Riding with the bank messenger

My father and Chitta were very strict with me when I went out with the bank messenger on his bicycle. My father did not like me to go at noon because of the heat. He thought I would become too exhausted. Then Chitta always used to insist that I wear a hat. I never liked hats. But I was the darling of the family and he was worried that I would fall sick.

In spite of their concern, quite often I managed to go out anyway. If they asked me, "Where are you going?", I would say, "I am just going out."

Often one of the bank tellers would let me know when the messenger was leaving. With his eyes, the teller would signal me when it was time for the messenger to go to the various banks, and also he would indicate on which side of the building the messenger was. Then, when I went out, the messenger would be waiting for me.

The messenger was so kind-hearted. Everybody called him Phani, but his actual name was Phanindra. Phani means 'snake', but Phanindra is an epithet of Lord Shiva because he wears snakes all around him. The snake symbolises cosmic energy.

Phani was very short and fat. One of his legs was a little shorter than the other, so he used to walk with a limp. He was so fond of me.