Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  General

Shaggy's Journal: A Wonder Story

//January//

January 1^st^ (the New Year Day!!)

Woke up at 11 AM. Found everybody else asleep in their rooms. Getting out of the room to the refrigerator to have some water, I found a sticky note on the fridge’s metal skin.

Dear shaggy, today, as you know, is the New Year, we would request you to let us sleep until we wake up. We know you would wake up earlier than us so we request you to please prepare some good recipes. If you can’t, you may order some food from a special restaurant and pay for it and when we say you pay for it, we mean you pay for it, we will not pay.

.

This very thought made me wide awake. This one is surely the plan of my family to make me do all the work and that too in the New Year. And, why should they get extra sleep?

Decided to start my work. First work of the day always remained to be the cleaning of Magpie’s (our pet dog) poop and if any day I forget to carry out the same, he would dirty his entire kennel. To prevent such dirtiness, I have to reluctantly accept Destiny.

I think I have introduced myself much and this is the time to get the presents ready. Yeah! I have to wrap the New Year gifts for my family after cleaning the poop. I have thought to gift:-

Father: a nice comb (although he is half-bald)

Mother: a set of cosmetics (which would be great to conceal her hideous face).

Aunt: a pack of DVD all soap-operas she likes.

Uncle: a leather wallet

Magpie: nothing! (Will a dog understand the value of a gift?)

Grandpa and grandma (who will come today): a set of false-teeth each

Wore my gloves and picked up the comfortable dog’s uncomfortable poop. After that, I have to cook for evening’s party as per family tradition. What I thought to prepare was a simple cake and small fish chops but then two thoughts came: Grandma has diabetics and Grandpa is a pure-vegetarian. So, I have to prepare something else for them. I decided to make potato crackers and soup with lots of veggies in them. While working I simply thought only one thing “My Family Is Using Me”. Thus I laid a trap of emotional blackmailing:

During lunch I planned to cry and cry until my family gets an idea of my situation and eventually hire a maid. If that is not sufficient, I will eventually talk of suicide.

My family came out from their rooms at approximately 3pm to eat lunch (They are late lunch-eaters). I fell down on my knees and started acting, “Please, Papa, Mama, I am becoming very weak. If I do not stop working, you will eventually have to suffer the loss of your only child. Please, please, hire a maid”

“Darling, I think we will have to see the doctor. Our son was not so bad. We may consult a psychiatrist”

“Bu-but” I stuttered.

“You were acting! I knew this.”

I stood low-headed hearing a long lecture for fifteen minutes.

7pm: Grandparents came. I thought they will present me a gift but they came empty-handed. When I said “Granddad, I would be quite happy if somebody gives me a gift”, he replied “Surely!” and handed me a three-rupee candy from his pocket.

January, 2^nd^

Today, our school reopened after the winter vacation.

Today we had the Yoga test. I am basically weak at it, being a little over-weight. I would have flunked the test if our yoga instructor, Ronnie Sir, had not been absent due to acute stomachache. That means we would not have our test! However, this thought only remained for a few seconds because our Principal, Ruth Sir arranged for a substitute yoga instructor who eventually came to be our English teacher, Mrs. Pram. She had only been instructed on yoga for two weeks during her twenties and the janitor had once told that she was suspended for a month when she started teaching Yoga in her English class during the 1990s. Henceforth, it is said that she never performed any other yoga antics.

Now, Mrs. Pram, being the substitute teacher, was beneficial because she must have forgotten most of the ancient skills. Everybody did the wrong posture and was miraculously given A+. My turn finally came and I have to perform any posture I like. I chose Usthasana which was my biggest folly because next I noticed that Mrs. Pram remembered the posture very well. She narrated a story to me on how she remembered no other pose but this:

“It was in February 1985 that I met Mr. Pram in a Yoga class when we were both asked to do Usthasana. I performed the posture but he fractured his femur and needed to be hospitalized. I looked after all his needs in the hospital, he being an orphan, and it was on the bed of Cabin 432 that we shared our first kiss.

And then back in 2005, when we both were going to perform the same posture on account of a Yoga-Campaign, I was framed by the Host to have been added sleeping pills in Mr. Pram’s tea due to which the latter couldn’t perform the act. Unfortunately, he also believed the allegations and this drifted us apart. So, our marital life started with Usthasana and ended with the same. And now, you get a C- for doing it wrong.”

This was the story on how I got a C- which means neither had I passed with glory nor failed with grief.

My BFF, Mayo had flunked the test but is actually very happy (why, I don’t know).

Went back home and showed Father and Mother the report. Naturally, they acted modestly and boasted that they were an expert on yoga and had got many gold medals (I practically had never seen the medals, although.)

I think today a check will arrive for me from my student’s family (Actually, to earn some extra money, I tutor primary-class children). It did come, but accompanied by a letter.

Dear Shaggy Sir,

We Have Decided To Fire You And Appoint A New Tutor. From This Month, You Will Not Have To Come To My House To Teach Me Because The Things You Teach Me Are Wrong. We Are Sending You A Check Of Rs.1000 (Which Is Your Fees For The Month).

Thank you, Yours Faithful Prateek

I thought it would look bad if I do not write a letter back to Prateek. So I decided to write the letter and posted it today itself.

Dear Prateek,

It Was Very Inhuman Of You To Fire Me But I Think That You Were Right That I Was Wrongly Educating You. Instead, I Have Another Idea. What About Giving Another Check Of Rs.1000?

From Your Shaggy Sir.

I went to sleep but then in the middle of the night something woke me up. It was insomnia.

January, 3^rd^

Woke up with drowsiness.

Today Ronnie Sir came and saw our reports. Almost everybody, except Mayo and another boy, Arnold, has passed the test. I was so astonished that instead of scolding those who have flunked, Sir admonished those who had done miserable but not failed (like me!). Every time I met him in the corridor or in the washroom or in the ground or in the library or somewhere else, he would try to eat my head by continuously telling, “If you do not work hard, you would never get a job” (suppose yoga was needed to get a good job!)

When in the Art room today, he crossed the limits by telling, “Come and meet me after school and we will have an extra yoga class”

I thought of slapping him but there was CCTV all around the school and I do not want to add a criminal record against my name. So I spared him.

While at class, I asked Mayo, “Are you going to the extra yoga class?”

“What rubbish are you saying? There is an extra yoga class?”

Then I asked my classmate, Tommy, who has got C- and he told me that as soon as the last period gets over, he would quickly run to the changing room to change into his yoga dress. I then understood that those who have flunked are relieved from the extra-class while those who have neither achieved good grades nor have flunked the test are there to bear the ‘torture’.

Basically, the extra-class was something I like because, at the end of the class, we were given some candies as a token of appreciation.

The yoga class was extremely interesting. First of all, Ronnie Sir fell asleep while showing us a particular stunt. Then someone glued a chewing gum to his hair. When Sir woke up, he scratched his hair and his hand and hair became messy. When he tried to blame us, Tommy told him that in between his sleep, he took the gum, that he was chewing, out and put it in his hair. Sir disbelieved that he could make such a mistake but his confusion was cleared when he found a chewing gum wrapper in his shirt-pocket (Actually, the wrapper was also kept by Tommy)

In the evening, Father planned to go to the theatre. Actually, it was my Uncle’s decision. The film was a comedy-mystery but I could only enjoy half of the film only because there was a jerk sitting in front of me who had huge, unkempt hair. When the movie ended, the jerk turned back and told me, “Hey, Shaggy!”

I realised it was Mayo and was habitually very intrigued

He understood the expression in my face and said, “Do not be intrigued, this is a completely new hairstyle invented by me, by mixing up all the hair styles I have. Initially, I thought of colouring it blonde but then I loved it black. Now, as a result………….”

“You have made a big crow-nest!” I completed his sentence.

“How mean of you!”

The shock did not get over that I met Ruth Sir sitting two rows behind me. My parents offered him a free ride to home. Now, this was basically very bad for me because whenever I am in a car, I sing my self-invented-songs about my school teachers, expressing their flaws and faults, but with Principal sitting in the front, I will not have the guts to sing it.

However, something strange occurred in the car. While passing through a flyover, I noticed Principal humming “Mrs. Sullivan is a freak……..while Mr Henderson is a geek……Ms. Kamla always shrieks and Samuel knows so many tricks!!!”

I noticed that in the song, all those whose names are there, are actually my school teachers. I asked sir and he agreed that he loves to make songs about people and places. Thus, I joined him but conditions were that we would never disclose it to anyone. Now, this was never expected from Principal. With astonishment, I went to sleep and only dreamed about another check of RS.1000.

January, 4^th^

Today is our school foundation day and we usually have a holiday but this year, as we had much loss of working days, this was a regular school day.

In my locker I found, a letter claiming the end of our sacred friendship. At this moment, I am the only student who does not have a BFF because my ex-BFF has found another BFF and I saw him hanging with him.

Returning to home, I found the reply to the letter.

Dear Shaggy Sir,

I Did Not Know That You Are So Greedy. If You Want Another Rs.1000 Check, You Should Try To Dedicate Yourself Into The Work Which You Are Doing.

With Love,

Yours Affectionately,

Prateek.

I was astonished that he had so correctly learnt the format of a letter.

January, 5^th^

Today was our class with our music teacher- Ms Meena. Basically, it meant no class, because every day she comes to school and sleeps in the class.

Recently, there are over 20 articles about her habit in the school newspaper.

As there was no class, we played on the playground the whole period. Principal could have fired her from service but she bribes him with money and food. In one of the very few moments when Ms. Meena was not asleep in the class, she had told us that in her house, she has so many chores to do that she does not get time to sleep.

Next, we had our Biology class. Today was the first day of us with our new ma’am, Ms. Sassy. I was astonished to see that she was so stylish; hot pants, stiletto heels, sleeveless top with a tattoo on her arm.

And the relieving truth for the rest of the boys in our class came when she told, “I am a pure bachelor” while she introduced herself. This was a great problem for all the girls because the word “bachelor” struck all the ‘grown-up’ males and they tried to impress ma’am in all possible ways.

This was the horrifying experience that I was going through. Seeing me alone, who is not bothered about Ms. Sassy, all the ditched girls came near me and talked about their sadness the whole day. I could do nothing but sympathise with them.

January, 6^th^

Today, one girl, Akela, tried to physically assault Ms. Sassy as her boyfriend, who must have promised to marry her in future, had ditched her because of Ms. Sassy. After this, I think, she will surely resign but God praise her bravery, she promised not to resign from an ‘adventurous’ school. Let’s get one thing very well that she taught us very well with fun, out-of-syllabus knowledge, frequent quizzes and activities.

There is nothing to be modest but today must be the world’s greatest day. I got a ^20^/~20~ in the Biology Quiz and Mam gave me a pull in the cheek and hugged me. Definitely, I would hence need a bodyguard because there is a high chance that I would be abducted and murdered by the lovers of Mam. Today, one thing also happened. Some police came and arrested principal for bribe-taking. Meena ma’am was also to be arrested if she wasn’t absent from school today.

Now, who have called the police must be a big fool because Principal, as claimed by the Janitor, was an ex-vandal and would surely vandalise their house. When I got back home Mother said, “Today I seriously called the police and arrested your Principal” which shook me.

“What!” I said, “It was you?”

“Yes. You do not know but I am the Vice-President of the Education for Elevation group and you always complained about the bribe-relationship between Meena Ma’am and your Principal. I couldn’t tolerate and decided to arrest them”

Well, I must, henceforth, be careful to disclose any matters relating to school to my family members.

January, 8^th^

I woke up with drowsiness and saw that nobody was in the house. I went out, hearing a great cacophony from the neighbour’s house. I quickly rushed there and found our neighbour’s house was devastated. The windows panes were broken and the whole house was sprayed with green paint. At once, I knew it was Principal’s work. He had mistaken their house to be ours.

I will not go to school today.

We sympathised on the neighbour. He was completely astonished on who could have done it and asked the Police to investigate it.

I decided to remain quiet.

January, 10^th^

Today, I went to school and saw our new principal, an acquaintance named Hudson. He was actually my Uncle’s friend and as you understand, he is not more than thirty years. As he is my good friend, he will neither scold me nor beat me up. Thus, I may rest assure after doing something bad like teasing someone or killing another. I was rather very happy. But I felt bad for my Mayo because he could no longer get any advantage from me, henceforth.

I thought of putting fake rats in the girls’ tiffin boxes. Brought a lot of them and put them when all of them went to the PE class. Usually, there was a lot of scream during the recess and I was the culprit. A rebel named Rupsa went to Principal to fight for their victimisation. After some minutes the Principal called me to his office. Believe me, I was the only boy in the school who did not get nervous when I was proceeding towards the Office.

Instead, I was laughing and telling Rupsa that she could not harm me in any way. When I entered the office, I was astonished to see Principal; his cheeks flushed red (supposedly by anger)

“I did not expect it from you!” he said

I thought he was joking. But when he told me to hold the girl’s feet and seek forgiveness, I realised he had gone crazy. He told the girl to punish me any way she wanted. And what he said was, “If you do not obey the victim, I may spank you up with a cane and you may not be able to move your muscle for the rest of the session”.

Meanwhile, the girl told me, “Hey, you, nasty little-wretched fellow, do as I direct. First, open your shirt and draw a face on your belly. You know what a belly dance is called? You have to perform the same thing in the dais of the auditorium. No excuse, you have to do it”

“What?” I thought inside my head, “Are you joking?”

“Is my self-respect going to disappear into thin air? Are you trying to humiliate me to the extreme level?” I said her.

But as soon as I told this, Principal took out a big cane, claiming him to be an expert ‘bone-breaker’ and threatened to beat me up if I did not do as directed. From then on, our janitor had been putting posters all around the school of ‘The Great Belly-Dance Show’ which was to be happening tomorrow after the lunch-break

How could Hudson do this thing?

I went home and narrated the whole incident to Magpie who did not even turn sympathising eyes towards me. What he only did, as a gesture of sympathy, was a large amount of poop.

During the evening someone visited our house, who was now my staunch enemy, Hudson. I did not talk to him but saw him with scornful eyes. Seeing my discomfort he patted my back and said, “You are my good friend, no doubt regarding it, but I should not even spare my friend in my professional career. To make it easier, you should behave with me like a principal in school while as a friend in everywhere else”

I was astonished to see such an injustice.

January, 11^th^

People started giving me scornful look in school after that rat incident. Another thing happened. Meena ma’am is not found anywhere. The CCTV footage showed her entry in the staff-room but she wasn’t found anywhere in there.

For a group of boys (who were referred to as hooligans), I was a great hero while for some I am a nuisance.

Mayo stared at me and laughed heartily. He was not an exception. Everyone did this.

I have set a record for being punished by a new Principal who had come just four periods ago. With these, my life had become hell. But I cannot do anything because my hands are tied. Don’t believe? Let me explain. Actually, the group of boys who had accepted me as their hero plays very unusual games. I was completely unaware of that thing when they asked me whether I will play with them. I accepted only because I need some friends in this dire crisis. When they narrated the game to me, I could do nothing but play this deadly game.

Rules Of The Game:

*X will tie and gag and hide Y

*A, B, C will have to find Y

*X will try to distract A, B, C

*Y will have to stay in that position until A, B, C finds Y out.

In this game, I was Y (not intentionally, it was a lottery system who will become what) and when Lady Luck is needed most, she will stab me.

Thus, I was tied and gagged by X and was hidden somewhere in an A.C. duct. The whole area was filled with darkness and I kept waiting for A, B, C. It was a horrible experience. The hands were itching but I could not scratch them. Then, I realised someone else’s presence in the duct. At once I realised it was Meena ma’am from her snore. She was astonished to see that finally, someone had finally managed to find her. What she did was even nastier. She just punched me very hard in the face. Despite the gag, I screamed so hard that all the staffs came and I became unconscious.

When I opened my eyes, the surrounding was looking like Paradise. No, not Heaven. Paradise is our local nursing home.

The doctor told me that police finally arrested Meena Mam. Oh, what happiness I got! For me, a mystery has been cracked.

I was not forced to perform the belly dance because:-

#
h3<>. I was badly injured

#
p<>{color:#000;}. For me, the mystery of Meena Mam had been solved.

January, 12th

After the arrest of Meena Mam, there must be a new music teacher.

When I went to school today, what I saw was unbelievable. I saw my Aunt was roaming in the school premises. I do not know why, but my heart kept beating like drums. I asked the Janitor and he said, “Don’t you know your Aunt is the new music teacher?”

These particular words almost made me faint and I went berserk. There on that spot, I screamed so hard that all the sounds became comparatively low. Then, Principal came; who held me by the ears and said that I was becoming very naughty and he took me to his office. He told me that Aunt was a substitute teacher, only for today

January, 13^th^

Today is a Friday and today is a 13th. My family spends this day entirely in the temples to drive away Satan from our family. They buy numerous amulets and other religious things.

“You know Shaggy that my Grandfather’s cousin’s friend’s daughter-in-law’s nephew’s Mother’s sister once disappeared on Friday 13^th,^” said Grandma.

“From then on”, continued Grandma, “we never go out of our house the whole day”

“Yippee! Leave from school today” I declared.

“No, I mean, yes, but we have decided that we all will teach you today” added Mother. This horrified me.

I pretended to search something from the Internet (Actually, I was making a fake HTML web page about the beliefs of Friday 13th)

“Mum, see what I found on the World Wide Web!”

 

http://www.astrologysays.com/Friday_13th

 

Friday, 13^TH^

 

According To Our Astrologer, Friday 13^th^ Is The Day When The Ghosts Or Satan Appears At Anytime, Anywhere. People Are Asked To Stay In Their Home As Long As Possible. If Possible, They Should Also Serve Their Children Well Because During This Day God Comes On Earth And Reside Inside The Children’s Body. If God Is Served Well, He May Drive Satan Away From Your Family.

Tips To Obey:

*
h3<>. Do As Your Children Tell You.

*
h3<>. Do Not Force Them To Study.

*
h3<>. Do Not Disturb Them In Their Sleep

“Shaggy! Say what do you want?” said Mother

“I want you all to clean Magpie’s poop for one day. And I want you to cook a delicious meal. You may also order from a restaurant. I want you to shampoo my hair, to do my homework, to arrange a party for my friends tomorrow, and so on and so forth.

“Okay,” gasped Mother.

I thought I was taking the advantage of their blind faith but I realised that sometimes I need to relish and enjoy in order to live. Life is always not going to be a bed of thorns for me.

Now, I do not have time for Philosophy. I would have to invite all the friends for the party.

Other family members were running after me to satisfy me. It was like a dream coming true. Truly, it was giving me extreme joy.

The supper was a lavish one with all types of non-veg and veg items along with beverages and desserts; all for me.

Actually, sometimes a lie is not always very bad.

January, 14^th^

Father told me that there is a great surprise waiting for me. And when they tell ‘surprise’ I would basically replace the sentence with a more appropriate word:

Father told me that there is a great danger waiting for me.

It was understood that I would be humiliated in front of my friends. The party was going to be held in our big green yard. Slowly, evening came and my friends started to come. But, really, there was no sign of any mishaps. Instead, we were actually enjoying. Great rock music came and the dark evening yard was filled with the song and dance. There were so many delicacies that I could hardly understand. It was truly great!

Suddenly, a spotlight fell on me from nowhere. What was the hell going to be?

Everybody stared at me because now I am the centre of attraction.

“Now, in between us, we have the mastermind of our party” started Father, “who is going to confess everything to his BFF

“What!” I said

“Yes!” added Mother

“But I have no BFF now.”

“Yes, but what about your ex-BF?” asked Grandma

“That is the matter of my personal life. Now, unfortunately, it has been publicised”

“Do you really think it” someone said, “then what about all the letters that you wrote to me?”

I realized that the ‘someone’ is actually Mayo.

“Oh, the letters have been disclosed?”

“Yeah”

For your kind information, I have written innumerous letters expressing my grief. And for some anonymous reasons (I bet the reason is my family only) they have also been publicly available”

“Now, we are going to read three best letters among the letters written by Shaggy”

Letter 1:

Dear God,

It Was The Worst Day When I Lost My Bf. It Was Strange But He Just Walked Pass Me Without Even Noticing Me. You May Wonder But I Tried To Talk With Him But He Was Hanging With Another Boy. Tears Rolled Down My Emotional Heart And It Was Like My Floor And My Roof Had Collapsed. I Decided Not To Disturb The Two New Friends And Continued To Bear The Torture.

Ps: I Also Got A Letter Claiming The End Of Our Friendship.

WITH LOVE: Yours Tiny Devotee.

Now comes Letter 2: --”

“Wait, let me make you understand your misunderstanding. First of all, I never gave any letter claiming the end of our friendship”

“So what about this?”

“Actually I faked it” said Rupsa who took me to Principal for the ‘rats in the tiffin’ mischief.

“So, only for you we have been misunderstood” I and my BFF said

“But what about the other boy with whom you were hanging out?”

“You are so dumb! Can’t you remember him? He lives in my campus and you met him two years back. He had recently joined our school at a lower class”

“So, you meant we are still friends”

“Of course!”

“So, is there any need to read the rest two letters?”

“No!”

“By the way, who invited you to this party?”

“Rupsa”

“Yes! I did it. I was filled with guilt for breaking your friendship”

“Why did you do it then?”

“I was only trying to impress you”

(How Can She Impress Me By Faking A Friendship-Ending Letter?)

“You mean you like me?”

“Yes!”

“That means we can go on a date?”

“Ouimmma!!” shouted the crowd

“Yes!” she said shyly.

Now, I have got a double bonus.

BFF + GF= Happy Life!!

I went running to my parents.

“For you I have got back Mayo. Moreover, I also got a new Girlfriend, only for you”

Really, this party is truly an impressionable party

January, 15^th^

Heaven’s sake, my family could not see me sleeping till 10am. They hurled me up at 5am and decided to go to a picnic.

“What!” I said, “Do you all really know the meaning of picnic?”

“Don’t be so mean Shaggy; I have gone to picnic many a times with your Father” Mother said

“Really!”

“Yeah! We have also gone to Goa and there he peed in the open sea”

“Don’t disclose it” Father whispered.

“Then what happened that you suddenly stopped going there?”

“Then, sadly, you were born” Both of them screamed.

“Oh! I see”

“Pack your bag. I have asked Mayo and Rupsa to accompany us” Aunt declared.

“But where is the picnic spot?” I asked her.

“Digha” Uncle said

“It is an excellent holiday spot” Mother added

“You must know the difference between a picnic and holiday” I corrected them.

“So, we are going for a holiday, then” Uncle said.

“But what about school tomorrow?” I asked Mother

“Actually, your Principal, declared a week’s holiday for the school is under construction. Some miscreant had broken all window panes and the chairs and desks.”

(The miscreant is, as far as my knowledge, our old Principal, the ex-vandal)

Quickly packed my bag.

“Let me see the tickets of the train” I said.

“What! We are going by car.” Father declared.

“But who is driving then?”

“Your Father” Mother said.

“You mean that Father who had failed the driving test twice before passing with a bad marks and who had once pushed an elderly women with his driving skills and almost killed her?”

“How many Fathers do you have?” Mother said sarcastically.

“Today must be the last day of our life because with Father at the wheels I can’t be assured. Moreover, we are not going alone. Rupsa’s and Mayo’s family is also coming”

“Who said their family is coming? I said I have invited them, not their family. And believe me; their family did not disapprove my decision”

“Have you told them Father is going to drive?”

“No”

“That is why they have not disapproved of the holiday”

“Now, we have 4 adults, 3 minors and 1 dog. In which car can they be accommodated? Because we only have a four-seater car”

“We will manage it” Uncle assured.

“Manage how?” I asked.

“By booking another car” Mother replied.

“Who will give you a car in the early dawn?” I questioned.

“We have already booked one yesterday, before the party”

“Okay. But we should really change the driver” I suggested.

“My Brother is an excellent driver” said Aunt.

Well, ‘excellent driver’ was a compliment or a sarcastic reply, I am completely in doubt.

We boarded the car and have to pick up Rupsa and Mayo on our way. The car was actually comfortable enough to fit eight people. But, is Hudson not going with us?

“Mommy, is Principal not going with us?”

“No, he has already gone there yesterday to greet us at the Digha bus stop. But unfortunately he has gone on a scooter and he may be missing or something because his phone is unreachable. And it may occur that we had reached Digha earlier than him”

“Oh! I see”

I exchanged some thoughts with Mayo and Rupsa who, I felt, were becoming merrier with my humour.

We reached the bus stop at about 8am and surely enough, Principal was nowhere to be seen. There was no crowd there and we decided to go to the hotel. But incidentally nobody had booked the hotel yet. Wonderful!

Adding fuel to fire, Father inquired in almost all the nearby hotels but there was no room empty in any of the hotels.

“Can’t we just go and sleep on the beach” Father insisted.

“And we may bath in the salt water, eat the living crabs and prawns, change in the open, and stay under the Sun and…………..” Mother said.

“Yes! That would be okay”

“I want a room now!”

All these violence, Mayo and Rupsa were watching with disbelief.

“Can’t we just ignore them?” I insisted upon them.

“Do not worry, I have already booked three rooms yesterday in a sea-view hotel” said an anonymous voice, most likely to be of Principal’s.

All of my family members said “Thank you very much, Hudson”

“We’ll call a taxi and go to the hotel. By the way, where is it?” Father asked.

“Dunno. An agent said that he had booked a hotel and took a large sum of money from me. But I forgot to ask the name of the hotel”

“Where did you find the agent?” Aunt interrogated.

“In one of the streets back at our home”

“So, you see that a street-side agent from Kolkata can book three rooms in a hotel at Digha without a computer or a mobile?” I charged upon him.

“How much money did he take?” Uncle said.

“Some ten thousand” Hudson replied.

“What! You have been fooled” We all exclaimed.

“Who has the power to fool the Principal of an influential school?”

“A street-side beggar” Rupsa said.

“Now, Rupsa and Mayo, I seek extreme forgiveness to you two because we would have to sleep in the beach only” I said.

We definitely had to sleep on the beach if a man had not come. And guess who it was? Principal, not the present one, but the previous.

“Hullo! I have a large hotel in my name in the outskirts of the city and I may give you three vacant rooms there. Yes, I know that for you I have been arrested but then I realized that it was my fault to take a bribe”

Thus, we escorted Ruth Sir to his hotel and surely, it was an extravagant one. More specifically, it was majestically built. We were allotted three sea-facing rooms but none of them thanked Principal. While all of my companions were refreshing themselves, I went to Principal on the roof and tried to lower his grief

“Don’t you think that my family must say at least a thank you to you?”

But he was not in a state of answering because he was completely drowned in alcohol.

“Hey, you………..*hic*……..*hic*…………bring me the soda water. Else……*hic*……..I would kill you”

“But sir, I am not a waiter”

“Yes……..*hic*……..I know that, for you must be my childhood Aunt who disappeared……..*hic*……. into the woods”

Saying this he hugged me tightly; the smell of his mouth almost fainting me.

Just them Mother came running and beat Principal hardly in the head with a stick.

“What!!…………….*hic*……..*hic*…..” and he fainted.

“Mother, what did you do?”

“Was this your Principal?”

“Yes”

“I thought it was a street side beggar”

“But what will a street-side beggar do on the roof of a five star hotel?”

“Huh?” she was intrigued

We decided to leave Principal alone and never disclose this to anyone. But as I said Luck stabs us at the wrong moment, two policemen came and handcuffed Mother. How did they know about this? This must be because of the CCTV cameras. Believe me, what the police told:

“You were separating a Father from his son”

What! Principal is my Father and I am his son?

“Officer, you understood it with wrong perspective. In other words you are misunderstanding the whole situation. Actually……………”

“We have no misunderstanding that this is your Father because if he is not why will he hug you?”

“Because………….”

Actually their misunderstanding happened because the CCTVs do not have sound and the video footage was soundless, the policemen must not be able to know that Principal was actually drunk.

While Mother was being carried to the police van, Mayo, Rupsa, Father, Aunt, Uncle and all the hotel staffs were witnessing the scene. They must hear the cry of Mother: “I am the President of Education for Elevation and I have the extreme power to withdraw the allegations, and you cannot do anything to me”

But her cries were heard by deafening ears. Father secretly told me that we must bail her not before tomorrow because he wanted to sleep at least one night without Mother’s snore.

“But what if Mother asked why did we not bail her?”

“Simply tell that the police told that no one can get out of a prison within twenty four hours of arrest”

“Okay”

So Father went to sleep in his own, unshared room while Mother also had her own, unshared cell. So, both of them must be happy. But the real problem was with me because I was sharing a room with Rupsa and Mayo. Actually, it was a very great crisis because Mayo is always obsessed with health and Rupsa is a girl.

Firstly, I never know how to behave like a girl so I do always try to ignore her. While I can’t accompany Mayo with his obsession of health, what I can only do is read a book or watch television.

Father had said not to go to beach alone, because whenever a tsunami can come.

Just then I remembered, “Where is Hudson?”

I went out of the room but did not find him in the whole hotel. But then I remembered “Where is Ruth Sir now?”

So, I am a little boy finding two mad men in a city as big as Digha.

At last I found them both, at the beach tea stall. They were enjoying to the fullest while I were finding them like mad. Thus, I returned to my room only to find that it is locked.

“Rupsa, please open the door”

I waited for half an hour but there was no reply. Then I realized that it was locked from outside. But there were no one in the room. Instead when I looked from the balcony, I saw Rupsa and Mayo sitting together in a bench.

“So, Rupsa had ditched me for Mayo!”

It was truly a very ‘adventurous day’ because of all the things that happened. Dad will sleep well tonight but my sleep is destroyed by the two couples.

January, 16^th^

Father decided to bail Mother out. Naturally Mother asked why he had not bailed her out yesterday and I had to tell the lie. Fortunately, I blackmailed Father by stating that if he does not gift me a laptop, I would simply disclose the secret. So, as you know, Father asked Mother:

“Darling, can’t we get Shaggy a new laptop?”

Of course, Mother was very much astonished to hear this from the greatest miser and she answered in astonishment, “Honey, when did you have the Brain Transplant?”

“Huh?” Father replied.

Now, Digha’s sea beach is basically a place which may seem interesting to some newly-wed couples on the account of their honeymoon, but for three children of thirteen years, it is just a desert with a continuous supply of saline water. Yes, that how I describe the place in one sentence!

So, Mayo and Rupsa had a wonderful idea of something thrilling. Obviously I was the mastermind of the whole idea

Basically, the idea was inspired from our (new) geography teacher who is somehow laugh-loving. While in an excursion at a hill-station during her school days, she had nearly killed her Principal out of sheer scare. Her plan was excellent, excellent enough to be a big super-hit horror film. She had covered her body with white cloth and had done a monstrous make up with tomato ketchup (which resembled blood) dripping from her lips. Her kohled eyes must be scary and her unkempt hair must have added to the makeup a very spooky appearance.

She had decided to roam in the hotel with a lantern and that was the final touch in her horrendous face. Her idea was to frighten her seniors but unfortunately while roaming about in the hotel, she noticed her Principal who had a cardiac arrest.

Our plan is the same plan as hers; except for seniors, we will frighten our family members. Now, as we do not have a white cloth at the instance, we decided to use the bed-sheet of the hotel. That was easy but is too long for Rupsa to wear. Although, she had made numerous rehearsals, a fright still prevailed in her, making her fuss about her tensions every moment.

“I may not be able to do this, although I am a very good actress, but still……………” she continued while we two best-friends have to endure the torture.

Finally night came and off she went just behind the curtain of the room where parents were.

(When She Entered The Room, My Parents Were Not There. Actually, When She Entered, My Parents Were In The Roof, Playing Some Kind Of Childish Game Called ‘Musical-Chair’. We Bribed The Receptionist Rs.100 And He Gave Us The Duplicate Key To My Parent’s Room. Deal!).

Now our plan is bound to be successful.

However, Mother or Father never returned to their room. Rupsa, being bored by standing behind the dusty curtains, decided to accompany us to find my parents. We went to the roof and hid behind the water tank. I did not expect them to still continue the musical-chair! Just then someone screamed from behind us. But there was no one.

(In case, you are thinking this is a real ghost, you are wrong because the scream, we later realized was from a hotel staff who had come to the roof to serve chicken dumplings to our parents and had fainted seeing Rupsa’s fake-ghost-make-up)

We quickly picked up all the dumplings and went down to consume them. Being failed in our attempt to scare, we decided to satisfy us with the dumplings only.

January, 17^th^

“Hurry up! We shall soon move out of this hotel”

I woke up with drowsiness and opened the door only to find Aunt in a very nervous mood. She was continuously repeating only one sentence, “Let’s move out of the hotel”

“Why, what happened?”

“No time for that, only move, there is a huge disaster in here”

“So, we are moving out from the only hotel in the whole Digha which has vacant rooms?”

“Yes” said Mother in a serious voice, such voice that I can’t disobey her.

I hurled my two friends from the bed and informed them about the unfortunate matter.

We did not have much time to pack our bag because Mother said; we are going to get out at 11 a.m. Now, it was 9 a.m. in between these 2 hours, we have to bath, throw out our excreta in the commode, dress up, pack our bags, etc. The main problem was that we were three and the washroom was only one. So, to save time, we decided to let Rupsa get into the washroom first while we will pack our bags. Then, after Rupsa gets out from there, instead of one at a time, we decided that Mayo and I should use the washroom at the same time. To make things clearer, while I would get rid of my excreta, Mayo will take the shower and vice versa. We decided that to maintain our privacy, we would blindfold each other. This was really a time-saving plan!

Everything worked fine except Rupsa who fussed about the casualty of today’s generation (as if she belonged to Grandma Grambolica’s and Grandpa’s generation!)

At last, we were ready and waited for other adults to get ready. To our surprise, everyone else was ready, except us children.

“How?”

“Because we thought of a strategy. We would miss today’s shower and for the potty, your Father decided to use the hotel’s public washroom, I decided to do it in our room, your Uncle decided to go to the nearby bush and your Aunt did it in one of the hotel staff’s residence. You know, a hotel staff live just beside the hotel”

“And where did Hudson and Ruth Sir do?”

“I do not know. Actually, I have never seen them after yesterday evening”

“Let them go anywhere they want. They must have returned to Kolkata”

So we sat in the car and drove to some unknown destination.

“By the way, why did we check out from the hotel?”

“Because there were three ghosts there”

“Who told you?”

“Yesterday, while we were playing musical-chair we suddenly heard a sound. While investigating the source of it, we found an unconscious hotel staff. When he regained consciousness, he told us:

‘Ma’am, while I was coming to the roof to serve the chicken dumplings, I saw three silhouettes behind the tank. Two of them were headless boys and one of them was a woman, all clad in white and blood dripping from the lips. I am not sure, but they must be the “chicken eaters” of the hotel because after I woke up, I saw no chicken dumplings in the foil which I had brought for you all”

“Hai Rabba! For this, you checked out from the best hotel in Digha? Most of the time, he was exaggerating. How can he tell that we were headles…………….”

I would have disclosed the secret if Mayo had not gagged me.

“So, where are we going now?”

“To some dormitory where we would find a night-staying place”

“I can’t bear this anymore, please stop this ‘adventure’”

“Oh! You feel this is an adventure? So, what about if I tell that we have to spend our night in this car only?” said Uncle.

“But why?”

“Because, as I can see, the lead actress from the globally acclaimed inspirational film ‘The Burning Housewife’ had come to Digha to promote her film and from nowhere she decided to stay at a dormitory. So, to support her, all tourists from the other parts of the state as well as foreign countries have come to spend their nights at different dormitories across the city. Moreover, if you find this news to be shocking, you may check the website where there shows the vacant rooms of the numerous hotels and dormitories across Digha”

And believe me, all the things which Uncle told was unbelievably correct.

“So, who are going to sleep in the back?” questioned Mother

Everybody raised their hands because the back was the most comfortable area of the whole car for there were two stretched seats at either side.

However, both Mother and Aunt gave us a violent look to indicate that nobody but they will occupy the two back seats.

Now, as Mother and Aunty had been allotted to sleep at the back two seats, there were only five seats left; three in the middle and two in the front.

Now, as soon as everyone heard the number of seats left, everybody went nuts. After a heated argument, Rupsa and Mayo decided they should sleep together in the front (how mean of that because Rupsa was my GF).

So, I have to sleep with Uncle and Father in the middle. And you know what? Father and Uncle forced me to sleep in between them, claiming that I would be a good pillow to both of them (how selfish!). Magpie slept on the hood of the car.

Dinner was awful; dried stale bread which we had kept aside for the beggars in our trip or if beggars refuse to take them, they were for Magpie. Nobody, except Mother and Aunt wished “Good Night” and we went to the uncomfortable slumber.

Some hours later, I found me awake and worried that I must be affected with insomnia. But no, the actual reason of my sleeplessness was the snoring competition in which everyone else in the car took part. I was astonished by the fact that Rupsa was leading the scoreboard. Thus, I decided to either kill everyone else or myself. But, none could be possible. Truly, this is the most ‘adventurous’ trip of my life. With rising annoyance, I waited for dawn to break.

January, 18^th^

My eyes were bursting with sleep and the red nerves were clearly visible. Since nobody had yet woken up, I decided to disturb them. I opened my sock (the one which had not been washed for consecutive three months) and hung it over everybody’s nose. Sniffing it, everybody woke up in one millisecond and announced they are disgusted with my pranks. So, rest of the day was spent finding a dormitory.

Today, the actress of the film had gone to Kolkata so Digha was deserted. There were numerous vacant dormitories and hotels.

Now, the hotel which we boarded is definitely a cheap one because my family is spending now they are all misers. But, surely enough, the name of the hotel was hilarious; The Rest Inn Palace; which sounds similarly as The Resting Place, which in turn implies, a graveyard or a cremation ground. It happened to be that the hotel manager knows Rupsa.

“How did you know me?”

“Because your Father was an ex-sweeper here”

“What? The current CEO of Crambarini was the ex-sweeper here?”

“Wait, what did you say; Crambarini? From here, we have bought my granny, Mrs.Grambolica’s wheelchair”

“So, will I dance hearing this? I just want to get a proof that my Father was an ex-sweeper here”

“See, there is a staff photo in the Hall of Fame Room”

I disliked her self-respect thing. Yes, a Father could be a sweeper but now he has become a great man of importance. So why is the fuss?

Naturally, she went nuts after getting the ‘proof’ and just as she did; I heaved a sigh because she has ditched me.

REASON FOR THE SIGH: After she went crazy, she just asked Mayo that what he would do if he was in her place and he answered he would do what Destiny has for him. But the real answer she wanted was “I would knock my Father down” and she just slapped him

Actually, I would also say about the destiny because we boys are different. But, Mayo should surely get his punishment.

We actually got a discount because Rupsa’s Father was our acquaintance (although most of us have never seen him). There were three rooms, one for my parents, one for my Aunt and Uncle and one for us three. Ruth Sir and Hudson: not yet found.

January, 21^st^

Today, our school is re-opening and we, again, have a stupid test. This time, it is something called Yess, which means, a loud music will be played and you have to play chess in that distraction.

Basically it means I am going to flunk it, but no! There is nothing called ‘flunk’ out here because we have a draw button which we can use anytime during the game. This means we are declaring each other as the winner. And know what? You still get an A for showing dignity and equality.

I still am scared because if Hudson discontinues this rule. The fun thing is that, Hudson is absent today. And the funnier thing is that the test is cancelled. And the funniest thing is, instead of Yess, we would have a singing test in which I am the best.

I would surely get an A+ but the weather in Digha had made my voice sore. Really!

But fortunately, I got a B+ which is as great.

My suspicion aroused when I found Mayo and Rupsa absent from school today. I thought they have married and gone to their respective honeymoon.

January, 26^th^

I saw the couples (Mayo and Rupsa) in the Central Park today at dawn. They were exercising.

Now, it happened to be that, this is the 5th consecutive day Hudson is absent (Seriously!).

I decided a punishment for Rupsa and Mayo, which would be call the Police and arrest them but I can’t do it because I am a very good boy and I would never try to harm anyone but in case you are really looking for a proper reason, this is because the couples have been very happy, happier than when Rupsa was my GF and since I want a Earth with no sorrow at all, I have decided not to be jealous of them although this is a really sorrowful matter, because in the party, Rupsa had announced in the whole lot of people that she wanted me as a boyfriend.

Parents have been good to me for a few days, don’t know why.

And today was Republic Day, the day when the Indian Constitution came into force. Since morning, I have been hearing patriotic songs. Really felt proud for India!

January, 31^st^

Now, I realized the reason why parents were good to me, because they think that I am the best child of the locality because I have topped a Science Aptitude Test (which I have given in November) and the result is pretty good, 99.5% in average. Our school janitor said that Rupsa has gone to America and Mayo has disappeared. I know this is completely a lie.

// February //

February, 1^st^

Today, we shifted to a new house. Actually it was a gift from Grambolica. She said in her husky voice “You know I am gifting this house to you all. I know that it is a very small gift but please accept it. I may be in my deathbed and now, I want you all to be a part of my property”

We were extremely happy. The new house added to my excitement. It was a three-storey one, with six rooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, a kennel and most importantly a tree-house. The front and the back yards were extra-large. Thank you, Grambolica, may your soul rest in Heaven after your death!

February, 5^th^

This day is very lucky for me. As I got a good academic result, Father promised me that he might give me a laptop (although his ‘might’ actually mean ‘no’).

This is the end of the session. Means, the result of the yearly exams are out and I have been promoted to class VIII with some new adventures. As I have said on the last day of January, Mayo and Rupsa have really disappeared from the society.

I am thinking I should go and find them which means I have to be a detective and in this a very unusual creature will help me—Magpie. Magpie was a detective dog before we adopted him.

But as of now, I am thinking to relax because there are no more problems; all problems are cleared from my life. So, as a happy person, I suggested my family to go to shopping with me. Now, this was the worst thing happened to me. Father decided that we should go there tomorrow because:-

Tomorrow is a great sale day!!

I went to sleep, thinking peacefully about the dire consequences tomorrow.

February, 6^th^ (The Shopping Day)

Father said that we should leave house at 6a.m because he thinks “The early bird catches the worm”

After repeatedly telling him that the malls do not open until 11am also, he never deviated from his decision. So, after defeated by his assurance I went to the mall and see what I told! There was not a single person to be seen around the mall. Even the dogs and beggars were sleeping. So we decided to sit on the pavement and wait. Suddenly, two old men gave us a stare and threw a coin at us. I was so grateful to them but Father was really annoyed because the two men, who were walking their morning walks, thought us a beggar family and helped us. How kind of them!

“Hey, do not try to act smart. You think us a beggar?”

The men re-checked the visibility of their specs and told in an equally loud voice “You do not seem more than a beggar”

Gradually an argument started and I went far away from the place and hid behind a tree. After sometime, I went back to see the outcome of the argument, only to find the old men unconscious, laying on the ground.

“Are they dead?”

“Think so, your Papa beat them once and they fell down. How weak!” Mother said.

I repeatedly tried to make Mother understand that they were not of their age and one punch from Father was enough to end their souls

Took out one of their purses from their pockets and read their ID card. Understood from the victim’s possession and their identity card that they were most probably bachelors. After thirty minutes, two cops came and handcuffed me. What on Earth had I done?

“What have I done?”

“You have killed and stolen the old men’s items. You are a young murderer”

“Wait, what? How could you blame me for this deadly act? Do you know I am the President of the Old Age Take Heed (O.A.T.H) at school? Do you know my Mother is the President of Education for Elevation? Do you know my Father is a………let it be”

“But we have proof!”

“Let me see that with my own eyes”

“Let see”

Then they took out a mobile and showed me a video footage which started with me, taking out the purses from the men and removing something from it. Okay, I know! The whole world will mistake me as the killer guided by this footage. But the real incident of the video was that I was removing the ID card from the purse, and not money, to know their identity. The policemen were so stone-hearted that after suggesting a bribe of Rs.2000/- also by Father, they just hurled me into the van.

I was some far relieved because there was no one to see me and my humiliation. Just then, I noticed someone whom I was trying to find for a week—Mayo. Why on Earth was he here at the moment when I did not want him to be present? He was actually peeping out his head from a car. I knew where he had been—he was with his Grandparents. When I requested the police to spare me for fifteen minutes, they approved the decision because now, the two men woke up after their presumed death. Now, I am guilt free and I went to Mayo to investigate the strange case of “Running Away with Girlfriend”.

He told me the whole story which goes like this:

“Once, I was very jealous when Rupsa expressed her wish to become your GF. Basically I thought of killing you but circumstances forced me to make Rupsa my GF by non-violent means. Our journey to Digha was the best chance to execute my plan and truly she became my girlfriend after I bribed her with lots of souvenirs. Then, one day we decided to run away and marry and then come back to face the dreadful society, we were so obsessed. But then what happened was the most fearful nightmare, to me. Her Father unluckily came to know this and then I got a letter from her describing the ‘hardships’ and ‘utter humiliation’ she would have to face because of our untimely marriage. Then it was clearly written in the letter that ‘from now on our relationship is broken’ and thus, I boarded a car and decided to visit my Grandparents to forget the unforgettable”

I don’t know what to do. I was happy as well as sad. In other words, I was in a dilemma. Many thoughts were taunting me:

#
h3<>. What if Rupsa was still my friend and she did the same thing with me?

#
h3<>. I am happy because Mayo got a lesson to know what happens when we play with someone else’s things

#
h3<>. Where is Rupsa?

#
h3<>. Today was the shopping day but still we were not shopping. Why?

Really, so many questions and not at all answers. Am I really an intelligent thinker? If so, then why can’t I think about studies more than a few minutes and yet luckily I tops every exams (I do not cheat)

Now, I hurled Mayo away because he was wasting much time. Really, this is the worst day of my life.

11:05am: The mall gate opened and we were the first customers so we claimed a large discount. Naturally, we were seen with ferocious, disgusted eyes. Suddenly, without any notice, Mother started bargaining a salwar.

“Momma, bargaining is not allowed here. It is fixed price”

“But rules are made to be broken, no?”

“But it is not necessary that you will have to break them”

“So mean of you! Bloody wretched!”

The ‘bloody wretched’ she said so loudly that I have to walk, lowering my head because all of the staffs were now disgusted with us.

Oh! God, damn my family. People are wondering in disgust, so I tried to walk some distance behind my family, only to find that when I was at enough distance away from them, they were looking back and were calling me with bloody nicknames.

It has been a long time since my Mother and Aunt were indulged in window shopping (as they had called the process, but in their hands there were at least twelve big shopping bags)

Father and Uncle had gone to the electronics shop to stand in the air-conditioner and enjoy cricket. And who’s left, me!

Thus, I decided to go to the bookshop (I am really an intelligent person to think of going to bookstall despite the fact that today is a special sale in the toy store)

There were crowds here, whom I think to be equally intelligent. But things went out when another great thought came to my mind: why are we buying things from a bookshop where the price of the book is so high compared to the books that are being sold online at a cheaper rate?

So I decided to open a business.

“Hello, Ma’am, I see that you want to buy the four books which are in your hand. But I would recommend that you buy these from online because they are a lot cheaper there. I may place your order and you must give me an extra 10 rupees commission as I saved your money”

After she agreed, I took out my mobile and served my first customer.

Now, after successfully placing at least 20 customers’ orders got 200 rupees. If this continues, I am going to be a millionaire because there are a thousand visitors every day. I wanted to continue the business but my internet data balance in my mobile became 0.00MB. So I decided to stop and go back to my family.

When I saw a crowd in the second floor, I went to check up what is there only to find that my family is fighting with the shop cashier for they had billed a large amount of money compared to the items which they bought.

Although they have bought only three items, the bill was about 10,000 rupees because the price of each item was very high.

“Now, this is the last time we are allowing you in this area”[
**]-Quoted by: The Mall Manager

Then, we were humiliated by saying that “a mongrel is better than you, at least they do know where a good place for toilet is”

When I heard this, I could not understand what they are telling but then one of the ‘film watchers’ told me that my family has peed in one of the trial rooms.

A man asked me “How can your family do such a deed?”

“My Family, Being Inexperienced In A Mall, Do Not Know Where A Lavatory Is, So They Thought The Trial Room, Which Are Also A Place Of Privacy To Be A Washroom, Which In Turn Is Also Place Of Privacy. Thus, Foolishly, They Did Their Work There Only And Now, Suffer The Fate!” I replied.

“Can’t we go to another mall?” suggested Mother.

“What if we just go to home?”

Everybody readily accepted.

February, 7^th^

With all the shopping drama, I am totally fed up with me and not my family. Why did not I run away from home? Today our family’s news came into the local paper

Pee in the Trial Room:

Yesterday, the whole city of Kolkata saw a deadly act in one of the shopping malls.

A family of five had come there and disturbed the whole surrounding.

Firstly, Ms.Sudarshana (58) started bargaining a piece of salwar. Her son (19) opened his own business by selling books from online.

And now, Ms. Sudarshana and her husband peed in the trial room. When asked, her son told “May be are not experienced in the mall”

The newspaper editors have given my age 19 but I am 13 and my Mother as 58 but she is 38.

Fed up, an idea struck me and I decided to run away from home. Being an intelligent person I decided to make this case more complicated. I decided to write my whereabouts in the tree-house.

If someone cracks this and comes to take me, I would surely think that the member is the best member of my family. And I decided to hide in Mayo’s house (because he is my emotional support [and vice versa] since Rupsa have betrayed both of us). {Basically I chose his house because he have a large number of video games which interests me and as a rich boy, he has plenty of advantages}

I packed my bag with plenty of food and clothes because it may take my family more than a year to solve the riddle. I decided to move away at 3am.

February, 8^th^

I decided to wait till 7am because I did not want to disturb Mayo or his family in their sleep. Fate took an ugly turn when I saw a note in their door.

Aloha! Went to Hawaii, so no visitor please. If anyone needs us, they can leave a message in our letter box or ping us. Our phone no is xxx-xxxxx-xx

This was the worst thing that happened because now, I have no other place to live in.

Thus, I decided to go to the temple and sit there.

After two hours, I have collected thirty rupees by begging in the temple. Just then, I realised, ‘temple is not my whereabouts’. So, I ran away quickly to Mayo’s doorsteps. Slowly night fell and it became cold. Then I realised how cold must have the little Match Girl faced. Then only, I found out someone with a torch coming near me; must be God!

But after the strange person came to be visible, I noticed it is my Father.

“How come you know I am here?”

“Come back home and I would tell”

I walked back home escorted by my Father. After I reached back, everybody was seeing me with fierce eyes. Then Father started.

“When I came to your room to have a look at your dirty dresses, I found your diary which is very rare to see unprotected. As always I have a lust to see through your diary, I quickly took a glimpse and saw your last day’s entry and saw that you decided to run away. Also the destination was clearly mentioned. So I did not waste a minute. Now, we are not angry because you ran away, but as you have written so much bitter things about us. What do you think, we are not social beings? You have freedom to write as much lies as possible about us?”

I constantly tried to make them understand that a diary is a private thing which is not to be touched by anybody else. Now, things were worsen when my Mother said the ultimate word: “If he can’t treat us as a family, we are also going to boycott him. And there are no ways by which he can seek forgiveness”

“What? Why had the good Lord did not make me remember to bring my diary when I was running away?” I thought inside my mind.

“But……this can’t happen……………as…………….” I started but till then, everybody has gone away to their individual work.

February, 9^th^

Thing are much worse. I am hungry for twelve hours. Nobody has even asked me for last night dinner or today’s breakfast. Inhumanity rose when they gave my food to Magpie. What have I done? Every children of my age writes bad things about his family. What is bad about it? I am too weak to write anymore.

February, 10^th^

Still weak. Only drank some water from school tap and bought a small 5 rupees packet of chips from my pocket money.

February, 11^th^

Nobody has talked to me. Mayo returned today and he was the first person with whom I shared the dreadful news. Now, thoughts about Rupsa are coming to my mind.

February, 12^th^

Magpie, unable to bear my trauma, offered me a piece of fish. I readily accepted it. It was so inhuman for a Mother or a Father to be angry with their child although I doubt if my parents are in human category or not.

February, 13^th^

Oh, man! While delivering newspapers today (Yes, I took the job), I saw an old people’s group having huge fish chops with tea. Seeing me weak and delicate, they asked me what has happened.

“My family will not give food” I replied.

Then, I started crying and as I did not have tissue, I used the newspaper which was to be delivered. The old men were very good. One of them asked me if I would go and have a lunch in their house. I said that I have school, so dinner would be perfect. Now, I am the only boy who will eat at a complete stranger’s home because his own family have abandoned him. I decided to spread the news through social media but it would only add fuel to fire.

Dinner was so good that I could hardly move from his house so he asked me whether I will have problems if I spent my night at his house. His name was Pranesh and he was seventy-five. Still, he looked like twenty. I prayed for him in the temple and wished his longevity. Her mistress was also too young to be claimed seventy-nine. (Pranesh was younger than his wife)

February, 14^th^

Today also, I asked if I could have the supper. My weight showed a considerable improvement after all his nourishment. Mayo was astonished and asked if he could accompany me. I said yes.

Today, I introduced Mayo to Pranesh and his wife. They both were really happy and told me that I have added them a chance for social welfare at their last days. Just then I cleared their misunderstanding that I was not a poor man’s son who could not afford to give me food three times a day.

Then, the subject turned to her granddaughter.

“Tomorrow, my granddaughter is coming to meet me from America. Please do visit me tomorrow. After all, you all are the same age as she”

“Surely, we would come” we said subsequently.

And I nearly forgot that today is Valentine’s Day.

February, 15^th^

My god, I have to be neat and ready, in case, Pranesh’s granddaughter develops a secret crush on me! I took out my best suit from the cupboard and combed my hair neatly. My Aunt tried to ask me where I was going and I replied “To whom, who really cares for me; for whom I have gained my weight; from whom I have received most happiness”

Now, these words intrigued her. I am truly an intelligent person.

Came in time to dinner. Actually, two hours earlier. The door opened and someone I whom I know opened the door. Astonishingly, it was neither Pranesh, nor his wife. It was Rupsa!

For what on hell is she doing here to disturb my meeting with some girl? Later I realised, Rupsa is the granddaughter of Pranesh. I saw Mayo watching television in the living room. I went to him and said. Before I could say, he said “Got a shock? Yeah! I also got but I recovered from it by drinking yoghurt made out of Pranesh’s own cow’s milk. (He has a cow?)

I said casually “Hi, Rupsa? How are you feeling after betraying us?”

“Mind your language Shaggy, I did not betray you. I just visited my Mother in America”

“Oh! Sorry. Please tell the long story, presumably a lie, in a short time what has happened?”

“Nevertheless, listen. My Mother have recently divorced my Father and gone to America to settle there. Now, tragedy came when Mayo asked me to marry him. With my tensions in my mind, I cannot fulfil his desires. So I asked my Father (not the new, but my Mother’s ex-husband) to write a letter to you. And you know what happened after that?”

“No”

“My ex-Father attempted suicide due to depression! I moved to America. Now, grandpa was here, so I decided to still keep contact with him even after his son died (or rather killed)”

“So sad! Prove this fact” I said with rising disbelieve, “how dramatic can a life be?”

“Oh, stop it. Grandpa has the death certificate with him”

After all doubts were cleared, I was sure that wonders do not happen only in movies.

February, 16^th^

My family, still angry with me. Mayo messaged today “I am away”

Where on Earth does he go? Recently he went to Hawaii. Now he is going to somewhere else. He does not have any worries for school (nor for his best-friend).

February, 17^th^

Nothing to be written from today till 24th as our school has arranged a week-long Science Activity Test for which we have to learn every chapters from Chemistry, Biology and Physics books. Also, I found out Mayo is away because of the Science Activity.

February, 21^st^

Can’t bear the pain of not writing today’s entry. Something happened which could have changed my life. Today an unknown person came to our house with our school magazine in hands. He asked “You have a bright literary career! I had read your short story, ‘People in form of Demons or Vice Versa’. I want your story to be published in our magazine”. I was happy with extreme excitement. But tomorrow is our Physics Activity which is very bad if flunked. So I hurled him away after telling him to come on 24th

February, 24^th^

Done well in the activity week. The man who claims to bring me, my bright career has come and I gave him the copyright. So now, I am a published author. But what will happen in school, then? The story is to be published in March issue. I waited for it.

February, 25^th^

After so much happiness also, my family are not in talking terms with me. Damn them!

February, 28^th^

Nobody talked to me. I ate at Pranesh’s house. Rupsa told me that she will have to go back to America because of unknown reasons. Mayo still hasn’t returned.

//March//

March, 1^st^

Today, my story was published with well reviews. It was on pg.no 102. So, people would have taken time to find it out. Then, I went out to see how much I am popular. I must say that 98% of our society is illiterate because nobody pointed me out. Only two people, one boy and a man came to me and said “Well done!”

It was in today’s school that I got totally appreciated for my work. My Principal (a new one) came and told me that my future is obscure. Yeah! Firstly I also got a shock but then he explained to me “See, you are so good in English, much better in Mathematics, genius in biology and physics, excellent in computer…………so how can you decide what will you do in future years?”

Rupsa is not coming to school because she is developing ‘school phobia’ which is some rare type of disease (I think this is completely a lie) which makes a person scared of school. Dinner at Pranesh’s house, again but no sight of Rupsa there. He says, “My granddaughter seems to roam around the city”

March, 2^nd^

Things are much worse. Grambolica died today due to laughter. She was seeing a sitcom when she suffocated and ultimately died ‘happily’. Rituals were to be done by me but my family restricted me to touch anything. So I am planning to run again today. But things get complicated when I could not find a place to run away. So, I decided to board a train and went to some distant place. Asked Mayo if he would do the same with me or not. He accepted to accompany me until his cousin’s marriage next month. I packed my case and remembered to take my dear diary with me this time.

March, 3^rd^

I booked the train’s ticket. I went out of home in school uniform but then behind a bush I changed my uniform.

Mayo came in a bicycle and told me “Hey, look! My Father bought it for me yesterday when I said I was running away. He said that he would be rather upset when he I am away from home.”

“My God! I can’t take you with me. You have disclosed that we were running away”. The dumb-witted Mayo!

Boarded the train and bid Mayo a very unlucky school life. Things are much worse now. My co-passenger is an old man who keeps exaggerating how he had killed a large crocodile during World War II in 1957. Well, somehow I think that WWII was over by 1957. Ate some junk food and slept peacefully.

In the middle of the night, I thought about how I will be hampered because of the days I am absent from school.

March, 4^th^

At around 6am, my destination station Haridwar appeared. I alighted from the train. Found a nearby small temple where I decided to spend the whole life. My life is in obscurity.

Before going inside the temple, I decided to venture the place. The shops were filled with delicacies. Rabri, pera, rasmalai all were there. I visited the famous Har ki Pauri Ghat to see the Ganga worship. Then went back to temple.

March, 5^th^

The temple main priest called me up at 6am and lectured about the blessings of the Almighty.

Dear, I don’t know who you are, or from where have you come but one thing is clear, the Benevolent must have sent you here. God, irrespective of all the names He is being called, is only one. He is the one who is responsible for the birth of a baby, He is the one who is to be blamed for the death of a person, and He is the plotter of our life. So, you rest assure and stay at this adobe of God till you wish. Good morning!!

I was so grateful to him for telling such religiously correct things. He broadened my Mind, thus, soothing me. Now, I am free of worldly ties. Temple is my home, hence.

Went to Rishkesh with other temple beggars on a tour to Lachman Jhula and Ram Jhula. They were basically two hanging bridges, constructed over the Ganges.

Also saw the one-faced rudraksh.

March, 6^th^

Mayo tried to call me today but due to the ringing of the temple bells, the call was inaudible. I was offered food by the temple authorities. But before becoming a bona fide member of the temple, I had to fill up some formalities. The temple officer asked me some questions which I answered truthfully.

*
h3<>. Where have you come from?

ANSWER: From my Mother’s womb

*
h3<>. Are you an orphan?

ANSWER: No, but I have disregarded the presence of my parents and ran away from house. I was treated badly.

*
h3<>. Do you have any horrible past?

ANSWER: Yes, definitely. Firstly, my girlfri…….. (Stopped)

*
h3<>. What is that past, tell me?

ANSWER: Nothing, I do not want to remember that again

*
h3<>. What is your name, age, etc?

ANSWER: I am Shaggy from distant Calcutta, aged 13years, 11 months. I am very poor and needy.

After these questions, they made me a lifetime member of the temple. I was given four day’s meal and enough money from the rich pilgrims. I am very happy!

March, 7^th^

In the temple, came today two ascetics. I felt that they were an acquaintance. But I don’t actually know who they were. So, I went to them and asked “Who are you all? It seemed to me that I know you”

“Yes, why shan’t you know me? We are Brothers, you are the Son of God, and we are also the Son of God”

“No, I am not saying philosophically. I think we had a very deep relationship.”

Just then we both had a shock and I announced “Ruth Sir and Hudson!”

“Shaggy?” they announced.

We both said together “What are you doing here?”

Then after a long story, I understood that when we returned from Digha to Kolkata, they didn’t have money for a return ticket. They started begging on street and one day, when their turning point of life came, they realized that they should become ascetics.

And I also told them my story. They just cried and declared “Shaggy, my lad, denounce from all worldly ties” and went away.

March 8^th^

I am desolately feeling bad. Nobody is there to talk with me. With nothing to do, I pondered about my life the whole day

March, 9^th^

Today was a festival in the temple. It was awesome. I mean the food. But unfortunately, only veg. Anyway, I ate is with relish.

March, 10^th^

Decided to go away from the temple. I am bored with the regular veg-food and the temple bells’ chiming.

March, 11^th^

Woke up at 2am in the night and went to the nearby station. Found a train going towards Mussorie. As I am passionate enough for hill-station, I booked a ticket for tomorrow at 9pm. Moreover, the ticket was very cheap (Rs. 100/- only)

March, 12^th^

Boarded the train at around 12am at night because the train was 3hrs late. Such a disturbance, my whole schedule is wasted!

March, 13^th^

Journey in train.

March, 14th

Reached Mussorie, came to know that a Tonga to the nearest hotel needs minimum 300 rupees. But only Rs.200 left in with me. Suddenly spotted my Father in a worry drinking lassi in a dhaba. I reached him and said “What happened papa, is it my whereabouts which worries you?”

“Lad, where were you for these span of 11 days? Anyway, no, I have been sacked from job and nowhere else to go, so I am worried. So I came to Mussorie to visit the beauty”

What! I am not to be found for 11 days and he has to worry about his job, and not me?

“I can only sympathize on you” I said.

“I don’t need your sympathy. Your Mother has found a job in the local library and she will make enough money, because nowadays, people are more careless in returning their books within the due date. Thus, they have to pay a fine which will be the major and only source of income for us. By the way, your Mother has hiked the fine price.”

“I see, how much has she hiked the fine price?”

“To only 50 rupees per day from Rs.1 per day”

Then I remembered that I have not yet returned a book and the due date has expired over a period of a couple of months. So, much money would be forcefully taken from me.

“Have you enjoyed your freedom?”

“Yes, but I know Mother is rising tantrums and crying in my memory”

“No, she is instead calm and steady. She did full body rejuvenation from a highly acclaimed parlour and now she looks a little less than 28”

“How could that ever be possible, Mother is almost 39. How could one rejuvenate? You must be joking”

“See your Mother for yourself. She is shopping in the shop beside this dhaba”

“She is here, in Mussorie?”

“See clearly, she is shopping there.”

I went to the shop. For an instance I thought I had found Mother and went and patted on her back. It was a much older woman, whom I patted, and she started jabbering that nowadays children touch any elderly without anybody’s permission.

Found her at last. She was shopping opposite to the elderly woman whom I have just met.

I went and said “How had you completely changed yourself?”

“Once you get away from my life, I can even change the unchangeable”

“Have my absence impacted you in anyway?”

“Clearly, No. I mean, positively, yes. Because I became so much beautiful”

I could really see her youth. She had become 10 shade fairer, 10kg lighter, 10inch taller, 10% more intelligent, etc.

My parents said that if I give them rs.200, they can arrange for a hotel for me. I readily accepted. Father, whose is presently jobless, is constantly jabbering about how his boss had been ruthless to him. And all this jabbering he was doing while he was driving to our hotel in Mussorie’s hilly areas. I asked the name of the hotel. Found out it is “Grand Palace”. Suddenly I realized that this is the hotel in which several years ago, a man pooped and didn’t flush it and from then on, the poop is still rotting. No one had cleaned it. And when I say that the incident happened “several years ago”, that is several years ago. Believe me, I remembered the exact date and found out it was supposedly 50 years ago, in 1966. This was the biggest news of the country then. And if anybody does not believe this ‘poop incident’ I am sadly saying “This Is True!” and I have proof in the World Wide Web.

When I entered the hotel, I quickly went to the Receptionist and asked him about the famous incident. While I asked him, he was half-asleep and it took me a minimum ten minutes to wake him up.

When after lots of tries, he woke up and I asked him about the whole incident which is going to be the topic of my next story. The title I have already decided; “The Pooping Hotel: A Closed Case Re-Opened”.

THE POOPING HOTEL: A CLOSED CASE REOPENED

Due to heavy media coverage and fear of being disposed, a yearlong case was closed on 13th, December, 1966. The case, well, seemed to be rather funny but this was true. The case was related to poop and……

Sorry, I am not feeling very good to write. When Mother said she will get me a hotel for rs.200, she actually meant I have to clean the dishes in the hotel restaurant to live there, and that too in the dormitory. People can be so inhuman!

Naturally I decided to wash the dishes as I had no other options left. I asked Mother when she was returning back to Kolkata. She replied as soon as she thinks that it is good for her health. I was really intrigued. Had she really became health-conscious?

I asked what had happened in my absence from March 3rd to March 14th.

She said “You are going to become an elder Brother”

How rude can she be! “How did it happen?”

“After you left, yours Aunt and Uncle went to a honeymoon and in the house there were only I and your Father. As your Father had lost his job, he was home for 24hrs”

Now, a thundering crack fell on my head and I collapsed. When my consciousness regained, I tried to calm myself. It must be Grambolica re-born!

“When did you get confirmed about this?”

“March 12th

At night I could not sleep due to tension.

March, 15^th^

Today a great news shocked me. Mayo phoned me and explained that there was a grand celebration at his house and I was to be present there. I asked him what the celebration was for and he said that because he was 13th today. Oh! How foolish of me. I forgot his birthday. I told him about my tensions in Mussorie and he told me that if I was not present he will not eat anything. So I asked him to hire a plane and come to Mussorie to celebrate. Mayo is very rich, he can do anything!

He said that due to some mechanical faults, his plane has malfunctioned and thus he would be unable to come. I said that I would also not be able to come because of some mechanical faults in my Mother and she has malfunctioned. Mayo was intrigued hearing this and I explained him Mother’s pregnancy. He said “Happy Brotherhood!” and cut the phone.

I washed dishes the whole day and at last I got free when the restaurant had to be closed due to shortage of ingredients. I decided to visit the nearby places in Mussorie and then an idea struck me. I realized that one of my favorite authors, Ruskin Bond resides just a few minutes from Mussorie, at Ivy Cottage, Landour. It was a long trudge as I had no money left for any vehicle that would help me to reach. When sweat was tripping through my exhausted body, I knocked on Mr. Bond’s door. There was no reply. I stood there for some minutes and at last went away in despair. Was my favorite author this cruel?

March, 16th

Mother declared that from now on I must keep her happy every time (as if I am the reason for her unhappiness). She also told that she would leave Kolkata tomorrow. I prayed a prayer of relief.

March, 17^th^

Journeyed in train. At a station, two ascetics boarded the train and sang after us to beg for money. We gave them a note of ten rupees and they wined at me. With my keen sense of observation I realized they were my acquaintance, Ruth Sir and Hudson, whom I had met earlier in the temple. Neither Mother nor Father recognised them.

March, 18^th^

Reached Kolkata, boarded taxi, went home, saw the newspaper. The biggest headlines of the news: Poop Hotel Claimed False.

POOP HOTEL CLAIMED FALSE

March, 16^th^, Mussorie:

A renowned hotel, Grand Palace, was claimed to be cursed with a pooping incident until today when a man opened the lavatory and found no proof of a rotting poop. The man said “From childhood only, I knew there is nothing called Poop Curse and I am indeed lucky that my thought was claimed true. And moreover, I am the one who has disposed the curse. (to be contd…)

Became jealous of the man. Wished I was the one.

Phoned Mayo. Said his dad has been transferred to France. I wished him a happy goodbye and asked when he was about to move. He told me that whether he will move or not, is yet to be decided. I wish he moves.

March, 19^th^

Mayo confirmed he is moving to France. I asked what job his Father does. He said he was a suit-case seller and his boss, a bloke called Sash moved him to France saying that he needed globalization. He also stated he would be away on 19th of April. I told him that what he will do after he is settled in France, making him remember him the fact that French is one of the major languages he dislikes. He rang off the phone.

Mother has got fashion-freak and is wearing some new kinds of the so-called fashion wears.

In my point of view, Fashion is a globally acclaimed incurable disease which affects mostly pre-teens, teens and post-teens. But rare becomes the disease when it affects the adults and results in utter humiliation.

Father became alcoholic today. He came back home heavily drunk. Realized the grim reality of world.

March, 20^th^

At 6am somebody was knocking harshly at my door (I mean, my parent’s door). Opened it and saw it was Rupsa. She claimed she is permanently going to settle in America. I did not say anything. But my heart filled with tears. And also my eyes. She came in and hugged me. First experience of love at the age of 1311/~12~ years.

She handed me a letter and made me promise to open it on my 14th birthday. She went away.

Mother’s fashion is increasing day by day. She started dyeing her hair brown. Father has started smoking also. There are almost three empty bottles of alcohols in the dustbin while the fridge is stuffed with it. Asked myself a question, “What am I going to do without Rupsa and Mayo?”

My heart answered “Think positively, they were a nuisance in your intellectual life. It is time that you introduce new characters in life”

March, 21^st^

I am bed-ridden and aggrieved. Not because of Mayo and Rupsa but my today my favourite show’s season finale was broadcasted. So what am I going to do without it? As it is that I watch television very less and now that my favourite show has ended, I feel selling the television away.

Mother started writing what she calls it a novel. She made me read the first two pages. I just feel like vomiting out after reading the draft.

THE SHOPPERS STOP

I was like a leetle afraid when I know that I am go to become a Mother to a children. It was my husband who supports me and I am delivered a good leetle child which named us, Shaggy……

(I can’t read more for I am unable to bear such grammatical mistakes)

“Is this an autobiography?”

“Yeah!”

“I think this should rather be a book of humour”

“So, what do you think about this one?”

“Oh! Sorry, I could not read this ‘piece of shit’. Please pardon me.”

At this Mother snatched the draft and went away to her room and locked it.

A new show addicted me and I am glued to the television while Mother is in her locked room. I do not know if she had committed suicide or not.

March, 22^nd^

At around 10am, I woke up. I wondered why Mother had not waked me up. Realized she still is in her room. Decided to break the door. But after some time Mother on her own came out and told me to read the ‘new novel’. I read it.

THE SHOPPER’S STOP

It was a Sunny, April day. My husband was clenching my hands for I was much feared about the birth of my first child. I must not exaggerate but my husband was the only support of mine during the whole period of my pregnancy. Slowly, a nurse pushed me in a wheel-chair to a hospital-bed. My husband said “Please do not worry, I will be there with you every time”. With this the nurse came and said “Please make way for the patient to the Operation theatre” and pushed me away to the dark dreaded room. They injected me with anesthetics and then when I woke up, a little thing was lying beside me. We decided to call him ‘Shaggy’.

I was really praised because of Mother’s ‘unbelievable’ improvement. I said “You must become a best-seller”

With a sense of self-pride, Mother said “You know, I promised you during your birth that one day you will be proud of me”

With a little suspicion I went to Mother’s room and went nuts on finding lots of failed manuscripts in the dustbin. Her computer was open where I saw a web-page on which there was a similar type of story which Mother wrote. At first I thought that the web-page plagiarized my Mother’s writing but then I realized that it is the other way round, that Mother has plagiarized the whole web-page.

It was a ghastly moment and I went to Mother, snatched the manuscript and used it to wipe my tears. She said “What ails you little son?” I said “You plagiarized a story!”

“What mad things are you telling?”

“Can’t you understand simple English? Oh! I am the fool. You can only plagiarize”

“I have not plagiarized. See the web-page carefully. I have published my story on the page. It’s my blog”

I took another glance at the web-page and saw what was unbelievable. Mother has truly written and published the story.

I patted her back and congratulated her on her achievement.

March, 23^rd^

Around 12pm, a man knocked on our door. I opened it. Realized that he was a publisher. I asked him for what purpose he has come. He said “To visit a budding author”

To make him understand that there are no eminent authors here was very difficult. He continued to say “I want to meet Nina. She writes so magnificently”

I wondered who was Nina and then realized it was Mother’s maiden name.

Mother came into scene. “Oh! Sam. How are you?”

They shook their hands and started to revive their childhood memories.

They both went to the room for a meeting.

At around 5pm, they two came down. The publisher said “Your Mother is bestowed with talents. She needs to keep on writing. I am going to publish her novel shortly”.

March, 24^th^

I am in love with a new person who is a new-comer in my school. Our school is organizing her welcome ceremony tomorrow. Her name is Ms. Nobody. Yes, as you can guess, she is full of obscurity. It seems that her enchanting face has many things hidden in it.

She has a good taste of literature. She has read everything I know and I know many things.

And then my Mother said “You have noticed all these things within one day?” and then I realized I had been blabbing away all these openly in my living room.

She (my Mother and not Ms. Nobody LNU) said “You are really a stalker!”

March, 25^th^

Ms. Nobody is intolerable. She is the type of girl who can blame anyone, even our Principal. Today a boy accidentally fell on her (I don’t know if it was an accident or not) and she slapped him right in the face. The boy is now under medical treatment.

March, 26^th^

Today, during the tiffin break, our whole class was empty, everybody went to play. Only I and Ms.Nobody were there.

And for passing time, we actually conversed among ourselves.

-Shaggy, no, your name? You are well, I must say, famous.

-Oh, Ms.Nobody, you must be exaggerating. I am not so famous, you know.

-But I read your story in the magazine. It was a literary master piece, I must say.

-Yes, I must not negate that it was a literary masterpiece but you also have many talents. Why not disclose them??

At this moment, our further conversation was disturbed for the recess got over and a huge crowd of either gender rushed into the class.

Mother became very authoritative today. She was constantly ordering me to do every chore. From washing the utensils to cleaning the floor, all was to be done by me. Uncle, to some extent, helped me by splitting milk on the floor. And Father was away to his new job, a salesman of religious texts. Aunt was seeing a serial on the TV. Nobody was there to help.

March, 27^th^

Grandpa unexpectedly came today. He said “Since the death of Gramb, I became very sad. Can I stay with you for a few days??”

Mother readily accepted without thinking about the dire consequences that could happen to the household.

I said Grandpa “But for how long? Maybe, not the whole life, I think so!”

This was followed by a minutes’ silence and I knew I had said something wrong. Grandpa burst into tears.

In the dinner table today, Grandpa extremely criticized about the dinner (which in fact was from a restaurant). He said that the spices were not in perfect coordination and the rice was very hard.

I asked myself that being an old man of seventy nine, how he can have so much grudge about food. At his age, he must be grateful for getting any food!

March, 28^th^

A tremendous day, Holi! But not for me, as I will not be allowed to play. This is completely for the advice of my wretched physician, Ms.Suparna. Five years ago, she prepared a fake report which claimed that I have a bloody disease called ‘skin allergy’.

Thus, everyone in my family banned me from using any kind of things causing skin allergy. And holi is mainly based on the use of abir and gulals which are to some extent allergic.

Grandpa was unbearable today. Firstly he drank three glasses of intoxicated bhang and then he lost his sanity. He was then swimming in his own imagination. He danced wildly, without thinking about his wrinkled bones. And then ate many sweets, unaware of his high diabetes. He may also die soon!

March, 29^th^

Last night, grandpa was climbing down the stairs and he fell. Now he is wheel-chair bound. His physician blamed us that we have been reckless about this ‘old man’. I wanted to tell him that the ‘old man’ had been in an intoxicated state last day and ate as much sugar as possible on his own. Now, it happened that the physician could not believe what I said and just said “Now, the world has gone haywire. In our times, we, the grandsons and daughters always helped our grandparents and never showed any kind of disrespect to them. And see now, for a child a dreaded old man is wheel-chair bound”

I felt like slapping the doctor.

March, 30^th^

Grandpa’s wheel chair became useless today. Not because it was poor quality but because he passed away in his sleep. There was complete silence in my heart. In one month, two grandparents lost. How harsh could it be?

Mother’s belly was showing a little swelled up. I think it is going to be twins.

Rupsa called me at 4pm to tell that she is going away on 1st. I cried for a whole 30 minutes.

So many people are going away: Grambolica, Grandpa, Rupsa and far most, Mayo.

I told Mother “Please can you arrange a small party for Rupsa?” and she replied “Yes, but why you are so much bothered? She is not your girlfriend anymore. Your new GF is, as far as my knowledge, Ms. Nobody. Isn’t it?”

“Only a one sided love it is” I said.

So, I phoned Rupsa to tell about her party. She said “How kind of you. I could never remember when boys were so good!”

The party is tomorrow, at midnight.

March, 31^st^

Since morning, I had been busy doing my homework. And my homework is to arrange for the party. And you know it is actually a party. Means, it has disco, delicacies (not the intoxicated ones, although), fun games, etc.

I haven’t invited many people. Only Mayo, Pranesh and Rupsa are invited.

Till the beginning of the party, nothing was wrong. But as soon as the clock stuck twelve, I waited anxiously for Rupsa to come. I imagined her in a white marriage dress, the one Christians wear with a bouquet in her hands. But when it was nearly 1:00am I saw someone in our door step. It was Pranesh. He told “Dear, dear, I may not be able to tell you but………..”

“What happened?” I asked

“But Rupsa has already gone. It’s too late”

“When??”

“Yesterday, in the middle of the night”

“Oh! Why wasn’t I informed?”

“She said me not to inform anybody. In dark wee hours of night, she caught a plane and flew off to America. Poor fellow you are”

And then he quietly went away. The glamor of the party was lost forever. It was in another party where she proposed me and today she is gone, out of my knowledge.

I kept sitting on a chair the whole night, sobbing over Magpie’s fur.

//April//

April, 1^st^ [+(+]All Fool’s Day)

I am only twelve days away from being fourteen. And for your kind information, we are not holding any kind of parties this time. I have completely started disbelieving in parties and the fact that ‘parties are fun’.

Somebody called in the landline. He said “Dear, your short story which was published in the magazine is being selected for the 2016 Booker Prize”. For some moments I can’t express how happy was I with the news. But then I remembered what today is. Then I hung up the phone saying “You are Mayo, right?”

At around 9pm our doorbell rang. The surrounding was calm. I remembered the English proverb ‘before the storm comes the calm and after the calm comes the storm’. I opened it. It was Ms.Nobody. She was much stressed, I felt. She said “Dear, I know that it is very odd time of night. But I want your help. I know that only you can save me. Please”

I said “Without overacting, please say what your distress is” and she subsequently replied “I have not yet finished the science project we got. I have heard that you have a printer in your house, can you print these documents?”

I readily accepted. She gave me a pen-drive and I printed the contents. Then she hugged, kissed me and went away. It was an awesome feeling. I have often heard that if your first love is lost, your second love will surely not betray you. But then I remembered “She didn’t give me the fee for printing her docs”

April, 2^nd^

Today our milkman was accused of giving us 95% water and only 5% milk. Mother just told him that why was he doing so and he replied illogically: “Due to the extreme heat of the Sun, my cows are suffering from dehydration. Then, they are consuming more water and thus they are producing watery milk”. This was followed by a long argument. It lasted for about 1 ^1/^~2~ hours and the winner of the argument was my Mother.

The milkman was banished from the society for milk adulteration and he was forced to give back our money which was equivalent to almost Rs.10000. However, he was allowed to pay them in monthly installs.

Tomorrow is the press launch of my Mother’s book, The Shopper’s Stop and the main guest is Shujata Sombrick, who also happened to be one of my favourite authors. Mother is really happy!

April, 3^rd^

A momentous day. The press launch was very finely arranged. The cover page of the book was excellent, done by artist Rajneesh Dam and the book was launched with great excitement.

It happened that Mother, being boastful author now, said in front of the public “I and my husband are now breaking up. I am two months pregnant now but we decided to break up ‘because we are not compatible with each other’. I am divorcing him on my 1st child’s 14th b’day which is very near, 13th April. I decided to break up now for I am now economically very stable, I can bear the cost of raising two children”

What! She hasn’t told me anything about this divorce drama. She was well, very compatible with Father. I can’t imagine this point of decision. I can’t live without a Father, at least not at this crucial moment of life.

Shujata Sombrick was surrounded by fans. I couldn’t get near her.

April, 4^th^

I know that Father is 75% alcoholic but that does not mean that Mother will separate from him. What is the meaning of marriage then? I told this thing to Mayo. He said “Yeah, I saw the press launch in the TV. I know the news. Very sad, indeed” and I was astonished to find that it has been broadcasted on TV.

I also told this to Ms.Nobody and she sympathized on me. I felt happy in her company.

April, 5^th^

Only 9 days left for me to become:-[
**]*fourteen[
**]*a child to a single Mother

I decided to spend time with my Father as long as possible. I massaged his shoulders today. He gave me ten rupees.

Mayo came unexpectedly today to have a sleepover. I said “I am not prepared for it. I will have to take permission from my parent”

“See, I am going away this month only. I am unsure whether we will meet again. Can’t you do this?”

Mother heard it and said “I have given you all permission. True friends are hard to find” and she started a long (one sided) conversation about her BFF who had gone to USA to study and hence then, never contacted.

With Mayo saw the movie Finding Neverland. Such a movie was never to be found again. Tears came to my eyes!

Could not sleep for Mayo had recently got a high snoring problem

April, 6^th^

Mayo said that he will go away after lunch today. Father had cut down his cigarette intake. There are no single wine bottles in the house. Maybe he is going to impress Mother

April, 7^th^

Oh my god! Today is Rupsa’s birthday. I wished a very happy birthday from my heart.

Ms. Nobody, in school, became very popular for her drawing skills. She had drawn the portrait of our Geography teacher, Mrs. Madhu. The drawing was amazing. I started admiring her more today.

At around 6pm, the doorbell rang. It was Ms. Nobody. She said “Remember you had helped me to print the documents for my project? I am here to repay the loan. I am going to draw your portrait. Please accept it as a token of love”

My heart was bursting with joy. I allowed her to sketch my face. After ten minutes she finished the drawing. It was a ditto copy of my face. I thanked her very much and pasted the sketch in my wardrobe. In this way, I will be remembering the drawing every time I open my wardrobe.

April, 9^th^

Down with fever. ‘A very good end to my 13th year on Earth’

April, 10^th^

I am suffering from dengue. Admitted to a hospital. The hospital nurses are very bad-looking. The dietician had cut down almost every food. Father brought me a bouquet and a ‘get well soon’ card. Mayo brought me Cadbury Marvellous Creation which is new in the market.

Ms. Nobody had heard about this news from my neighbours and she came to me in the hospital with a fruit basket in her hand. How kind of her!

As there is a bloody rule in the hospital that no lights will be allowed after 9pm, I can’t write much.

Platelets had decreased to 90,000.

The hospital nurse gave coconut water ten times today. I am bored of consuming it. Today was the World Television Premiere of a film but I can’t see because the film is starting from 9pm and I have to go to sleep at 9pm.

April, 11^th^

Three days left for my birthday. I am going to be discharged tomorrow. And then finally I can open the letter which Rupsa had given me; a last memento from her.

Mother said that she is going to court today to opt for the divorce. Her solicitor had told her “This is the worst divorce case I have seen. A pregnant woman, divorcing!”

Her newly published book got well reviews. Two nurses were discussing about the book today.

“See, son of the author of The Shopper’s Stop admitted to this hospital. Good, no?”

“Yes, maybe the author gives us an autograph. Serve the boy well”

I was very much proud of Mother. She had finally achieved something.

April, 12^th^

A wheelchair came and took me to the outside of hospital. After so many days, I am finally in contact with the world.

But world does not pacify me. Only three days left for me to be with my Father. Mother’s solicitor had informed that the court has granted the divorce saying “The court has seen a pregnant divorce case once in the recent years”

Mayo has started packing for his departure on 19th. Rupsa’s letter lay in my drawers, waiting to be opened.

Magpie was very ill today. Father said that since I was in hospital, Magpie had not eaten a single molecule of food. I went and rubbed his back. He felt comfortable and fell asleep in my lap.

April, 13^th^ [(+]My 14^th^ birthday and my parents’ divorce day[)+]

Woke up at dawn. Went out of house to see what happens during the dawn. A paper-boy was delivering newspaper. A milkman was on his cycle.

The street beggars were still sleeping. And I went to sit in Jogger’s Park. Nobody was there except a few old men whom I remembered as my friends who had provided me food in the past. But Pranesh was not there. Why?

I asked them and they replied “Pranesh, good dear old friend! He went far away. He will not get back to us again”

“Why didn’t anybody tell me that he has died?”

“Holy Heavens, who said he has died? We meant that Pranesh went away to America, last Tuesday to live with his grand-daughter”

Oh, Pranesh went with Rupsa. So there are no relatives of Rupsa currently living in Kolkata. But I loved her from the core of my heart.

Mother had told that she has been granted my custody. But I wanted a Father also. Father, since morning, was very upset.

I packed my bag to move to my new house which Grandpa had given Mother in his will. The new house has three floors. From today, my house address is being changed to: 19/20A, Shyama Street.

Except Mayo and Ms.Nobody, none had wished me a happy birthday! A card has arrived for me but I don’t know who had sent it. The sender’s name is ‘Your Old Friend’. In one meaning it could be Pranesh or another meaning could be that it is Rupsa. Or, in other ways, it could be Ruth Sir or Hudson

At around 7pm, I blew the candles on the cake and after an hour, a cab came outside our house. Mother said me to take my luggage and sit in the cab. Owing to the heavy suitcases, Aunt and Uncle helped me to take them to the cab. They also looked disappointed, but not as much as Father. He was sobbing.

And at 8:30pm, the engine started and I left my Father, Uncle, Aunt and my very dear Magpie.

April, 14^th^

Yesterday due to all the divorce drama, I forgot to open Rupsa’s letter. Tears came when I read it.

Dear Shaggy,

How are you feeling after being 14^th^? I am not happy in America without you. Remember our vacation to Digha where I became Mayo’s GF and you became jealous of Mayo? I know I have betrayed you by not informing you about my sudden departure. I also know that I had wasted your party which you organized with your heart. But I was forced. After the death of Father and Grandpa’s retirement, I am completely dependent on Mother and step-Father. So please try to forgive me. And a happy friendship with Ms.Nobody.

I openly asked Mother why she had felt incompatible with Father provided she is going to be the Mother of his child. She replied “For a week or two, I was regularly checking your Father’s mobile. He was calling a number regularly thirty five times. The call durations were also very long. I suspected that he is in love with another woman. So, to remove any obstacles from his path, I………..”

“Do you know to whom the number belongs? And you were spying on Father?”

“Leave me, I am starting the sequel. It will be named A Delicate Divorcee

I left her alone.

Ms.Nobody, in school, forgot to do her homework. She was punished. Our rude, foolish class teacher made her sit isolated in the last bench. In her support I have written a poem:

Days were bright when you did your homework’[[
]]but when you forgot, came a gloomy dark,[[
]]teacher of yours made you sit in the last[[
]]is she a human, or worst?

I showed her the poem. She admired me saying that at least someone had cared for her. I felt proud.

But our love story is not starting. Why?

April, 15^th^

Started reading Adrian Mole 13^3^/~4.~ Awesome book written by Sue Townsend. In there, there is a similar character that resembles Ms.Nobody, Pandora Braithwaite. Supposing that I am Adrian Mole, will Pandora ever be my girlfriend?

I am frightened diary. Mayo is going away just after four days. He came and gave me a box. He told me to open it just after his flight takes off.

Dear diary, why all are giving me mementos before going. Rupsa’s letters and Mayo’s box. I’m fed up.

Ms. Nobody, a very studious girl, to my surprise, had joined Whatsapp. Her profile pic is awesome, with her Brother. I didn’t know she had a Brother, although. It could be a cousin, as such.

April, 16^th^

Went to Father today morning. He opened the door. Seeing me uninvited, he was very much shocked. From the doorstep, I could see a lady roaming in the house. I asked Father who she was. He slammed the door on my face.

I conjectured that Mother was right. Father had an extramarital affair. And I can’t blame Mother. How can she endure if her husband falls for a different woman?

Nothing more to say, these days. In the new house, time hardly passes. Mother goes away before I wake and comes after I sleep. A housemaid, whom I fondly call Ayah, is being appointed. She is a good, old fat lady (her only negative trait is that she has a thin moustache) who spends most time in the garden (the new house has a big front and back yard)

April, 17^th^

Mother today unexpectedly brought a man, whom I remembered as Sam, to dinner. He is alcoholic and he influenced my Mother also. They two drank glasses after glasses of wine (they say them ‘imported quality grape-juice’) until they were unconscious. Ayah, capable of carrying heavy things, took them to their room, single-handedly.

I saw the drama in awe.

April, 18^th^

Good news, Mother and Father both had started a new relationship. Mother’s is called Sam and Father’s is called Indira(our previous neighbour, Ms. Smith, has given me this news).

It’s a lucky thing that we three have someone to bother.

Me: Ms.Nobody

Mother: Sam

Father : Indira

Nobody’s real name is Shreemati. She told me this when we were chatting in Whatsapp. But I like to call her Shree, another word for the Indian goddess of wealth. Mayo, my dear is going away tomorrow. This thought keeps haunting me!

April, 19^th^ [+(+]Mayo’s departure to France)

Never felt good to get up from bed. Became very depressed. Mayo’s flight will take off at 3pm. I will go to the airport to see him off.

At 2pm, I started writing a letter to Mayo. The letter, which is going to be my last symbol to him (or maybe not), must be composed neatly. Mayo said he will delete his Whatsapp account. So, keeping connection with him will become difficult.

My dear Mayo,

You have always been the soul to my heart, the ink to my pen, the lead to my pencil, the spice to my food, etc. Without you I am incomplete. But now you are going. I will not stop you, but the thing which I will is make this day a lot memorable for both of us. Here I dedicate you a poem.

[[I think you will cry to part with me,
I will also cry.
Thus, it’s very important to say to you
A proper good-bye.]]

[[A good life in France oh lad!
I wish you’ll lead
Moreover, I wish to you
that you’ll always succeed.]]

[[Off you fly, leaving me to cry
Without a single word
A written letter, so much better,
I’ll always look forward!!]]

Please Mayo, don’t forget me. Someday we must meet again.

Isn’t the letter beautiful, dear diary? Is it showing my literary inclination?

I finished the letter and sealed it in an envelope by 2:30pm and quickly told our chauffeur to drive me to the airport. I reached there by 2:40pm, provided that our house is only a few minutes from airport.

There, at the luggage check-in I saw Mayo and handed him the letter. We kept quiet. We didn’t have any conversation. Just before walking to the place from where without tickets we can’t enter, Mayo told “Don’t forget to open the box which I gave you.”

I said “Okay! Have a happy journey. By the way, tell me your flight number. I will need to mention it in my journal.”

His last words to me: “298765AP”

Went home. Opened the box. Nothing in it. Empty. Only a message: “This box is just like my brain; empty”

Is this a joke Mayo? I thought it was an emotional gift.

April, 20^th^

Only true friend in Kolkata, Shree. But she is a girl and I can’t share boyish secrets with her. Mother said today “Have you seen Indira? She is getting married next month, on 20th. Mrs. Smith told me”

“I know her. And for the marriage I knew it would happen. What about Sam? When are you two getting married?”

At this moment Ayah came and relieved Mother from giving a definite answer. She (Ayah and not Mother) told that in our backyard there is a huge growth of nettles and she needs permission to cut them. Proud by the fact that I am the only male member, I said “Let them grow” but was subsequently stopped from giving opinions by Mother.

At 7pm, while I came back from English tution, Mother declared “I am going to Europe for an official tour on the 28th”. I asked her what the ‘official tour’ is provided Mother is a freelance writer and she does not go to office. She replied “Promoting my book”.

April, 21^st^

An article in the paper shook me. Flight number 298765AP en route Paris has crashed midway. Is Mayo safe? Can’t be, for the article tells all passengers on board had died.

I said this to Shree and my god! She started composing a long poem which is as follows:

[“Dear dear, don’t fear
Don’t cry at all,
although there had been a great fall.
Dear, dear in memory of an aquaintance,
in the memory of a dear friend,
his death must be for better,
God must tell the reason later.]

[[Shaggy, don’t cry.
We all have to die
Mayo has become a star
he is with us, although very far.
He is really present among
so lucky, to die young!]]

I felt so much irritated to hear the poem. After all, Mayo is my BFF. Why should she compose a poem? Thus, I also started.

Days of wine, days of roses[[
]]slowly, slowly decomposes[[
]]but one thing remain[[
]]an eternal pain[[
]]which is felt when someone die[[
]]can you say, why?

Then she also started

Death and sleep[[
]]are always Brother[[
]]when someone dies[[
]]everyone bothers[[
]]but when someone sleeps[[
]]does anybody weep?

And then we composed a lyrical drama. Shree’s Father’s very good friend is a publisher. He is going to publish the book (at least, Shree has given me a hope!)

A Dying Song[
:A tribute to one old aquantaince]

(After a sudden death of an old friend, a lonely soul, named Shaggy, walks up to his friend, Shree in search of moral support)

Shree:

[[Dear dear, don’t fear
Don’t cry at all,
although there had been a great fall.
Dear, dear in memory of an aquaintance,
in the memory of a dear friend,
his death must be for better,
God must tell the reason later.
Shaggy, don’t cry.
We all have to die
Mayo has become a star
he is with us, although very far.
He is really present among
so lucky, to die young!]]

Shaggy:

Days of wine, days of roses[[
]]slowly slowly all decomposes[[
]]but one thing remain[[
]]an eternal pain[[
]]which is felt when someone die[[
]]can you say, why?

Shree:

Death and sleep[[
]]are always Brother[[
]]when someone dies[[
]]everyone bothers[[
]]but when someone sleeps[[
]]does anybody weep?

Shaggy:

A so true pal,[[
]]always loyal,[[
]]I will surely miss[[
]]he should rest in peace[[
]]I have nothing more to say[[
]]finished were the happy day!

Shree and Shaggy:

[[So all together we can think,
using the writing ink
In memory of you, is this composed
a tribute to those eyes—henceforth closed.]]

—————-

“Shaggy, I shall talk to my Father at this moment. Come with me”

Went to her house. I must not say it a house. It’s like a big mansion. Our house is just a small atom of hers. There are big rooms with five maid-servants in each room. And I can’t give all the description of the house, my journal will end.

We sat in the living room, a cup of tea being given to me by one of such maid-servants. After some minutes of waiting, Shree’s Father came. A gentleman with nicely-combed hair, wearing a black silken suit and pants with shiny boot and a watch from a costly company: I analysed him.

“So you wanna publish a book” he said, “who bloody read a book nowadays?”

“Sir, it’s not a book—rather a lyrical drama”

After a whole lot of fifteen minutes, he was convinced. He phoned his friend and told the date of publication. It is 25th May. And a meeting will be held before publication, tentatively dated 29th April.

See, in this case, I forgot the sadness of Mayo’s demise.

April, 22^nd^

Sam arrived at our house. He straightaway went to Mother’s room and started talking with her. I was curious to know what types of discussions were made. Thus I decided to overhear.

“Sam, tell me what happened to you in the past few days? Has anything special happened?”

“Of course. My friend’s daughter and her friend have together composed a poem in memory of their dead friend. And my friend had said that if I publish the poem in a prestigious magazine, he will try to nominate me for the Best Publisher Award in the upcoming Great Indian Award Ceremony. I am desperate to get the award!”

Just then I stroke my head. With my great detective skills, I inferred that actually Shree’s Father’s ‘very good friend’ is Sam. Moreover, I don’t want my poem to be published for Sam to get an award. I will cancel the publication.

April 23^rd^

I will not cancel it. After thinking about it philosophically, I came to the decision that due to the publication, there is a fulfilment of desires in both the sides: Sam will get an award, I will also be popular. So what’s the hesitation?

Mrs. Smith phoned to tell me about all the gathered gossips in my previous neighbourhood. I came to know that Uncle has lost his job and Aunt is raising frequent tantrums due to this fact. Instead of 20th May, Father-Indira’s marriage is going to happen on 6th May. (And that’s a short while to go). She rang off telling “Don’t tell your Mother that the marriage is happening early. She will try to ruin it. You don’t know her”

April, 24^th^

Uncle has committed suicide, Mrs. Smith told. He is presently in Kamlawati Hospital.

I told Mother that I am going to meet Shree. A lie this is, actually to see Uncle I am going out.

Reached Kamlawati Hospital. Asked the receptionist Uncle’s cabin number: Cabin 157. I feared because the sum of digits (i.e. 13) is unlucky.

I went to him. Doctor was present in the cabin. I asked the doctor “Is he okay?”. The doctor said “Not very much” and went away.

Uncle, seeing me, got tears in his eyes. “Shaggy, after so many days. You know? I am fired from my job?”

“Yes”

“And about that nasty Indira? She is marrying your Father”

“Yes, on the 6th of May”

“And about your Aunt rising tantrums?”

“Yes, yes, I know. Mrs. Smith has told me all about these happenings”

“So, well. Please stay with me till evening! I will be so happy to get recovered”

I agreed, although I have told Mother that I will return by 2pm.

April, 25^th^

Yesterday Mother scolded me for keeping in touch with a ‘wretched family’. She said “Let them die a dreading death”.

I don’t know why Mother is so much angry on Father.

April, 26^th^

Also went to hospital today. Doctor said “Due to multiple organ failure and a deep depression…….”

“Now, please don’t say that Uncle has died”

“But I am sorry. I can’t tell a lie”

I can’t believe myself. All people going away from my life this year. First it was Grambolica and Grandpa. Then, Mayo and Rupsa. Then Father. And then Uncle. I can’t suffer such loses.

“I can’t bear to see you as a widow!” I said to Aunt who was sitting beside her dead husband.

“Shaggy, I’ll not blame your Mother but did she have to get a divorce?’

I remained quiet.

April, 27^th^

Mother declared that she is marrying Sam in Europe which she would be going the day after tomorrow.

“I can’t call that spoiled brat a Father!”

“You’ll have to as he is your Father, although not the biological one”

“But mom…………”

“No word I want to hear”

“Yes, why would you listen? You’re a great author now” I said with sarcastic. Just then my school-bus arrived and I had to go, leaving the argument in between.

Came back from home to see a sticky note on the fridge.

[Sam and I,
are saying you a good-bye.
Walking and] [hopping,
we have gone to shopping.]

Is this something very fine? She needs not to compose poems every time to prove her literary skills.

From today till the 10th of May, our school will be closed due to some renovation work.

April, 28^th^

I am feeling no good. Ayah has been detected of a dreaded gum disease because of chewing betel leaves. I can’t think that why everyone is suffering from a disease while I am fit and fine.

6 pm: I have an acute stomach ache. Doctors say it’s because of eating restaurant food every day.

“Shaggy, are you feeling great pain?”

“Mum, you have given me lesser pain when you divorced Father,” I said to her sarcastically.

Indira phoned today. It was the 1st time I talked to her.

“Hello, is it Sudarshana? I am Indira”

“No, I am Shaggy, her son”

“Oh! Shaggy, please come to this house quickly. I am in urgent need”

“What has happened?”

But the line was cut as the battery died.

“Indira Auntie phoned and told us to go to the house as soon as possible”

“You know, I am packing for Europe. Now, get lost”

“But……….but”

“Neither you nor I am going to that place”

“Oh, mum, don’t be so indifferent to Father. You have eliminated him from your life, but he is still my Father, and more importantly, a biological one”

“You are not going anywhere”

Then she caught hold of my hand and dragged me to my room and after pushing me into it, she locked the door. I was like “You stone-hearted foolish woman!” and then I burst into crying. Then I remembered a film and how the actress escaped from a locked room by climbing down the balcony with the help of ivy plants.

I took hold of our balcony ivy and with its aid, I climbed down.

I took my cycle and started paddling as fast as possible. I reached there within fifteen minutes.

Indira opened the door and told “Your daddy can’t decide what he will wear for the wedding. He wants your help”

After sometime, Mother came rushing and dragged me with her to go back to her house. It’s the 1st time; Mother is again meeting with Father after their divorce.

“Sudarshana, let him stay with me,” Father said.

But Indira said a completely different thing to Mother “When is The Shopper’s Stop’s sequel coming. You hinted the sequel at the press launch”

And all Mother could say was “I’m currently working on it. It’s named A Delicate Divorcee. Have plans to launch it in January, next year.”

“I’d be waiting. I loved the first book so much.”

After getting home, Mother was little fallen for Indira.

“I see, Indira is not as bad as I had thought”

Mother’s flight will take off at 7:15 pm. She packed the suitcase and as a cab arrived at our door, she bid adieu to me and Ayah.

April, 29^th^

Today is the meeting for the publication of the lyrical drama. It’s in Shree’s house.

Sam was not present for he had gone to Europe with Mother where they’ll marry.

As I entered their house, Shree’s Father told me “Shaggy, my lad, come, here is your handbag. I have packed you nine shirts and six pants. Maybe, they’d be enough for a three-day tour to Europe?”

And I felt as if I was falling from the Sky. Then Shree told me, “Previous night, Father announced that our publisher is off to Europe and the meeting will be occurring there. And then Father also told that the publisher is going to marry in Europe and we’ll be attending his marriage”

Then I told them, I will not go. But they were not listening. So I tried to run away but one of Shree’s Father’s bodyguards held me up and threw me in the car’s seat. Then I started “I’ll not go without Ayah” thinking that Ayah doesn’t have a passport and more importantly a flight ticket. But then Shree’s Father phoned three people.

Then he told me “I have called my friend in an airway company to urgently provide a ticket for one to Europe. Then I called your Ayah to verify if she has a passport. She, fortunately, has one. Then I phoned my chauffeur to take your Ayah after she had packed her bag.

This news fell to me with a great strike. A son attending his publisher’s wedding with a woman who is actually his Mother!

7 pm: Now, unfortunately, I am on the plane.

April, 30^th^

We are boarded in a hotel named La Monte Rosa in Chiavari. It’s a five star one. And as you can guess, I am in complete luxury. I asked Shree’s Father where Sam’s wedding will take place. He replied, “In the hotel ballroom, tomorrow”. Then he also said “You know, her wife is the famous author Sudarshana. You know her?”

I thought “She lives with me in the same house” but said, “No, is she very popular?”

Her Father got no time to answer for Sam arrived at the scene. And seeing me, his expression, got weirder and he shrieked “You!”. Shree’s Father, unable to understand what has happened, asked out of the blues “You two are acquaintances?”

Sam replied “He is Sudarshana’s son”

“But how can it be possible, he is Shree’s boyfriend and Shree never mentioned this fact”

At this thing, I felt awkward to listen that her Father also calls her Shree.

At least twenty minutes were gone in clearing all our misunderstandings and after that, we went to Mother. But she had gone shopping. She will return after 9 pm. And by that time, I will be completely asleep for I am very tired.

Ayah went to the hotel kitchen saying “My master is hungry, I’ll cook for him”. The kitchen staff, ignorant of her language, continued working, thinking Ayah a lunatic. And then she pulled one of the kitchen staff’s hairs and beat him with her hands. And then a car came, and then two men, who had a name ‘Europol’ in their shirt, came and handcuffed Ayah and took her with them.

Shree said that her Father will bail her out.

//MAY//

May, 1^st^

Shree’s Father and Sam had decided that we all: Shree, Mother, Sam, Shree’s Father and Ayah (she has been released after Shree’s Father bailed her out, last night) will go to Saint Enimie, a commune in France. From our hotel, it’s about 7hours journey.

Elders say that it have a speciality that whoever goes there, something good happens to them. (I know it’s completely a myth).

We departed from the hotel early in the morning; 5 am (Paris Time).The journey was awesome. It’s my 1st foreign trip and I enjoyed it to the fullest. And Shree was sitting beside me. And more importantly, during the long journey, when Shree fell asleep, she took my shoulders as a pillow. And it was a complete romantic sight!

Reached there in the afternoon. Was walking, suddenly noticed an acquaintance. I thought he was dead, but he was not. He was alive, standing in front of me—Mayo, my dear!

“I thought your plane crashed.”

“No, actually, yes. I mean no, but yes! We went to Mumbai from Kolkata in the flight and we had a non-stop flight to Paris. But it was a fake ticket. An agent has given us the ticket and when we went for checking, the airport people found it to be fake.”

“And then what happened?”

“And then Father booked another plane, the next one. Only five seats were available there. He is very influential.”

“So, why did you not contact me?”

“Why should I pay international call charges?”

“Here I am composing poems about you and you are living a lavish life here in Saint Enimie!” I shouted.

And then I told him the poems which are going to be published. He laughed a hearty laugh and exclaimed “A living dead!”

I told him about Mother’s marriage today. And then he said another excellent thing. “Want to see our farm and work there?” and it was like “Definitely”. Then we all went to his farm.

Mother milked the cow and Shree and I picked up tomatoes. Shree’s Father, modest about his aristocracy, didn’t even touch a single farming tool. Sam fed the pigs in the pigsty and ayah was trying to feed betel leaves to a rabbit.

Just then in the corner, I saw Mayo sitting and crying. I asked to his discomfort.

“Rupsa, how is she and where is she?” he replied “the only girl I loved and that too gone to America”

“Don’t be sad. Didn’t I love her? She was only a temporary person in our lives”

“But how can I forget her? She was the only person whom I told that my Mother is a step one. My real Mother is long been dead”

“Wait, what! You haven’t told me also”

“I haven’t told you? Maybe, I had forgotten”

6 pm: “A little change in plan. Previous night, I, Sam and Sudarshana decided that the marriage will be there in Saint Enimie only and according to Indian tradition”

And suddenly I felt ignored. How could they decide anything without me, the son of the bride?

With this marriage, I forgot about the publishing meeting. When will our poem be published?

“Sam, when will the meeting……….”

“Oh, never ever. I am going to directly publish your poems”

“But then why did I come to France?”

“Dunno!”

7:06 pm: The bride and the groom, both dressed in traditional Indian attire, completed their wedding.

And the reception was attended by many people of that place and Mayo and his family were overexcited to see a pregnant divorced woman marrying her publisher.

The delicacy was fine. Not very good, but fine.

“Mayo, will you stay here forever?”

“No, as soon as Father gets transferred to another place, we will also move there”

“Why don’t you come and live with me, in India?”

“But, I can’t. I have duties as a son to fulfil in France”

“You can go, Mayo, if you wish. Moreover, your Father is thinking of going back to India in a couple of years” said his Mother.

“But I can’t live without you and Father for a couple of years”

“Mayo, Shaggy can’t live without you”

“No!”

“Please Mayo, there is no friend of mine back in India. Uncle had died, Magpie is also not well. Father is also becoming a heavy alcoholic. I need you”

After a minute of silence, he finally said “Okay. I am going to India”

May, 2^nd^

We’ll return today back to Calcutta. Sam and Mother, to some extent, look good together. And I actually started calling Sam, Father.

I am actually very tired after the France drama. I will not be able to write for a few days.

May, 5th

Tomorrow is Father and Indira’s marriage. Mother has strictly told not to go to the wedding. With all these, my life is getting sadder. Humour is almost lost.

Mayo tried to make me laugh the whole day. But I didn’t.

May, 6^th^

Mother and Mayo started terrace farming today. They both planted many crops like tomatoes, potatoes, etc. and named the so-called garden—Kunjavan which literally means ‘forest of flowers’. And with this, I was left alone for I am disinclined towards gardening. Ayah has taken a month’s leave for her daughter is getting married.

Why is a life full of marriages and divorces?

May, 7^th^

Father came today with Indira to our house. He said “Sudarshana, can’t we just be friends again?” and Mother, astonishingly, replied in positive.

Father and Indira were seated in the living room. Mother and the newly-wed couple were indulged in all kinds of gossips when Sam came into the scene. And believe me, both Indira and Sam shrieked in surprise.

“’You!” Indira said.

“You!” Sam also said.

I realized both were some kind of acquaintances. Later, I realized that Indira was the ex-wife of Sam.

Now, I understood what irony is.

Father’s divorcee married Indira’s divorcee and Mother’s divorcee married Sam’s divorcee.

Dear diary, this is really interesting.

From tomorrow, our summer vacation is starting.

May, 8^th^

A new tenant has come to our neighbouring house which was otherwise unoccupied since 2008. Mayo and I decided to greet him.

The tenant, who is a tall and handsome boy of 18 years, has come to live here to attend a coaching institute.

“I am from a far rural area. I yearn to be enrolled in this coaching institute but am very frightened to live in the Hostel. I heard that there are many cases of bullying there.”

“I see! What your name?”

“Shammy, and whats yours?”

“I am Shaggy and this is Mayo”

“Nice to meet you”

May, 9^th^

Shammy came to our house and played video games with me. He is a very good player as well as a companion. Mayo and I decided to tour the city with him. Although from a rural area, he knew most of the city news. During the whole tour, he, as a tour guide, repeated the whole history of Kolkata, most facts unknown by us.

May, 10^th^

Shammy couldn’t be with me today because he has a test to give. I felt very sad to be away from him for the day.

May, 11^th^

Shammy said “Shaggy, can we be BBF? I like you a lot!” and I was like “Why not? I also like you. We’ll be best pals”

In between, I felt that somebody replaced somebody from my Life. I don’t know who replaced whom.

Mother’s went for pregnancy check-up today. Her belly is developing. Hope that’s one healthy baby! (Or even two)

I came to know that Shammy is affluent in French. He taught me the basics of French. Bonjour!

May, 12^th^

We two best pals were playing in the playground when suddenly Mother came and told me that Mayo is not willing to plant anymore trees in Kunjavan. She said that he is very much sad.

I don’t know why Mayo is always sulking.

May, 13^th^

For the first time, with dignity, mother visited Father’s house. Within the timespan after 13th April, the house has changed a lot. Indira was feeding Magpie when we arrived. Aunty saw us with grudged eyes. We all knew in our hearts that who is responsible for Uncle’s death. Father was igniting a cigar when I saw him at first.

As his attention was drawn to me, I asked “Please stop smoking!” and he said “Please, I don’t want any disturbance from a boy of 13 who does not know how it feels to smoke”

I corrected him, “I am 141/~12~ months old, by the way”

May, 14^th^

Mother hurriedly woke me up.

“Shaggy! I am gone, I am gone”

“What happened Mom?”

“I am bankrupt!”

“But how? I saw that you had a very large sum in your account”

“That Sam did. He encouraged me to write an 1000-page book and I wrote. He said that he would publish the book only if I gave 80 lakhs amount for the printing cost. Out of greed, I paid him the amount and he published the book. It’s in the bookstores now but according to a week’s report, nobody had even touched it. The bookshops are going to return all the unsold books to me.”

“And all these happened without my consent? By the way where is Sam now?”

“He is in America! He left a note on the desk and went. Here’s it is”

Dear Sudarshana,

I know your book hasn’t done well in the stores. You are checkmated in India. Going to New York to seek buyers for your book. A bookstore there has proposed to sell your book.

11am: “Shaggy, I have no money left. So, I have made a strategy. Please listen to it.

1st: We are shifting to a smaller house and giving this house for rent. It would be like a hostel for students, that is, I will allow as many students live there as I can and each will have to pay a minimum fee of Rs.1000 per month. Every furniture has to be sold. And remember your story books. We will have to sell them too.

2nd: You and I will have to find some part-time job like selling milk, distributing newspaper, etc.

3rd: I am going to write another hit novel and seek a publisher who is going to publish it for free.

4th: We cannot keep Mayo with us!”

“But the 4th point is invalid. Where will he live?”

“You can make him live with us but will he be able to suffer such hardships?”

“He can, I know”

“Yes Shaggy, I may but you have broken my heart. I am leaving for France tomorrow” said Mayo who had suddenly come into scene.

May, 15^th^

“But you can’t do this!” I said to Mayo, “With whom I shall live?”

“Dunno!” said Mayo before the luggage-checking at the airport, “if destiny wishes, we will meet again”

“But…….but…….bu…….”

He has already left.

May, 16^th^

I thought for the whole night yesterday and came to the conclusion that I was being really friendly with Shammy and kept Mayo away for a few days. How can I be so harsh to my best friend?

Anyway, we are shifting to a very small house tomorrow. When I told Shree about it, she said “I am really sad. Do tell me if I can be of your help”

“Can you give me 90 lakh rupees to repay the bank?” I said and that’s when she disconnected the phone.

Shifting to a new house means we are moving to a new neighbourhood. So, I will have to leave Shammy.

Dear diary, such a misery has befallen us.

May, 17^th^

Some people, probably buyers, came to our house and took away all our possessions. Mother started bargaining with them and finally got 4lakhs out of selling them. Wow!

8am: A paper “For Rent” was pasted in our front-door. We boarded a truck, taking some of our things, to our new home.

When we reached there, I didn’t believe that actual people could live there. Surrounding it, there was a slum where men had no privacy and were doing there ‘big business’ in the open. The house was a two-storey one, five times smaller than our previous. But then I came to know that there were five flats in the whole building and we are giving rent for only one flat. That means we are going to live in a ten times smaller room than our previous house. And that too, within a surrounding where people pee and bath in the open.

Mother said that father had asked if we would stay at his house or not and mother rejected the offer because she can’t live with her ex-husband’s new wife and new husband’s ex-wife under the same roof.

“I thought you made up with Indira” Father said.

“Who told you so?” Mother replied.

May, 18^th^

The day went horrendous. Firstly, the room didn’t have any bed or something. We had to sleep on the floor. Then, the house was damp for there never came any sunlight. The passage to sunlight was blocked by a tall building. And damp area means, there ought to be all kinds of insects and pests.

I am not exaggerating but I am currently living with mosquitoes, cockroaches, red ants, houseflies, lizards and more importantly, big spiders.

Mother kept grumbling telling “So much for a pregnant lady. At least, my baby will know how to struggle”

And gradually she sulked into her bed.

May, 19^th^

The conditions are worse here. Previous night there was storm and rain. And you know, in this house, we can observe nature so well. The window panes flew away with the storm and from the roof, water trickled down.

The exposed windows paved the way for the stormy wind and the tripping water added to the fun. The room became a natural air-conditioner. Well, I was being sarcastic when telling it was actually ‘fun’.

I complained to the landlady about the exposed windows but she blamed me that I couldn’t keep the windows safe, that it was entirely my fault. She made Mother pay the price for them.

May, 20^th^

Not talked with Shree for many days. My phone is dead and there is no switchboard to recharge it. Remembered, the rail station is nearby. Decided to charge my phone there.

This can’t happen anymore. I am on a two day’s meal. I can’t take it for granted.

Decided to write a novel and make it publish to earn money. I will write for the whole night.

May, 21^st^

Worked for the whole night. Completed half the novel. It is named “From Riches to Rags—an Adventure for Lifetime”

If I can work out on it for today, I am going to finish it and seek a publisher.

22^nd^ May

I have finished writing the novel and currently proof-reading it. No internet. Phone has no balance. I can’t keep contact with the outside world.

28^th^ May

Ayah came to our threshold today. She said that she would continue to work for us, without pay. She told that her daughter is married to a wealthy house and Ayah is currently in no need for money. Moreover, she has developed a bond of emotional attachment with us which she cannot overlook.

At least, somebody is there to be my company.

Worst summer ever!

29^th^ May

Sought the recommendation of a publisher. He said that I will have to work in some places and then he can publish the novel. He said ‘It will surely hit the market with a huge success’

I started working on the draft. Will submit it on 1st June.

30^th^ May

Mother has also started writing a novel. She made me read the first draft. It was fine, although it was a vague plot. I think she has lost her capabilities.

She is also working as a newspaper delivery lady and milk selling lady during the morning. After school, I am working on a Coffee Shop. And I am feeling proud to say, I am earning more than Mother.

My novel is complete! All check: punctuation, grammar, writing style, etc.

Hit the bookshop!

31^st^ May

I informed Ayah that I am going to publish the novel. Also, I made her swear that she will not tell anybody.

She has gone to temple to pray for me. Now, the question arises: To who’s account will my royalty go, mine or Mother’s?

//JUNE//

June, 1^st^

Took the manuscript to the publisher. He accepted it after reading thoroughly. When he read, he peered over the pages so closely as if he has a built-in microscope in his eyes. And you know, at the end, he just fell on the ground unconscious before telling “Masterpiece!”

Dear diary, is it safe to publish my novel with a lunatic publisher?

However, when he regained consciousness, he said “The evaluation period starts now. The editorial team, consisting of a panel of eminent people, will judge the book and if approved, will give the order for the publishing process to start. Till then, wait and pray. By the way, to whom shall all the royalties go, well, if the book is selected?”

“To Miss. Sudarshana, here is her account number”

June, 2^nd^

Will my book hit the stores before the holidays end?

I received my 1st pay from the Coffee Shop. Rs.1000.

June, 3^rd^

Shree came today to say: “Shaggy, I am really sorry for you. Will you stay in my house till all your financial problems are sorted out?” and I was like “Yes, why not?” but mother was like “Well, taking into consideration that my yet-to-be-born baby has to know how to struggle, I say ‘no’”

Then she started that how I was grumbling about the nasty house, the filthy surrounding, etc. because I don’t know the meaning of struggle. And she went into her own childhood where she claims that her farmer family was so poor that she had to pee and poop by digging a hole in the ground and covering it with mud after the business. This way, she increased the fertility of the ground where crops were grown and helped in saving money to buy manures.

Holy shit!

June, 4^th^

Sam phoned today in the landlady’s landline to announce “I have got a seller. Selling has already started here. Check your account and see how much you have earned!”

But there was no internet to check and her bank was a couple of miles away. She and I trudged along to the bank, for there was currently no money with us.

When she checked the account, she went berserk and said “We are rich again. We will again be living like pigs in clover”

So now, her account is in full blossom and she would get the royalty from my book also. And I am bound not to say anything, for I care for her!

June, 5^th^

Mother quickly shifted our possessions to our previous home. I felt like “Home Sweet Home!!”

Now, it happened, that the tenants living in the house went to a strike: “We gave you the money and we are bound to live here for this month” but mother gave them back their money and captured the house once again. Thus, she once again started her reign.

June, 6^th^

“Shaggy, it seems that somebody is withdrawing money from my account. A huge amount of sum is being debited”

“It can be the tax for selling your books outside the country”

“Don’t be funny son—there is no such tax involved”

Although I initially thought of it as a fuss but then I realized that there is something fishy, about the debited sum.

I went to Mother’s bank and enquired. They said that somebody had hacked into their bank computer yesterday and withdrawn the money.

I threatened to sue them for the inability to develop hack-proof computer system.

“But withdrawing is impossible without the account number” the bank officials protested, “somebody had the account number from beforehand”

“But who could have, wait…………..” I stopped as I remembered to whom I have given the number, the lunatic publisher.

Tomorrow I am going to get the soul out of his life.

June, 7^th^

I was about to knock on the door of the publisher but found out that the door is already locked from outside, that he has fled.

I decided not to involve the police due to some reasons which I want to keep in my mind.

However, I was too sad to take revenge as all my dreams of a published book were shattered.

7pm: mother came crying to me: “Shaggy, all my money is running out. We will again have to shift to the nasty, filthy home.”

This rekindled the fire of vengeance in my mind and I vowed to get all her money back. However, I didn’t tell mother that her present condition is due to her son.

The whole night, I started investigating the case with a series of deduction. Where could the man be? Where has he fled?

June, 8^th^

I decided to write down my strategy in a notebook and execute it accordingly.

First, I will go and raid the publisher’s presently-vacant house during the night. I will search the house for any evidence. And then with these evidences, I will surely find him.

To execute my plan, I told mother that I will be leaving for a friend’s house for a sleepover after dinner. She was very polite to say that she will drop me to the house but I declined her offer, for I was not going for a sleepover but for bringing a culprit to justice. Already feeling like Sherlock Holmes!

Things were all right when I reached the house. There was no way to break open the lock in the front gate. Decided to climb the pipes instead. Climbing up the pipes, I reached to the terrace where I found the attic to be a perfect place for searching evidences.

Took out my flashlight and kicked the attic door to break it open. Found nothing but a body lying still on the floor. When I flashed the light on the face, I found out it was the Lunatic!

June, 9^th^

Previous night was ought to be a special night for I became successful in catching a criminal.

When I found the Lunatic, he initially punched me hard in the face but then I took out a toy gun from my Bag of Equipments and pointed it at the man’s head. The Lunatic, thinking it to be a real gun, vomited the truth.

I…………..I…I am actually a hacker. Here, see my computer with which I hacked into Miss Sudarshana’s account. Please, don’t release the trigger. I am telling all. I became a publisher to earn money by hacking into the accounts of authors who want to publish their books with me. That happened with you also. You gave me the account number and I was successful in withdrawing the money. I was sure that you will come to look for me. So, I concealed myself in the attic and put a huge lock in the front gate, to deceive that I have fled the house. So, isn’t my strategy good?”

I was careful to record this whole confession with my mobile. I also confessed to the Lunatic: “As a matter of fact, this is a toy gun”. And then he rose into fire and tried to physically assault me but somebody came running into the attic with guns, this time, real guns—the Police.

During the Lunatic’s arrest, Mother came into scene and smiling at me.

“Shaggy, when you said sleepover, I was horrified. I called all of your friends and came to know that you didn’t plan any kind of sleepover. So, by the means of ethical hacking, I hacked into your mobile to know your whereabouts.”

Today, I passed my time thinking about my failed dream of being a best-seller and mourning the last day of our summer vacation.

June, 10^th^

As soon as I entered the school, a whole crowd of jerks shouted at me: “Shaggy, you have gained so many pounds”

Shree said “I don’t want to date a fatty anymore”

The physical education teacher gave me a good spanking lecture about keeping your weight in control.

Am I so much fat?

June, 11^th^

Really dear diary, I checked out my weight and there I lie at 85kg. So, when have I put on so much weight? I am gonna make a schedule for weight loss training.

June, 12^th^

I mustn’t tell, but I have started working on the chart. I actually thought I had lost 20kg but no such luck. Only, 0.5kg lost.

June, 13^th^

A great phone call came which changed my life.

-Hello, may I speak to Mr.Shaggy?

-“Yes, I am speaking.

-Actually, the editing process is over and we are delighted to announce that your book ‘From Riches To Rags-An Adventure For Lifetime’ will be published soon. Are you willing for a meeting at our editorial house, on the 20th?

Hearing this, I actually lost my mind. I opened my mouth in awe and dropped the phone.

After I regained my sense, I repeatedly replied on the phone “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…………………………”

I confirmed all the facts- a)Today is not April Fools so no one can fool me; b)I checked the number up on the net and found out that it is truly the land number of the publishing house, Pages Through the Ages; c) I have never mentioned the name of the book to anyone but Ayah and the Lunatic (although, the Lunatic is in jail and Ayah cannot think of prank calls)

But, well, isn’t it odd? How did they get hold of the manuscript and my contact number?

June, 14^th^

Can’t wait for the 20th. Wish Mayo and Rupsa were here. Informed Shree and Shammy about this. They both were extremely happy.

Shammy told “If your novel is published, I am personally going to give you a treat”

June, 15^th^

Shammy phoned me at 5:00am. He disturbed my sleep because he wanted to help me lose my weight. He said “Come down, and start jogging.” When I disapproved his decision, he threatened me with dire consequences of weight gain like heart disease and diabetes which forced me to get down for exercise. Well, I shouldn’t have been public about my weight.

After returning from jogging at 7am, I sank into my bed but after half an hour, mother knocked my door and screamed “Off you we go for a jogging!”.

I tried to explain her that I have jogged with Shammy before but she conjectured my explanation as an ‘excuse’. Well, so I had to double jog.

Came home back at 9am and got ready for school. School today was a horror. Firstly, Shree forced me to join the Marathon club and I had to sign my name (Well, being a sincere boyfriend is a very tough job).

Then, our PE teacher made me run the whole boundary of the school. And then, at Marathon club, I was again asked to run the whole boundary of the school by the club admin who happened to be my staunch enemy once (surely he is rekindling the fire of our enmity!).

Coming back to home, mother startled me by buying a treadmill. She said “Look, I bought you this. And with this, I have got a free subscription to the Shaki Gym for a year. And I’m admitting you there”

Back at my room, I just wept and wept

June, 16^th^

Again Shammy asked me to jog but this time; he lengthened the distance by another kilometre. Mother today, instead of making me jog, took me to the park which happens to be the meeting place of Pranesh’s ancient friends. Oh, so sad memories belong to this place!

Mother admitted me to the group where they were practicing yoga. I had to do so many yoga postures that actually made my ankles swell up.

And in school, I was given the horrible news that the Marathon club had organized a Running Bee on the 20th and I was forcibly made to participate there. Well, coincidentally, the editorial meeting is also to be held on the 20th. And I don’t know how to join the threads.

I don’t know what to do!

June, 17^th^

Planned a strategy. I downloaded the entire route of the Running Bee and noticed that the Editorial House falls within the route. I have no plans for winning the race. In the marathon, when I will reach near the House, I will stealthily sneak in. After the meeting, I will resume my race. And this way, both the ends will meet a successful end.

June, 18^th^

I decided to prepare my documents and all things for the meeting. Mother wished me good luck. Shammy and Shree, both told me “Don’t act stupid in front of the people or else, your dreams are shattered”. Now this became a demoralizing agent and I lost my confidence. Now, I don’t know what will happen.

June, 19^th^

In school, the PE teacher checked my weight. A reasonable weight loss. I am now at 72kg. However, this became worse because the teacher said “So, now as you have lost so much weight, I expect you to win the race”. Now, such great expectations made me wilful to secure the 1st rank in the Running Bee but the Meeting was another thing. Now, I will have to check my priority and act accordingly.

June, 20^th^

Finally, the stressful day! Well, nobody had informed be about this till this morning that we have to wear sleeveless shirt and half pants in the race. Now, I can’t turn up at the House wearing such casual uniform.

10am: Okay, the race commenced and I started running. For some time, I ran so fast but after that I became exasperated with the race.

Well, after a long trudge, I reached the House. I had nothing to do but appear in front of the publishers with my arms exposed. I had my documents with me, folded in my pockets and I am not exaggerating that the Editorial team had put up an awkward look after looking me.

Anyway, the meeting was quite successful. I was informed that the book will hit the market on 1st July. I persuaded them that I will make my own illustrations. They asked me to send the illustrations by tomorrow. I promised them.

And then again, my race resumed. I was doing quite well but then a boy pushed me intentionally and I fell on the ground. I was not hurt but was given an added advantage: I was placed in the category ‘The Daring Runner’. And I was awarded a trophy, although small. So, the day went well.

June, 21^st^

Worked on the illustrations for whole night and posted all of them via Speed Mail. Received a Whatsapp reply from the editors: “illustrations received”. Today was the Longest Day of the Year.

June, 22^nd^

Shammy broke my heart today by saying “Shaggy, see, it is difficult but I have to leave. I mean, my city work is over. I will have to return to my hometown to carry out changes. We’ll be in touch. Don’t be sad!” and once again I revived the horrendous memory of losing a friend. Mayo, Rupsa, Grandpa, Grandma and then Shammy—significant losses this year.

“When will you leave?”

“On the 1st of July”

“Ironically, my book launch is on the same day”

“That would be good. I will at least have the luck to see your published novel”

June, 23^rd^

Sam returned from America. Mother decided to commemorate his homecoming by a dinner at La Nile Restaurant.

When I asked him about his experiences, he said “Well, America, more specifically New York where I went to publish your mother’s book is a very good place—a well-developed city. The bookstore where I went was Rupmati Books, an Indian shop. I met the current owner, who is a gentleman of about 40 years and his wife after whom the store is named. I also met their daughter—Rupsa. She was very kind and it was with her insistence that her Father decided to market the book. Without her, nothing would have happened.”

Now, the moment I heard ‘Rupsa’ I went berserk and crazy.

“Have you got her phone number?”

“No, but I have her address.”

“But I want to establish a contact with her. She was my love interest”

“How are you so certain?”

“Because I believe in the stars. I believe in miracles. She must be my Rupsa”

“Well, you can contact the bookstore owner via email.”

“Okay. Done”

Dear diary, this is the best day of this year.

June, 24^th^

I emailed Rupmati Books to give me the contact details of Rupsa. I instantly got back my reply. Immediately, I informed her about my book-launch and asked her to come back to India. She replied “Yes”.

Now, another thing. I invited Mayo on 30th June back from France and told that I wanted to give him a surprise. He hesitated but finally told “Oui!”

Now, all things done, I will now relax.

June, 25^th^

Informed Father, Aunt, Indira and Magpie about my launch. They were all so much enthusiastic to check-in there. I recently realized that the chief-guest is Shujata Sombrick. Wow! It’s miracle.

Shammy was very sad to part with me. However, it is the Circle of Life.

June, 26^th^

I can’t wait. I am so delighted. However, there was no end to my misery. I was still made to do jogging. I now knew, being a celebrity doesn’t make any difference.

I can’t wait for Mayo to find his Lady Love once again. Meanwhile, I chatted with Rupsa online and told her the venue, time and exact dress code. She said “You fuss very much. You don’t have to say whether I look good in gown or a mini-dress”

And before ending the chat she said “Anyway, good to talk to you!” and send me a smiley emoji. My eyes flooded out. Really, I am becoming an emotional chap.

June, 27^th^

“Many, many happy returns of the day!” I wished Mother as soon as she woke up. After all, it is her birthday and I am bound to give her some special gift.

She had never expected anything special on her birthday since her parents forgot to inform what a birthday is till she was eleven years old. And till then, all her cuteness was gone and nobody congratulated her. I would have never come to know her birthday if it wasn’t for the sake of her Passport which I went through hideously when I was 5 years old.

“Well Shaggy, since you are six, I am asking that how you got to know my birthday but you kept saying that somehow you got it. So, what’s this somehow?” mother asked.

“Well, somehow means somehow” I answered.

She particularly said that she has already got her gift when I asked her what present she wanted. Now, it was a vague answer. So many happy things happened till now—pregnancy, divorce, becoming published author.

Shree and Shammy came to my house for a sleepover but when Shree raised tantrums that our mattress is very ‘itchy’; her father took her home at 2am. Shammy and I thus spend the night together and I came to know quite some interesting things—Shammy has failed in his 8th grade exam, his mother is 6 foot 2 inches tall and his father 5 foot 5 inches; thus when they stand together, it makes them a very odd couple. Shammy’s sister is a feminist and has hosted a campaign against torturous mother-in-law when she had visited the city. I advised him that instead of campaigning against mother-in-laws, she should first ban the evening soap-operas as most of the out-of-the-box torture techniques originate from those serials only. And, we both agreed on that point!

June, 28^th^

The publishers phoned today to tell me that they wanted me to have a visit at their House for taking a glimpse of the first copy of From Rags to Riches.

Indeed, the book was beautifully designed. The binding was also good. The paper quality was so fine. Everything went well until I looked at the price tag—Rs.699 for a 200 page book!

“Well, I see that you have priced it too high. Nobody will buy it. I can guarantee” I said them.

“Now, don’t talk rubbish. It isn’t too expensive” they said

“Yes, it is”

“Okay, so we are telling to lower the price—Rs.695. Will that be okay?”

“Well, 4 rupees hardly make any difference. Lower it to Rs.250”

“ No, we can’t. And if we can, we will be able to provide only 12% royalty. Now, considering the odds, do you still want to lower the price?”

I thought with logic. If it is priced so high, it will not sell well. Hardly 10-20 copies will be sold. And getting the royalty for 20 copies would be very less. But if I lower the price, 1000000-2000000 copies will be sold. And getting 12% royalty of 2000000 copies is very beneficial. So I said “Yes, lower the price”.

Dear diary, this is called business strategy.

June, 29^th^ (Vanmahotsav Day)

I am very happy. Only 2 days left for all the loose ends to meet. Father, mother, Indira and Sam went out for a candle-light dinner. I was left alone in the house under Ayah’s custody.

7pm: A sudden knock on the door. Opened the door and was startled by the fact that it was Mayo. Oh, I am so much glad that I hugged him tightly and if I haven’t released him in time he would have been choked. We shared all of our miseries and merriments. I told Mayo that Shammy was really a good guy but I could never leave the former behind for the latter.

“Mayo, you are so much dear to me. How can I ever think of part with you? Yeah, I agree that I was too friendly with Shammy but that doesn’t mean that I will break up with you. It was clearly a misunderstanding, your going away to France and all that”

“Yeah, I know. Else, I also thought that how could you, who had always been jealous of me as I took away Rupsa from you, ever break-up with me?”

Well, until the adults came back at 2:00am, Mayo and I talked about the book-launch. Ayah, whom I had always thought as unschooled, could actually speak English and conversed with us about the book-launch. We three made a good group.

Planted four new saplings in Kunjavan to commemorate the significance of Vanmahotsav and pay a tribute to Mother Nature!

June, 30^th^

Tomorrow is the ‘big day’. I am thinking how my ‘would-be’ fans would react when they read the book. Maybe, it will be adapted into a live-action film. Or, I may be nominated for the Pulitzer Award or something like that. Or maybe, the novel becomes an instant inspiration for someone. Well, on the dark side, critics might negatively comment on the book, thus making me a flop debutant writer and I might also be bankrupt. Worse than that, I can also end up in prison for copyright issues (nowadays, even minor issues in a novel evolve into great sentimental concerns, I don’t know why).

However, these are only thought and will never see the bright light of reality.

Mayo and his parents are staying at Hotel Montefargo which is very expensive. Really, he is a spoilt spoiled brat of rich parents.

Shammy got constant phone from his family who were preparing for his home-coming and wanted to throw a lavish rural party. I envied him. If I come home after so many days, my parents would not show their least concern; I am such a neglected child!

At night, I dreamt of Rupsa appearing in front of me with different costumes and showing me some kind of tribal dance. I realized that somewhere deep in my heart, there lies a fragmented part of my love for Rupsa. In other words, I still want her.

July, 1^st^

Finally the day had come when I actually become kind of famous.

10am: However, since morning things are getting worse. Mother first grumbled that her executive edition of Paris made shampoo was exhausted and without it, she cannot make her hair for the evening’s function. Ayah was out to a beauty parlour, so I was forced to cycle away to a particular shop, five blocks away, where the shampoo was available. I don’t know why everybody is getting beautified for a function intended only for me!

I called Mayo and asked him if he is willing to come over my house and play with me. He replied “I am extremely sorry that I am very busy in buying a suit for the evening’s function” and cut off.

Shammy was the only person who was normal. He was not preparing for the function. So I went to his house and tried to make his last day special. Well, after we played a row of chess, he said “Now, please go back. I have to be ready for the function” and I was filled with disbelief. Why the hell is everyone getting ready for a book-launch? On the contrary, the author himself is dressed in simple attire. It’s not fair!

2pm: Ayah came back from the parlour. Now, she was looking so gorgeous! Her hair was styled into a style named ‘fallera hairdo’ which is some kind of sophisticated hairstyle.

Mother has also turned herself into a black-and-white film heroine (although her enlarged belly was a drawback).

7pm: Mother and I, along with Ayah, reached the venue. After some minutes, Father, Indira, Aunt and Magpie came. Magpie was harassed at the entrance when the guards forbade the mongrel to enter the premises. However, I told them to allow the dog who meant so much to me.

Sam came there separately, wearing a magnificent tuxedo. Mayo’s family came at about 7:45pm. There was no sign of Rupsa!

Meanwhile, I ran to Sujatha Sombrick and asked her many questions. We two authors had a great time together (and I never ever dreamt that I would be sharing the same oxygen as her!).

Well, even after waiting for an hour, when Rupsa didn’t come, I was forced to start the launch. All of the above-mentioned people went on stage. I was given a microphone to ‘speak a few words’. After giving the speech, the chief-guest and I were asked to unveil the cover of the book. Just as I was about to do it, an anonymous voice spoke “Will you not wait for me?” and I was like “Who could be this intruder?”

Mayo just jumped upon the platform, constantly screaming “Rupsa, Rupsa, she has come!”

And then, from the backstage, emerged a maiden, in a white gown, carrying a bouquet. Mayo ran and hugged him……………

10pm: I am at the station, bidding Shammy a goodbye.

“Your treat remains a due” I said as a parting sentence.

As the train left, I went back home. Was very tired. So hectic day! Slept at 11pm.


Shaggy's Journal: A Wonder Story

  • ISBN: 9781370257072
  • Author: Sagnik Seth
  • Published: 2017-05-07 10:50:11
  • Words: 29955
Shaggy's Journal: A Wonder Story Shaggy's Journal: A Wonder Story