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There was a lot of commotion in Aakash’s neighborhood that day. For some reason, the police were going from door to door, asking questions. His parents warned him to be careful.
“Don’t worry, the police won’t trouble you. The neighbors will answer any questions for you.”
“I don’t need them to answer any questions. I can do that for myself. I’m fifteen years old!” Aakash said.
“Don’t be silly! There’s no need for you to be worried. Just call the neighbors and stay at home,” his mother said.
He kept quiet and continued with his breakfast. Aakash’s parents left soon for work.
He had a few minutes of peace and quiet before the expected knock on the door broke through the silence of the house.
One of the policemen had a few questions to ask.
“Don’t bother with him!” shouted a neighbor, before Aakash could respond. “He doesn’t know anything.”
The policeman glanced down at Aakash’s leg and looked up with a sympathetic expression. How Aakash disliked sympathy!
He was about to say something to the effect, but the man turned around and walked away to chat with the neighbor.
There was nothing to be done, but pick up his books and make his way to old Kumar’s house. He wanted to have nothing to do with the world. He was done with it all!
The small, abandoned house at the end of the street was a sanctuary for Aakash. He would go there with a book in his hand as soon as the clock turned nine in the morning. Nobody troubled him there because nobody ever went there.
The only challenge was that he had to climb three steps to go in. That was never easy. The crutches under his arms were not well made. They dug into his skin and hurt him every time he took a step up.