Maniam and Johnny were at the beach to spend a lovely Sunday morning. The sun was bright and there was not even a single cloud in the sky. It was a wonderful day to spend frolicking in the sea, provided one did not stay too long under the sun.
After an hour in the sea, the two friends decided to take a rest. So they adjourned to their mat under a shady tree. As it was a Sunday there were many other people on the beach. Some were playing in the sea while the majority stayed under the trees as the sun was very hot indeed. Maniam sat down on the mat and looked out at the beautiful blue sea. Everything was just wonderful. The sound of the waves breaking on the shore was music to his ears.
The gentle crash of waves was suddenly replaced by a loud piercing scream. Maniam was startled. He looked around. About twenty meters away a woman was screaming and shouting at the top of her voice while at the same time pointing towards something in the sea. The hair on the back of Maniam’s neck stood up. Instinct told him that something was wrong. He got up quickly and ran towards the woman.
Johnny was even faster. By the time Maniam reached the woman, he saw Johnny dived into the sea and swam quickly out. For a moment, Maniam was not sure what was happening. Then he saw two tiny hands sticking out of the-sea about thirty meters from the shore. Immediately he realized that someone was drowning. He set out in pursuit of Johnny who was already halfway to the drowning person.
Maniam swam as fast as he could. Fortunately, the sea was a claim and he made good progress. He could see johnny ahead of him, but the tiny hands were no longer visible. He was not sure that he was going in the right direction. Johnny seemed to know so he kept following.
Suddenly he was up with Johnny. He saw a blur of 3omething black behind the splash of water and foam that surrounded him. Then he realized that Johnny had grabbed hold of the hair of the drowning person. lt was a young boy about half their size. The boy was frantically grabbing with his hands and Johnny had difficulty keeping his head above water. Maniam shouted to tell the boy to keep still, but it was no use. Panic had gripped the boy and he was thrashing wildly with his hands and legs.
Maniam saw Johnny and the boy disappear into, the water. He thought, good God, why don’t the stupid boy stop struggling? For a moment he searched desperately for them just as he was beginning to feel a bit of panic, up came Johnny still holding on to the hair of the boy. The boy was still struggling.
Maniam acted quickly. He grabbed hold of the boy’s hand and landed a hard punch onto the boy’s jaw instantly the body went limp. The struggling stopped.
Relieved. Mariam helped Johnny tow the boy towards the shore. Fortunately, both of them were good swimmers, otherwise, they would not be able to handle the situation.
A crowd of people gathered around them when they reached the shore. The boy’s mother cried while cradling the boy in her arms. Maniam looked at the boy, He was obviously very much alive, There Was a reddish mark on his jaw where his punch had landed. Other than that he was unmarked. He should be all right.
Maniam and Johnny withdrew from the crowd around the mother and son. They felt good about being able to save the bay who was drowning. It had been a real emergency and they were glad they had handled it properly. They rolled up their mat and left before someone made a fuss of them. The did not need any thanks. Saving the boy was enough already.
Ponnudurai appeared. She said, “I am sorry for what I did to you. I really did not know that you were ill for three days. I had let anger take the better of me. Please forgive me. let’s get back to class.”
I was utterly dumbfounded. A few minutes ago her face was red with rage. Now she actually looked beautiful. I looked at her, smiled and said, “Okay, teacher, let’s go.”
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