We live in a Big, Social Jungle.
There are people running about, some preoccupied, some happy and some frowning.
And then there are some who stop,look around, think about and see what is not. Then they talk. And more often than not, people listen.
I'm just another one of those.
I'm a storyteller. And these are a few of my thoughts...
My unholy activities gradually came under the scanner. I was pushed into the category of ‘those boys’. We were regularly threatened, sent out of class, but came back the next day with the same grin like that never-say-die credit card salesman. However, my biggest fear was of the complaints going home or parents coming to And it came true, inevitably.
Parent-Teachers Day dawned bright and clear. The smiling sunshine seemed to enjoy heating up the room around my already feverish self. The birds chirping seemed to be recounting my evil tales of evil deeds and my subsequent defeat, for their babies to learn from. Today was the day. My parents had been called. I was going with them to meet the teachers and collect my report card.
I was a wanted criminal. There was a price on my head.
But I still had that innocent face. To add to that, I also put some oil on my head.
Tucking in a neatly ironed shirt, combing my well-oiled hair in a perfect side partition and polishing my shoes (one last time), I entered the school gates with my parents on either side. I was the embodiment of all the dreams a middle class couple has of their offspring. Or so they thought.
We waited outside the classroom for our turn. There were two sets of parents waiting before us. The seconds ticked by as all the ghosts of my past, present and future seemed to converge in the form of one, crisp female voice and called out, “Come in, Avinash (my name)!”
I looked about the corridor for an alternate escape route, but they had all sealed themselves shut. In slow motion, between the two souls who had given me birth, I stepped in to face death.
The smell in the gallows classroom was like a dungeon shut for centuries, the air fowl and suffocating, the noose swinging about in silent glee. Okay, that might be a ‘little’ exaggerated. But I swear to this, when the class teacher looked up at me from the register, I saw her forked tongue. And red eyes and horns and tail.
My parents were expressionless. They were, perhaps, frozen in fear. Or they had accepted my fate. Oh no, wait. They didn’t know it. Yet.
“Good morning Ma’am!” chorused my well-behaved parents.
“Good Morning,” the devil smiled back at them. My voice refused to leave my throat. Her voice sounded like a hiss and forked tongue-red eyeball combination flashed again for an instant as she took a closer look at me. Then something changed, suddenly.
Her smile disappeared falteringly. In front of my eyes, she metamorphosed from the Devil to my class teacher, a mere mortal.
It was my costume- the neat shirt, oiled hair in side partition, innocent face and dumb-lamb expression. It had worked!
She was shocked as she read out my marks one by one, unable to find anything wrong with an 80 plus aggregate. A part of her was bursting to scream out loud about all my terrorist extracurricular activities, but the her logical brain refused to believe it to be true.
A full five minutes passed in sober conversation as she sank deeper into her chair, defeated and lost. I had got away. My parents were smiling delightedly as we walked out the door and I was jumping up and down and doing the hula, deep inside.
We were at the door, about to turn away, when I couldn’t resist. I turned back to give her a peek at my real face- horns, rolling red eyeballs, forked tongue and hideous expression. I heard her fall off her chair into the chasm. And that was the last I heard of her (Dramatized for creative purposes. We were back together in class on Monday, by the way)…
Champu had won.
That was almost 10 years ago. Now Champu has grown up wrong right, and his unholy activities are pretty much part of his public image. He’s also tried out many new looks, a few different avatars.
But once a month, when the full moon rises on a starless night in the inky black sky, Champu rises up from the dead and then...(JUST KIDDING! I'm pretty normal. Almost ;))