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Chapter 13: Three Tickets for Titsburg

In my childhood, in front of the house in which I used to live were only shops. On my side of the road there were residential houses, but on the opposite side there were only shops. So after nine o’clock at night the shops on the other side of the road were closed and it became utterly dark -at that time electricity had not come to my village - and we used to frighten people, people who were very strong, particularly those who bragged so much about their strength.

Just nearby there was a gymnasium, the most famous in the area, where people were body-building, and they had champions. And we were very small but we knew that whether you are a champion or a great wrestler, it does not matter. We used to purchase paper snakes from the market and we would put them on the other side of the road attached with a thin black thread held in our hands, while we sat in our house. Nobody in the house was concerned that we were doing anything; we were simply sitting, just holding the thread and watching for the right person.

Whenever we would see some great wrestler coming we would start pulling our thread slowly. And as the snake came on the road the scene was worth seeing. The wrestler would forget everything: he was carrying a lamp in his hand, the lamp would fall down and the wrestler would run so fast - sometimes he would fall down.

And a crowd would gather, “What has happened?”

And he would say, “There was such a great snake.”

The people said, “This is strange, every night the snake appears.”

One day they tried to look for the snake, “It has to be found because some day somebody is going to be killed by the snake.” And they found a paper snake, they found the thread, and they found me hiding behind my grandfather’s bed! Seeing that something difficult is happening, I simply put the thread around my grandfather’s leg; he was asleep. The crowd woke him up - I also was with the crowd, asking, “What you are doing?”

He said, “I was asleep. What is the matter? Who has put this thread around my leg?”

And the crowd also saw that he had been fast asleep and that somebody else was behind the game. And this snake appears every day after nine o’clock, and it has made people so afraid that many people have stopped going out of their houses after nine o’clock.

And they said to my grandfather, “Be watchful next time; just remain alert and watch who is doing this trick.”

My grandfather knew who must be doing it. But I was with the crowd saying, “You have to be a little alert.” And when everybody was gone he said, “You rascal! You are doing this. I have seen you in the daytime with that snake and that thread.but this is too much, that you put it around my leg.”

I said, “There was no other way. There was nobody else except you. I was hiding behind you when I saw that I was going to be caught and I said, “It is good, because nobody can find fault with a sleeping old man. So you have to forgive me, but it was such an urgent situation.”

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