I woke up with a thud. Thinking that the elephant had come inside the house, the mind told me to take evasive action and up I was. But there was neither the elephant nor its scent. It was but my mother waking me up from my sojourn. Handing me a bag, she told me go get some vegetables. I asked her, what would be the worth of these vegetables. Handing a 50 rupees note, she said my expenditure should not exceed this amount.
Fine, I thought, 50 rupees is a lot of money and I am not that much of spendthrift to spend even a quarter of that. Fine, get up Kunal and cycle in the town. Cycle I did but never with so much of sleepiness as that evening. Maybe it was the heat or just that I had slept late into the evening and the mind had become lazy in its action.
Buying the vegetables, I followed my usual routine of taking a circle round the colony. Now, circling is fine but doing so in a sleepy state of mind is never advisable, as per the warnings put up by the highways department. Anyways, I was cycling and seeing so many people in their activities. There was the wife of Mishra ji combing her long hair, combing it in the fading sun and her daughter, again nowhere to be seen. She, Kavita, was always on the play, and I like, others I believe, hardly ever got to view a fleeting glance of her roaming figure. With no Kavita, I lost interest and kept on cycling when I came upon some children playing in the upcoming bunglow of the agent of the colony. These were the local indigenous people, with thin sinous bodies and hardly a cover on them. Unlike, many boys from the officer's arena, I was infact very friendly with many of them and occasionally played football in their area. But those friendly guys lived on the other side and the grown up boys on this side always looked so big and scary to a small, almost always single figure like me.
Hell, leave the thoughts aside and reach home for the goodies must be ready by now. Dreaming, I came upon these small boys, puny compared to me as well. I rang the feeble cycle bell and most moved out of the way. Most but one, who looked at me in shock and me at him in disbelief. Move, move, move and before I could react much, the cycle hit his leg. I climbed down, thinking of what I would say to him when I realised that he was not able to stand up. O my god,I thought, knowing something may have gone wrong. And went wrong, it did. The boy had broken his dear left leg and unbelievably, I was the one who brought this to him. O god, I thought being still sleepy. By now, tens of boys had reached me and some had held me tight. I was forced to now rouse myself up from the sleep as much as I can and reach the state of complete consciousness. In no time, the boys took me to the agents house, enmasse, it was going to be fun for the many bystanders who had nothing better to do that lazy evening.
The thing is, no one wanted me to be taken to my father who had a reputation of being tough and they knew that if he found that I did wrong, I would be in great trouble and so would they as he will throw out the bystanders. So they took me to the agent's bunglow, shouting and cursing and having a jolly good time.
But surprise, my father who was supposed to be inside the mines was actually sitting with the agent and it took him by surprise that they had brought me there. The gang stumped, meekly told him about my mistake and sitting in the agent's house, my father in all his magnamity decided to take care of the boy. I learnt a great lesson in mob control. stump them with their argument and seeing my father do so with great charm, the gang had to dissipiate and let the family memebrs do the talking. My father agreed that it was my doing though the fault lay in both sides and took the boy to the hospital. 8000 rupees and a week later, the boy was released and I went back to the neighbourhood to be friends again with them ( at my father's insistence).
He took care of me then as he would lovingly do now, though he gave strict orders not to let me drive my cycle under the influence of sleep, much as he would do now if I decide to drive and drink, which will never happen. He remained cool under pressure and taught me that no matter what, I must always do so, each and every time, I am stranded with nowhere to look upto...........