Srishti Garg

Children Stories Comedy

4.7  

Srishti Garg

Children Stories Comedy

The Fab Four

The Fab Four

8 mins
422


During my second year at boarding school, there were four of us who were fast friends- Amar, who came from a wealthy family in Delhi; Desmond, an Anglo Indian boy who was from Goa; Zakir, who hailed from Lucknow and I, your narrator had all his family in Kochi. All of us were from different walks of life and sometimes I wonder how did we end up being the best of friends. Our secret club was named 'The Fab Four' denoting that we were expert investigators in the making and infallible at solving mysteries. 


Amar was a good-natured, loyal, and helpful friend, though not very studious and a bit of a braggart too. Also, he was a restless fellow, never staying at one place and always knocking things about.

Desmond was a frail, skinny boy, so thin that he appeared to be starving for a long time. However, we never made fun of him and that was for one important reason. He was a wizard in every subject and I remember we never did the homework ourselves and always copied Desmond's. Zakir, on the other hand, was a tall, sturdy boy who was always ready to sacrifice anything for his friends. But, he was completely hopeless at studies. As a result, he viewed studies with cold contempt and deep antagonism, even lampooning a few of our teachers but only in front of three of us. I was the most literary inclined of the lot and a little taciturn, so they called me the 'dreamer'. It was I who had coined that term 'The Fab Four'. I was inept at everything else. Be it sports or music or art. 

Our base was a grassy knoll a little far from the school, surrounded by young spruce trees. We lingered there on Saturdays and Sundays, gamboling and basking in the sun when there were no classes or games. It was an unfrequented place where we were free from the strict regime of the school. No master was there to disrupt our peace. To be true, we were able to make an escape to freedom.

It was October now, the exams were over and so were the harsh monsoon rains for a while. We had not been able to go there for almost a month owing to the compulsory study hours on weekends. No boy was allowed to leave the school grounds during the exam month. Amar and I had somehow managed to pass the exams, but Zakir had failed and Desmond, of course, had topped the class results.

So, after a month of hardships, my companions and I were scrambling up the hilly rocks to reach our grassy knoll. It was late afternoon and the sun was just a little towards the west. 'Gosh! What a jungle', remarked Desmond as we made our way past the wild bushes. The grass and shrubs had grown long due to rain but we knew the paths well around here. 

'It is always a jungle at this time of the year after the rains', I mentioned.

'I can't walk anymore. It's too tiring. When will reach there?', asked Desmond, impatiently.

'Keep up your strength. We are almost there, Desmond', replied Zakir, who was in the lead with Desmond, Amar, and I in tandem. Reaching the foot of our knoll, we began to ascend it. Midway through the hill, I suddenly heard what seemed like the purr of a cat. I stopped and looked around but could find no feline creature in the vicinity. Resuming my ascend, I took a few steps but again I heard the purr. It was a little louder now. 

'Hey, listen', I called my comrades. ' It seems like a cat is nearby.' My friends who had gone a long way up descended a little.

' But I can hear no one. You must be dreaming, Rajan', said Amar, trying to listen hard. 'Do you hear anything?', he asked Desmond and Zakir to which both of them shook their heads.

'But I did hear a cat's purring', I asserted, and then, I heard it again. This time my companions had also heard it and they confirmed my assertion.

'Certainly, I can make out the sound of a cat. But where's it coming from?', said Desmond, asking no one in particular.

Cupping his hands to his ears, Zakir said, 'Ah! It comes from that side'. He was pointing towards a big boulder lying midway on the hill. We all assembled around the boulder and I peered at the back of the boulder to find a black cat stuck behind it.

'It is trapped behind the boulder. We'll have to move it to free the cat', I said. With our combined strength, we moved the boulder from the place. Out came the cat, but we did not pay much attention to it because our attention was diverted to something else. To my amazement, there was a wide and round, opening in the hill which the boulder was blocking.

'Oh my god! What's that?', exclaimed Amar as bent down on his knees to look into the opening. 'Is it some kind of tunnel?'

'Look like a sort of passage', said Zakir. 'Maybe a secret one', he added. Desmond produced a pencil torch from one of his pockets and flashed it into the opening. With curious eyes, we all glanced inside it. 'Not possible', I concluded. 'It is some underground pipe, I believe, and not some secret passage.'

'Maybe the other end opens to some mysterious world and we can have many adventures there', Desmond chimed inThe.

' Come let's check it out, guys. It would be fun', said Amar, always ready to make up his mind. He stepped into the opening and crawling forward a little bit, he called the rest of us. Desmond started to get into the opening. 'What if we get lost and never come back', I protested.

'We won't. I'll keep a track of the way.', said Zakir as he went behind Desmond. 'Come, quickly Rajan. Remember, we are companions in adventure.'

Although I was still not convinced, I relented and followed him into the tunnel. Once inside, we embattled a faint, musty smell which cornered us along with lots of dust which got into our eyes, nose, and mouth. Rounds of coughing and sneezing followed. Apparently, the place was grimy and mucky, filled with filth soiling my clothes to a great extent. 

' We will make ourselves sick', I cried.

'Don't worry. All heroes have a bad time, now and then', said Amar succeeded by a loud sneeze that frightened all of us. We wriggled forward for some time and then found ourselves in a problem of choice. The path forked into two directions and we did not know which way to proceed.

' We should turn left', suggested Desmond.

'No, right', objected Zakir.

'Left', repeated Desmond.

'Right', said Zakir, now glaring at Desmond holding his fists tight. Both of them got into a heated argument until Amar solved the problem. 'Don't fight both of you. We'll take turns to decide the way. This time I decide that we turn left', he said. All of us agreed with his suggestion and put his idea to work as we went in the leftward direction. In the next few junctions, we took turns choosing the way in the tunnel. At one such junction, Desmond decided the route but he has always been bad at choices because there the tunnel was filled with sewer waste. Dark and disgusting refuse made me nauseous and I vomited. One look at my face convinced the others that we needed to get out of there soon. In fact, they themselves felt hot and scruffy and the stench was unbearable. We decided to retrace our steps but Zakir could not remember the right course as we got lost in a maze of tunnels.

'What shall we do now?', bleated Amar. 'Do we have to remain here for the rest of our lives?'

'The four of us will turn into skeletons here. I am already finding it difficult to breathe', whined Desmond.

'Nobody will find us here ', said Zakir. 'Why did you push us to enter this tunnel, Amar?'

'How would I know that it was actually a drainage pipe and we would get lost here! It was your fault that you did not keep a track of the way.', blurted Amar.

'Stop fighting', I shouted at them. 'Come behind me. We can't stay here for long or we'll die of asphyxiation.' This time they obeyed me and came after me as I tried to find the way. For a long time, we wandered in the tunnel, but, at last with much luck, we found glimmer at the end of the tunnel. Half-happy, half-hopeful we tumbled out of the tunnel to find ourselves in the school Headmaster, Mr. Bucket's garden. Not only were my arms and legs pitch black, but, all my clothes were grimy and mucky with bits of garbage stuck to them. My face was unrecognizable and a foul smell was emanating from my body. The story was the same for the rest of 'The Fab Four'. 

It was dark now and the portly Headmaster was taking a stroll in the garden when he saw four blackened, filth-laden lads approaching him. Taking us for some supernatural visitors, the Headmaster took to his heels, shouting at the top of his voice that four ghostly apparitions were after him. We ran after him, to stop him but he must be really terrified, for he ran faster and there was no way we could catch him.

So, here ends our adventure and there goes the rhyme:                                                                                     

                         In the bright moonlight,

                       Mr. Bucket ran with all his might

                          With 'The Fab Four'

                          Not far behind    

 

 


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