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The Swing

 

The Swing - A True Life Story

One day I was looking at the mirror. I saw an injury mark on the top middle part of my forehead. That is when I remembered how it had happened almost five decades ago. My mother, who standing nearby and watching me looking intently at myself in the mirror casually said, "It happened when you were a small kid". I looked at her for a while and asked did she remember when exactly did it happen. She said, "I think it happened when we were in Hyderabad. But I don't remember much about it except that you came home one evening with a bleeding forehead". Then I told her the full incident which was running like a movie in my brain, of which she knew only the last part where I entered our house with a wound on my forehead. She sat there looking at me in disbelief for a while and said, "How do you remember an incident with so much detail. When it had happened, you were just three years old at that time." Now you may enjoy that bleeding incident, a true life story I have named as "The Swing".
  

    

My father was in the Army and those days he was posted at Hyderabad in the State of Andhra Pradesh in India. Andhra Pradesh is prominantly a barren place with rocky hills and plains. Except where there are rocks, every where else was green. We are from the southern part of India, a state called Kerala. The port of Cochin, now called as Kochi is known as the "Queen of Arabian Sea". The Queen of Arabian Sea name came because there is sea port, a harbour railway station and an airport all located within just 200 meters of each other, not found anywhere else on earth even today. And Kerala is lush green part of India mainly because of the aboundant coconut trees, mango trees, cashewnut trees, aricanut trees, jack fruit trees, banana trees etc. Kerala is a place tourists arrive from all over the world due to these reasons. In Hyderabad where my father was posted those days, I used to go to an Army Children's Park near our house, where the Army had put up a swing, a sea saw, a climbing ladder, a small merry go round etc. All the equipment in the children's park were made out of scraps the army unit workshop discarded. The swing had a rectangular frame made from iron rods, with two thin chains supporting the metal piece with a cushion on it, designed to be the seat of the swing. That is how the army makes equipment like swings, merry go round etc., in a children's park from the scrap and vehicle spares from their workshops.
  

    

The Swing happened to be my main attraction. There were houses to the west of the park. So the sun used to set on top of the houses before it actually set below the distant horizon. As a kid I did not know the direction, but today after thinking about it, I know that the houses were to the west of the park because the sun set behind them. I love the swing. I use to swing just before the sunset. As the sun starts going down behind be buildings nearby, I start swinging with even more force to see the settings Sun, behind those buildings, every time my swing reached its peak amplitude or highest point from ground. I used to take the swing almost horizontal to get a view of the setting Sun. It was an art I had gained over a period of few months and falling down from the swing a few times trying the stunt. As usual that evening I came to the park at sunset to start my Sunset swings. The sun had just started setting over the houses near the park. I kept increasing the amplitude of my swing with each swing trying hard not to miss the sunset till it finally goes down. That is when a helper along with a girl smaller than me, holding a small green colored bus in her hand, came there. A helper, is a man the army appoints to help an Officer at his house.This Officer probably did not want the helper for any help at home for fixing his uniform etc, so he sent the helper to walk his 2 year old daughter to the park. Bad for me.
  

    

The helper angrily told me to get off the swing immediately. I did not reply but continued to swing because I couldn't miss the setting sun behind those buildings. That is when this helper, wearing shorts and a T-Shirt, forcefully stopped my swing and took off the swing. Then, he put that small girl on my swing, placed her green toy bus also on the seat next to her and started swinging her. My Sun was setting and I could not see it. This made me angry. But there was nothing I could do to this grown up man. I stood there helpless without even being able to show my anger or emotions. That is when the god sent opportunity came. The girl's green toy bus fell down from the swing on the ground. Suddenly, the idea came to me. I slowly inched and crawled forward on my knees and elbows to retrieve the green bus from the ground acting as if I was going to take it and give it to the girl. I crawled keeping well below the swing. The moment I caught hold of the green toy bus, I put my idea into practice to run away with the toy bus. I stood up to run away with the green toy bus. That is when it happened. The metal swing seat edge hit my forehead and I fell on my back flinging the green bus far away. The helper did not help me get up. Instead he went and took the green toy bus and gave it to the small girl.
  

    

The helper seemed to me as if he was rejoicing at what happened to me. I could not take this humiliation anymore. My ego and my forehead both were hurt badly, as I walked back home slowly, crying silently due to the pain on my forehead and in my heart. When I reached home my mother saw my forehead bleeding and quickly gave me some first aid to stop the bleeding. I waited for my father to come home. He came very late past 8 pm, when I was probably off to sleep. Next morning I woke up and before my father left for work, I narrated the whole story in a way favorable only to me and portraying the helper as a bad giant. After hearing me out my father said, "Don't worry, I will look into it. I know that man". My ego was restored and the wound on my heart was healed the moment I heard those assuring words from my father. That evening, I went and accomplished my Sunset Swing. But I never really saw the Sun Setting that day, because my eyes continuously searching the horizon to see if the helper and the girl are not coming back to the park today.

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