Hidden Truth


There's this saying that truth is like a smoke that will always find a way to escape, or come out if burial underneath. But the fact remains that, while some truths can easily be found, others will take quite some time yet, there are truths that appear as if they will never be found. This casual story illustrates the latter point.

As a teacher, students will many times bring some issues for you to settle. And one thing with them is that if you didn't take steps to settle their problems as early as possible, that problem might lead to something very complex and get to an unimaginable proportion.

That was how a student came to complain that one of her classmates was owing her some money. I asked her how the debt came about. She said the mate borrowed the money from her to buy ice cream, promising to pay the next day but three weeks had gone without fulfilling the promise.

I asked her to go and call the accused, thinking I'll quickly settle the matter and continue with what I was doing. When the accused came, to my surprise, she said it was the complainant that was owing her. I looked at her, she was damned serious. There was no sign of lying or joking. In fact, there were drops of tears in her eyes as she spoke.

Still thinking it was something I could easily settle, I asked the complainant to call a witness who knew of the debt. The witness came and testified she knew the accused borrowed money from the complainant but she didn't know the exact amount.

I asked the accused if she had a witness in her case, she agreed and went to call another girl who said she was aware the complainant was owing the accused.

I was at a loss. The two parties had become both complainant and accused at the same time.

I told them to wait in the staffroom while I went to choose witnesses by myself from their class. The three students I selected didn't give me any reliable information. While one said she didn't know of the business, the other two said they just heard of the matter from other students.

As I couldn't make any headway, I admitted my inability to solving the puzzle in absence of knowing the truth. I then transferred the case to the mathematics teacher whom I've overheard a number of times boasting he could unravel the truth in any students' issue. In fact, he admired people calling him Mr. CID which translates to Criminal Investigation Department - a police division.

He received the students happily, and started his investigation. He was still battling with the jigsaw when the bell rang for school dismissal. He then adjourned the case to the next day. During long break the following day, the students came around for the continuation of the case.

At a particular time, he called in all the students of that class to the staffroom, questioning them. Later, he took them all back again to their class. He tried persuasive method. He tried coarsive method. In the end he couldn't get at the truth, even when he threatened punishing all of them. Finally, to solve the problem, he used his money to pay for the debt he knew nothing about just for peace to reign, while the truth remained hidden.


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