Train of tales Children

Slip of the leash

Illustration: Sonal Goyal

Illustration: Sonal Goyal  

The story so far: After Rayu and Rani narrowly escape Mad Malini’s wrath, Mrs. Charumathi makes a peculiar request.

Holding Rani’s hand, Mrs. Charumathi walked over to a tree and pointed to the fragrant white flowers on the ground. “Pick them up. I would have done it myself, if it wasn’t for my stiff back.” Rani filled the basket and they walked to the graveyard (one of our playgrounds). That’s where Rani and I spent our time after school. On Mrs. Charumathi’s instructions, Rani placed a flower on every tombstone. When they reached the far end, she pointed to an empty spot and said, “That’s where I will be buried.”

For all her troubles, Rani received 20 rupees. I earned ten for walking Floppy but I would have done it for free. Floppy is such fun. He’s the reason we are banned from entering our parent’s clinic. Floppy was still a puppy then.

A flashback

Mrs. Charumathi had come to see Ma. They were just entering the waiting room, when someone objected to Floppy.

“We will take care of Floppy till you are back,” offered Rani.

“Don’t feed him anything,” said Mrs. Charumathi.

Mrs. Charumathi handed over the leash and entered the waiting room. Suddenly, Floppy broke free and ran towards the left wing which housed the Sonography, X-ray and Pathology labs. The corridor was empty and Floppy ran from side to side, happy to have us following him. Then he stopped, deciding what to do next.

Floppy looked at the signboard above the room and sauntered inside the sonography.

Rani and I ran after him. The lab was supervised by Mad Malini. She was polite to the patients and the staff but, with Rani and me, she was rude. Rani says things would have been different if we hadn’t glued her slippers to the floor or put frogs in her car.

We would have kept troubling her if it hadn’t been for our Ma. Mad Malini was good at her work and it was difficult to get talented doctors in the village. Ma threatened to confiscate our cycles. With a heavy heart, Rani and I agreed to be on our best behaviour at least when Mad Malini was around.

The sonography room was empty, the sonography machine was still on.

“Let’s see what the inside of his stomach looks like,” said Rani.

I placed Floppy on the gurney. Rani took the gel from the tube and applied it on Floppy’s belly as she had seen Mad Malini do. Randomly pressing buttons, she tried to imitate Mad Malini, when we heard the devil’s laugh. It was too late to hide.

To be continued...

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 11:29:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/slip-of-the-leash/article31878893.ece

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