A close shave
This happened when I was seven years old. On Deepavali, I was bursting crackers along with my father, mother and brother. First, I set off a set of flower pots, followed by some chakras.
Then, I tried out a new cracker which we had bought for the first time. It was called “Magic Pencil”. The first pencil that I set off was wonderful. A burst of green and blue sparks came whooshing out of that delicate little thing. But when I lit the second…..BLAST…..it burst right in my hands leaving me terrified in a cloud of smoke. The smoke went into my eyes and I began to cry. My father washed my eyes with cold water. After this rather nasty incident, I took an oath that I would never even touch the “Magic Pencil” ever again!
Srivijayaraghav Srinivasan, IV B, Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya SSS
Friday night. I'm grounded. Well not exactly grounded, more like punished. But what difference does it make? How was I supposed to know that the vase I broke was an antique? Mom says I should pay attention to things from now on. She says to ‘learn my lesson' I have to go help out my uncle at his restaurant.
My uncle Bill owns a huge fancy restaurant called ‘Flame of the forest'. And who knows why it's called that. Anyway I guess I have to cook stuff. How hard can it be? I already know how to boil water and make toast so I'm guessing I'll be a natural. Mom has to drive me there at 5:00.
“Why so early?” I ask.
“Running a restaurant is a tough business Andy. It's not child's play…” And she goes on and on until we finally reach the restaurant. Thank god it's not that far away. Next time I'll keep my doubts to myself.
When I enter the restaurant I'm not sure which entrance I have to go through to get to the kitchen. I decide to go through the front entrance. I waltz in and interrupt a staff meeting.
“Andy!” Uncle Bill cries. I smile awkwardly and peer back at the other faces staring at me who probably have no clue who I am.
“This is Andy, my favourite nephew.” Uncle Bill says introducing me to the staff. They all nod vigorously and head back into the kitchen.
“Now Andy I'll tell you what you have to do.”
“Oh, I know how to cook Uncle Bill.” I say like I mean business.
Uncle Bill laughs loudly. “Andy, you're not going to cook. You're too young. You are going to wash dishes today.” So there I am, washing crummy dishes, watching all the other guys cook up spectacular pastas and desserts! I have to rub hard with the scrubber to get all the moldy food stuff out. This is horribly gross. And boring. I can do so much better. I try to talk Uncle Bill into letting me do something else but he just shakes his head and says no. So secretly, I decide to make something. I boil water and chuck in some pasta and add some seasoning and stuff. I turn down the heat a little and search for pasta sauce. Just then, I smell something burning and turn around hurriedly. Usually in stories, it would be my pasta that's burning. But, I'm not that dumb. I know how to turn down the heat properly. Someone's soufflé is on fire!
“FIRE!” I bellow at the top of my voice. Uncle Bill comes running with a cloth. He forces it on the fire which lights up in flames. Professional? I don't think so.
“Uncle Bill! The fire is worse now!” I shout, and I mean it. It's spreading vigorously! The staff doesn't know what to do and run out of the building. Uncle Bill calls the fire department and comes outside a little later.
Friday night. Got out of my punishment, and I finally know why its named ‘Flame of the forest'.
Maanasa Mahesh, 13 years, Calibre Academy