I woke up to find that I could not see a thing.
No, I had not been blinded, not as yet anyways, but it was pitch dark, with just a tiny beam of light coming through a hole on the roof of the small box in which I was imprisoned.
I checked my hands and feet, thankfully, they were still free, but as for the rest of me, while I could move around, there wasn’t any place I could go to beyond the four walls of my claustrophobic prison.
Clearly, unequivocally, irrevocably, I was doomed!
And to think that just this morning, I had been fighting with my mother on what to have for breakfast, and beating up my brother for ratting on me. The latter is what had led to me ending up in this dark hole, come to think of it.
Our father had caught me hitting my idiot of a younger brother, and had grounded me on what seemed to be a brilliantly sunny Sunday. I grumbled, muttered, and protested vociferously, but he just refused to listen to my side of the story. I grudgingly went to my room and stood facing the wall, cursing the inequitable nature of this world, and of family dynamics!
But not for long.
I heard my father go out to get weekly provisions, and a neighbour come in to chit-chat with Mom, and I knew that this was my golden opportunity. I crawled slowly towards the main entrance, taking each step with utmost care so as to avoid making any sound whatsoever. Getting caught trying to escape punishment would only result in a harsher punishment, something which I was not too keen to experience.
After what seemed to be an eternity, I reached the main entrance of our house, and then…I was off, running as fast as my legs would carry me. And it was while running at that breakneck speed that I had bumped into him, the kidnapper. He saw me, and his eyes widened with excitement. He was much bigger than I am, and so, I could do nothing at all when he picked me up and dropped me in this prison, sliding the door shut as I slowly lost consciousness.
But now I had regained my senses, and knew that I was doomed, clearly, unequivocally, irrevocably.
But then, I thought of my poor mother wondering where I had disappeared, searching desperately for me, all the time blaming my father for having been the cause of this tragedy. And then I thought of my father, whose guilt would keep gnawing at him from inside till he became a shell of his former self. And then, finally, I thought of my younger brother, gloating on becoming the sole heir to the family fortune.
And this shifted something deep inside me. I was no longer reconciled to my fate, I would stand, and I would take it head-on!
I first tentatively checked the walls of my prison for any weak points, but there were none.
I did not get disheartened. I tried running and hitting the walls with the full force of my body, and it was then that I realized that the prison was not as solid as I had initially thought it to be. The ground, as well as the walls, had moved slightly when I hit the wall.
My chest swelled with hope then, for I knew what I had to do. I targeted the wall hitting which was leading to the most displacement, and started running and banging into it…again…and again…and again….till finally….the entire prison, just toppled over what seemed to be very high cliff.
I was scared out of my wits as I fell along with the prison, but the fear was combined with exhilaration, for even if I died in the process, I had succeeded in doing something to fight my captor and foil his plans.
The prison hit the ground with such great impact that the door slid open. I could see light now, after God knows how long. I jumped out of the prison, and ran with full strength towards my home. Strangely enough, the entrance to my home was not as far as I had thought it to be. Bit I did not spend too much time over it, and just slid in at great speed, panting heavily.
The first person I saw on reaching home was my brother, and for the first time in my life, I was so happy on seeing him that I hugged him. My parents looked at each other like I had finally gone completely crazy, but I didn’t care, I had just narrowly escaped death, or worse. I was home now, and I was never going to leave.
And in his room, 5-year old Sunny started bawling. His parents rushed in to see what had happened. His eyes full of tears, Sunny told them, “I had put a small cockroach in this matchbox to take him for our Summer Camp Show and Tell tomorrow. I had kept the matchbox on the table, but I just came back from the bathroom and saw that the matchbox was lying open on the floor, and the cockroach ran and went into that small hole in the wall. What am I going to tell Miss D’Souza?”
His mother looked at his father, and said, “How many times do I have to tell you to call someone and get that hole repaired? It seems as if an entire family of cockroaches lives down there!”
Image: Steve Buissinne