The Key

When I was young,
I thought it was easy to pick locks.
All I had to do was to bend a wire around the key
so that its edges fit the key’s teeth like a jacket.
That done,
I would not care about the key.
It could get lost in the rain,
sink into a puddle,
get flattened on a railway track
or get beaten out of shape under a hammer.
(Yes, for a kid,
I had a violent imagination.)

I never found a piece of wire
ductile enough to be bent around the key,
one that would mould its map around the corners.
Nor did I toss the key into that puddle
even though I jumped into many of them.
Never hammered the metal out on a block of wood,
and never saw it flatten like a wafer on the track.

The Godrej brand etched on the metal mocked me for my timidity
until the day I locked myself out.

Until then
I had held on to my belief
that it was easy to pick locks.

Who knows,
I could have proved myself right
if I had looked for the right gauge of wire.

Or I would have been proved wrong early enough.
Either way,
I would have moved on to ponder over the bigger questions in life:

How do I survive the summer vacation?

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