The Rescue is a short story written by Mahesh Vasudevan, a 9th grade student at Wheeler School, Lincoln. Recently Mahesh wrote the play ‘Mahabali’, which was staged during NEMA’s Onagosham 2008. Mahesh assures us that this story is not based on real life incident but a work of fiction.
As he sat and watched his friend climb the stairs to the backyard water slide, I’m sure Rajesh was feeling excited, almost thrilled. He saw her reach the top of the stairs, laughing and waving, starting down the slide, swishing down its twelve-feet, and ending with a huge splash into the deep end of Meera Aunty’s pool. Once in the water, she treaded water easily, seeming to float without effort, waving, smiling and splashing.
All eyes were following Parvati as she continued to splash in the pool. It was obviously one of the most enjoyable things a kid could do. After a few minutes in the pool, Parvati felt neglected because nobody was present to give her attention, and she climbed out of the pool. As soon as Parvati went indoors, Rajesh sprinted towards the slide, full of excitement. He had the spirit of a much older child, although a body of a chubby 3-year old with curly black hair. His little legs were not able to keep him balanced fully as he began to climb the ladder.
Only one person was present to witness Rajesh’s feat. As Rekha, a grandmother herself, watched Rajesh, she began to feel panicked. At this time, I was babysitting Abhisek, Rajesh’s older brother and three other small boys, watching a movie. Rekha waddled as quickly as she could, 20 feet towards me. As soon as she saw me, Rekha yelled in a language I could not understand. She then began to scream and point toward Tanju and the pool, repeating “Rajesh, Rajesh, Rajesh.” As I dropped my sandwich on the counter, I began to run out through the glass sliding doors, crossed the wooden deck and the patio. Bumping into lawn furniture, reaching out anticipating the task at hand. Rajesh had managed to bravely and cleverly slip his tiny legs over the crest of the slide, readying himself for what he thought would be a fun trip into the pool, as he had seen Aishu a few minutes before. This was not only fun, but also a big kid’s activity that he was allowing himself to participate in freely. As he swiftly flung his arms into the air, his chubby body began to slide downward. I reached out awkwardly, grabbing his shoulders and pulling him from the slide, as we both tumbled into the pool below. Rajesh was screaming loudly, hoping for someone to help him. I managed to stay near the edge of the pool, afloat, reaching out handing Rajesh to the first adult I could see. Other adults soon rushed out to console Rajesh. Nobody knew the whole story. Some people thought I had put Rajesh at risk, even Parvati herself. I heard people gossiping about me. I felt badly about this, as if I really did almost kill him. Even to this day, I am still confused about what happened. Did I save Rajesh’s life, or did I almost kill him?