Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Little journeys

I still remember a day in school after my exams when my mind was raring to go places. I stood waiting for my dad who dropped me home every noon in his lunch break. I spotted a man selling refills for ball point pens and he hunched with a plastic bag full of them. He approached every boy and girl who, by the way, would not even dream of any book for a long long time - leave alone a refill, on the last day of exams. Poor marketing strategy, eh? Anyway he persuaded some and when he turned his back to them he made faces, stopping sometimes to sniff at the refill in hand. He looked a thug alright with a tattered shirt and hair that looked like he had tried all the inks in his refills on them. He moved into a sidey dark lane and I saw him fumble into his shirt pockets in there. Something made me alert. Then he emerged, went to a little girl from my own school and took her hand and crossed the road with her. They vanished on the other side behind buildings. I was sure he was upto no good; looking and sniffing as he did. In my mind he was already a drug dealer on the lookout for kids who would give in to him... and he traded the stuff in his refills! I vowed never to use a ball point pen again. I was on the verge of going into my school and informing my teacher about him when my dad crashed in.... shaking me awake. I looked around clearly disappointed. Still at it, I dodged my impatient father to look for the small girl where I had seen the thug pick her. She was still sucking from her tiny water bottle happily and looked up at me with a "sssuuurrrrr". I lingered back angry yet unwilling to accept that I had dreamed it all. My dad, obviously angry that I was eating into his lunch time, propped me up on my seat on his bajaj scooter and purred along. All the way home, I ranted about the refill guy playing aloud my suspicions that he might be in a racket to endanger my school; and vehemently forced him to do something about it. We reached home on my most high-pitched plea and he looked at me and said "Of course I am doing something about this. No more Enid Blytons for you this vacation".