One day only Gaya and I were playing - it was his turn to strike the billet while I had to chase it. Now, it is quite enjoyable when it is your turn to strike the billet; but chasing it is anything but pleasurable. I tried all tactics, which though unscientific are yet pardonable on such occasions, to make Gaya abandon the game. But he was adamant and would not allow me to leave until his turn at striking the billet was completed.
I raced towards my home lending a deaf ear to all Gaya's requests to continue the game.
Gaya ran after me and caught up within no time. Brandishing the tipper at me he demanded I should play to the end. "You thought nothing of it when it was your turn to strike the billet. Now when it is your turn to chase, you are running away," he said.
"You will keep striking the billet throughout the day, and do I have to keep chasing it?"
"Yes, you will have to chase it."
"Can't I even have my meals?"
"You cannot leave until I have completed my turn at striking the billet."
"Am I your slave?"
"Yes, you are my slave."
"I am going home; let's see what you can do about it."
"How can you go home? Is this a joke? You have had your turn at striking the billet and, now, you must allow me to complete my turn."
"Okay, return the guava that I had given you yesterday."
"I have eaten it up."
"Remove it from your stomach. Why did you eat my guava?"
"It is you who offered me the guava. I never asked for it."
"I will not chase the billet until you have returned my guava."
I was convinced that justice was on my side. I had definitely offered the guava to Gaya for some selfish reasons of my own. Who acts selflessly? Even alms are given away to beggars for selfish reasons. Since Gaya had eaten my guava, he had no right to demand that I should allow him to complete his turn at striking the billet. People get their work done by paying bribes. Does he want to digest my guava just for nothing? Gaya's father would never have been able to buy a guava for him. This was unfair.
"Come along and let me complete my turn," Gaya said while dragging me along to the play-field.
I had the force of justice was on my side; he was bent upon being unjust. I wanted to release my hand from his grip and run home; he did not allow me to go. I abused him; he hurled worse abuses at me and even slapped me hard. I bit him, and he hit me on the back with the stick. I began to howl; Gaya was helpless before this weapon of mine and he fled. I, immediately, wiped away my tears and, forgetting the pain caused by the stick, made my way homewards grinning from ear to ear. I was the son of a police officer; I felt very humiliated at being beaten by a person belonging to the lower strata of the society. But I did not reveal the incident to anyone.