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Though it bore the trademark of damage but we still held it in our hands and christened it Tonka, meaning ‘this one shall last’. Tonka was the rusting remnant we inherited from our cousin’s reckless pleasure. It needed salvation; a new skin of paint, a brake and a not-so-tattered saddle to be called a bicycle again; they knew. But most importantly, Tonka needed us –ten year olds who woke up just for it; we knew. We kept on knowing, until that very moist morning when he came.
I remember him: a big-stuffed-dirty-sack-of-a-boy with yellow hollow eyes and the smell of burnt tobacco. He bent down and made a little motion with his forefinger, tearing the sand with much solemnity. My twin brother on seeing what he drew on it screamed with utmost worship: ‘Ah! He is Jesus! Let’s give him Tonka.’
I allowed myself forget that we both attended church when the bishop spoke about how Jesus would come in different containers to interview our charity.
‘No! Not again. This can’t be Jesus. Jesus rides on an ass.’ I spoke gustily.
‘Damn! I bet he is. He has come to give it a try and to save it.’ He shouted.
Seeing he was getting bellicose, I let go with an exasperated sigh –aargh!
The fat boy, wearing a devilish smile, cycled on the creaking Tonka like a hawk struggling with a tough prey. Then, he zoomed away with it, pedalling like a mad machine, perhaps into the sky where he had fallen from.
After we had recovered from a fruitless hot pursuit and wept; for once, I staggered towards the spot he had drawn on and found an ‘X’ mark −the ‘wrong’ symbol my twin brother mistook for the Cross, because of his short-sightedness; even in religion.