Every once in a while around 3pm exactly, we would get an urge to randomly go say ‘hello.’ And so, the three of us would start pedaling from Raj Nagar towards Kavi Nagar. I remember the very first time. Our dear friend had bunked an entire day of school and we wanted to catch him red-handed. The three of us at 12, 13, and 14, having absolutely nothing to do, decided to pay him a surprise visit. We had his address and used our clever ways to maneuver through the random streets. We finally arrived but couldn’t bring ourselves to ring the bell. We were basically scared of his father – what if he is a grouchy old man and chases us away with a stick? We even spent a good 5 minutes squinting our eyes towards the other two in hopes of finding a brave volunteer. The thought of ringing the bell and then pedaling at the speed at which only Lance would give us competition also crossed our minds. We were full of mischief but had never compromised our safety before.
With a brave heart and naughty eyes, we looked at each other, smirked & giggled, and rang that bell. His mom greeted us with a sparkle in her eyes and a smirk on her face. It was a total embarrassment for each party involved. Once we confirmed that he was indeed sick, we decided to repeat the experience and refine our art. We pedaled some more, this time towards Shastri Nagar to visit another friend. We again looked at each other, smirked & giggled, and rang that bell, only this time with confidence. His sister greeted us at the gate and yelled out his name. He came out, shook his head sideways in total disbelief, and filled up his next few sentences with a lot of silent cuss words. “Oh my holy Lord, why are these three here? These psychos are going to get me killed. What the @#$%!” – just one glance and we could tell the category of thoughts pacing through his mind. We sat on the sofa in the living room and just giggled.
Our mission to embarrass our friend was yet again, a success. With eyebrows raised in accomplishment and pride in our bravery, we rode back to our respective homes. What seemed like a lifetime of cycling, apparently was just a round trip of 12 kilometers. Next week, again at 3pm exactly, we got an urge to randomly go and say ‘hello.’