It was best part of my daily routine sitting in the balcony. Enjoying the late evening cool breeze ruffling my hairs. Observing the kids playing cricket in the streets below, having loads of fun. There excited shouts and energy towards the game made me reminiscence my childhood days. I felt a small smile creeping on my face, thinking about those relaxed and carefree days. Why did I grow up so soon? I thought . Smell of Jasmine flowers coming from the garden below was calming me. Suddenly a ball swooshed passing my head by mere inches smashing the window pane. This was the third one destroyed in a month.
“Sorry bro “ the kid who had hit that ball for six, yelled from across the street
“It’s okay” I answered smiling.
I never berated them for the act though it did cost us some money and a scolding from my mother for never stopping them. It made me feel more than an audience like I was a part of their game. I sometimes cheered when someone bowled well or when an exceptional fielding is done by other team. Happiness is a strange thing, it always appears in little things. Irony of my life is that I had begin to enjoy these small moments very late.
Just when the match ended, I saw Srivastava aunty returning from her hospital duty and entering through the main gate. She was a middle aged, stern looking fat lady.
She looked up towards me on the balcony when she suddenly cried out loudly in surprise. She had closed her eyes tightly in fear and held her hands defensively infront of her. Apparently someone had lost a goat and now it was jumping and running from one rooftop to another. That goat found my lawn area most convenient to land but somehow it landed on clothesline just above the aunt’s head. The goat just missed landing on her head barely to auntie’s good luck.
“Will you call someone for help or continue staring at me like a circus show is happening like I have pulled out a goat instead of a rabbit from my hat or something” she scolded me.
I smiled innocently at her and called out my mother to help her. My mother upon hearing ruckus came to front of porch to know what was wrong.
“What happened?” she asked. I tried answering, but aunty beat me to it.
“Look at the clothesline and you will know the reason of my distress.” Srivastava aunty said.
“Oh my God!!! Is that a goat? This is a sign from gods, I will have to call panditji in morning” My Mother was rambling watching goat swinging on it like a swinging trapeze.
By this time the Goat had managed to jump down from clothesline and was trying to find its way out. It looked like the Goat was also a fan of Jackie Chan with all the stunts it was pulling.
First the goat looked a little bit confused then suddenly started running around like mad. It was all brown with little white near its face and ears with small innocent looking black eyes, showing only its lower teeth like it was mocking everyone.
Just when my mother had gotten aunty to calm down a little after the huge shock she got today , my brother Aryan of seven came running.
“Goat! You got me a goat but I asked for a puppy?” Aryan whined.
“Mummy can I call It Scooby Doo or maybe Droopy” Aryan said.
It was a face palm moment for me, who names a goat that too stray one Scooby or Droopy. I had tried telling my parents subtly that my brother was definitely a nutcase but they never listen to me.
Meanwhile the goat had uprooted half of my mother’s garden and somehow got hold of my father’s vest from the clothesline entangled around its head like a crown. My mother was tired of running after it, so she was sitting by the lawn. But the Aunty had not given up and had a Eureka moment. She pulled out a carrot out of her handbag and tried to lure the goat towards the main gate by dangling it in front of the goat. Her over confident smile was wiped off, when goat decided it wanted whole of her handbag with vegetables and with that mission it started running after aunty. The tables had turned now, goat was chasing her like possessed.
Suddenly the chase game between goat and aunty changed into tug of war in few minutes. Neither Goat nor aunty was willing to leave the hand bag full of vegetables. My mother and brother joined in to help Srivastava aunty. After all the scrambling no one managed to win because the bag got torned up and all the vegetables spilled on the ground. But the goat had the last laugh as it immediately started gobbling vegetables from the ground.
My father called from office on my mobile and asked me about mummy.
“She is busy fighting with a goat over some vegetables along with Srivastava aunty” I told him nonchalantly.
“Just tell her I will be coming home late and do let me who won the duel when I come home” My father said equally nonchalantly.
As soon as he hanged up I saw that many kids from neighborhood had gathered, watching whole fiasco through the fences. Aryan trying to show off in front of them was trying to climb the goat. But the goat had by then found the gate. The goat jumped and gave Aryan such a push and ran towards gate, towards its freedom. Aryan fall flat on his back with a cry. All kids were laughing and clapping at his expense. I couldn’t control it anymore and burst out laughing. This day was turning out to be so much fun in my otherwise dull life.
“All you do is smile and laugh, sitting up there acting almighty. But in reality you are nothing… just nothing” Aryan said with tears of humiliation, running inside the house.
My mother went in after Aryan shaking her head, grumbling she was going to speak about how their son was getting out of hands to our father.
Weather had suddenly changed, fierce winds whipping my face inspiring numbness in my body. Dark clouds appearing suddenly casting a spell of dreariness everywhere. Mirroring my inner turbulence a thunderstorm was gathering outside.
Srivastava aunty reached the balcony, waiting for me to get ready. She was there to help me do all my regular stretching and other physiotherapy exercises helpful in paralysis. I started laughing mirthlessly trying to drown the sounds of helplessness building inside me choking my throat, as she rolled me back to my room on my wheelchair.
A/N: The part about the goat crossing roofs running and then jumping on my aunt happened in reality.The look on my aunt’s face is something that still cracks me up. Rest all description is just fictional. :D