Thursday, 4 April 2013

The child

Back bent forward.
Head down. 
Bumpy road speeding past under the wheels.
"Practice makes the man perfect" 
"Practice makes the man perfect"
"Practice makes the man perfect" murmured Manu as he paddled his bicycle faster and faster. Against the autumn wind, carrying a heavy school bag on the back, he cut corners fluidly. Still four kilometers to go, he accelerated. More. He defeated scooters, motorcycles, cars, trucks and kite runners. He manipulated barriers of fruit vendors, rickshaws, cows and wandering commoners without braking. "a cube plus b cube plus three a squared b plus three b squared a" he shouted to himself "What's that, haan? Tell me ..tell me". Airborne dead leaves followed him for the answer.

In ten minutes he reached the school, parked his bicycle and ran towards the assembly courtyard. All students were already lined up. He stealthily appended himself at the end of his class's line. A few strides left to him, in the corner, stood a huge mango tree. School's head boy shouted to commence the pledge from the stage in front. Manu threw forward his right hand as did the other students. Just then a squirrel jumped over and across his shoes and whizzed towards the mango tree. It zig-zagged over the path with its tail pointing skywards. Manu watched it climb up the tree with full concentration and didn't utter a single word of the pledge. And he paid for it. A house-prefect caught him red handed.

[Eleven years later]

Manu was staring at the blank cells of Microsoft Excel's New Worksheet. He dragged the cursor around to let himself know that he was still alive and didn't die of meaninglessness. "Why on earth I am doing this" he murmured. He turned his neck and glanced right and saw his colleague preparing the Daily Status Report. He felt so lazy and wrenched that he kept his neck in that position. He noticed a wrinkled forehead, a tunneled view into computer screen, haphazard mouse clicks and key strokes. In a whim, he got this strange feeling that he himself has been a waste "ox" worker. "How? When?" His breath shortened with the realisation. He hurried to the lift, pressed G and wrote a message to his boss that he has to go out for today.

It was 3 O'Clock in the afternoon, roads were sparsely occupied and Manu was accelerating his motorcycle with back bent forward, head down and occasional speed breaker speeding past under the wheels.
"Who am I"
"Who am I"
"Who am I"
he shouted and even the most self involved passerby noticed a freak. He zig zagged on the straight plush road, fiercely overtaking even those with exotic speedsters. Today the child owns him. He drove until he reached the biggest bookstore in the city- CROSSWORDS. He entered the shop in a jiffy with half tucked shirt, loose tie, shaky hair and open mouth. He was hungry of his ideal self. A female shop attendant who had received no flirty comments from fellow attendants for a while, watched him wander around the store. She decided to break her boredom, approached Manu and broached "Excuse me sir, you need any help?" Manu turned back, found a good looking girl giving him good looks. But his expressions didn't change. He wiped sweat off his forehead and said wearily with a dead face - "Oh yes, I need one Class Eighth Algebra book".

1 comment:

  1. Your narrative kept me riding on your story like Manu on his bike, till the end! I really hope Manu found his true calling.