This is not right!!” exclaimed Saari in a lot of pain. Her eyes could no longer hold the tears. They tickled down her cheeks like an overflowing dam.

“We did not teach them all this, Aja”.

Saari and her husband Aja were retired teachers from Tsuchi. After years of blood and sweat, with many more teachers, they built this epitome of quality education. They never thought tears would also be a part of the process. This school, built over the Aureatus glacier in the mountains, taught strong morals and the value of unwavering integrity and honesty. Power of love over hate. It chiseled the students to take on with their life with inner peace and happiness. Teaching how to live was always the priority for all the students sent to Tsuchi.

The couple often went to other branches in disguise to find out whether their values are really inculcated. They were visiting the branch in the tropical plains of Tsaus.

“Hey Roll No. 9. Where is your jacket?!? If you don’t wear it, I will slaughter you”, said a teacher with a long cane in his hands. The teacher had twisted his shirt collar so hard that the Roll no. 9 could not breathe. In the oppressor, Saari could not see any signs of wisdom that a teacher at Tsuchi generally manifests.

To avoid the glacial chill, Saari and Aja started the journey with their jackets on. But as they came down to the hot tropics they no longer felt the need. They had long gotten out of theirs. Saari was choked by the brutality of the punishment.

“Let’s find out what is happening,” Aja said putting his hands on Saari’s shoulders.

They went to the staff room on the third floor, disguised as teachers. As founder members of Tsuchi, everyone knew the couple. Their disguise was perfect that the teachers in Tsaus hardly recognized them. The teacher who they saw threatening the kid had just arrived.

“That was very cruel. Why would you hurt your own student? Wasn’t that big of a fault either.” Saari said with a frown. As calm as she looked, Saari knew where to bring in a solid question.

“In fact, that was not even a fault. Why do you force the kids to wear a winter jacket anyways? It’s so hot in here, Mr. Klisht.”, Saari spoke on, reading the teacher’s name tag with squinted eyes.

“None of your business.” said Mr. Klisht putting his cane back.

“Sure it is. You are going to start talking…. now…” Saari looked into his eyes while she completed her sentence.

Mr. Klisht stood still looking at her, devoid of all expressions. Hypnotized.

“I am following the Tsuchi rule book”, Mr. Klisht said like a robot.

“What?? Really?? We have written…. arr…. read that book very thoroughly. We do not remember anything about the winter jacket. Show it”, said Aja. He was flabbergasted by the audacity of the teacher. He misspoke and almost compromised his disguise.

The rule book read:

“The students should wear modest clothing to maintain decency in a co-ed school like Tsuchi. It is advisable that they wear full sleeves and high collar costume, keeping in mind the conditions. Tsuchi will certainly encourage this full attire while walking on campus outside the school buildings.”

Saari closed her eyes, looking up at the sky in disgust. This was a side note in the entire rule book to make children’s life easy. This had suddenly become the most important part of it. The encouragement or recommendation had turned into a mandate

“We wanted to protect the kids from the severe wind chills and sub-zero temperatures on Aureatus. The kids wore winter jackets so that they don’t feel cold. That’s it. That was it, Aja”. Saari did not know whether to be angry or sad.

Disillusioned Aja and Saari walked out of the staff room into the corridor balcony. Placing the palms on the balcony grill, they looked down, dejected, at the students entering the building, wearing their thick winter jackets.