Rohan was so embarrassed that he just wanted to be by himself for a while...
Rohan could barely get over the humiliation. He couldn't believe he had really said that! He felt his face grow all hot and red just at the mere thought of it. Of course, he knew the difference between a cockroach and a spider. But then without a thought he had shouted out, “A spider! A spider!” when a cockroach appeared on the blackboard. Sure enough, his classmates burst into laughter. They laughed and they laughed and they laughed. The teacher tried to control the class but then she too began to laugh. Rohan had no choice but to join in the laughter and laugh at himself. Luckily for him it was the last period and he was the happiest when the bell rang.
Once home, he changed and went off to sit by himself and wallow in self-pity. He sat alone and thought of the gaffe.
Suddenly he felt something tickling his feet. He thought it was a mosquito or a fly and was just about to slap it off when he noticed it was a little man in a colourful costume and a pointed cap.
“Hello!” he said. And for a little man he had a rather loud voice.
Startled, Rohan said, “Hello. You surprised me. And for a little man, you sure have a loud voice!”
“I am not a little man, I am Many Things. You can call me MT.”
“Empty?” asked Rohan.
“Now don't be cheeky now. It's M T not Empty!”
“You seem a bit downcast and could do with some cheering up.”
Rohan followed MT into a thicket and there he saw a ladybird. Immediately Rohan recited, “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home…”
“Stop that nonsense,” shouted the ladybird. “My home is not on fire and my children are not gone!”
“This is not working MT. I think I will go back to my sulk.”
“Oh she is harmless. Just that she is quite tired of that rhyme. Imagine hearing that rhyme a hundred times a day! Especially when you know that your home is not on fire and your children are not gone.”
Soon they reached a river. They sat down under a tree. Rohan was just about to relax when he was pelted by stones.
“What's happening,” he said as he jumped up. Looking up he saw a monkey laughing at him!
“Why did you do that?” asked Rohan, rather miffed.
“Oh no reason in particular,” said the monkey. “Saw you were a bit down and so thought I would cheer you up!” The monkey smiled cheekily at him.
Rohan sat down rather grumpily. “I wish you had just left me to sulk. You brought me here and now I have been shouted at and also been thrown stones at! What more entertainment have you planned for me?”
MT did not answer, because he had curled up and was fast asleep. Rohan was wondering how he could wake him up when a fish jumped out of the water.
“Whatsahappening? Whatsahappening?” shouted the fish as it swam to the bank. With his nose in the air it began a conversation. But Rohan was in no mood to talk. The fish continued to talk. He went on and on, occasionally taking a breather by diving deep and resurfacing with renewed vigour.
Rohan was getting mighty bored with the talk and was just dozing off, when the fish said, “…and sometimes, in these situations we mistake cockroaches for spiders or the other way around!”
Awake now, Rohan said, “What? What did you just say?”
The fish moved his head this way and that and dived into the water. After a while he surfaced.
“You are the most exasperating fish I have ever come across in my life!” shouted Rohan. “Repeat what you just said.”
“I was talking about Descartes. Would you like me to repeat?”
“No no, just the last bit…”
“The last bit? The one about the leaf and the tree?”
No, no…. the one about, eh…” Try as he might he could not say cockroach and spider!
“Oh you want me to tell you about the dog and the cat? Fine. It's like this. The dog and the cat were never friends. Have you wondered why that is?...”
The fish began another long story and Rohan knew he would never get him back on track again.
MT finally woke up, and Rohan said, “Please get me out of here. This fish is mighty boring.”
MT nodded in agreement. “Yes, Fish has a problem. He talks too much and stops only when the listener begins to cry!”
As they walked away from fish, he was still talking. Suddenly saw his audience had gone away. He began to shout out to them, “Hey don't go away yet. I have saved the best story for the last. Come back! Come back!”
But they had disappeared. Fish sighed, saying, “No one stays to hear my best story. I wonder why!”
MT and Rohan continued through the thicket and then all of a sudden they were back where they started.
“I have to leave you here now. Bye,” said MT and disappeared even before Rohan could say bye.
He sat down again, wondering what to do. By now most of the embarrassment had passed off and he didn't feel so bad with himself anymore.
Just then he heard a shout, “There he is!” Turning around he saw it was Megs and Sandhya.