The Girl who knew nothing

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Good at studies, though not the brightest student in college as far as academics was concerned, Hannah was still the most sought after by the teachers and peers alike.

There was nothing that she could not do and that was what attracted everyone towards her. Be it college projects or organising college fests, she would have the most brilliant ideas and suggestions.

It was not just at college that she was sought after. Popular with their friends and neighbours alike as much as at home, her teen-age immaterial, people of all ages, some even elder than her grandpa would consult her and seek her advice for subjects as diverse as cheese and chalk.

Having earned the reputation of being the trouble shooter for anyone who came to her with their woes, be it professional, academic or even personal, even for those who shied up from approaching her, it was as if somehow she could sense their troubles and there she would be, taking that extra effort to hold their hand to wade them through distressed waters.

Hannah was acknowledged as the girl who knew everything.

************

Any girl her age would have loved to be what Hannah was. Darling of the masses, that’s how they would look upon her, with awe, or with jealousy too. But whatever the feelings, there was none who could completely dislike her, for she had been to their aid at least once in their life and for many, it was countless times.

Her eminence wasn’t somehow what she herself adored. Though loving always to be of help-in-need, this nature was what left her with hardly any time for herself. She felt that she would spend her entire time solving others’ issues, ending up neglecting her own work.

Every saint has a grey shade too and she was no saint by any means. Just a cherubic little girl who liked being of help to everyone and at the same time enjoying her life the way she wanted, her grey instincts wished at times to be mean and selfish as most others were and mind her own business. She wished she never knew so much.

**************

Her mother screaming in her ears startled and woke her out of her sleep that early morning. Opening her eyes, she saw her weary mother standing by her bed side. “I have been calling you since so long Hannah, I am having a terrible headache, can you get up and make some tea for me”, her mother said and walked away.

She was the kind who would get up immediately, and not just get the tea for her mom but also be with her to take care of her. But that morning, she felt differently. “You do it yourself, Mom, can’t I sleep peacefully for a while”, she screamed back as her mother turned back in surprise.

A little later, as she walked into the kitchen lazily, her mother was already there but seeing her come, walked away. “Mom must be in real bad pain, she thought to herself trying to put the tea pot over the stove.

For some strange reason, she didn’t seem to remember something she had learnt since her school days, how to make a cup of tea. Knowing that it was perhaps the worst tea she may have ever made, she served her mother who had it without a word.

As she walked back to her room, she felt strange why she never felt like being with her mother for a while, something which she had always instinctively done.

Late for college, engrossed in those weird thoughts that morning, she missed the bus and took the rick. As she passed the bus stop she saw some familiar faces, but somehow never felt like stopping and offering them a lift. As she whisked past some surprised faces, she again wondered why she did that; she would have surely stopped any other day.

Her teacher was waiting for her in the staff room; she was informed as soon as she entered her class. Keeping her bag on the bench and going straight to the staff room, she saw that there were quite a few teachers in serious discussion. “Good you came, Hannah”, her class teacher said as she gestured her to take a chair. “We are planning for the upcoming fest and how can we proceed without your brilliant ideas as usual”, another teacher mentioned and she felt relieved that doing something that she liked would finally make her take her mind off the pestering unusual events since morning.

The meeting was a nightmare for her, not able to contribute with any constructive ideas. Wondering what’s happening and trying not be seen dumb, she tried suggesting some ideas promptly to be dismissed as stupid.  Knowing that what she was saying was not making sense at all, she couldn’t comprehend what’s happening to her. Excusing herself and walking out of the meeting after a while, as she glanced at her teachers’ faces, she could sense that they were glad that she left.

During the class that day, she couldn’t answer the simplest of questions much to the annoyance of her teachers. She could see the ridicule in the prying eyes of her classmates every time she bungled in her answers.

“Uncle Sam next door had been checking out for you, needing some help”, her mother mentioned the moment she reached home. “Can’t people fend for themselves, what if I was not alive”, she retorted with anger much to her mother’s disbelief.

While the neighbour queried, she was unenthusiastically inattentive. “You had seen these papers last week and had volunteered to help me, really surprised you sound so clueless today”, he remarked as he picked up the papers and walked out.

Why are people so mean, she remarked as a little later a classmate called to clarify some doubts and as she wasn’t able to help him either. “I thought you would be able to help me, but I am disappointed”, he had quipped disconnecting the call. But more than the anguish in seeing the behaviour of people she had always been willing to help, she was frustrated at the thought of why she wasn’t able to do so.

Hannah was now the girl who knew nothing.

**********

As days passed, she could sense the change in the behaviour and attitude of people towards her. Those very people who had always flocked around her for her help and advice now tried to stay away, all aid she was to them in the past long forgotten.

Trying her best to get back to how she was in the past, it seemed as if she was destined to forget the sweet memories. She tried asking people for help and advice, the way others used to ask her, but none were supportive and helpful, always finding excuses to wriggle away from her.

Soon she realised that she needed to accept her fate and not challenge it anymore. But she was pleased that in this tragic turnaround in her fortunes, she learnt a hard lesson that people flocked around her as long as she was always available to help others, but the moment she could not anymore, those people shunned her, leaving her all alone.

Hannah was glad that she knew nothing anymore to please others, but she learnt and knew the fact of life and of people around her life.

**********

Solving a difficult problem on the classroom board, the teacher suddenly turned towards the class and challenged the students to try solving it. Hannah’s eyes twinkled with joy as the solution ran in her head, the other students in the class still conjecturing. Impulsively, almost raising her hand, her instincts told her to the control her action.  She put her eyes down and solved the problem in her notebook and then looked at the board to see the teacher writing the solution which she already knew.

A little later during the day, there was an announcement for students to join and give their suggestions for the inter-collegiate science exhibition which was to be held in their college. She just sat on the bench smiling as she saw a few students raising their hands.

Relieved to be her own self again and glad that she knew everything, Hannah desired to be known as the girl who knew nothing.

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