Hiking | Sunday Observer


29 May, 2022

It was the first hiking experience of our scouts. We had chosen the closest range of mountains which was next to the school. It was less than 500m in height. Just before the hike, we had to consult the authorities for certain documents and instructions. Everything was granted.

Just before the hike, the principal addressed all the scouts.

Scouts were lined up and the counting took place. Only then did we realise that that one was absent.

The teacher-in-charge of scouts was so angry that he could not control himself.

“Which one is missing?”

Nobody replied. He was reddish. He took the cane out.

“You must tell me who’s missing or else,” he could not proceed as one volunteered to come up with the name.


“He gets late as usual. Let him come”

“We’ll proceed. We can’t wait till he comes”

“How can we proceed? He has got the only compass. I wish I could kill the rascal. Shit”

“He might’ve sold it. He does such misappropriate things”

“Once he happened to sell his younger brothers tricycle to buy a pair of birds”

“You shut up. He can’t play the fool with me. If you happen to make fun of me, the situation would be worse,” he warned.

“Has something gone wrong with him?” he asked the two of us.

It was 8.45 a.m. He had not come yet. At once the principal came out of the office. Now that we were outside, he came to us.

“Didn’t you leave the place yet?”

“One’s missing sir. We’re looking for him.”

“Now it’s almost 9.00 a.m. Punctuality is the key. If they can’t work on time, let them be at home. You must be strict with these guys.”

The principal left.

“The principal blamed you, didn’t he?”

It was full of satire and sarcasm.

“Who’s that?”, but he could not recognize who that guy was.

“Let him come, I’ll kill him”

His anger was at his best.

“Now that we don’t have time, we’ll proceed”, my colleague suggested, but he was not prepared to do as suggested.

“There’s a bear over there. It tends to attack during the noon”

“You could be the only bear found there”, the master-in charge of scouts replied with rage.

“It seems Timira’s not coming. Let’s proceed. In vain we came here so early. Our backpacks are so heavy”

He was disappointed for sure.

“Stern actions must be taken against him”, another suggested. Their anger was reasonable. They had only seen hiking on TV. They had come early to make it a reality.

“Not stern actions. I’ll......”

He let us fill the blank with his usual term.

At last, a scout could see him coming passing through the gate.

“He’s coming’

“Where?”, he could not control his anger. He walked towards Timira with the cane. He was as fast as a rocket. I alongside my colleague went behind him so as to stop him assaulting the poor boy.

Timira could utter nothing. Explanation was given no room. He was canned more than twice. The boy was panicky. He was uncontrollable, but we could manage him.

“What’s going on here?, the boy asked us all.

“What’s going on here? You rascal. See the time”, asked the master-in charge. His anger was at his best.

“I got late because, because I had to wait till the shop open to…”

He could not proceed.

“Open to what?”

“To buy a pen”

“A pen? For whom?”

He took out the pen wrapped nicely with a colourful wrapping paper.

“This is for you, sir”

We were surprised to see the pen. There was deafening silence.

“Why did you get this for me?”, he asked, breaking the silence. All scouts looked at the two. So did I. We did not know what would happen next.

“Happy Birthday, sir”

It was unexpected. He could not control himself. His tears gushed out. He dropped the cane down. He hugged the boy fatherly.

My eyes filled with tears as well. It was the best hiking lesson I had ever got. – [email protected]