Xing Tom-The Adventure Boy’s Adventure
Xing Tom woke up in the morning by the alarm sound piercing his ear. At first the bell rang in his dreams and slowly and steadily increased and brought him to real life. ‘O God! This alarm sound spoiled my pleasant ‘travel’ dream’ he murmured with irritation. He got up from his bed lazily and went straight to the kitchen, poured some water and drank. As the sleep vanished and felt alert, he took his paste and brush, headed straight to the bathroom and locked himself.
‘Is it true Dad?’ Xing Tom just jumped with astonishment when his Dad delivered that pleasant message. It’s about the proposed family trip to India in a couple of days. ‘What a pleasant surprise, my dream about travel has come true!’ cried Xing Tom with excitement. Suddenly Xing Tom’s adventurous mind started thinking about the anticipated danger in the foreign land and started devising a plan to counter the same.
It was a Monday morning. The sun shone in a fierce stride yet it was warmer to Xing Tom. While getting down from the Boeing staircase, he just stopped and looked at the sunny sky of Chennai airport with interest. After the delightful journey and after having eaten lot of chocolates at the flight, he was so happy and contented about his travel. Accompanied by his Dad, Mum and Sara, his 15 years old sister, got inside the bus waiting to transport them to the main entrance of the airport.
On Wednesday, inside that ‘ancient’ house, near the glass window, Xing Tom was seriously looking at the scenic beauty of Ooty, the hill station of South India. He viewed that entire town with joy. It was early morning, the climate was little cold. Xing Tom just went outside the house for a stroll and enjoyed the cool breeze around. The grass covered the ground like a green carpet which was so soft to walk. After walking for a short distance, Xing Tom sat at the wet green grass for a while. At a closer look, he found the dry yellow grass in between the dense green grass which looked like finding grey hair in between the black hair on the head of men. A small blue color bird with a short tail landed besides him making a different sound. At a distance the entire town showcased the walking people and moving cars like toys moving around. For Xing Tom, life suddenly became more beautiful and lively.
The horn sound of the bus reminded Xing Tom about the proposed trip to see the places near Ooty. He suddenly realized that he needs to take certain ‘weapon’ and broken toys which he brought from home town to face the probable adventurous situation while traveling.
The Minibus was packed with fifteen persons. There were five young couples, along with Xing Tom, Sara, Dad and Mum. There was one and the only odd man was with them. He was tall and black covering his face with a hand kerchief which gave a frightening look to Xing Tom. He was the only single person who traveled in the bus that made Xing Tom, the ‘adventure boy’ to think deep. Though he was afraid about the grotesque look of the odd man, Xing Tom with a build up braveness on his face tried to look majestic outwardly.
The bus stopped with a jolt and suddenly Xing Tom woke up from his catnap and looked at the window side. The ‘guide cum driver’ turned towards the passenger side. ‘Hello everybody, now we have reached a place by name ‘Sixth mile and pine forest’. The bus will stop here for half an hour’ he announced.
Xing Tom got down from the bus. The sun shone yet the climate was warm, such a lovely place, he thought. What a spectacular view, long meadows with green grass one side and Pine trees on the other side. ‘Todas the native people are residing in this place and there is a school for their children around’ the guide explained. ‘It is really a place to remember and cherish’ Xing Tom whispered.
Exactly at half past eleven, they all reached a place called ‘Ninth Mile’. Leaning towards Xing Tom the driver told some thing in his ear and suddenly his face became bright like a halogen lamp. Yes, the driver told that the place is famous for Movie shooting as such Film Stars used to visit more frequently. Xing Tom was much inspired because he liked Movies and Movie Stars as more adventures happen in Movies and more Heroes are born from Movies.
From the road side Xing Tom looked at the place which sounded like a half ball with green grasses. The people in groups started moving towards the upper part and so Xing Tom and his family. Xing Tom noticed that the 'odd man out' was standing alone hiding his face with a black color hand kerchief. Xing Tom checked whether his Toy gun is intact. He also carried the black pepper dust neatly packed in his hand kerchief to counter any eventualities. 'This could be a place for adventure' he told himself.
They all reached the upper part of the place, Xing Tom standing at the top viewed some pine trees and bushes at the other side. From that place, the grass covered earth going downward where he could see a nice cute house at a distance and the trails of foot steps leading towards the house. The long view showed a small garden with nice fencing around. Behind that there was a small mountain. ‘Its awesome, sounds like heaven’ Xing Tom jumped with joy.
The odd man who also came to the top saw Sara, Xing Tom’s sister standing there. He just removed the kerchief from his face which showed the scar at his cheek. He went close to Sara and looked at her. ‘Hi I’m Lawrence, may I know your name’ he asked politely. ‘I am Sara’ she replied mechanically. ‘How on earth you have come alone?’ she asked him inquisitively. ‘I am studying botany and would love to do research on it’ he spoke in a soft voice. He had put his right hand inside his pant pocket and took a bunch of locally made chocolates and offered to Sara. She looked at the odd man, took one but was hesitant to eat. Her mother used to say not to eat the chocolates offered by strangers, when Sara was a baby. ‘We are friends, just eat the chocolate to confirm our friendship’ the odd man told her in a louder voice. Now she in a fix, as such she started eating the chocolate hesitantly.
Xing Tom standing at a distance suddenly noticed both of them. ‘O God, don’t eat the chocolate for heavens sake’ he shouted. Not able to listen his shout, Sara put the chocolate inside her mouth and started feeling its taste. Xing Tom who sprang into action started running very fast, within a minute he went close to that odd man. Immediately he threw the pepper dust in the eyes of the odd man who started screaming in agony. This sudden chaos and noise drew the scattered crowd in one place and every one started inquiring Sara as any thing happened to her. She was so cool and declared that nothing happened to her.
The local Police came in a while and found the odd man was innocent and did no harm to Sara. The crowd appreciated Xing Tom’s alertness, though the odd man has not committed any crime. Deeply disturbed by this incidence, the odd man caught another bus and went away. ‘Of course, Xing Tom is a role model for this act of adventure’ one of the old man from the crowd appreciated him loudly.
Xing Tom was slightly sad as his mission to perform the adventure failed this time. Yet his braveness never vanished as he was sure enough to prove his adventurous act in the near future.
Story: U.Ayub Khan
Illustration: Irshath Mohammed.A , Age 9 Years, Studying IV Std.