THE CONSPIRING COUSINS !

Summer vacations, grandparents house (mother’s parents) and a group of same aged cousins playing games on a breezy afternoon on the huge porch alongside a garage that housed all the cars. Two of my brothers were changing the  tyres of an old, worn out white, NE 118 (nanaji’s) as it stood on a jack by the side of the porch. They planned to take it for a ride in the evening. Two of my other cousins were playing cards, sitting on the wicker lawn chairs and me and my younger sister (another cousin) were practicing Baseball on the open verandah. She was pitching while I was holding the bat raised above my head, ready to strike. I was in full swing, aiming for a Home run(like sixer in cricket) when a huge tyre rolled on the ground and bumped into me and I fell face down on the ground. I was covered in mud as I turned to see my brother(Dhruv) grinning at me, sitting on haunches near the rear tyre of the car. I gave him a very dirty look and he shrugged his shoulders (like saying WHAT?). I got up, took the bat and ran towards him, my face contorted in rage and bat raised in one hand (I was somewhat of a tyke).

He saw me coming and ran for the main door as all others rolled laughing. I was hot on his tails as he closed-door after door and finally hid inside a room and locked it from inside. I banged the door shouting obscenities and swearing revenge the moment he steps out. He wouldn’t come out and I locked the door from outside as well and stood sentry outside waiting for him. My elder cousin came to us, he was covered in grease and rust from the car. Wiping sweat with a towel and panting he said: “open the door sis, I need his help to change tyres”. I was also stubborn, I sat cross-legged on the floor outside the door with the Baseball bat and told elder bro (Abhinav) “until and unless that rat apologises, this door won’t open”. Abhinav looked here and there and banged the door “apologise Dhruv, you did wrong, say sorry and come out. I guarantee you she won’t do anything” he shouted from outside to convince Dhruv to come out. I looked up at him in a mocking fashion and smiled wickedly twisting the bat as if letting him know that I have no intention of letting him go scot-free. “I am not coming out until she leaves…ask her to open the door and leave” came Dhruv’s voice from inside as I tapped the palm of my right hand with the bat, eyes fixed on big bro Abhinav. He shrugged his head in helplessness, thought for a few minutes and held my arm, took me to a corner and whispered, “look lil sis, locking him in won’t help you get revenge, he won’t come out that easily…..if you want revenge then use brains….why to let him sit inside peacefully while I slog with the car alone and you burn in anger” he said in a conspiracists tone. That got my interest and I asked him what shall be done then ? Abhinav smiled at me very coyly and said “you go from here and I will open the door, he will be assured he is safe and come out….you go and hide behind the main door with the bat… I will send him out first and you can jump on him, beat him to the pulp and extract your revenge, and then, I will make him work on the car” he said smiling, rubbing his chin with raised eyebrows brows…. amazed at his own brilliant idea. I was thrilled and nodded in affirmative, hiding behind the main door with the bat.

Abhinav opened the door and asked Dhruv to step out as I was gone and the coast was clear, the cat (me) has left, and sure enough the rat came out of the hole. I closed my eyes and took the stance with the bat gripped tightly in both hands as they approached the door calling me names. The door opened and as soon as the first man was out, I rained bat after bat on him…..my eyes closed in determination and lips pursed in strength. I was bringing down the bat on him again and again without waiting. Finally, when I was satisfied that he has been punished enough I stopped to draw breath and to my horror…..the boy who lay in a heap on the ground wasn’t Dhruv, it was Abhinav, my co-conspirator. My mouth fell open as I saw tears of humiliation in big bro’s eyes while Dhruv stood there, holding his stomach, laughing like a maniac. Bro sat up massaging his elbows and knees and looked up at me miserably……I looked at him in shock….he gave a sheepish expression and said: “I forgot to send him first, I was stupid to come outside first…..it slipped my mind that I made you wait with the bat”. Upon realising what has happened, we three forgot the fight and the revenge and roared with laughter over the silly mistake. Abhinav laughed the hardest because he couldn’t even complain….it was all his own master plan, after all, I couldn’t be blamed in any way.

This incident is one of my fondest teenage memory. I learned a very important lesson that day in the funniest way “If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.” But I admire my brother Abhinav, for he had the capacity to laugh at himself, few have that quality. And till today, a small remorse is present in my heart that Dhruv got away just like that.

As you sow, so shall you reap !