“It’s me sir,” piklu came out from his hiding place, trembling.
“And what you were doing there?” the policeman thundered through his big, rolled, black, waxed-moustache.
“I will never come here. I swear, I will never come this close to a pond. I am a good boy.”
The policeman started observing him with rolling eyes.
“I am a good boy, I drink milk and I do my homework regularly, and I got a gold star in my diary as I corrected all my maths. Don’t take me to jail…pl…” piklu’s voice choked in fear.
Still the policeman would go on inspecting him, frowning, eyes squeezed…biting his lips.
“your name?” thundered the cloud.
“Soumen Majumdar, also Piklu, also Bitlu, also Bablu, also palash, and my grandpa call me bhombol, my granny calls me laalkumar, and my didi calls me tiktiki, and my maa calls me sonamona, and my uncle in nagpur call…” piklu’s voice again choked, the policeman is still looking at him, this time with rounded eyes. “…me…rajkumar,” piklu managed to finish.
“everybody call me piklu…,” he added.
“what are you doing here?, ” the policeman inquired.
Piklu was silent. “hmmm…?” the policeman looked hard at him. “nothing…I will not come here again. I promise…don’t take me to the jail,” piklu pleaded.
“only piklu…and soumen majumdar” piklu rectified.
--yes…this is right.
--what exactly you were doing here.
--nothing, I will not come again, I promise.
--would you ever come here?
--how many times I have to tell you, I told you na…
--sorry…I am a good boy.
--in which class you are?
--holy child primary school, near the station.
--how old are you?
--three…no four, I don’t know. But my didi is twelve.
--what do you study in school.
--like twinkle twinkle, baba black sheep…jack and jill.
--tell jack and jill.
--I can go then?
The sound was particularly concerning…Piklu jump started, “jack and jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, jack fell down and broke his…broke his…broke his…and jill came tumbling after.” There were moments silence, piklu was afraid about his fate as he failed in the exam.
--you don’t know any hindi poem?
--yaaa…aata gache tota pakhi, dalim gache mou, hire dadar marmare than, thakur dadar bou.
--wah, wah very good, very nice…
Piklu was proud of his intelligence. It was not taught in his school. His grandmother taught him.
“I know one more…”
--is it? carry on then…
--ABC, kapore hegechi, kapor gelo dhopar bari, aabar hegechi.
Piklu burst out in laughter, his tiny left hand pressing on his mouth. He knew this is a dirty poem.
The hindi-speaking policeman, took some time to understand this Bengali masterpiece. than he also burst into loud laughter, facing towards sky.
Both laughed for sometime. Piklu was happy the poiceman didn’t mind his dirty joke. It was very funny though.
--do you know lakri ki kathi…kathi pe ghora
--ok…do you know nani tere morni ko
Piklu was confused. This is the first time he is hearing these poems. And he understands Hindi.
“You don’t know these poems, than you don’t know anything…shall I sing it for you?”
Piklu was not sure…the policeman didn’t wait for his response. He looked around, to ensure nobody is taking notice of them…particularly those of a law-breaker kind. He cleared his throat and started with all his finesse, “nani tere morni ko more le gayi, baaki jo bacha that kale chor le gayi…”
He finished the whole song. He was happy as piklu was giving his full attention. It was not piklu’s fault. All the rhymes worldwide are such that a child can easily relate to it. No matter what the lore’s origin is.
“How was it?” the policeman inquired.
--good, so may I go?
The policeman again started staring at him, “what were you doing here?”
“I will not come here again. Please don’t tell my mother,” after the song and merriment he was sure he will not be taken into custody, whatever the crime is.
--and I will not steal pickles from nanny’s bottle…and I will not beat my friend.
---hmmm…understood, but why did you came here?
Piklu thought for a moment, than he disclosed the truth. “just to see the fish in the pond. see those fishes, you can see a star shines on their head.”
“hmmm…do you want me to catch you one.”
Piklu shouted as he had discovered his didi’s hidden chocolate, “why…yes…sure…please do…I will keep in a bottle.”
“ok, I am catching one, just grab it and run to your house, it would need water to survive. Don’t get delayed on the way. And yes, don’t come to this pond again. You know what is there in this pond?
--no worst than that. Sharks and whales, they will gulp you like you do with tablets.
--and there is baby-catcher. They live in ponds.
“I am not a baby,” piklu protested. “I am taller than all the boys in my class. Papan is the shortest in our class. He is a baby.
--hahahaha, right you are, still then you should not come here. And if I see you again, I will take you and put you into jail.
Now that was terrifying.
For the next half an hour, piklu instructed the policeuncle which fish to catch but the police man failed repeatedly before a success.
Piklu hold the fish in the little palms, jointly shaped as a bowl. Water was fast draining out from his hands.
Piklu could hear the policeman shouting, “run run…run fast …hahahaha…run fast son….hahaha…”
The sound of the policeman faded in the air, yet the words were echoing in piklu’s ears, “the next time you come near a pond…I will gulp you like a tablet…I am the bhoot of a pond…hahahaha….bhooooooot….hahahaha…..bhooooooot….”