Ready for a 'C' change?

Deepa nodded gloomily. “Our country is fighting corruption,” she said, “but what about cruelty? A person torments us and we can’t protest.”

“Why is Rod doing this?” said Anupama, bewildered. “She has been our class teacher for the past two years. She knows how close we are, and that we do things together. We sit next to each other but are never inattentive. How can she possibly move you to Section C while I continue in B?”

 “Did your father write to the Principal as you asked him to?” asked Deepa.
“He did more than that,” said Anupama. “He made an appointment with Mrs. Rao, and spent half an hour with her yesterday. He requested her to urge Mrs. Rodney to reconsider her decision, especially since you and I have practically been brought up like sisters. I had told Dad that other best-friend pairs remained in Section B, and he pointed that out to the Principal.”

“Did Mrs. Rao agree to discuss the matter with Rod?” asked Deepa hopefully.
“Not a chance!” said Anupama. “Mrs. Rao told Dad that Mrs. Rodney had excellent reasons for separating us. She added that a ‘sea change’ -- as she called it --was essential and would benefit us both. Dad explained later that the phrase, which apparently derives from Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’, means transformation. I haven’t a clue what the Principal means!”

“Anu, please think of something,” pleaded Deepa. “I know we can still meet every lunch break, but I’ll be lost without you the rest of the day. You’re lucky to stay on with Rod who is a pleasant type. I’ll have an awful time with Shastri. She’s a terror and I hate her subject.”

“Yes, you do need to improve in Physics,” said Anupama. “Don’t worry, Deepa, I’ll coach you a bit during weekends.”

Deepa was barely listening. “My parents have no influence,” she went on, “but yours know a board member. Perhaps they could ask Mr. Sanjay Kumar to put pressure on the Principal. If Mrs. Rao intervenes, Rod will have no option but to put me back with you.”
Anupama was shocked. “Mum and Dad would never approach anyone for that sort of help,” she said. “Besides, Sanjay uncle always says that the Management should support the Principal, not interfere in her running of the institution. No, Deepa, we just have to accept this tiresome situation.”

Passing by on her way to the staffroom, Mrs, Rodney smiled at the girls.  They looked back sulkily. “Anupama and Deepa are upset,” Mrs. Rodney informed Mrs. Shastri, “but I had to split them. Deepa has been regularly copying Anupama’s work, taking it for granted that cheating is fine between friends. I’m not sure if Anupama knows how far this dishonesty goes, but -- even if she does -- I don’t think she realizes that Deepa is being unfair to her and untrue to herself.”

“Did Mrs. Rao tell Anupama’s father why you are shifting Deepa?” asked Mrs. Shastri.
Mrs. Rodney shook her head. “He may have cut off his daughter from Deepa completely, and the Principal sees no need for such drastic action. She believes that keeping the two apart in school is enough for Deepa to grow up straightforward and self-reliant.”

 “Do you really think I can bring about improvement in her character?” said Mrs. Shastri.
“Certainly, Shyla,” said Mrs. Rodney warmly. “I see now that I’ve been too lenient with the child. She needs firm handling. Once Deepa is in your section, I have no doubt that she will undergo a refreshing ‘C’ change!”

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