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Umno, Jhumno and more…

l to r: manu, me& (up) Coco

“And if you don’t behave yourselves, you will have to face the same consequences, just like Umno and Jhumno!!!,” Thakurma warned us as usual.

This was our daily routine, almost like a ritual. We looked forward to these afternoon story sessions. Sitting snug on the edge of her bed, on either side Manu and me had spent so many afternoons like this listening to Thakurma’s stories.

I don’t remember Coco (aka Samit) being around for these though he definitely had story sessions for himself. Yeah, we grew up next doors to each other. He was four and a half when I came into the world.

By the time I started kindergarten, he was in school. He was this fat chubby, cute kid and the apple of my grandparents eye. In many ways, he was my only pal other than my kid sister.

One evening, when he was nine and I was four, he had rushed home, panting (chubby you see!) and dragged me along to the nearby ground. Apparently he had witnessed a few boys (older) killing a snake. It wasn’t exactly dead. The poor creature was struggling while the boys beat it with a stick and kept pouring water. We both had watched wide-eyed from behind a tree.

Suddenly I felt a sharp tug and lo! I was running again. This time round he was dragging me back home. Once we reached, he decided that our lives were in danger. Why? Because he had seen somewhere ( the idiot box and my grand mum’s notions are to blame) that if someone witnessed the killing of a snake, the photograph of the killers was stored in its eye. Then when the other snake found its dead mate, she (assuming) would take revenge from the evil humans.

Well, that’s that! He would not discuss it with anyone and hence we both panicked. A four year old doesn’t want to die and more importantly, doesn’t want a snake coming after her! So we sought refuge under the bed. Soon we were missing and then we gave ourselves up. But then, we had to tell the elders everything. To this, my grand mum beat her head and kept muttering to us, “ Who asked you to go in the first place!”. We panicked even further and wanted to shut all the windows.

By the grace of the god almighty, up above we were saved and yeah, we never heard from the she-snake!

Another time, when coco was ten, he got a new cycle. So me being the only guinea pig around he decided to take me on a ride. Mind you I had a cool cycle too for myself !. It was shiny red with balance wheels. I was taken out in our lane. His cycle stood by the ledge of the gutters, a shinning blue ( he’s a boy after all). These ledges might have been around two feet in height. This made it easier for me to climb.

So the struggle began. He tried carrying me, I wasn’t comfy enough. Then we tried by making me sit behind but I was paranoid. Finally I sat, sideways on the bar between the handle and the seat. Ummm, remember I told you, he was a chubby kid? Well the weight wasn’t balanced when he tried sitting and we both fell on the opposite sides. Sadly I fell straight into the gutter. Nah! That hardly mattered, but the new cycle might have been scratched. He went ahead to get help instead of helping me out.

I remember, we used to play with his friends sometimes at the ground. I used to have this pony tied right in the middle of my head and it somewhat resembled a fountain. So a fountain it was. He and his friends would pull at it and run and I would run after them.

Then he got even bigger and got a bigger cycle. He learnt new antiques. I remember, watching him in awe when he showed off by letting go of both his hands in the air and riding the cycle without holding the handles. It was fun to watch. But what happened next was the sad part.
He could balance for sometime like this but the pull of the gravity was, of course stronger! Down he went, skidding across the concrete road. He had skinned his knee several times like this!

We shifted off to another place when I was all of six, leaving him behind. He was 11 then. I made new friends and he too. He had come to stay once. I had this huge collection of kitchen set with which I played house- house (I still have it stashed some place). I had a habit of collecting all little bottles that I came across. So recently I had acquired an acetone (nail-polish remover) bottle. We were playing and yeah, I pretended to be cooking!
I had just filled water in that little bottle and downed it one swig. Darn! My miseries began just then. Suddenly he told me, that I had made a grave mistake. That water was acidic or something and was going to kill me soon. Yelp! I was dying.
But hey, I had help here. He was to try and save me…bravo! He asked me to look into his eyes and not blink, made me drink more water I think. Blah!

I am still alive and kicking. He too, is fantastic. The sad part is, we grew up. We see each other sometimes but we are close.
It’s been ages since we were in a funny incident together. Nevertheless, I cherish these moments.
So here’s to you big bro…

HAPPY RAKSHABANDHAN, Samit!
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