The Ball and the Lizard

All of us had troubles with our siblings; many of us have looked for it. Those are probably one of the best memories of childhood. But we always knew just when to get them into trouble and when to stand by their side and see the trouble cool down. Here’s one such story from my family fold from ages ago.

Once upon a time (yes, long back) there was a happy family. The family lived in a huge estate of a British India style house, replete with gardens. The house had a veranda where the family had dinner during the hot summer nights, soaked scarce sunlight in chilly winter afternoons and the kids played.The couple had five children, a girl being the eldest. Four brothers followed her. The parents worked hard to provide for their needs and at the same time give them a nice upbringing and instill good values.

So, this one day, the four boys were playing a game of cricket. The father was yet to return from work. Mom and sister were out grocery shopping. After about half an hour of game, one of the boys hit the ball hard and it traversed the boundary of accepted playing area. All of them watched in slow motion as the ball kept flying to hit the tube light on the wall. As the glass broke to shreds and splattered over the floor, sweat started breaking on the boys foreheads. Everybody looked up to the eldest brother for directions. Before anybody got back home, something had to be done. They set off to task. All of them cleared up the mess, cleaned themselves up and set to study. Meanwhile, the eldest concocted a story to relay to all the three elders.

Mom and sister arrived and were astonished to see the boys at study. As is the custom at our homes, the house has to be lit during the dusk time of the day. The sister switched on the ill-fated tube light of veranda, which was now deceased. One look at the guilty nervous faces and she got the whole story. All of them waited for dad’s return from office. He did return and not in a good mood. He discovered the same thing as his daughter. He turned on the boys, called them to his room and gave them a dose of importance of discipline, money and time-table. He dealt with them strictly and asked them to name the person who broke the tube light. He tried asking them all together and then asked them separately.

But there were only different versions of one story that he got to know. “While these guys sat watching “news” in the TV, they heard a crash outside. When they filed one by one at the place of the incident, they noticed that a lizard was running away from the scene and that the tube light had been broken into shards.”

Frustrated of hearing the same story from all the four, the father called back the youngest son who was 9 years old. He beckoned him to sit on his lap. The poor kid must have trembled at the thought of punishment. He sank into his lap. Meanwhile, the rest of three boys were sure their secret was out. The father tried to lure him into telling him the truth about the tube light. He offered him treats. He hugged him close. He kissed his forehead. He scolded him hard. He raised his hands to scare him in to telling the truth.

Next day, the father went to office with a heavy and proud heart. He still did not know who had actually done the deed. But the incident told him that these kids will stick around with each other, no matter what. He knew that he had good kids who will carry on his family name to greater heights. He was proud of his family.

And his faith holds true till date. Though all of them have their own separate families and have settled in four different parts of India, they are more connected than most of the families that I have ever seen.

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