There was a time when while coming back from the school, he used to pass a path, with three ponds on sides. So at one point in the path there used to be a pond on either side. That was the place he used to love turn the tails of the stray cow, so that it runs and throws all in its path to the ponds on either side. Though at times have fallen to its side effect. When the cow decides to charge back, and the instigator becomes the victim; and take refuge in the mud and bushes on the pond bank. And come back with a muddy shoe and explain why and what happened to Ammi.
Enid Blyton – had an early effect, and he had his own den; deep in the overgrowth in one of the big gardens. A cleared patch, with bricks placed strategically to cover it from the rest of the world. With a trench dug up, to drain the rain water, and a shade of lotus leaves and kochu (what is it called in English?) leaves giving a shade. We cultivated anthills, to stop intruders coming in.
We knew the taste of each mango tree, and the Jamrul, and lichee. The Mango trees were marked and each used to have a number inscribed. The numbers depicted the number of mangoes traced in them. The choicest ones used have strings tied so them when they were raw, and people suspect less of theft. And used to help us pluck them when they are ripe easily, without raising suspicions or even climbing the trees. All we need to do is pull the string and it would fall.
Playing king was the most exciting game there, with regular army, bamboo arrows with tips hardened by heating them; wooden swords with nails put on the tip to make them sharp; armors made of banana trunk, shields made of broken wooden furniture and building fixtures. With regular practice sessions, we had a formidable army of seven (including two females) who were feared by rest of the peer teams. I was obviously the undisputed king.
Oh and then there was that bike trip, in those small bicycles. Mine was red and Nilendu had the blue one. His one was more robust while mine had a puncture-proof tires. We used to regularly race behind trucks on the Bombay road (NH2). Once the truck (or should I say Lorry – as we used to call them) driver noticed two small cycles frantically pedaling to keep pace with its mechanical six wheels. So he braked hard – and disaster. We were not in a position to brake – so we steered. Nilendu had the canal in his side – and went there. And I had shops lined up on my shop, so I crashed in one. While people from the keen deep mud picked Nilendu, I was inside the Sweetshop, nearly on the lap of halwai, with sweats thrown everywhere and broken pieces of showcase glass. People knew both Nilendu and me. Me as the brat and Nilendu as the son of the vet (ghorar dactar). So we were spared after a massive scolding. And then dad took me to hospital in the evening, with broken pieces of glass lodged inside my left knee and heel. It took 3 weeks and 6 dressing to get rid of them and the resulting infection. That was the first visit to the Hospital dressing room.