One More Due


“How many colours does the tricolour bear?”

Asked the mean looking teacher in manner cold.

“I know! I know! I know!”, shouted the tiny bubble.

The youngest one in class, the only five year old.


The grand hag’s gaze zeroed down on him.

She pointed her long sharp cane at him and said,

“If you go wrong, four on each filthy fist.”

“Five colours”, quoth the lad, with as much weight as lead.


The cane tore through the air towards his trembling fist,

The terror in his eyes at its highest crest

The swish of the cane was the only echo that sounded,

“Name your five”, was the next.


“Saffron, white, green”, before the next whip he sobbed,

“And the Ashok Chakra blue”

“That’s just four”, and there sounded another swish

"There’s still one more due.”


“And the big red spot”, sobbed the tiny bubble.

“Imbecile, our flag bears no such colour.”

“But it was there in the centre, when my Daddy

came back home wrapped in our Tricolour.”


Guilt shrouded the teacher’s face.

Her trembling lips turned away from the class’ view.

“Teacher, teacher”, said he then, with sight blurred and fist extended,

“I still have one more due.”


Author: Shashmita Sanyal

Editor: Chinmai Gokule


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