Gurpreet and Navpreet sat playing at home. Summer vacations were always loved by all six year olds. But this summer vacation had turned damp since it had rained all of last week. The boys were playing a game of “What am I thinking about?”. The two were playing this “mind-exercise” on their mother insistence. She had said, “You two can't while your summer holidays. When you turn eight you will start your telepathy training. You should be 'Best' at it by then.”
The communicator beeped and Gurpreet dashed to answer the phone. He picked it up and before he could scream to his mummy who it was, she cut him off saying, “You know I can read your mind. I know it's Tulika's mother. You just always want a reason to scream.” She took the communicator and kept it quickly after a few “Accha, accha's.”
The twins had read bits of the conversation and knew they were going to be playing in Tulika's backyard. They were too excited to hear rest of the conversation. Their mother turned to ask them to pack their play-pods and they stood ready. Eager to leave.
Their mother dropped them off at Tulika's house and the two ran excited to the backyard, not bothering to enter her house. Tulika was already at the back of the house with her friend Priya, playing in their “Everything Pink Palace”. The twins entered the palace to see the girls having a glorious game of “House-house”. The two were pretending to be famous Bollywood actress of a bygone era.
“Chalo.. Let's play. Stop all this girly stuff.”, Navpreet said impatiently.
“Yeah. It's sunny outside and you two are sitting inside and playing all this virtual stuff. Aab let's go.”, Gurpreet said looking out from the palace, that looked like a pink make up room.
“Yes, yes. We'll be out in a minute.” said Priya.
The boys looked at each and read each others minds and ran out. Gurpreet had an evil look on his face.
Let's play chor police and win. Boys versus girls.
No yaar, they'll never agree Gurpreet!! I think we should be on opposite teams and then we'll make sure that we catch the girls really fast since we can communicate.
Arre..but so can Tulika. And Priya can move objects. You know that right?
But we are brothers, we can communicate better. Plus all those exercises we have done are bound to help. Tulika's mother never makes her do them.
Their thoughts were interrupted by the two giggling girls.
“So what are we playing? Hide and seek?”, asked Priya.
“No way. There are only four of us and anyway, you girls always want to only hide. I think we should play Chor Police. Boys versus girls!”, said Navpreet with a smug face.
“No...That's what you always want to play. Nooooo..” groaned Tulika.
“I think we SHOULD play chor police! I really want to. Anyway, last time we played Dabba Gul, and that was YOUR choice!”, pointed out Gurpreet.
Tulika sensed something was up. Hesitantly she said, “Okay fine. But no girls versus boys. You'll split up.”
“Okay!” said the boys together and smiled slyly. They chucked their play pods aside and were ready to play.
The usual 'Majority wins' was done to decide the teams and which team would play which role. Tulika and Gurpreet were in the police team and Priya and Navpreet in the other team.
Let the game begin. Navpreet smiled.
While the police team shut their eyes and counted to a hundred, Priya and Navpreet ran to hide.
“Run to the other side, but stay close enough, so that I see you”, Navpreet instructed.
Priya ran and hid in a well groomed patch of bushes. She thought hard and made the leaves turn direction and cover her from all sides. The leaves obeyed slowly and made a layer over her head. Tiny beams of light filtered through.
Navpreet watched her. She was getting better with her telekinesis, he thought.
Gur, Priya is hiding close to me. Where are you?
Navpreet thought hard as he tried to send the stream to his brother. Distance and excitement during the game, made it harder.
Gur, Priya is hiding with me. Where you? Gurpreet wondered why she was with Navpreet.
Why is she with you? Make her go, so that I can catch her. Tulika is with me.
Tulika could sense it. The twins were just too excited. She could feel it. She tried to tap into Gurpreets emotions but couldn't seem to go beyond excitement, the feeling was too strong. “Can't wait to get my skills trained at school. It would be really helpful.”, she thought.
Priya sat under the foliage. She waited but no one seemed to be around. She thought she would try and tap into Tulika's mind to figure out where she was. Then Priya could decide her next move. She thought hard, unfortunately seeing into people's minds was not her thing. But she thought hard and concentrated..
She is not with me. She is hiding in the bushes near the fence. Around the corner.
She is with me, hiding in the bushes near the fence. Round the corner. After having heard this last stream Gurpreet was a bit irritated. As per the plan the 'chors' were supposed to separate.
Irritation. Tulika could sense his emotions changing. Gurpreet was irritated now. They were both walking together in the vast backyard that had lots of places to hide in. She kept trying to look into his emotions and then she realized...
Wham! Tulika had walked straight into a tree.
Gurpreet laughed pointing at her. He was rolling on a patch of synthetic grass (the kind you didn't need to water, it did that on it's own) with laughter.
Navpreet did you see that happen? She went straight into the tree. Haha..
Tulika was a bit embarrassed to say the least. And her nose hurt now. She made herself feel better by thinking about happy things. She tried to make herself “feel” happy, but it was hard to do that with her eyes watering. And now, she couldn't figure out what was happening with Gurpreet!
Still laughing Gurpreet asked,
“Are you okay with continuing the game?”
“Yes. Let's go.”
“I think we should try the bushes, na?”'
They walked parallel to the fence, towards the bushes.
Priya was looking at a caterpillar and trying to focus on what Tulika was thinking. She tried so hard to concentrate, but nothing seemed to..
A hand came down on her back and tapped her. The leaves over her head moved and Gurpreet was standing there grinning. “Got you chor!!”, he said triumphantly.
Navpreet, I've caught her. And now...
And suddenly Gurpreet was crying. Crying like a baby. It was Tulika! She had been trying to figure out something.
“Why am I crying?!”
She did this to me Navpreet. She did this..
Tulika looked at Gurpreet guiltily, it's me, “I was trying to find out what you were up to. I thought you were cheating.”
“You made my brother cry! You made him cry!”, Navpreet came screaming from behind the resting-pod, where he had been hiding all along.
“Are you mad? Why do you do this when you don't know how to use your secondary sense?!”, Navpreet shouted out and pushed Tulika behind.
“I didn't mean to..And it was only..”
“But you did! And that's also cheating!”
“Stop fighting guys..Just listen to...”, Priya interjected. She tried to make them stop, just like how she could stop things from moving. But it didn't work, they were people and her mind couldn't do anything.
Gurpreet was still crying, “Just make it stop! Please.”
“ I am trying!!!” , Tulika was getting hassled.
“You have done enough, let me try and help my brother!”, Navpreet said angrily. He thought hard and went into Gurpreets mind. He tried to soothe him from there but it wouldn't work. Come on Gurpreet, you know I am there. We are brothers, let me help.
And suddenly like a door opened in Gurpreet's mind and Navpreet was in there. He could see everything. It was amazing and suddenly he could see everything that was his brother. He saw them eating donuts together and cotton candy, at the carnival. He saw them cutting their first birthday cake. A day at the carnival..A jester with his baton and ribbon, swinging it around...It was like he was Gurpreet. Suddenly, it went dark and Navpreet shivered inside his brother's mind.
Panic. Panic went through him like a bolt and suddenly he couldn't figure out what was happening. He was comfortable but something was out of place. He was in a box, and he wanted to get out..
And then before Gurpreet stopped crying, the sky started to cry. The drops came down on the four children like a blanket. Gurpreet wiped his face, not sure of whether it was his tears or the drops he was wiping of.
“Come inside. I don't want you'll to get a cold. NOW!” , ordered the twins' mother. Suddenly the boys came back to reality. Gurpreet was still crying. The boys ran into the house and straight up to their 'space'. Gurpreet was crying harder than before, he looked at himself in the reflector and the computer did a retina scan and said, “Welcome Grupreet, can I get you some warm clothes? It will get cold soon.”
“But I am Navpreet.”, Gurpreet said. “Negative. You have been identified as Gurpreet.”
“I am Gurpreet.”, said Navpreet in a slow soft voice. You got into my mind while we were playing and since you couldn't get out, I did. I didn't know what to do!
What the hell were you thinking? What was that for? And how many times have I told you we can't play with Tulika?
But..we always have fun.
I knew it! We shouldn't have played with her. Now we have to deal with this. What to do we do NOW?
I don't know Navpreet!
There was a long pause..
“We are stuck forever aren't we?”, they said in unison. They were twins after all..