I peered over the boundary wall, and it was quite tall, which made things a tad difficult. But I was drawn to this house, time and again, I could not help it. The little boy was standing besides his tricycle, while his dad was working on the support wheels. “Dad, I am not so sure today is the day we would want to do this – such a chore and it’s Sunday. You ought to rest and read your paper and I need to ride my tricycle today. If I fall off that bike you are loosening out of it, it would be a disaster of a day for the both of us”, I heard. “It has got to be some day, so let today be it”, his dad replied, “And don’t worry, I will support it, you won’t even notice the wheels are gone. And when you stop noticing son, I will let go, and that is when you will experience that unmatchable thrill!” The little guy looked on, still unsure, and yet he seemed to believe his father. For a moment he turned his gaze towards me, right at me, and I looked back – was he going to tell on me this time? I hoped not. I decided that it was enough for the day, the twosome was going to ride around the premises and his father was surely going to notice me even if he himself found a stranger staring at him amusing.

A few years went by, and I kept watching him grow – he was in his early teens now, he had a bigger bike. This one evening he passed me in the back-lane – yes he was riding out of the house now. He appeared to be slightly more adventurous now – which teen isn’t, right? He was zooming down the slope, hands off the handle – I knew an accident was literally down the corner, for there was some construction work going on and there were these little pebbles scattered all around. I heard a thud, walked a bit farther and could see that he and his bike had fallen down by the side. Before I could give him a hand he got up, brushed his clothes and picked up his bike. He looked around to see who was watching and caught my eye momentarily before he quickly got up on his bike and rode off towards his home. I could see he was bleeding at his ankle. So, I decided to follow him in case he needed any help – or maybe it was just the prospect of seeing him in his house again – that ecosystem of his simply enchanted me. As I reached the gate I could hear noises from inside. I decided to be a bit adventurous myself and quietly opened the gate to let myself in. I walked up to the source of the noise, close enough to make sense of it – it was an argument or rather a scolding:

Dad: What the hell were you doing out there? You have your History exam due tomorrow, no?
Boy: I was just riding my bike, I was tired of studying, just wanted some fresh air, a break dad.
Dad: Well, Bravo! You almost did break your leg…
Mom: Oh hush now both of you! C’mon let me fix that up, give you something to eat and then you can go back and finish with your revision young man…
The sun was setting, and I decided to get going.

An year or two later, I saw him on his bike near a local tuition center, probably having an after-class snack with a friend of his. A short, scrawny looking bloke came up from behind and pushed him off his bike. “I heard you were saying things about me you schmuck!”, he yelled. The boy got up, lifted his bike and put it on the stand. He then turned around, looked the short fellow straight in his eyes and said “Well you are a worthless spoiled brat who drives around a car that you could not afford on your own in a hundred years – tell me where I am wrong!” But he was not done. He picked up a sizable rock lying nearby and threw it on the windshield of a car which was by no means inexpensive. The short fellow looked like he could not believe what he had just seen – neither could I, for I had never seen him so aggressive – he was usually one of the quieter chaps. “Drive that home honking if the breeze gets to you!” He bid his tense bystander friend goodbye, picked up his bike and rode towards me. I think he had seen me watching – was today the day he would finally ask? Ask me as to why I had been watching him – all these years? As he came closer, my pulse quickened, I am not sure if I had the right answer for him. It is then that he stopped in front of me and started ringing the bell, he was not going to ask I guess, just wanted to go back home. But somehow, i found myself unable to step away – I was sort of paralyzed and he kept ringing the bell, refusing to say a word to me – and I kept hearing that sound…

It was my phone. It was my mom. I picked up.

Mom : Good morning son! how are you this morning?
Me : The same as everyday mom, weekdays are seldom distinguishable – you wake up and go to office.
Mom : Oh, come on now. Get up and complete something/anything – perhaps a chore that has been long pending. Your dad and I decided to clean up the garage this morning. Stuff has been lying there for ages.
Me: That’s great mom.. *yawning*
Mom : And oh, we found your old bikes…
Me: You did huh?
Mom: Yes we did. And since you are all grown-up and working now, we were thinking of selling these off.
Me : Isn’t there some kid around from dad’s staff who could use them?
Mom : Nope, they are either too young or too old for these. Why, will you miss them?
Me: Yeah, just memories… I guess you can sell them.
Mom: Good! Don’t worry, we won’t just throw them out, I will make sure they go to someone who loves to cycle as much as you did. When are you planning to come home next dear?
Me: I’ll have to see.. will tell you later. I need to go to work now mom, talk to you later.
Mom: Okay, young man, off you go! Talk to you in the evening..bbye.
Me: Bye mom.

Strange dreams, I thought to myself as I walked into the parking lot to a familiar not-so-cheap car. Strange dreams indeed…


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