And Raghav froze in an odd stoop. He was tying his shoe laces when he heard ‘the word’.
And Tia froze open-mouthed. She was calling out to someone, when ‘the word’ hit her.
Poor Ahsaan was about to get up after picking up his pencil, but he got stuck in an odd, uneasy squat as ‘the word’ hit him too.
3 odd human statues in the middle of a playground? Not good.
But, the one who enjoyed the scene the most was Arjun.
‘Statues’ was Arjun’s favorite game. He could play the game all day long. And freeze half the world.
This time too Arjun managed to freeze all three of them together. And what fun it was!
Arjun tiptoed between Ahsaan and Tia and did everything to annoy them further.
“Look Tia, a fly is going to enter your mouth. Shut it, quick.” But Tia didn’t budge.
“Chii Ahsaan, this is not the place to pottyyyy! Haven’t I been telling you to clear your bowels before coming to school? Eww!”
Then he picked up a dry grass and put it into Raghav’s nose. His nose wiggled, flared and shrank and out came a loud..
“That’s it! You cannot keep us Statue for so long. It has to be not more than a minute. You are too crazy for this stupid game. We are never going to play with you again,” screamed Raghav and all three of them stormed out of the playground.
Oh no! Would that mean Arjun could never play this game again?
Arjun tried to apologize. But Tia, Raghav and Ehsaan seem to be too angry to even listen to him.
Heartbroken, Arjun walked back home, alone. To reach his home, he had to walk through a wood.
He decided to stop for a few minutes at his favorite place.
In the middle of the woods, there was a very shallow well, surrounded by trees. Raghav, Ehsaan, Tia and Arjun loved playing here. Arjun sat near the well and thought, “how wonderful would it be, if I get to play Statues with my friends again. Wouldn’t it be great if I statue them tomorrow and they can’t say no?”
Just then a coin slipped out of his pocket and dropped into the shallow well.
“Oh!”, said Arjun. But there was nothing he could do. It was gone.
He got up and headed home.
The next morning, Arjun got down the bus, and the first thing he saw was Raghav standing at the gate.
Arjun could not stop himself.
“Statue!” said he. And to his pleasant surprise, Raghav stopped still.
“Hey Raghav! Thanks yaar. I knew you guys wouldn’t stay mad at me for long.”, Arjun was delighted.
“Hey guys!!” Tia called out as she came running towards them.
As she came nearer, Arjun shot the spell again, “Statue!”
And Tia stiffened. She looked as if she was ready to start a race.
“Hey Tia, you do it better than everyone else!”
Ehsaan came and said “Boo” from behind Raghav. No one, except Arjun, jumped.
As a response, Arjun said “Statue” and Ehsaan too became as still as a real statue.
“You guys are my best friends! I am so glad, I got to play with you guys again.”
“Okay guys, I won’t keep you Statue for long this time. Go ahead, ‘move’,” said Arjun.
But no one moved.
“Guys, it’s over. The bell has rung. Let’s go inside. We’ll be late for the assembly!” said Arjun.
But the three of them, didn’t move an inch.
Arjun shook, poked, tickled them, but his friends were caught in the pose. They looked just like…… statues!
Now, Arjun panicked. Something was definitely wrong. Arjun ran inside the school, straight to class III. Anya, Arjun’s sister was two years elder to Arjun. The class was waiting for its teacher. Children were laughing, talking, and flying paper airplanes. One of them was writing the date on the blackboard. It was Anya. She was the class monitor. Arjun went up to her and asked her to come out.
“Didi, you need to come with me to the school gate. My friends..my friends… something happened to them,” Arjun was breathless.
“What happened? And why are you guys still at the gate? The bell has rung a long ago!”
Arjun explained the situation in one breath.
“Arjun, enough of this non-sense. Go, back to your class, right now!” How could Anya believe such a thing!
“Didi, please come with me.” Arjun pulled Anya. Anya noticed he was almost on the verge of crying. She had to go with him.
It was only when Anya had tried all the tricks, including kicking and punching those poor statues, she realized the matter was more serious than what it looks like.
“Arjun, look at me. What have you done, boy?”
“Didi, I did nothing. I was just playing Statues with them but I don’t know how I turned them into actual statues!! Yesterday, they were annoyed with me because of this stupid game. I wished how wonderful would it be if they could never say no to my ‘statue’. Today turned worse that yesterday. My friends are never going to talk to me again.” Tears started rolling down Arjun’s cheeks.
“Wait a minute. You wished they could never say no. Where did you wish so? Don’t tell me it was near that well in the woods!” Anya had an expression that said, ‘Arjun, you are doomed’.
“Y..yes. I was exactly there when I wished so. Why?”
“Oh God, I have heard a lot of stories of wishes and prayers being answered near that well. You know what, it’s a wishing well! But for your wishes to come true, you need to put a coin in the well. I am sure, you wouldn’t have..what… did you?”
“D..didi! A coin accidentally slipped out of my pocket and went straight into the well. I didn’t know..” Arjun started wailing.
“Okay, okay, relax Arjun. We’ll make it all right. If now we know that the well makes wishes come true, things have turned easier for us, haven’t they?” Anya waited Arjun to get her point.
But Arjun was so upset, he couldn’t even think clearly.
Half an hour later, the siblings were exactly where all this started and turned so bad. The wishing well inside the woods!
Anya handed over another coin to Arjun.
Arjun gingerly stepped forward and pleaded, “O wishing well, you are great. You listen to our petty wishes and make them come true. But this time, things went a little awry. Please let me un-freeze my friends with the word ‘move’. I am nothing without them.”
With this, Arjun dropped a coin in the well.
And they ran back to the ‘statues’.
Arjun took a deep breath and said, ‘move’.
A few hours later….
Arjun opened his tiffin. Mom had packed his favorite parantha for lunch. He rolled the parantha and opened his mouth wide…
Everything froze. Arjun with his mouth wide open, his hand raised to his mouth. But the only thing that left its place was the parantha.
“Move” said Ehsaan, Raghav and Tia together with the yummy parantha stuffed in their mouths.
How I wish! How badly I wish!
My wish comes true,
That you stay with me,
Till red is red, and blue is blue!