It was a Friday evening. I slowly slipped out from my mother’s view, and tiptoed to the terrace. After ensuring noone is around, I climbed over the chimney. I have been severely warned and reprimanded by mom and dad against climbing over the chimney, as they say I may fall down and hurt myself. As I had no accomplices in this act, I had to make sure that none of my parents or the countless aunties who do part time espionage for them, are not observing my climbing over the chimney.
I took out the old pencil box from ventilator, and opened it. It had four teeth inside it. I looked at them with some sense of a valuable asset that I possess, and suddenly I could hear my mother calling for me.
I answered: “Yes amma… I am coming”.
I hastily closed the box, and hurried to hide it back. Sadly, I had a momentary lapse of concentration, and the box slipped from my hand and fell down. I ran, took it and by the time I could go back to hide it elsewhere, my mother saw me.
She came running to me, and I was struggling there, to hide the box. She asked me: “What are you doing?”
I was not a big liar then. So she could easily observe me battling out to cover up the situation. I have been told by my parents that if I lie, I will lose my eye-sight. So, I was a bit worried about losing my eyes as well. Still I showed some nerve, and answered:
Dissatisfied with my answer, she came forward and grabbed the box from me. She opened it, and I could see glasses shattering in front of me. I have been robbed! She just looked at me back, and then scolded me.
“For how many times did I tell u not to keep any of these things with you? Why don’t you understand? I had told you everytime to give this to the maid, so that she can throw them off after moulding it with cowdung (superstition)”
She took them and walked off.
Tears started rollicking from my eyes, and I cried and begged to my mother to give it back. She simply refused, and after making a few more unsuccessful attempts, I declared that the battle has begun. The mode of retaliation was instantly discussed (with my alter ego I mean! I had an alter ego when I was a kid :P) with top priority, and good old Gandhiji’s mode of Satyagraha; the hunger strike was approved unanimously.
The time is 8.30. I had not relented to my mother, and I was really feeling hungry. There have been many attempts from the management’s side, to reach a consensus, and call off the strike. She tried to lure me by giving lucrative offers such as five star, gems, dairy milk, amul mike chocolate etc, which poured oil to my burning hunger. Still the demands from our side (My alter ego and I) were not accepted, and we decided to continue the strike.
Finally the ultimate authority, my dad came after a hard day’s slog at office. He is visibly tired. Management proposes this infront of him. He listened to her patiently, takes a light shower before coming to my room.
Stroking my head gently, he waited for sometime. Then he slowly raised his voice. “What happened dear son?”
I was eagerly waiting to explode. I narrated my version of whole story, sobbing. All efforts were made from my side to denigrate my mother and label her a cruel capitalist. I called for the unity of workers of the whole world!
He listened to them patiently and approvingly. After hearing the whole narration, he told me: “Dear son, I accept that amma was short tempered and non considerative when she took away your valuable assets. But think about her. She is your mother. She also loves you. She didn’t do that to purposefully hurt you. There is no use for you with those tooth. Since it was something precious for you, I am ready to pay a compensation for it today. You try to work out, the compensation is going to be much higher than what you could have asked for it anytime.”
He has always been smart in fueling my interest while coming up with offers like this. Since I was really hungry by then, I was also waiting for some kind of opportunity to work out an agreement. I, trying not to sound too curious, asked:”What is it?”
He replied: “A game of chess and a light stroll towards the temple after dinner.”
I jumped in joy and said:”Yes!”
My mother was still gritty. She said: “He is hungry. He would have come for dinner anyways.”
This was too much to me. I went back crying, and praying in heart that dad would again give some more offers.
My dad scolded my mother, and then came back to me:”Dear, let us have dinner, and a game of chess, and then a stroll towards the temple and we will observe the night sky for half an hour there.”
I increased my demands:”I would come if you promise me that you are not going to take amma with us.”
He smiled, and then winked towards my mother, and said to me:”Of course, that is a part of our agreement. We, bad boys will freak out tonight!”
I was overjoyed, I came out, started singing my favorite song, and jumped in joy, and moved to the dinner table. The dinner was one of the most delicious one I had till then, thanks to my irresistible hunger.