It was an afternoon of hot summer day. I had to take classes under a scorching asbestos sheet, and that too was provided only after the so called Kumbokonam Incident. During such unbearable summer days we preferred to sit under a neem tree. We moved to the neem tree and started our session. However in the middle of the session the class leader told me that one his friends was missing since the recess. I was puzzled and inquired the students, to my surprise I came to know that thefellow had disappeared for the second time in a row, that too in the same week.
If I have had any understanding of the locals and parents I would not have made that mistake. But I was unaware of the local peoples' mindset. I asked two of my students to visit his home and check if he was there. I added even if his parents say he was not there look for his foot ware that may be near the front entrance. My little trackers became very interested and started their tracking exercise.
After thirty minutes they bounced back with sagged heads, and told me his house was locked and the neighbors were unaware of his misdeeds. My students told me that he will be back soon and there was nothing to worry.
After a while, I heard a huge cry from the southern side of the school campus. To my horror I could see a huge crowd of villagers proceeding towards the school. Very strangely I saw a woman rolling on the road. Her had was on the left end of the road and feet were on the right end! Strangely enough such a tall lady has a very short footed boy.
The procession slowly reached the school and the teachers in the campus were confronted with all sorts of queries about the missing boy. One particular lady approached me in haste and started asking me the same question "where is the child?" She kept asking me the same question in the same angered voice a hundred times! Slowly my patience began to thaw.
Luckily one of the senior teachers provided a solution. We will go hunt for the missing boy!
The stupid crowd agreed and we took our bikes and started to visit all the possible places around the school. But he was found no where!
After an hour of search we headed back to school and the crowd was waiting for us. We managed to handle them as their initial anger was reduced a bit.
After another hour we saw the boy sitting on the carrier of a bicycle driven by a local mason.
We raised up our heads to sky and thanked God.
The mason introduced himself that he was the uncle of the boy, and he found him in the school campus located three kilometers away from our school!
How on earth you guessed that sir I asked the mason.
Sir, years earlier I too have studied in the same school of yours, I used to spin my top in the same place. It was that easy you know. "After all he is my nephew!" the mason said to me with a smile.
Thus the little boy earned his name among his friends "pambarakkattai" that is wooden top in English.
After several years I received a call from him, telling me that he was in a Thirupoor Textile Company and doing good.
"May God bless you I", I said.
will be back with more