Lamburam ran away from home to escape the teasing. How would his family react now that he was a hero?

Lamburam ran away from home to escape the teasing. How would his family react now that he was a hero?

“Raam Raam, lamppost! cried the milkman.

“What’s the weather like up there, Mr. Lighthouse?” chuckled the carpenter.

“Arrey, who let the giraffe out of the zoo?” teased the blacksmith.

Lamburam did not respond. He passed them quickly, his head bowed. You see, he was tall. Taller than boys his age. Taller than adults twice his age. Bigger than everyone in the village. The only thing taller than him was the water tower. He rushed down Temple Street to his father’s puja stall.

“What took you so long?” snapped Baba, looking annoyed.

“Sorry, Baba.” Lamburam joins his father behind the counter. “Masterji asked me to stay after school.”

“Did he need a ladder?” chuckled Shambhu Kaka.

“Or did he want you to clean the ceiling fan?” smiles Kishore Mama.

“Maybe he wanted you to fix the leaky roof?” sneered Lalita Mausi.

Lamburam grimaced. “Who asked you to become as tall as a tree?” Do you know what everyone calls me? ‘The father of the ladder’. Ba!” said Baba, as if it were all Lamburam’s fault.

***

artwork for _YW talespin Artwork: Sreejith R. Kumar

illustration for _YW talespin Illustration: Sreejith R.Kumar | photo credit: sreejirkumar

That night, Lamburam did something unimaginable. He smashed his clay piggy bank against the ground. He had always been saving. But he could no longer bear the taunts and sneers of the villagers. He carefully counted the money, slipped a few bills under Baba’s pillow, stuffed the rest into his kurta pocket and tiptoed past a snoring Baba. He snuck out of the house and ran to the bus stop.

***

“Did you run away from home?” asked Piddu the dwarf. Lamburam nodded. “I came to town and joined the circus.”

He and Piddu didn’t just share a tent; they shared their food, their stories and their dreams with each other. They were the funniest, craziest, goofiest, cutest clowns in the great traveling circus.

“What else could someone like me do?” Lamburam sighed.

“There’s so much more you can do,” chided Piddu. But Lamburam did not believe him.

***

Lambu-Piddu were on stage, climbing the rope ladders, delighting the audience. The acrobats were swinging from one trapeze to another, when a cry rang out: “Watch out!

The circus tent had caught fire! People started running around in a mess; coughing, as smoke filled the tent and screaming as they stumbled and fell over each other in their haste to get out.

Lamburam was running away when his eyes fell on Piddu, who was sliding down a rope ladder. Suddenly the rope snapped! Piddu screamed as he swung wildly. He was going to crash to the ground! There was no safety net underneath!

Without a moment’s hesitation, Lamburam rushed to the ground. He leapt forward and grabbed his friend, just as the rope broke!

***

The next morning, Lamburam awoke to find huge crowds on the circus grounds. Media vans, a Limca Book of Records team and a long queue of people. “They’re here for you,” Piddu beamed as he showed her the diary.

Lamburam gasped when he saw his photo. The journalists were waiting for him to interview him! People lined up to take his autograph, click selfies with him and shake his hand. He was a star!

***

Lamburam had left his village in the middle of the night like a thief. He came back a hero. “Forgive me, son,” sobbed Baba. “I’m so proud of you.”

“You have made our village famous,” Shambhu Kaka said as he put a garland on her.

“Now you are going to America to play basketball,” Kishore Kaka applauded.

“How does it feel to be the tallest man in the land?” asked Lalita Mausi.

Lamburam smiled. “I told you you could do so much more,” Piddu said.

This time Lamburam believed him.