WARDING OFF EVIL
By Neel Anil Panicker
Joby was a paradox.
For us, meaning Sunny and I, he was the raison d’ etre of our happy existences__the lucky charm of our teenaged lives. For all others, he was the odd one out__the one who shall not be ever mentioned lest their tongues get polluted and turn to stone.
Shabbily dressed to the core and with his shaggy hair, coupled with that worn out gaunt bare boned perennial look on his ever befuddled face, Joby gave the impression of having stumbled out of a pigsty.
I’m sure the middle class morally conscious South Chennai neighbourhood where we lived must have pondered hard and long as to what kind of eighteen year olds were their quiet surroundings blessed oops cursed with.
I’m sure all the ‘one foot in the grave’ pretentious retirees among them with nothing much to do but wait for the Creator’s call must have spent endless hours discussing and dissecting the appropriateness of we announcing ourselves as the ‘Terrific Three’.
“A sure misnomer” they must have concluded, even suggesting that it be changed to Torturous Three or Terrible Three”.
But Sunny and I, braved it all, taunts, threats et al, sitting comfortable in the knowledge that we had Joby to help blunt the edge of all their brutish barbs.
Joby was our scarecrow, the one we believed would ward off all misfortune.
It also helped that he was the wealthiest kid among us all__just a kid who liked to experience the poor man’s life.
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