Nazneen patted down her head covering, tucking the loose end behind her ear. She hoisted her school bag onto her shoulders, stooping only slightly. They were used to the weight.
But that wretched Abdul, he was still not ready!
“Hurry up,” she said to her brother who was dreamily polishing his shoe, as if playing the violin.
“Ammi”, she entreated her mother. “I will be late again because of him.”
Ammi sighed. She often wondered how her two children could be so different.
“You run along,” she said to Nazneen. “Abba will drop him by scooter.”
Well, it would be the third time this month but Nazneen didn’t really mind. She was happy to walk to school on her own, doing sums from yesterday’s maths class in her head.
Some people said girls were no good at maths. But Nazneen didn’t believe them.
From a distance, she could see Sharda Miss at the school gate. A crowd had gathered, there seemed to be a commotion.
“Who are you to tell my daughter to take off her hijab,” one man was shouting. “Who are you!”
“Sir, I am not telling anything,” Sharda Miss replied. “It is the order of the High Court.”
“Don’t teach me, okay… “ he snarled back. Sharda Miss stood her ground.
“Sir, it is the rule. No hijab permitted in school.”
A murmur went through the crowd. The agitated father turned to his 10 year old daughter.
“No school it is then,” he said and yanked her away.
Sharda Miss glanced at Nazneen and nodded slightly. The rusty school gate creaked violently as she entered with a happy heart. Head scarf neatly tucked into her bag.
Good that Abdul was late, as usual.