late sir. Please let me sign the arrival…….! And after listening to this, sir would give me one-day extra leave.”

While I was thinking about the other slowpokes of the school, she again uttered flauntingly, “Are fourteen hundred bucks enough for my one dress?”

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