Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Runaway Son

I was always threatening to run away from home, even when I was five or six years old. Till it got to be a family joke. Some kids sulk when they are unhappy. I would say to my brothers, I am leaving home. And I was all prepared for this. I had a golden-yellow rectangular tin toffee box from Ravalgaon sweets which was about three inches deep. In it I had placed an array of personal effects: there was a neatly folded old handkerchief, a comb, some paper, a ballpoint pen and a tiny bottle of scented hair oil. There were some loose coins but absolutely no foodstuff. Interestingly, the cover of the toffee box displayed a splendid, peaceful Buddha. It was as if he was inspiring the sentimental child to take sannyas.

Each time I threatened to leave, the entire family would conspire to mock cajole me into not going, probably suppressing the urge to burst out laughing. My eldest brother would say, "Look, why don't you leave tomorrow? Bhabhi's (that's what we called our mom) made some nice dhokla today?' At other times, my other brother would call out to my mom, "See, what he is taking with him!" and grabbing my sannyas tin box from my clutches he would dash off to show off its amusing contents to my mom...and they would both burst out laughing. And I would fume, determined to show them. Oh, how they would miss me when I was gone! They wouldn't be laughing then, would they?!

I never did run away from home. But I did run away from school one day and that created such a furore because I conned not only my worried-sick parents but even a senior police inspector. But I will tell you that story another day.