Salone Messenger

Festus Diaries: It was a beautiful Monday. That day he appeared before the senior class seething with anger. The cool headed vice principal we knew had metamorphosed into the image and likeness of our principal. The veins piercing through his reddened face and tiny neck could tell that he couldn’t stomach any more of something, but what thing it was, we didn’t know. But the signs were blazingly clear that we were in for some trouble. Nobody had expected this sort of reaction from him, especially just a few minutes to our  Exams. Quiet people can be really dangerous! Tension pervaded the room. Nobody could breathe easily. The ground beneath us was quaking. Nobody could move even a limb. The erstwhile noisy class had, within a twinkling of an eye, become dead in silence.

When he realised the silence had become earsplitting and he had held his audience spellbound, he broke the silence.

“I have observed with disdain how you JSS 3 students have stained all the desks and buildings with your foolish names. Senseless fools! (He moved like a lightning to point to an emboldened one on the wall, just above the blackboard.) Look at this — “Senior Alligator was here, too”. Who is that alligator amongst humans beings in this class? Class prefect?!”,

The class prefect, as if he was convulsing, stood up almost instinctively. Coincidentally, he was seated by Alligator, the class chaperone. He couldn’t utter a word. The few times he tried, he stammered as never before. The ground was melting under his spindly legs. Did he choose to hide the identity of Alligator or fear had made him forget that the gentleman we sought after was right beside him? The latter was more probable. But he couldn’t utter a word. It was sad that he had been caught in the crossfire.

“Stupid leader, if you won’t talk, sit down!

Senior Alligator, (We tried to laugh but we failed) I know you won’t own up but listen to me. I know you people write your names on the walls because you want to forever keep your name in this school. But that is where you get it all wrong. If we repaint the buildings, where will your names be? Who will know you were here? It will be all gone!

If you happen to even be the best student here, we will only remember you for some time and you would be lost in our memories. As the vice principal, I may remember you but what if I am gone tomorrow? When the administration is changed, those who will take charge may not bother to keep or check the records. Your name may disappear!”

There was a pregnant pause.

Now, he had cooled off to everyone’s surprise.

“The only way to forever keep your name in this school is to write your names in the hearts of the people in this school, especially your colleagues. When you complete from here, you carry the school with you. You may not even come back here. But the deeds and memories you made here will forever be in your hearts. If they were right, your colleagues will always remember you for that. If they were not right, you know the result. So make every single moment here count. Don’t look down on your friends because of one or two reasons. It is not worth it! You may regret it later. Don’t allow people to make enemies for you. Your friend’s enemy is not your enemy. That is not right! Be good to people for no reason. Encourage one another. Somebody may decide to fight on because of your encouragement. He or she will forever remember you for this act of love. Make meaningful friendships, but don’t be too discriminatory in the people you help. Some people may look unimportant to you today, but I can assure you that you may need them tomorrow.”

He was about sharing his personal experience when the bell was rung for us to take our seats for the Mock Final. A long silence of digestion followed. We were stuck in our seats, immobile. We were all swept away by his sermonette. Maybe, that was the morale we needed for the exams!


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