It was in the mid of June. There was a fair organised in our locality. The level of excitement reaches infinity when these fairs give a visit to us. Various types of rides drawn the attention of every age, even elders. Everyone loves that voice of whoosh while swinging. The feeling of tickling by air in ride makes everyone, especially children, scream out from their hearts. Stalls in them are crowded with a bunch of children. The aroma of the delicious items fills every corner of a child’s heart. Jalebi, Gulab-jamun, Pani-puri, Sewai etc. are in high demands. These fairs can also be seen with fancy stalls and shops where a large crowd of women can be seen fighting for small things as it happens now in shopping malls. Sales and discount rate drives the attention of them whatever high the MRP be.
The all-time favourite ride is of Roller Coaster. That feeling of anxiety, tickle, floating, thrills every nerve of the body. Breakdance is where a real iron heart is required. Making almost three-sixty movements and touching every corner of air, everyone part of the body can be felt rounding the planet and every nerve pacing at the flash rate. The train ride gives goosebumps to whoever sits on them. I have always been afraid of train rides. Many times I felt as if I am about to be thrown out of the train when it takes sharp turns. I had been teased a lot by my sisters because of this.
My cousin sister, Rekha has given a visit at home. I was of age 7 and my sister, Seema and cousin sister were 2 and 3 years older, respectively. Our classes haven’t started yet, so the fair has almost occupied our mind. I, my cousin sister and my sister were all crazy for the rides. We used to go collect money in every possible fair war to go to fair. We, especially me, used to ask money to grandfather, grandmother, papa, mummy, uncle, aunty, elder brother etc. for enjoying rides.
In the beginning, it went well but soon problems arose.
“Today I can’t get even a single rupee. Papa has really been rude this time,” said Seema, almost sobbing.
“Ya, I am too finding difficulty to get some coins for rides. Today bhayia (elder brother) almost bet me when I asked for money” I said, emphasising the situation.
“We have to find some way out of this calamity or else there may be no more rides,” said Rekha.
“What, no more rides!” I almost cried and screamed while saying this.
“Ya, no more rides unless we find some other way.”, said Rekha.
A hush went across the room but after some time Rekha continued, “I don’t think any of you got some idea. Well, I was thinking of taking the money from cash box of uncle’s shop while he asks you to watch the shop in the afternoon.”
“It will be stealing”; “God will catch us.”; “If parents find us doing it, we will be dead.”; “It will be a sin”. I and Seema discouraged the idea.
“Do any of you have any other idea?” A hush again fell across the room but this time with a lot of evilness stored in it. Having no other option, we decided to agree to the plan. A little more discussion took place and we decided to execute the plan tomorrow.
By two o’clock in the afternoon, we all gathered in the store. In about five minutes uncle was going to leave. My heart has been pacing since morning. I had all pessimistic thoughts in my mind but the craze for rides was undying. Twenty minutes after uncle left we started executing the plan. Usually, he took more than one and a half hours to come back, so we were sure we won’t be caught. Rekha opened the cashbox slightly, enough to let go her hands into it. She pointed towards me and asked me to take the handful of coins. I quickly kept it inside my right pocket. I was almost shivering while taking the coins. Some coins fell but Seema helped to collect it. Up to this time, not even a single sound was heard except for falling of coins. Now was the time for round two but, to our fear, a rapping sound of footsteps was heard.
“What should we do?” almost all three of us had the same emotion and fear. I hid inside the big drawer in hurry. “Don’t hide here. Go to the next house. ”, said Rekha. I followed her order since I had no choice. “Seema sit and appear as we are monitoring the shop.”
My neighbour’s house appeared like a haunted one. The entry itself was a long corridor. The structure was some eighty years old with cracks appearing in the wall, web everywhere and a basement most suitable place for a ghost to thrive. I stood in the middle of the corridor. I felt as if one side of my body was on Sun and other on Neptune. My mind was almost blank as it happened with me in exams. Suddenly I saw someone peering in the corridor. “Why did we do it?” I asked myself. To my peace, it was my sister, Seema. She waved me to come back. I was delighted to see no foreigner there. “Hide the money in bookshelf and come back quickly.”, said Seema. Without wasting even a single second, I did as told.
After returning back, I asked, “What actually happened?”
“Not much, mom came and was looking for you. Didn’t you had lunch?” asked Seema.
“I forgot because of today’s plan.” I smiled, itching my hairs.
“Well don’t do it next time.”, suggested Rekha.
“Are we going to it again in future?” asked Seema, startled.
“Can’t say!” winked Rekha. All of us laughed. I can’t decide whether it was of the devil or of the peace we got. After that, we had a little chit-chat and then I left to have lunch.
In the evening we gathered to see the amount we got. It was exactly forty-three rupees. Three of five, nine of two, eight of one and four of half a rupee coin. That much was enough to have full proof fun for three days. We all quickly went to the fair with enough coins. First time in life, I took rides of all three ride, Rollercoaster, Breakdance and train in a single day with my sisters. Never the sunset been so beautiful!! “I think it was worth taking that trouble. We must try it again.” I suggested.
Next day our parents suspected that there was something wrong. They tried to get our mouths open but we were stubborn enough so as not confess anything that easily. Since they weren’t sure of anything, they decided to search our belongings. I am pretty sure that bhayia (elder brother) has ruminated them since he saw all three of us in fair, enjoying many rides. Dark moon was upon our head. Soon they found the money and we were ready to be boiled in hot oil in hell. “What you sow, so shall reap.” It was about to happen to us.
A sudden blow of slap fell on me and my sister’s face. Rekha was out for buying some clothes and so wasn’t caught. We were taken in a closed room and forced to sit. Then the lecture began. I really felt like Nobita but at least I was happy that my sister who has been ‘Papa ki pari (Angle of the father)’ was also accused. “Doremon, please help!!” I pleaded to God. The lecture was continued for one hour twenty-four minutes, the longest time interval of my life. Our one-week pocket money was cut and rides were banned for this summer as the conclusion for our deed. It didn’t hurt that much as the absence of Rekha did.
“Where the hell have you been? You have been the main culprit of yesterday’s event and no one said a single word to you.” Seema said in frustration, as soon as she saw Rekha. She was confused, so we told the whole story to her.
“Ah! So that’s the case. Sorry for all that.” Rekha tried to convince us. Watching us unsatisfied she said, “I will give you all my pocket money this week. Also, let’s buy a chocolate for both of you.” Thinking of chocolate we, at least I, forget the past and enjoyed the chocolate.
By: Pratik Banka (IIT Kharagpur)