June 13. “Where do you think Pippa went?”
“I don’t have a clue, Button. Shall we hear all about it from the horse’s mouth—I mean Pippa’s mouth?”
“Would love to.”
PIPPA GETS ADVENTUROUS
As Pippa leisurely crawled out of her comfort zone, she had second thoughts—What if she slipped and fell? What if she was unable to find her way back home? What if her enemies scooped her up and carried her away? A million thoughts crossed her mind.
To heighten her worst fears, a raven who sat perched on the bamboo scaffolding outside the kitchen window—unmindfully drying his damp mane—suddenly spotted a juicy snail and beamed! Now that will make for a good brunch, he grimaced. B
The raven pecked at Pippa gently the first time. Seeing that nothing was happening, he pecked a little harder and found it extremely disturbing that the juicy meal he had first seen wasn’t there. In its place was a hard round shell that looked least appetizing!
Nevertheless, he decided to carry it back to his nest and offer it as a memorabilia to his beautiful wife. He hadn’t given her a gift in a while. B
As the raven stuck out his beak to offer the beautifully gift-wrapped memento to his wife, the grasp on Pippa slipped and she began to fall.
That fall seemed to last forever. Pippa was so mortally scared that she crouched in a tight foetal position inside her shell with her arms grasping her legs and her face buried somewhere deep inside. B
She landed with a thud on something hard. As she ambled out of her shell, she found herself lying on, what seemed like, railway tracks. She looked up to see a signage that said Mahalakshmi. This meant she wasn’t far from home. But first things first—The thought that crossed her mind was—what if a train came at breakneck speed! It would crush her beyond recognition! She, therefore, looked around thinking of a way to move out.
But how? By the time she crossed those tracks, it could get late because of her slow gait. Pippa spotted a huge cow very close to where she was. B
She slowly but steadily crawled on to one of the bovine’s legs thinking that the cow would probably move out faster from harm’s way than herself.
Soon enough, Pippa heard the whistle of an approaching train. B
She hoped the cow would move out of the tracks where she was unmindfully grazing and sent up a small prayer.
As the sound of the train’s whistle grew louder and louder, Pippa’s little heart beat faster and faster. Was the cow deaf, she wondered! Why was she not moving? Was she suicidal? Pippa’s tiny heart skipped many a beat. B
By now Pippa had her eyes almost popping out of their sockets as she counted the seconds. Goodbye world—she announced as she regretted having crawled out of her home. If only the fat dumb bovine would move!
Just then, some one had the sense to chase the cow out of the train’s path as it hurtled past at breakneck speed. Had the cow not moved, both she and Pippa would have been history. Pippa heaved a sigh of relief and sent up another prayer thanking the gods and climbed down to ground level. B
But, as luck would have it, a little boy who was kicking pebbles along the railway tracks, unintentionally kicked the snail too.
Mumbai is one of those cities that is constantly being dug up for laying water pipes, for repair works and the like. B
That kick took Pippa right into a tunnel and she began to fall once again. Does this have to happen to me only! She wondered. Another fall! On the same day! She cursed her luck, got into a foetal position and again buried her head in-between her legs to shield it. Had it not been for the wrap-around, she was certain she would have been seriously hurt.
For Pippa, that fall seemed endless but when she actually landed and peered out of her shell, she found herself in a strange kind of corridor with many brightly coloured doors that were all locked! B
She waited for a while to see if someone would emerge from one of the rooms and was about to give up when she found a white rabbit step out. He was dressed in a tux and Gandhi spectacles and seemed very busy checking out the time on the pocket timepiece that hung from his neck. Unmindful that there was someone else in that corridor, he hurried away.
As curiosity got the better of her, Pippa knocked on the first door to her right which was opened by a huge pink caterpillar who welcomed her to step inside and smoke the hookah with him. What’s that? Asked Pippa. It’s something you smoke silly, said the caterpillar. I first tried it when I visited Abracadabra. Why don’t you smoke it and find out what it’s like? If you insist, replied Pippa and, as she took a drag of the hookah and threw her head back and slowly inhaled the flavoured smoke, she realized that she was actually enjoying herself. B
The next room Pippa knocked on was opened by Mr Cheshire Cat who had a huge grin that dwarfed his entire body. Even the grimmest person would break into laughter seeing that grin. He was extremely friendly and invited Pippa to partake of the high tea he and his family were enjoying. Pippa happily joined the family which included his wife and two daughters all grinning from ear to ear and dressed in their Sunday best.
Pippa’s attention was suddenly drawn outside the window where she found three playing cards painting a white rose tree red because, as explained by Mrs Cheshire Cat, the queen did not like white roses. As Pippa was about to take a sip of the English Breakfast tea, she suddenly heard a voice asking her—And are you enjoying yourself, my dear Pippa? Pippa looked all around to pin that voice who she thought was Mr Cheshire Cat’s but all she saw were grinning faces wherever she looked! Suddenly the strains of the Queen’s March came floating by and, looking out of the window, Pippa saw a real queen for the first time. She was dressed in a flaming red dress, wore a tiara on her head and carried a huge bosom. As Mr Cheshire Cat introduced her to the queen, her trademark remark—off with her head—shocked Pippa out of her wits! She was stunned by the remark and couldn’t quite fathom why the queen had said something like that in the first place. What does she mean by that remark? She asked her friend! Have I done something wrong? It’s nothing like that—explained the cat—that remark goes for just about anyone she meets up with. Having said that, he disappeared as suddenly as he had arrived which left Pippa standing there all by herself. B
The next door Pippa knocked on was opened by a very scary-looking creature called Jabberwock. Pippa had never seen something so scary and this made her jump out of her skin. It was Jabberwock who came forward and extended his knarled arm to greet Pippa. I’ve never seen you here before, Miss! exclaimed Jabberwock. Pippa introduced herself and explained that though she was feeling lost among weird characters and situations, she was slowly finding her way around ! Weird! Which one of us is weird? We are just like you—we talk, we eat, we play games, we have families—how can you say we are weird? There was nothing Pippa could say to this. She, therefore, left the room even more puzzled.