This short story by Madhusudan Raman is an ode to the games of hide-and-seek he played as a child.
“They’re coming, guys. Don’t move and stay quiet.”
The middle-class apartment complex Tanjore Heights’ very own Famous Five. Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum. By a most unfortunate oversight of coincidence, they were not related in any way. But close they were; closer than most people are to their siblings. They did everything together, from their waking breath to their mealtimes to their bedtimes (which were somehow coordinated almost to the minute). At six-thirty, they would wake up, perform a hasty toilet, meet in one of their houses (it changed every day) and drink the morning drink (needless to say, they all drank Boost and brand changes had to be voted on). At ten past seven, they would catch the bus for school. Last seats at the back, window access rotated every day, and so on.
And when grouped up, they never lost at hide-and-seek.