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Hamid had no answer to this. But he put up a brave face and asked, "Who will dare to arrest us?"

Nooray squared his shoulders and said, "This policeman with the rifle."

Hamid made a face at him and said, "This wretched policeman! Okay, let's have a duel between the policeman and my tongs. One look at my tongs and the policeman will scurry away in fright; how is he going to catch my tongs?"

Mohsin changed tactics and tried a new line of attack. "What a pity! Your poor tongs will burn in fire every day." Mohsin thought that this would subdue Hamid and leave him speechless.

He was wrong. Hamid immediately shot back, "Mister, it is only the brave who dare to leap into the fire. Your lawyer, policeman and water-man will sneak indoors like scared women; only Rustam-e-Hind can pass through fire.

Mahmood made one last effort. "Our lawyer saheb will sit on a chair and have a table before him. Your tongs will lie uncared for in the kitchen."

This new argument infused life into the others. Mahmood has indeed said a very clever thing. The tongs will lie in the kitchen; what else could it do!

Hamid could not think of any fitting reply; so, he said the first thing that came to his mind. "My tongs will not remain in the kitchen. When lawyer saheb will go to sit on his chair, my tongs will pull away the chair, and stuff all the law into his stomach.

It was not a logical argument, but Hamid won the day. His pair of tongs was the Rustam-e-Hind! Mohsin, Mahmood, Nooray and Sammi no longer objected to that title.

The victor is entitled to be honoured by the vanquished, and this was the case with Hamid too. The other boys had spent three annas and even four annas but did not buy anything useful. Hamid had scored over them with only three paise. The toys had very brief lives and would soon break; Hamid's tongs would remain for years and years.

The clauses of the peace treaty were discussed. Mohsin said, "Show us your tongs, and let us handle it. You may take my water-man in your hands in exchange."

Mahmood and Nooray also offered their toys to Hamid in exchange for examining his tongs.

Hamid had no objection to the terms of the treaty. The boys surrendered their toys to Hamid in turns, and the pair of tongs passed from one hand to another. Hamid looked at the toys - they were indeed beautiful!

Following the reconciliation, Hamid had no hesitation in wiping off the tears from the eyes of the losers. "I was only teasing you, fellows. Truly! How can this ordinary pair of tongs compete against these toys? These toys look so real; it seems they would start talking any moment."

But Mohsin and the other boys were not comforted. They were really impressed by the tongs.

Mohsin: But, no one will bless us for buying these toys.

Mahmood: You are talking of blessings! We would be lucky if we are not spanked! My mother is sure to scold me for buying this clay toy.

Hamid had to agree that the mothers were unlikely to be as happy on seeing toys as his grandmother would be on seeing the tongs. The pair of tongs was truly a Rustam-e-Hind and the king of all toys!

Mahmood felt hungry on the way. His father had given him a few bananas. Mahmood shared the bananas only with Hamid; the other boys could only look hungrily at them. This was all due to the tongs!

The villagers returned to the village. Mohsin's kid sister hurried to meet him and snatched away the water-man from his hands. She leapt and skipped with such joy that mister water-man dropped to the ground and went to heaven. This event led to a scuffle between the brother and the sister. Both of them started crying in the aftermath of the scuffle. The din infuriated their mother, and she came out and slapped each of them twice.


Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu