November 18, 2009
Little Stoic and her friends
This was on one muggy summer afternoon from the years of unstructured rearing when disobedience and shenanigans are nonchalantly tolerable.
Every evening upon finishing our homework and a glass of milk, the friends would gather at the derelict outhouse which provided the most suitable setting for our juvenile games.
Out of the seven, after the ritualistic chant of ``in-pin-safety-pin-in-pin-out, khelna hai to khelo warna (play if you like or else) get out!'', I was the singled-out participant for the `dare you’ game of the day. Very compliantly I climbed into the corroded age-old closet wherein I, `poorani almari wali chudail' ( the witch of the old closet) , the spell-weaver, had to remain till my companions would challenge and call out in choral rhyme, kya tu hum sabse darkar, baithee jo almari ke andar, bana sakti kya hum sabko bandar, chala kar apna jadoo mantar? ( are you afraid of us that you hide in that closet? Do you have the power to weave a magic spell and turn us into monkeys? ). Thereupon, I, the closet witch, had to come out of my cubbyhole and cast my spell on whoever I’d come upon first.
I did not see the lever turn in the black opacity, nor did I hear the hurried footfalls fading on the desiccating grass. I waited alertly for that signal from my friends, instead, I heard my sniggering mates yelling out that they had tossed up the key to my freedom high up which the sky devoured. Funnily, I did not find my friends' meanness peculiar.
It must have been the clamminess inside, or the suspended stale air, or the cold solid metal against which I reclined sideways, tucking my legs together. In next to no time my olfactory nerves became comatose and I slept. Or fainted.
A weepy and a very hysterical mother discovered me.
Sometimes I dream of those tittering friends from my childhood days.
The key, it was never retrieved.