June 26. 10pm. “Button, let’s have a story-telling session.”
“I’ll begin to tell a story and you pick up from where I leave. Once you’re finished, I’ll take over. Let’s see if we can structure a nice story! Shall I start?”
“We can also get Dost to judge and give away a prize to the better story-teller.”
THE TORTOISE WHO WANTED TO SEE THE WORLD
Once upon a time there lived a tortoise called Slowcoach. He had a jade green complexion and was exceptionally good-looking. He had slept for almost a decade and felt it was time for him to wake up.
Slowcoach stretched his arms and legs, yawned a million times and decided it was time for him to do something worthwhile with his life.
He ambled down from the table-top on which he had spent the last 10 years, packed a small cloth bag with some clothes, a shawl, some nuts, a few baby carrots and said good-bye to his family—including Rani, Mowgli and Button—and was about to leave when the eldest daughter asked him—Where are you off to, Slowcoach?
I am off to see the world, he replied.
Are you sure you’ll manage? Eat something before you leave. Why do you want to leave us and go and see the world? Are you tired of us?
I am bored. I’ve sat on that table for a decade and done nothing with my life. After all, life is short. Let me at least see what the world is like outside this apartment.
Bye, bye, Slowcoach. Take care of yourself and come back soon. We’ll miss you.
As he got into the lift, Ganesh, the lift operator asked him—And who are you? And where do you want to go? Don’t you know these lifts are meant only for members? You’ll have to take the stairs.
Bully—Slowcoach muttered under his breath but didn’t say a word. He simply got out of the lift and began to walk down the stairs. He realized he was too small to pick a fight with Ganesh who loomed over him.
He stayed on one side fearing someone running up and down the stairs would knock him down.
He felt hungry and tired but didn’t know which floor he had reached or how much time it had taken him. All he knew was that he’d begun his journey on June 26.
He sat down and looked around him. It had become quite dark which meant night was approaching. Someone, perhaps the building watchman or supervisor, came and switched on the lights.
He was unsure about traveling at night and decided to go to sleep in one corner of the staircase and continue his journey the next morning. As he burrowed his head under his shell, he heard a voice calling out to him—Slowcoach, Slowcoach, what are you doing here?
He looked around to find a cockroach looking up at him. Slowcoach asked—And who are you? And how do you know my name?
My name is Roach. I’ve seen you somewhere. Is it the apartment above this floor?
Which floor are we on?
This is the 23rd floor.
I’ve come from there. I sat on the table in the study for 10 long years sleeping away my time. One fine day, when I woke up, I wanted to do just one thing—travel round the world.
But how did you visit Flat Number 48?
I keep moving all over. I’ve visited all the apartments in this building.
“The family is about to watch a movie, Button. Shall we continue the story tomorrow?”
“Sure. This is exciting.”