Children

A match with a differenceWho jumps the highest?

Illustration: Sonal Goyal

Illustration: Sonal Goyal

“Hey Anki, where are you?” shouted Aniket. He was standing under a mango tree looking up at the dense cover of branches and leaves which seemed to have swallowed his twin sister.

“I am right above you. I can even see the bump on your head which you ‘earned’ when we were playing cricket.”

“Get down for God’s sake. If you fall from that height, you’ll break quite a few bones and whatever are left will be broken by mum.”

“Don’t be such a scaredy cat, bro. I am not clumsy like you. Now quickly look for a place where you can catch the mangoes when I chuck them.”

Aniket found a suitable spot and yelled, “Can you see me?”

“Yep, I can. Be careful not to drop any mangoes. Last time you had dropped six and they had all become halwa .”

Caught or dropped?

A few seconds later the first missile came and soon many more followed.

“Ok dude, I am through,” Ankita declared and jumped down.

“What’s the score?” She asked.

“Twenty-one.”

“How many retired hurt?”

“Only one.”

“That’s awesome bro! You have really improved. Looks like my agility has rubbed off on you.”

“What do we do with them?” Aniket asked, ignoring Ankita’s wisecrack.

“Eat them of course.”

“Without washing! If mum comes to know, we have had it,” Aniket said.

“But why should she come to know? “We’ll finish ten between us and hide the rest in the garage where mum will never look.”

The twins sat down and all that could be heard were the mellifluous sounds of gobbling, slurping, chewing, licking.....

***

Aniket opened the gate of their house and entered, followed by Ankita.

Their mum, Madhavi was standing with a smile.

Just then her expression changed and she yelled, “Just look at you Ankita? Is this the way to come back from school? I really don’t know when you’ll grow up!”

Whenever mom said ‘Ankita’ instead of ‘Anki’ it meant trouble. Ankita put her face down and kept quiet, trying to look as full of remorse as possible.

“You have gone deaf or what?” Madhavi had raised her voice.

“I.... am s...sorry mom, it won’t happen again.”

“There you go with the same chant. It has no meaning at all. Tomorrow you’ll be back to your old ways or more likely invent new ways of irritating me.”

“Actually, it had rained heavily and a number of puddles had formed. And we had started a competition to decide who could jump in the biggest puddle and splash the maximum.”

“Oh! Wow! And I think I know who could have invented this game. So now I need not worry about your future. When ‘puddle jumping’ becomes an Olympic sport you’ll surely win the gold for India!” With these words Madhavi stormed back into the house.

“Anki, you better lie low for a few days or you have had it,” Ani whispered.

Anki nodded.

But was she actually able to live up to her word? For an answer to this question, you will have to wait. Let the suspense remain for now….

To be continued


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 12:43:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/a-match-with-a-differencewho-jumps-the-highest/article64825425.ece