It was well past 12:30 in the night. The discussion for tomorrow lay completed in front of Jacob who removed his spectacles, put them in the case and then placed the case on the table. His fatigue showed in the reddish shade of his otherwise clear eyes. Yes, the day had been tiring! He had got up at six in the morning and fetched water from the well, a couple of furloughs away from his two-roomed mud-house. Having finished with the daily chores by eight, he had left for the school to return late in the evening. This way of life was now a routine for him. Personal convenience had never come in the way of his service for others.
Being a bachelor and having had practically no family life since the time he has started thinking for himself, his relationships with people were based on a spirit of compassion and kinship.
Jacob had come to this village near Aurangabad ten years ago to take charge of the only school in the village. And it was really a very old school, built during the early period of the British Raj. Many a principal had spent his life here, trying to propagate the message of education and literacy. Jacob was one of those men who did not dream, but took pains to see that his mission was understood and felt by his fellow men in their everyday living. And, indeed, he had achieved his purpose to a very large extent. People loved him and said that they were going to visit Jacob when they planned to visit the village. Although unaware of this, he enjoyed a v