Kishore and Kunal were two brothers. They had just moved to Calcutta
with their parents. They liked their little house in the small lane near a big park. They also liked their new school, where the sports teacher encouraged them to practise cricket daily.
Every day after the final school bell rang, Kishore, Kunal and their classmates would go to the park. They watched each other’s batting style, bowling pace and boundaries hit. On most days, Kunal played well and Kishore accompanied him home with a frown.
“Stop being silly. It is just a game,” Kunal said. Kishore stayed quiet. He
never admitted to his brother that he wanted to be a cricketer.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the boys did not meet their classmates, but played cricket at home. There was a small garden behind their new house. Overlooking it was the neighbour, Uncle Gupta’s, balcony.
Uncle Gupta rarely sat in his balcony, choosing to stay inside and write
poems all day. Nobody in the neighbourhood had seen him for months. His household help took care of the groceries and everything else. ”Mr Gupta has trouble with his eyes,” she said.
One Sunday evening, the brothers returned from a visit to their aunt’s
house, wearing identical shorts and T-shirts. They liked to dress the same way to confuse people. Kishore and Kunal were identical twins.
Their faces, their heights, their weights, their complexions even their voices were identical. Born just five minutes apart, Kunal often jokingly
called his brother Dada. The teachers and other students at their new
school still could not tell who was Kunal and who was Kishore.
They were asked to wear name tags on their school uniforms. ”They will never be able to tell us apart,” the brothers told each other with giggles,
agreeing that they would probably have to wear the name tags their entire school life.
“Ma, how do you know which twin is which,” they asked their mother. Mother always smiled, “I’m your mother, after all.”
This particular Sunday evening, Kunal and Kishore were ready to play at
least one hour of cricket in the garden. Their homework was complete and Father wanted some peace and quiet while he finished some work. The twins started with a few slow, low balls.
Kunal became bored. ”Kishore! This is not cricket. Play properly,” he complained. Kishore was more careful. He said no. ”We will break a window or something else,” he said. Kunal dropped the bat and said he would rather go inside and play a board game then. His twin disliked
staying inside. He agreed to bowl faster. As he bowled more in his usual
style, his brother became excited and started trying to hit boundaries.
Unfortunately, the boundary was just the other side of the garden. Kunal didn’t need to hit the ball very hard. After five boundaries, the sixth one travelled straight to Uncle Gupta’s window, right into his house.
The boys heard a scream. Kishore ran inside to avoid trouble. Kunal stayed. He saw their neighbour for the first time. ”You horrible boy! Not only did you break my window, but you ruined my poem,” he shouted with a red face. “Do you know how difficult it is to write a good poem?” he asked.
“I will come to see your parents,” he said and stormed off. Ten minutes
later, Uncle Gupta was at the door. Kunal and Kishore were ready. They
opened the door before he could ring the doorbell.
Uncle Gupta stared at them with wide eyes, his mouth hanging open. ”Oh
no, now I’m seeing double,” he shouted and threw his glasses off. He rubbed his eyes. Kunal and Kishore spoke together, “We are sorry, Uncle.” “Oh, no! Now I am hearing double as well!”
Uncle Gupta started pulling his ears in every direction. The twins watched their neighbour run back to his house, rubbing his eyes with one hand, and pulling his ears with the other.
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)