It was the wee hours in the morning, and everything was dead silent. I mean, how else could you still hear Boku’s snoring, loud and clear, five dorm rooms apart. “Dear Lord! We should have pulled over a pillow over that Ass’s face. Now, he may even wake up the warden” – said Baila, as he pulled the monkey cap over his ears, more snugly this time, to focus on the task at hand.
Rintu Banerjee, aka Ghoda, was still not fully up; he wanted to run away to his bed, and sleep peacefully, where he could run on the grounds faster and literally more “stud“ly than Spirit: Stallion of The Cimarron. Though, instead of Hans Zimmer’s beautiful score in the background, he would have to do with Boku’s snoring beats.
Meanwhile, Kali – the Destroyer (short for Kali Charan Roy) – stood steadfast with a resolute eye – they say he had borrowed Lord Shiva’s third eye for the day to accomplish the task (as the day marked Maha Shiv Ratri, the lord who is known to be generous with his disciples on the night of his marriage, possibly could have lent him so). By the way, Kali’s appellation – The Destroyer – is no luck by chance. He really was The One, who could put ‘it’ up Fr. Dawson’s tooshie. Last summer he planted a series of firecrackers in the Father’s residences, two furlongs down the road, at the dead of the night. It was no mean feat – weeks of training and preparation went undercover at Kali’s room. He and his aides – the non-agile, lethargic Ghoda and the fair and stout Baila – had meticulously designed the invention of the year – the ticking time bomb/agarbatti.
It was the talk of the town. Well, almost. In principle, the boarding students were to remain full time within the enclosed walls of St. Xavier’s Hazaribagh, and not to venture out into the town outside. But, the sylvan landscape spread across 15 acres, with a patch of forest land of its own, a fully functional auditorium that showcased movies every Saturday night, a huge and spacious mess that served sumptuous meals every day with gala dinners in between, and the biannual ball dances with the girls from neighboring Mt Carmel’s – these were enough of the town life that kids under fifteen could hope for, and it was this town that talked of the invention of the year.
The time taken for the incense stick to burn a particular unit of length under different environmental conditions were meticulously recorded in their physics lab notebooks (apart from the usual warmth that those pages provided during the winters, it was the first genuine use of the notebook for the three musketeers), and applying the basic algebra that they learnt from Mr. Sinha – the very own “Hey, you Bloody $%&@ “, yet adorable and handsome Maths teacher – a few years ago, they very easily came up with their own version of an ingenious ticking time bomb.
… to be continued