"Bhhaiya, rickshaw thoda aage lo na" she said, her voice shivering.
The rickwala smiled at her through pan stained teeth.
"Kyun hass rahe ho bhaiyya...rickshaw thoda aage lo na" she pleaded
The rickwala seemed to be enjoying her plight.
She turned to her right. Looked straight into his eyes. He growled.
"Please bhaiyya" The rickwala kept smiling and started conversing in sign language with the rickwala next to him.
She shifted as far left as she could and closed her eyes.
Dumb little Shanu and Smart Little Punti walked hand in hand to the grocery store. The chore was simple. Get a kilo of sugar and a packet of biscuits. Shanu trusted Punti with all her little heart. She looked up to her. She was after all, her older cousin. They had loads in common including their love for Jim Jam biscuits and hatred for all kinds of creepy crawlies.
As they skipped towards the store, they saw a pack of dogs coming their way. Dumb Shanu was a fattu. She was scared of dogs. Smart Punti on the other hand was scared of nothing. She was after all bigger (and smarter) than Shanu. She was sure if need be, she could outrun Shanu any day.
Dumb Shanu looked at Smart Punti. Punti gave her a 'Main Hoon na' smile. The air was thick with tension as the pack of dogs stared at the two tiny girls in skirts and pony tails. Punti quickly assessed the situation. Woh 5 hain aur hum do....bahut nainsafi hai. She had made her decision. In a move so quick that it belied her thin frame, she pushed Shanu towards the dogs and started running.Dumb Shanu was well...dumbstruck. The dogs were dumbstruck too. While Shanu stands rooted to ground, unable to move partly due to fear and partly due to her dumbness and lack of reflexes, the dogs make a dumber choice. They decide to chase Punti!!
And Shanu makes the dumbest choice (no surprises there)....she decides to chase the dogs, who are chasing Punti!!
So the sleepy village witnessed something it hadn't witnessed in all the 150 years of its existence...a tiny girl in balloon skirt and pony tail being chased by a pack of dogs, being chased by a tinier girl in an A line skirt (yea, she was fashion conscious even as a kid).
Punti was right. She was fast. She went through the gate of their house and did the next unthinkable thing. She closed the gate.
And Shanu was stuck outside the gate with a pack of very angry dogs. Everything seemed to stop for a split second. The dogs exchanged glances. "How dumb can she be" they seemed to ask themselves. The leader looked at her. Nazron se nararein mili. And then realization dawned on Shanu.
'Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh' she screamed as she started running in the opposite direction, the dogs now snapping at her heels.
The horns blaring woke her up with a jolt. If it wasn't for her dad who happened to pass that way, she would have ended up as dog food that day.
A look to her right revealed that the car was still next to her. Browny, thats what his name tag said, was still staring at her. He seemed ready to pounce. A head peeked out from behind Browny. She looked at him with pleading eyes. He smiled. And right on cue the lights turned green.
The rickwala turned towards her and smiled "Kya memsaheb, aap ek kutte se darte ho"
Sigh, if only he knew.