“I don’t want to walk on this!” The six-year old screamed in agitation.
“Then how will we go home, Rahul?” asked his tired mother.
“Please Mommy.” His round lips wobbled and his eyes were brimming with tears.
“You’ll have to face them at some point.”
“Pick me up. Please, Mommy.”
She just held up the shopping bags to show that she couldn’t.
He looked at the escalator and back at her. “Please, Mommy.” His voice had become a mere whisper.
“Think of it as a Moving Staircase. Like Alladin’s flying carpet.”
He just kept looking at the escalator with growing disdain. Why it wouldn’t stop for a moment, he thought. He turned behind him to see the growing line behind him and then looked at his mother one last time.
“We’re standing here as long as it takes for you to learn how to get on it.”
“Actually Ma’am, the Mall closes at ten,” said an eavesdropping employee.
“Till ten then.” She sighed.
Rahul’s mouth tightened into a line. He was irritated at his mother’s behaviour.
“Come on, dude. Go for it,” said the guy behind them.
“You can do it, kiddo,” said his girlfriend.
“There are many people waiting, baccha,” an old woman grumbled.
He looked at the staircase and thought of how he thought of slipping on it. How he would be swallowed inside when the staircase ends.
And then he thought of the ever-growing line behind him. He closed his eyes and took a leap.
When he opened his eyes he was almost at the end of the ride but he couldn’t hear the clapping and the cheers until he had reached the end. His mother’s eyes were shining with joy as she clapped with all the bags strewn around her legs along with everyone else that were standing in the line.
She was as happy as the mother whose son landed on the moon. Even if she knew that her little Rahul had only learnt how to ride an escalator.