There was no one in JaduNath High School who didn’t know Mridul. Known widely for his mischievous behavior, Mridul had developed many a foes than friends in the school.
To the distress of many, Mridul’s good grades in every term and cute face had always been the prime reason for school authorities to excuse him or even see through the logic, as he always had one to support his mischief.
In the school there was a hostel, and all resident scholars were supposed to take their meals in the school canteen only. Mridul, who too was a resident scholar, also used take his meals in the canteen.
One day, as he and his friends- Ajay and Piyush went inside the kitchen to keep their plates after finishing their meal, they noticed that the kitchen was unusually dirty and also that most of the vegetables kept by the kitchen pantry were looking stale.
Curious to know about the unkempt state, Piyush asked the chef for the reason behind the pathetic state of kitchen. Instead of answering the boys, an angry chef told them that the kitchen canteen was none of their business so they’d better stay off the kitchen affairs.
The boys displeased with chef’s behavior as well as the canteen’s state reported the matter to their warden. Almost a month had passed but the state of the canteen showed no change to suggest that the warden had done anything to resolve the matter reported by the boys. One afternoon as the children were going to the canteen for lunch, Mridul overheard a discussion among two girls about the unhealthy state of the canteen’s kitchen.
“Why doesn’t our principal ever come to inspect the canteen?”, inquired the first one. “Why will he? the chef prepares special meals for him which are served to him either in his cabin or in his residential quarter. Unaware of the actual state of affairs over here the principal consumes his delicious meal and sings praises of this chef”, the second girl explained.
Mridul had overheard the conversation between two girls as he was just behind them in the row while going to the canteen. Fuming silently at inappropriate attitude of the chef, he made up his mind to seize the first opportunity to teach the chef a lesson.
Feeling restless in want of a chance to square scores with the canteen’s cook, Mridul washed his hands at the lavatory just outside the kitchen of the dining hall. To his excitement, as he looked inside the kitchen through an open window, he noticed a neatly covered food laden tray which was obviously meant to be taken to the principal.
Barging inside the kitchen, Mridul casually uncovered the neatly laden tray to check its contents. Not used to such reckless attitude from kids the chef flew into an uncontrollable rage and demanded Mridul to vacate the kitchen immediately. Mridul, who just wanted to set off the chef’s temper so as to make him lose his power of reason, began laughing to tease him even further.
Enraged at this, the chef himself moved towards Mridul to charge him out of the kitchen. Smiling impudently, Mridul kept standing, watching the bulky chef move with great difficulty and just as the chef was about to come close to him, Mridul swiftly ducked himself and lithely glided out of the kitchen.
Forgetting his huge wait and incapability to match a fifteen year old lad the cook in his bid to teach the boy a lesson tried to run too, and in the effort the forty year old chef fell flat on the floor. Barely capable of managing his wait on his own, it took joint effort of his assistant and few boys to get him back on his two legs.
Promising himself not to serve Mridul any meal for the day, the hapless cook was rearranging the tray meant to be taken to the principal, while directing his assistant to serve the lunch to the children making noise in the dining hall.
But just as he turned around to make way for the principal’s cabin he almost bumped into an angry principal. Presuming that that the principal was upset for the delay in laying his lunch the chef was just about to make an excuse when an apparently angry principal quieted him with a wave of his hand.
“So RamDeen, I see that your kitchen is badly in state of a complete clean over. Now every week I myself will come over for a surprise inspection of your performance”, the principal spoke. “But sir?” RamDeen tried to chip in an excuse as he replaced his cap just handed to him by his assistant. The wretched cap had got toppled while he was engaged in the scuffle with Mridul.
“No ifs or buts, and no second chance after today. You should be thankful to this kid, who despite having been driven out of the dining hall by you has sought pardon for you. If not for him, today would have been your last day in our school”, the principal spoke as he looked towards Mridul. Now uncovering the tray in RamDeen’s hands principal began having a close look at the food.
Poor RamDeen had no explanation for the difference in the dishes being served to the principal from the ones being provided to the children. Leaving a miserable RamDeen gaping after him, principal walked over to Mridul and thanked him for being thoughtful enough to report the matter to him and even urged other students to come forward and follow the example set by Mridul..
But after leaving the dining hall how did you manage to bring principal to the canteen?”, Ajay was asking Mridul during dinner time. “Oh, I was dead scared when that bull of the chef charged me out of the canteen, so while running blindly I took way to the lavatory and bumped myself into the principal who was perhaps on round.
He then demanded from me the reason for such a frightful flight, upon which I narrated the whole incident to him as it happened; after that you all know what happened”, Mridul explained with an impish grin unaware of the wistful chef watching him from distance.
Contributing Story Teller: Mona, I like writing entertaining and inspirational short stories for kids. [email protected]