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Buddies for Blue

Zeenat Nagpurwala 20:39 IST
The whale was surprised. Two little fish were standing up for her when all she had done was bully them!

Wahoo and Surgeonfish swam swiftly, silently towards Neptune School. They cast anxious looks about them as if expecting to be pounced upon any instant.

But nothing appeared out of the clumps of seagrass that enveloped them. As they got closer to their destination, Surgeonfish began to relax. “It seems we’ve scared her off with our threat yesterday,” he said.
“Maybe for a few days at least,” replied Wahoo uncertainly.

Their relief, however, was short-lived. Swimming towards them with her sinewy bulk and sneering face was Blue, the gigantic blue whale. Blue was still not a grown-up whale; nevertheless, she loomed over Wahoo and Surgeonfish like a mountain. “For your own well-being, I hope you have completed my copy of the essay we were assigned yesterday,” Blue bellowed.

Wahoo and Surgeonfish felt weak with fear, but stared boldly into Blue’s eyes. “YOU ARE GETTING NOTHING FROM US!” Wahoo shouted. The duo darted off at top speed, not looking back till they were inside the safety of their school.

When at last their heartbeats calmed, Wahoo said, “This is the last straw! We must tell Madam Lobster what we’ve been dealing with ever since Blue joined school.”

“But even if she does take matters into her pincers, Blue will know we’ve squealed and come after us,” cried Surgeonfish.

Wahoo, however, had made up his mind. He narrated the happenings of the past few weeks to Madam Lobster, their class teacher. Surgeonfish accompanied him too, rather half-heartedly. As it turned out, Blue had been bullying Wahoo and Surgeonfish ever since school started three months ago. Once, she had threatened Wahoo into signing the parent permission slip for an excursion. Later, for over a week, she had frightened Surgeonfish into buying her lunch from the school cafeteria.

Finally, Madam Lobster said, “I appreciate the fact that you are talking to me about this. All I need is some time to deal with the problem.”
Wahoo and Surgeonfish cheered up instantly. Wahoo was particularly glad he had listened to his inner voice. Now they could concentrate on their studies and put their worries to rest.

Help came to them sooner than they had expected. At lunchtime Madam Lobster beckoned the two friends from the cafeteria with a request. “Madam Seahorse, who conducts your cookery classes, needs a few ingredients for tomorrow. Can you go into the neighbourhood and bring them? Here’s a seashell with the list. I’ve also spoken to Blue to help you out on this errand. She’ll be with you in five minutes.”

“I don’t think we heard correctly,” said Surgeonfish, twiddling his fins in alarm.

“There is something about Blue you need to know, and it may come as a surprise,” said Madam Seahorse. “Blue has never had a friend her entire life. The fish in her previous school were rude to her because of her gigantic size and eating habits. A big body also means a big diet. But they were rarely kind and Blue slowly became a lonely outcast. She bullies you now because that’s the only way she knows how to interact.”

“Come on fish fries, let’s go,” said Blue, brushing past them. With the truth now before him, Wahoo saw Blue in a different light. He made up his mind to treat Blue as he treated his friends. He whispered his thoughts to Surgeonfish.

Surgeonfish read out the list. “We have to pick up krill by the blue rocks and green algae and seaweed from the Oceanic Store.”

“Are you worms familiar with these locations?” asked Blue. “If we lose our way, I’ll make you lose your slimy scales.”

“We know our way around this part of the ocean, Blue. Don’t worry, you’re in safe fins,” said Wahoo. Blue was taken aback. She had expected fearful silence not a friendly reply.

“The blue rocks are behind the school,” said Surgeonfish.
As the fish caught the krill, Blue slid back into the waters. “Be careful not to hurt me with the rocks,” she said.

Wahoo wondered why Blue would think that, but only said, “Hurting you would make us no different from a bully. Let’s now go to the Oceanic Store.”

The store was self-service. At the door, a clownfish cried out to them, “Our store is not big enough to fit a whale. The big gray bulk can wait outside while you small ones shop.”

“Her name is not big gray bulk, it’s Blue,” said Wahoo, sternly. “Your store may be big enough for us, but your heart is not. We aren’t going to shop here now.”

“Come on Blue,” said Wahoo, “We’ll buy the algae and seaweed from another shop. I’m sure Madam Seahorse will understand.”

Wahoo caught the look of surprise on Blue’s face. The two little fish were standing up for her when all she had done was bully them. She had simply assumed that the classmates in her new school were just as horrid as the ones she had left behind.
“Thanks you two,” said Blue softly. And in her heart she decided to give friendship a chance this time round.


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