Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back...part 3

read  part 1 part 2 here

Baba was back to being his usual self once again, the grief of losing a son having suddenly dissipated. The whole family except Alok, sat around ‘Shyam’ and shared memories of the times gone by. Alok carefully watched the young boy regaling the elders with anecdotes of his younger days.

“Baba, do you remember the time when I first stole a 10 rupee note from your purse?” he asked.

“I do Shyam, You were about 10 or 11,” he said, “and when I found out that you had stolen, I whacked you till you collapsed” his voice was filled with regret.

Shyam put a knowing hand on baba’s shoulders, “You don’t have to feel bad baba. It was for my own good and taught me never to steal again.”

With that money, Shyam had brought a bagful of gooseberries and two guavas for Kamala, his childhood sweetheart. The thrashing had been every bit worth the happiness on Kamala’s face. And wasn't it she who applied a paste of sandalwood on his sore back the next day?

“Mai, do you remember the prank I played on Raman dada’s engagement?” he asked Mai, and the whole family burst out laughing.

“You were the naughtiest in the family! Where on earth did you get that thing that you mixed in your dada’s food? Poor Raman, he couldn’t sit down for a moment without having to rush back to the toilet. You always insisted it was your own idea but I was sure it wasn’t.”

Shyam looked at Alok, and suddenly, Alok who had been keenly observing the boy, knew that look. He cracked his knuckles nervously shifting uneasily in his chair.

“Trust me mai, it was my idea. Why would I lie to you? Ask Alok dada if you want to,” he said turning to face him completely, “You saw me grinding the Jamaal gota and mixing it in Raman dada’s glass of milk, didn’t you dada?” he winked.

“Eh? Umm…” said Alok surprised and relieved at the same time, “Yes, yes, I did…” A nervous laughter.

Alok ground the seeds and mixed it into the glass of milk meant for Raman. “What are you doing dada?’ asked little Shyam. ‘ Go, give this to Raman dada, and watch the fun,’ said Alok, ‘and remember, not a word of this to anyone’ he said, putting a finger to his mouth. How dare Raman slap him in front of his friends, he needs to be taught a lesson. And what a lesson it was! 

“You couldn’t be Shyam,” Alok later told him, “Shyam would have known.”

“You mean, I should have told everyone that it was you who mixed the seeds, and were trying to avenge Raman dada’s slap?”

“Shhhh…” he placed his palm over Shyam’s mouth.

Many such stories were shared over subsequent days and it left no doubt in anyone’s mind, including Alok’s, that the boy was indeed Shyam.


“Hello....Yes mom, I’m fine….I don’t think so…..he does too….I told him the Jamaal gota incident today…..hahaha…yes, he was scared that I would tell…, you don’t worry, I’ll be careful… take care too.” 


(to be cont..) 

Read part 4

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