Monday, May 25, 2009

Belhaven - I

"This is insane!" Rohan said suddenly, "I won't do this!"

The three of us turned around from inspecting the ladder and looked at him without speaking. Somehow, it didn't surprise any of us that he was the first to back out. He had been iffy about the plan from the beginning.

"I can't believe you guys are actually thinking of doing this!" he said. "No matter what we think of her, this is trespassing! We can't break into somebody else's house!"

"But think of what she did to Viju." That was the tiny voice of Kanishk. Small and slender, he was the pacifying force in our group.

Neither Shiju nor I would have bothered to reason with short porky Rohan with his glasses and his perpetual sweatiness. After all, his family had moved into the colony just last month. Our mothers had forced us into including him in our group.

"She didn't do anything to Viju. He had a bike accident, that's all," Rohan replied.
"Which she caused! I'm telling you! I spoke to Viju!" Shiju burst out. "She ran after him with a stick when he stole mangoes from her mango tree. She was really angry! She said she would teach him a lesson."
"Shiju, I'm very sorry about what happened to your brother, but there's a limit. We can't break into her house and snoop around just because you guys think she's a witch!"
"She is a witch! And we'll find the proof tonight. If you're scared, you can stay at home!" I said.
"It's not that I'm scared..." Rohan's voice trailed off. "Anyway, my grandparents are here, so I can't come."
"Fine. Sit at home on your granny's lap," I said, turning back to the ladder. "You're missing out on the biggest adventure ever!"

Kanishk, Shiju and I dragged the ladder out of the shed and towards the eastern wall of the compound. Rohan stuck around for a while watching us. But when he realized that none of us would speak to him or even look at him, he went back home.

"Good riddance," I said, the moment he had left. "Imagine having to haul his fat bum up the wall." Shiju snorted. Kanishk didn't say a word.

Both of them were to spend the night at my house, since mine was the only one that bordered the witch's. So they left to pack and get ready for the stay-over. We decided that we would meet at six.


It was around six-fifteen when the doorbell rang. I was in the living room, on my PS3. Mum had already opened the door before I could reach it.
"Hello, Kanishk bete!" Mum said, opening the door. "My, somebody's looking dashing in a black t-shirt!"
"Mum!" I said. Why do mothers have to be so embarassing?
"Come on," I said to Kanishk, and took him upstairs to my room. He was carrying a small knapsack.
"Sorry I'm late," he said. "I was halfway here before I realized that I'd forgotten my flashlight."
"Good thinking with the black t-shirt too," I said. "But I wonder where Shiju is."

We deposited the knapsack in my room and came back downstairs. Mum was on the phone. "Bopu, it's for you," she said. As I took the receiver, I glared at her for using my nickname in front of my friends. I could hear Kanishk's smothered snicker behind me.

"Surya, it's me," Shiju's gloomy voice said. "I can't come."
"What! Why?"
"Mum's saying that with Viju in hospital and everything, I should stay at home."
"But we asked her days ago!"
"I know. But she says she's changed her mind."
"Oh no!" I said, looking at Kanishk. What would we do now?

(to be continued)
• • •


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