Chapter 2 Bheeru Wants Revenge
It was a still, fine morning and Misry didn’t even wait to eat breakfast. All she managed was to get out of her nightwear and put on something decent before escaping from the house unnoticed. Ever since her mother gave her permission to visit Bheeru, she had been anxiously waiting for the morning to arrive. And now she stood shouting, outside Bheeru’s mud house.
“Bheeru! Bheeru! Where are the goat kids?” Misry shouted.
The mud house was single storey structure with a courtyard in the middle of the house. There were several rooms surrounding the courtyard with one side open for the hand pump and the barn.
A dark skinned bald boy appeared from inside the hut. He was wearing khaki shorts fit enough for two on the lower half of his body while on top was a white vest with short sleeves and he stood an inch or two taller than Misry. He stood bare-footed in front of Misry, holding his chin high. The birth of the goat kids was a great moment for him to showdown Misry who did not leave any chance to show off.
A few days ago, Misry had shown him the new toy that her father had bought for her from town. It was a military truck with nine wheels. It worked on battery and could move about easily, even in soil. All the while Misry never even once allowed him to touch the toy and then she suddenly ran off home saying she had heard her mother calling her name.
So today, Bheeru knew it was his day. He had something to show off about too.
“Come, I will show you! I am sure you will love them,” he said confidently and escorted her to the backyard.
There, under the shade of the mango tree, stood the goat kids. Two of then, just like the nanny goat, black and white, while the third one was completely white. Misry watched the kids suckling milk. After feeding, the trio hopped and jumped around while the nanny goat stood vigil.
Before Bheeru could stop her, Misry ran to grab the white kid but it jumped off and ran away. However, Misry didn’t give up and she started running behind it. As she ran, she took hardly any notice of the other things in the surrounding.
Right in the middle of the courtyard, Bheeru’s mother had laid out a cotton sheet on which she had spread out small chunks of Amiyas, to dry. Once they dried up she would mix them with spices to make delicious mango pickle.
Misry running blindly behind the white goat kid tripped over the edge of the sheet on the ground and fell headlong into the dried Amiyas. The yellow stains, of the turmeric-covered Amiyas chunks, were all over her frock.
Bheeru had been waiting patiently for this.
He stood watching her fall, a sly look on his face. It was revenge time. Misry had insulted him the previous day while they were playing with the other kids. She had deliberately held him responsible for the loss of their team in the Kabaddi match. This was his time to avenge his insult.
He knew his mother had taken lots of effort to put the Amiyas to dry and would freak out on seeing the condition of her hard work since all the Amiyas lay smeared in soil. He wanted his mother to catch Misry red-handed. So he raised an alarm.
“Ma! Ma! Look at what Messy has done?”
The lady came out of the house shouting. She lost her temper instantly when she saw the Amiyas. But before she could say anything she saw Misry’s badly bruised knee and frock smeared with haldi.
Seeing her getting angry, Misry began crying, pointing to the bruise on her knee.
The lady forgot about her Amiyas and helped the little girl to her feet. She tried to console the child by wiping off the tears with the corner of her saree. She also began yelling at Bheeru for not taking care of the little girl.
“You good-for-nothing boy! Fetch me some water from the hand pump!” Then she turned to Misry and said sweetly, “Don’t cry Messy baba. I will put medicine on your knee and it will become all right.”
Muttering under his breath, Bheeru went to the hand pump,“What did I do now? I didn’t do anything. Why don’t you yell at her?”
“Don’t talk. Push the pumping rod!” snapped the lady. She took Misry to the hand pump and began rinsing her frock with the water.
The pumping rod was so tight that Bheeru was literally hanging onto it in order to pump out water. He looked at Misry who smiled back at him, jubilant on her victory.
Bheeru did not utter a word but knew what he to do to avenge this insult. He made up his mind that he wouldn’t let Misry near the white goat kid again till she bent on her knees before him and begged him for forgiveness.
The thought put a smile on his face.
Back home, Misry lay beside her mother for an afternoon siesta. She hardly slept in the daytime, mostly out of fear. She knew, with everybody else asleep in the night, she would have to fend with the ghosts alone. The very thought gave her goose bumps.
“Close your eyes, sweetheart!” Madhavi crooned softly in her ears.
Misry closed them immediately while Madhavi patted her gently, humming a lullaby. Her thoughts were on the white goat kid. –
how it jumped, how it ran, how it suckled the nanny goat.
Suddenly, Misry crawled up on her four limbs and started pushing her head against her mother’s breast.
“What are you doing?” Madhavi asked, caught unawares by her little daughter’s action.
“I am a white goat kid and it’s my feed time,” she said and started pushing her head again.
“Misry! Stop it! You are hurting me!”
“Maah…Maaah…Maah!” Misry mimicked the baby goat’s cry.
“Okay, so you are a white goat kid. What else can you do? ” Madhavi asked, to divert Misry’s attention.
Misry jumped out of bed and started running all around the house shouting, “Maah…Maah.”
She went to Raju’s room where he was sleeping peacefully with his mouth open. Misry made a pair of horns with her index fingers and jumped on the bed. Before Raju could realize what was going on she started punching the horns in his stomach saying, “Maah…Maah.”
Raju was very sensitive to tickling. Just a mere display of fingers activated him. Misry was well aware of it and continued tickling him with her finger horns.
Raju burst into uncontrollable laughter and begged Misry to stop but the little devil was in no mood to obey.
Their cries woke up Pallavi who was sleeping in the adjacent room. She walked into Raju’s room and saw him giggling while Misry was tickling him.
She just yelled, “GROW UP MESSY!!”