On both sides of the flowing water, there were groups of cottages nestled at the bottom of the hills in the background. Up above in the sky, there were white clouds, as if playing with the tips of the hills. The environment around was filled with the melodic music of the flowing water, mingled with the sweet chirping voices of the birds hidden in the green tall trees around.
John and Anjeni sat on a big rock, with their legs released and dipped in the flowing water. Both held fishing hooks, released in the water to catch fish. Both were very happy and free of day-to-day tensions today.
Anjeni was in teasing mood today, she asked John a puzzle," Once number twelve went to the bar and ordered bar tender a whisky, but bar tender asked him to go away. Why he would have asked him to go away?”
Anjeni asked him, checking her hook.
“Since when these numbers too started to go in bar?” he teased her.
“Come on tell me...be serious” She insisted him.
“ I think it's like those elephant and ant’s puzzles” John laughed.
“ May be... tell me why did bar tender ask number twelve to go away?” Anjeni was not ready to leave him.
“ Well... Okay I quit... now tell me” John gave up.
“ So easily you quit...” Anjeni tried to rag him.
“ No.. I mean I just can’t guess... I told you I give up... Now why don’t you tell me?” John seemed to be eager to know the answer.
“ It’s simple.. because number twelve was under age... less than eighteen” Anjeni giggled.
“ I see.. really its funny... isn’t it” John too joined her laughing.
“ One more” Anjeni said checking her hook.
“ Okay” John encouraged.
“ What number eight would tell number three?” Anjeni asked.
“ Now these numbers started to converse too” John again teased her.
“ Not only converse ... after a while they would love each other... like us” Anjeni snapped.
“ It’s possible... may be that’s why people use 99, 66, 63, 69 as codewords” John said squinting his left eye.
Anjeni blushed, lowered her head.
After some time she looked at him, squeezed his cheek and said, “ You are such a naughty... you know”
Jonh simply smiled staring at her eyes.
“ Come on tell... What number eight would tell number three?” Anjeni said lovingly patting his chest.
“ Nope ... this also I give up...” John said, responding her.
“ Again ... it’s simple... number eight would tell number three... will you shut up your mouth please”
“ Wow... it’s nice too...no?” John said checking his hook.
“ Okay... one more ... number eight advised number six pointing at number nine ... What he would have advised.? ”
“ Look your numbers are now going one more step ahead... firstly they went in bar.. then they started conversing ... and now they are advising each other ... and the next step would be ...”
Before John could say something more Anjeni playfully shakes her fist at him.
“ Okay ... sorry...” John pretended as if scared, “ well.. what he would have advised...right... he would have advised number six... Why don’t you stand right...look how number nine behaves and stands right” John guessed.
“ Wow ... you are right...” Anjeni said in surprise.
“ What? I am right?” John could not believe.
“ Yes you are absolutely right... I guess you must have heard it before..” Anjeni doubted.
“ No... Really ... I have never heard of it ... I just guessed” John said.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Mugdha Apte