12 Nov Catch Me if You Can!
During my morning walk today, as I grudgingly trudged along on the jogging track, I noticed all the green trees that were lining the pathway. With much resentment and indignation, I noticed that the trees hadn’t moved an inch from when I last saw them. No exercise for them, I noted angrily!
Why is it that these trees remain stationery in one place and yet not put on even an ounce of fat?!
Wish I was a tree, I thought wistfully.
Overcoming my wishful thinking and my meaningless resentment, I moved on further with what I claim as renewed vigour.
Just then a mysterious creature materialized before me. It was about 3 feet tall, with strange features and had a bluish skin colour. It had an excessively protruding, conical shaped mouth and clubbed hands and feet.
“Hi, I am Jadoo – your favourite movie character,” it said in a deep, throaty voice as it stretched out its clubbed fingers. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at it while it looked around nervously. Finally, after about a full minute of me staring and his furtive glances, I started walking again, just as abruptly as I had stopped.
“You are just a figment of my hyper-active imagination,” I said nonchalantly.
“No, I am really here,” he exclaimed as he started gliding alongside me.
“That’s not possible,” I said. “Why not?” he countered.
“Because, Jadoo is a fictional character. It’s not real,” I explained exasperatedly.
“I am real, just as real as that squirrel in front.”
“Ok.. Ok. But, what are you doing here?” I asked earnestly.
“I have come to give you company during your lonely walk.”
“Who said I am lonely!” I gestured to my earplugs and the music playing on my phone.
“Everyone is lonely in their heart of hearts.” Aah, philosophical alien, it was.
As I walked further, Jadoo floated just a few steps ahead of me – as if challenging me to catch up.
“Ok, enough… why are you really here?” I hissed, already annoyed at his easy, quick pace.
I wasn’t scared or worried. After all, it looked just as cute and harmless as in the movie.
He stopped just as suddenly as I had, and looked at me with downcast eyes. “Why don’t you believe me?” he asked softly. “Because you are not real” I repeated. I had almost caught up with him.
“I am as real as you,” he retorted and scurried ahead.
“Really?!” I asked incredulously. “Well, then let’s see if Khan Uncle says Hi to you.” He looked up with a jerk and saw Khan Uncle walk towards us from the opposite direction. Jadoo quickly looked around, and scampered off to hide behind the largest tree he could spot. Better the tree than me, I thought, pleased that at least someone (or something) considered me too thin.
Khan Uncle passed us by, acknowledging my greetings with a benevolent smile. I had half a mind to give away Jadoo’s hide-out but then stopped, worried of the heart attack that it may cause the elderly man. Not to mention the mayhem and scandal that would ensue upon discovering an alien amidst us.
I decided against giving him away, also, because I realized considering the fact that I was more than enough alien-like for the unassuming, god-fearing residents to handle.
As we walked further Jadoo further glided a few steps further ahead. He kept looking back at me as if saying, “Catch me if you can, you fatso!” I ignored him and plugged in my ears again, gently swaying to the soulful music that played on my phone. Jadoo seemed crestfallen at that gesture. As if I wasn’t offended at him constantly challenging me to keep up with him.
I finally decided to and lunged forward. But, Jadoo being faster than me, stayed just out of reached. I quicked my pace, and Jadoo floated farther away.
This time, I was genuinely irritated and snapped, “If you are here to give me company, you better stay by my side.”
“I am here to help you. You should walk faster. It’s called brisk walking for a reason,” he admonished.
By now, I was furious. I ran forward to smack him but Jadoo was smarter. He darted up ahead and challenged me, “Let’s see if you can outrun me.”
“Game on,” I said disdainfully. I was now running to catch up with him.
After what seemed like an eternity, (but was really 20 minutes as per my watch) I trailed back home.
As I was fishing in my pockets for my house keys, I turned around to thank Jadoo. Afterall, it was he who had pushed me to go faster. But he, surprisingly, was nowhere to be seen. I looked around and saw old Mrs. Braganza staring at me.
“What, now?” she barked. I simply shook my head, wondering if she had spotted Jadoo. Scruffy, her black cat came round from behind her and stared at me accusingly with his shiny yellow eyes.
“Where is the newspaper? Why you took it?” she shrieked. Startled, I opened my mouth to plead ignorance and state my innocence but no words came out. I was worried that, by now Scruffy would surely have sensed Jadoo’s presence. Fearing that anything I might say would bring on more scrutiny, I simply closed my mouth, much akin to a goldfish.
Thankfully, the newspaper man and the milk man popped round the corner just then, saving me from assured conviction. Having collected both, she seemed quite content, now that her morning routine remained undisturbed.
“Good Morning!” I politely greeted Mrs. Braganza, as I collected the newspaper and milk.
“What’s so good about it?!” she muttered and shuffled back inside, with the newspaper tucked under her arm. Hastily I unlocked my front door as Scruffy continued to stare at me accusingly.
I collected my wits and stumbled inside, knowing fully well, that Jadoo would surely make an appearance the next day.