"If i were to fly" was a favourite topic i used to compose essays on when i was a kid. In the hot summer afternoons when day naps were essentially a part of our small household in Patna, i used to gently slip out of my mother's embrace after she dozed off. What a thrill it was! Shutting the doors of her room, my brother and i resumed our adventures into the endless worlds of play acting, playing cricket and well, 'stealing' and gorging on milk powder and Bournvita. Later convinced that we were kids pronouncing babarism incarnate, my mother started giving us puzzles to solve or essays to write before we went ahead with our misdemeanours. Her siesta, henceforth, was rendered trouble free for sometime.
It was one such day when i realised that my brother had painted a monster on his white sheet. Not much of an aesthete he had been in paintings and artistic works but the figure that emerged on the sheet gave me such a fright that i was sick for a couple of days. On one of those afternoons of my 'sickness', we had been asked to write this essay on "If i were to fly".
The sun was furiously staring on the white-washed walls of the house. Maa was sleeping inside and we had successfully managed to perch on the cot in the shed outside our room. Suddenly, i realised Saurabh had vanished. I assumed he must have been out to use the loo. Unable to trace him for more than half an hour now, i panicked. I called him out with no response elicited from either the washroom or anywhere. I searched everywhere. Frustrated and a little worried, i made the last attempt to trace him in the corridor. No Saurabh. I went into the kitchen, seething with rage by now. Somehow, i was sure, he must have been hogging on the 'stolen' delicacies, without me. There was no Saurabh. Instead i saw his white sheet, yes, the same which had the monster drawn on it till yesterday, on the slab. It bared its white teeth all over, with no trace of either my brother's stroke or the monster's face on it. By now i was sure i lost my brother.
Tears rolling down my cheeks, vision blurred and throat completely choked, i stared imploringly at the white sheet. By then i felt a sudden pull. It seemed as if the bared teeth opened and tried to suck me inside. I grew helpless and the next moment i realise being spirralled into a strange world of whiteness all around. My body seemed to reel very fast in this unending spiral. It was as if sitting on the spinning top and being paraded inside the white white world of freshly washed draperies, hung on the dhobi ghats.
After few odd moments of my strange journey, i fell with a thud on the white marble floor. Saurabh was sitting luxuriously on a seat of what seemed like a Milkmade box. He held a huge Nestle milk powder packet in his hands and was grinning widely while enjoying big mouthfull of the same. All my sisterly love vanished in a jiffy. I snatched his packet, slapped him hard and there we were fighting again.
Suddenly the monster appeared out of nowhere. I shrieked in horror. My brother hugged me and asked me to keep quiet. The monster was red with rage. His bulbous eyes emanated flashes of fire and we could no longer see anything except his gigantic body by now. Calling out our names he said, "This is the precise reason i have both of you here today! Fighting like uncouth, wild animals in the jungle, you have always disturbed my sleep and peace. Today i shall eat one of you and shall end my troubles forever."
I began to wail piteously. I begged him to leave us once and promised that we would never ever fight again. The monster seemed unrelenting. My brother and i hugged each other tight and cried for long now, convinced that one of us would die soon. The monster picked me up. He slapped me on my cheek and asked me to shut up. He spoke again," I love Saurabh for he gave me a place in your beautiful house by drawing me up. And he shall always enjoy unlimited stock of delicacies from now on. Soon after i eat this puny, little wretch up, i shall send you back my dear, Saurabh, into your sweet home. And every afternoon, after you sneak out of bed, you shall find your gift ready near the sheet of my drawing. You can either come to my house here, as you did today or have it while you do your mother's homework each day"
By now, i was wailing uncontrollably. Saurabh moved forward and bent on his knees. He asked the monster if there was no way to save me. He promised we would never fight again and also that i would not demand any share from the stock that the monster would send him each day. He also cried buckets of tears and kissed the monster's hands. Perhaps the huge creature took some pity on us. He said that he would be back in a moment and vanished.
I looked at Saurabh with frightened eyes and he merely smiled at me in a faint way. He asked me," How did you reach here, tiny rat? Why did you come here? He can easily finish you up in one go, do you know? Why do you always try to act oversmart?"
By now i had lost all my love for him. I threw a really bad face at him and said, "Here i am really worried if you had drowned in the loo or been kidnapped or murdered! And here are you,selfish mouse, enjoying sumptous meals in this ugly monster's house! I hate you! I simply hate you!"
Saurabh cut me through and exclaimed," Oh Miss i-am-so-generous! Ask yourself if you did not steal my chocolates the other day and had me scolded instead. You lousy liar! It is good that i did not tell you about my secret friendship with this monster! Huh! Listen, do not try to bully me now! Here i am trying to save you and you are being so ungrateful!"
I could see my vision blur again. A fresh onslaught of tears assaulted my eyes. I choked and said in a broken voice ," I am sorry Saurabh! Save me from this horrible creature. I shall never ever steal your stuff. And i will also return your Cosco ball that i took to school everyday. I shall instead share those chocolates Sharma uncle got for both of us when you had gone out to buy milk from the shop". With this i broke down into a huge wail.
Saurabh looked at me with tender eyes. He said," I will also return your violet Camlin pencil. I am sorry. I took it from your bag to take revenge."
Both of us hugged each other. Saurabh's eyes shone when he saw an eraser tightly clutched in my fingers. Meanwhile, the monster returned. he looked at us and asked Saurabh to have his Cadbury while he should enjoy his meal. He laughed a racuous laughter and picked me up in his filthy, fat hands.
Saurabh was deft enough to rub the eraser on his hands. Lo and behold! His arms vanished. The monster snapped a very furious glance at his side. He jumped in rage and kicked Saurabh hard. Poor Saurabh! He hit the milky white floor and the eraser landed near me. I took no time to erase the monster's legs. By now, the monster lay on the floor and snapped at me. My face broke into a puddle of blood. I let out a huge scream.
Saurabh erased his eyes and there the monster lay struggling to see. Meanwhile, the nose, ears, forehead kept vanishing with masterly strokes of the erasure. I kept groaning in pain and Saurabh kept erasing even the tiniest marks of the monster.
The next moment i realise a pillow descending on my face. My brother asked me to hush up lest we wake up mamma and passed on the open Bournvita bottle with a spoon dug inside. I hugged him tight and thanked him profusely. Saurabh looked puzzled. I asked him if the monster would not reappear to punish me if i had his share with scared eyes. He gave me a quizzical look and said,"Silly! it is already one hour that you have wasted in your sleep. Finish off your essay before maa wakes up!"
I felt my 'bloody' face with my hands. Ascertained that it was a dream, i decided to keep the Cosco ball with me. After much thought, i opened my pencil box to share those chocolates that Sharma uncle had got for us.