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On life and its vagaries

Running for one’s life

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I do not know what that fruit is called even now; I was never fond of it for that matter. But it mattered to some of my friends. Well, could I call them friends after what they got me into?

It must have started as a bet I am sure. I was back at my village after my none too good record at the college and had nothing else to do other than to get out of the sight of my father, who had christened me as a “good for nothing” for the time being.

I was not worried, for us Indian children have great faith in their parents. They would come round sooner or later with some plans about our future, till then one has to look after oneself.

So I used to leave home whenever I could and seek out my former schoolmates, if they were around, to get away from my domestic woes. As luck would have it, just then all of my good friends were otherwise occupied and I was left with the not so good mates of my yester years. One of them was the guy I last wrote about, the one who is no more. But on that day he was very much there, in fact more than me at least.

It was around 8 ‘O’ clock in the evening when we started. We had plans of visiting a nearby temple where festivities were on for the night. It usually comes on the birthday of the deity every year and is normally celebrated with great fan fare in our locality.

We were three and were walking for the temple was just two miles from our homes. It was a moonlit night. The road was without any lamps  and there were few vehicles plying. We could hear the hum of announcements from the temple and I was in a relaxed mood. But my friends had greater ideas in mind.

At a turn of the road the other two stopped and began whispering to each other. Being familiar with this vice I did not pay much attention to it and looked at the peaceful setting just ahead of me. The paddy fields were getting ready to be reaped and the moon did not display the scene properly. All was very quite except the noise coming from the distant temple through the night air.

Now the other two approached me and said casually. “We have a plan”. My heart sank. Knowing them as I do I was sure the plan would not be a good one. They laid out the plan to me. It seemed that they were compelled to procure some kind of a fruit from a nearby house to complete a bet or something like that. The plan was to jump the fence and find the fruit tree and pluck a few to take back with us. They omitted to mention a very important detail to me, that the house had dogs and a large number of able bodied servants.

They fortunately did not force me to jump the fence and go with them in search of the tree. They disappeared in to the compound of the house and I waited tensely for their return. They had to enter the plot through the rear where the access was easier because the fence faced the surrounding open paddy fields.

Within seconds I heard the bark of dogs and running feet. Both my friends agilely jumped over the fence and were pushing off at a break neck speed through the paddy field. While passing they whispered urgently to me to take to the paddy field and keep myself concealed as much as possible for a large search party with dogs are after us.

It drove iron into my soul, for the rivalry among the youngsters in the area was often deadly and was likely to result in bloodshed. I thought of remaining firm for a moment and acting as a spectator, but the fact that I was at the rear of the house away from the road had compromised any such stand. So I too had to take to my heels. I never thought I had it in me to out run a bunch of trained and well exercised dogs and a group of good, able bodied farm workers.

Running through the paddy field requires great expertise, for you needed to pick the narrow, manmade, mud ridges separating one paddy field from the other and run on them at full speed. Often they are slippery even in the summer. This was too much for me and I jumped into the paddy field itself and began to run over them at my best speed.

Frequently I would hear harsh whispers from my friends asking me to climb on to the ridge and run for I was making too much noise and was also ruining the crop by running over it. But I could not heed to their wisdom and plodded on through the field till we came to the road and put further distance between us and our pursuers. Luckily they did not unleash the dogs on us; if they did we were goners.

My friends did not get the fruits they were after and later told me that both the groups had a good laugh about the incident. . I could not laugh with them, I could have murdered them, I think!

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Written by Sam

August 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

6 Responses

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  1. you bet.. bad company can turn out to be really bad sometimes 😦

    mydomainpvt

    September 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  2. So true, in this case I had a lucky escape, I think.

    samronsilva

    September 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

  3. So do i.. we used to get extra naughty when we ganged up with our cousins.. and once we went to steal guava from a local garden and they set the dogs after us.. the dogs instantly searched us out but did not attacked.. and the owners of course followed the dogs to us 🙂 we got a solid dose of reprimand and our famillies were informed..

    trisha

    September 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

  4. Lovely. You should write about them. Compared to most of my friends my own exploits were not all that colorful. If they could put them in words it would have been delightful to read.

    I have always thought that those in my village were all great story tellers. They were great chroniclers of their time and events. I am not as good as they are.

    samronsilva

    September 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  5. a couple of my uncles were fantastic fibbers and story tellers.. you should have heard them 🙂

    trisha

    September 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm

  6. True there are many such naturals in our midst 🙂

    Sam

    September 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm


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