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The Culprit Heart
by Amita Sinha

Minnie decided to ignore Monica, Vandana and the rest of the gang today. As soon as she entered the classroom 11c, she immediately went to her desk, sat down and concentrated on her books. As usual, Monica and the rest were creating chaos throughout the classroom, shouting, screaming, shrieking, singing, dancing and cracking silly, stupid jokes. Minnie had to use all her willpower to control herself. She was dying to turn around and say �shut up, you fools, is this the way you�ve been taught to behave by your parents and guardians?� It took all her inner strength to remain detached from all the hooliganism going on around her.

Just then Supriya, her best friend walked in and sat next to her. "What�s wrong Minnie? Oh! I guess it is Monica who has made your face look so gloomy. Just forget about them. Act as if they don�t exist. Let me tell you what I�m going to do on my birthday. Please Supriya, I just can�t think of anything except giving one slap to Monica and her devotees. How can you be so cool? Why don�t we do something about all this�.

�Minnie, learn to mind your own business. These days nothing should hurt. Learn to take all kinds of behavior in your stride. Just then Mrs. Verma, the class teacher walked in and everyone chorused �Good Morning Ma'am� as she opened the attendance register.

Next day, it was in the games period that Miss Mukherjee, the games teacher, was A little late and this gave Monica and her friends time to psychologically molest the simple straight-forward Sumita and her five friends, Sameera, Priya, Rita, Sunanda and Leena. Vandana came to Sumita and pushed her rather hard saying, Hey Sumi, I guess you can play basketball. Come let�s play. No Vandana, I don�t want to play with you. I want to play badminton with my friends. Just then, Monica arrived with the others. Arre, kya bola! You said no to Vandu, I�ll show you what a no to us means and she dragged Sumita by her shoulders saying yeh le Vandu she�s all yours. The gang pushed and pulled Sumi�s friends and kept hitting them with the ball on purpose. All this was being witnessed by the fuming Minnie, the cool Supriya and the smiling twins Nidhi and Vidhi.

Another group led by Anita were sitting near by talking about a new film to Vandu and the twins. No one paid any attention to the plight of Sumita and her friends. Suddenly, Supriya noticed the angry face of her friend and shook her� come on Minnie, why get upset� chod yaar, let them be. Come let�s take a stroll around the grounds.

My God! Supriya! How can you remain so aloof? I just can�t be like you. My heart won�t permit it. I know, Minnie, I feel the same but it�s better to follow your mind and not your heart these days. In any case, if we intervene, they�ll come after us. At least they don�t bother us much so why should we take panga with them yarr? Just then Sumita fell. As the ball hit her hard on her chest, the gang laughed mercilessly calling Sumita a softie, spineless creature. It was the last straw. Minnie couldn�t take any more. She got up, dashed the length of the ground and picked up Sumi to the nearest bench. The gang laughed even more and continued fooling around.

Minnie collected all her strength and pushed Monica so she fell face downwards on the hard brittle playground. The suddenness of the jolt took her unawares and she lay panting in front of everyone. Her helpers came running towards her but it was Minnie who picked her up saying kaisa laga Monica? Did you enjoy being hurt? This was just to let you know that you have the same skin as us, which got grazed and the same red blood, which I see on both, yours as well as Sumita�s hands. I�m sure you are a nice person. It is just that you are being dictated by your egoistical mind.

Follow your heart and you will never want to hurt anyone physically or mentally. The atmosphere was pulsating with doom. Everyone expected Monica to react, as she was wont to, shouting, abusing and hitting her opponent. Suddenly, the culprit heart inside her changed and she came and said, �sorry, Minnie, I�m really sorry. Let�s be friends from to-day.� Minnie smiled and knew the culprit had left Monica�s heart.  

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