People say that a Leo rules the world by her outgoing, confident and stubborn nature. But here I was a rather weak, introvert girl. I could not recall a single day in my 15 years’ life fighting with my younger brother or my friends. My friends’ number had been swinging to and fro from 1 to 2 ever since. Often my classmates used to ridicule me as the black sheep of the Leo community. But who cared? I was happy with myself. The corner most 2nd bench had been my favorite bench from where I could easily see the blackboard but again had my own world: a perfect balance of reality and imagination. The window was right beside me and there was a grand house just on the other side of the school wall. That majestic house, the big garden surrounding it and the trees: cherry, gulmohar, and mango, all formed the world of my imagination: the world where I wanted to belong.
And yet sometimes I had problems transiting to the real world; just like when Ms. Jane took our English classes in 6th standard. An old woman with her old style of teaching, read out poems of Shelley and Tennyson in a rather lullaby manner, compelling all of us to crave for a pillow. Some heads drooped down while some tried to do wonders by sleeping with eyes wide awake (they claimed it!). I did not fall into either category; I just flew down to my world of imagination where I found myself watering the little flower beds under the gulmohar tree! But on one unfortunate day during Ms. Jane’s class right after the lunch break, while the rest of the class were drowsy and I was in my wonderland like little Alice, the lullaby stopped suddenly. I was too dreamy to notice that!
“Hey, you!” Ms. Jane screamed, “Yes, you in the corner, 2nd bench!”
My friend, Somia nudged me. I looked at her. Her eyes and eyebrows hinted something dreadful might occur in the next minute. I stood up.
“Read out the line that I’ve just read. Loud and clear.”, Ms.Jane screamed out.
I was trembling. This was clearly not the usual Ms. Jane we knew. She looked at me in the most annoying way one could; her spectacles slipped and settled on the farthest end of her nose and annoyance was clearly written on her face. Meanwhile, the gush of wind flipped the pages of my book and I was in total mess. I jumbled with the pages but could not even find the correct one, leave aside reading the correct line!
“Enough is enough! I’ve never seen you paying attention to the class. Always daydreaming! Sit down.”
And then our familiar Ms. Jane was back and the lullaby started all over again. But she had already given me a name, the name that circulated among my friends and then among my teachers: Miss Daydreamer! I tried to resist but who cared whether I liked it or not. I was no fool to expect such an exception in behavior from my extrovert friends.
Maintaining one of the salient features of a typical bookworm, I was never in sports. Instead, I liked to cheer for my classmates on the Sports Day. For others, the day after the Sports Day was for resting their legs but for me, it was for healing my throat with warm water! Even Somia who was healthier than me participated in class races. Yeah, something was missing from me! However, martial arts classes being compulsory, I did learn some tactics as I dreaded the teacher’s strange punishments. Unlike many, I never even tried to participate in inter-class matches. Instead, I calmly watched them practising day and night for the inter-school tournaments. “Hey Daydreamer, come and join us.” they would ask me sometimes and each time I nodded my head and rejected their proposal. It was not that I did not like to participate but possibly a strong driving force was missing within me. But life cannot be that monotonous and stereotyped: things do change abruptly at times, sometimes to the extent of changing a person!
Three years past, I was in class 9. I was returning from school by the local bus. Somia was absent. Some of my classmates and some juniors were on the bus too but I stood alone, daydreaming. Tina, a class 7 girl of our school stood beside me. The bus sped off to the next stop. A middle-aged man boarded the bus and stood right behind Tina. It felt awkward.True, the bus was a bit crowded but there was enough space on the other side to accommodate him. Anyways, no one bothered even to utter a word. The bus started off again.
Suddenly, I found Tina trying to move forward. She was somewhat fidgeting. The woman saw her uncomfortable but intentionally did not pay any heed to it. She looked outside the window and enjoyed seeing the hustle and bustle of the busy road. I carefully noticed the man. Was he trying to abuse her? Yeah, he was. It was so dirty! And the dirtiest was that no one in the bus was protesting against it. My classmates were busy gossiping. And I was in reality! All my imagination were suddenly replaced by harsh reality. The same thing could have happened with me too! What am I supposed to do right now? I just can’t daydream like the others! Surely not.
A cyclist suddenly came in front of our bus. To save him, the bus slowed down, giving a sudden small jerk. Most of the passengers had a firm control over themselves but I noticed the man intentionally topple over little Tina. My mind stopped working. Before he could really fall over her, my right leg shot up to give a perfect sidekick. My martial arts’ teacher wouldn’t have been happy with the kick’s perfection but it could at least fulfill the purpose for which it was meant to be!
“Hey, you! indecent girl! why did you …?”The man mumbled, picking himself up from the soiled floor of the bus.
“Just lost my grip by the sudden jerk, you see.” My head held high and my eyes sprinkled out the fire from my soul. “You could have stood on the other side. Happens on a crowded bus!”
“But you …”
The bus was already at the next stop. Without making any more fuss, he got down quickly, hanging down his head. Others on the bus were still unaffected, they might have been in their own little world of happiness: some might be thinking how to feign their bosses for a leave or might be holding their lover’s hands.
I looked at Tina. We exchanged glances. The immense relief on her face thanked me for my action. A sense of satisfaction dawned on me. Meanwhile, my friends came up to me.
“What’s up, Daydreamer? Any problem?” one of them spoke the minds of all.
Before I could say anything, Tina corrected them, “Miss Reality! Problem solved!”. I smiled back.
I realized that the Leo within me had already sprung up. I was no longer daydreaming instead when the rest of the world was mute and numb, I had confronted the harshness of reality in the best possible way. Indeed Miss Daydreamer was resurrected as Miss Reality! The black sheep turned out to be a lioness.
What more can anyone expect from a Leo?