My father was posted in Patna. On the first Sunday there, my brother and I decided to do a little exploring on our bikes. It was still very early in the morning, and only a few people were about. The roads were good and the trees lining them were shady. There were no imposing buildings or monuments as there are in Delhi, from where we had just come.
     After cycling for about half-an-hour, my brother got bored and said, " Come on, I'll race you to that corner. The loser treats the other to a chocolate, okay?"
     "Okay, one, two, three!" I said, and then we were off.
     This was not the first time we had raced. Only my brother had invariably beaten me and then crowed about it for days. I was determined to win this time. I pedalled as fast as I could. My legs  ached and my skirt billowed out, threatening to hit my face. The trees on either side of the road had become one green blur. My hair blew behind me and my lungs were bursting for air. Soon I drew level with my brother and then gradually I moved ahead.
The author begins the lesson by informing the readers that she had recently re-located to Patna. Rather than discussing in detail about the general homesickness that a person gets when he/she moves from her home, the author chooses to talk about the activities that she takes part in to explore the new city. It is also clear that she might be used to these occasional shifting, as she says that the reason she had to move was because of the posting her father had got in Patna. This gives a picture that her father was either working for the Government or was in the police force.
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The shady roads in Patna
She describes about the weekend which she chose to explore the city. It was a Sunday morning and the author along with her brother decide to take their bikes and go on rounds to help them understand the city better. They explore the place. Since it was a Sunday and early in the morning, there were only a few people around, who were mostly out on their morning walks or on their way to buy milk cartons. People get an off on Sundays and prefer to stay in late. This gives the siblings enough space and freedom to explore on their own. The fact that Patna was not a metro like Delhi was yet another advantage. The roads were good with space for them to ride and the trees provided them with enough shade. It was not a busy city with numerous tall buildings and monuments, which would have made it difficult to explore deeper. The author also emphasizes on the fact that she had just shifted from Delhi. But rather than complaining and staying indoors, she loves the space that Patna gives her.
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Brother and sister explore in their cycle
Like any other sibling, her brother challenges her to spice things up, when he gets bored of riding the cycle for more than half-an-hour. He urges her to race with him in the cycle. He fixes the winning destination and also lays out the rules. He also decides that the one who loses the bet would have to get the winner a chocolate. Upon agreeing, they give the countdown to three and start the race. The author recalls that it was not a new sport between them, rather they have raced several times previously. The author's brother had always won the race, which makes her determined to win the race, probably to give her some self confidence and to have an upper hand in the siblings rivalry. She pedals the cycle fast to pace up to him. She was very young and her little feet ached due to the constant peddling. The faster motion of the cycle made her skirt to fly in the opposite direction and the green trees on either side of the road seemed like a blur due to the speed she was picking up. Her hair also flew behind her, similar to the skirt. She was panting for breath due to the constant pedalling. But she somehow manages to level up with her brother and slowly even picks up more speed than him, making her ahead of him in the race.
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The girl rides her bicycle
Words with difficult meaning:
PostingGetting appointed or making an entry in a particular place
ExploreTo seek or examine something
ShadyProviding shade
ImposingForcefully make a person perform an action
MonumentA memorial; A place to remember famous people, places or objects
InvariablyWithout change, every time
CrowedTo shout in excitement
BillowA large wave or gap
BlurNot clearly visible
SiblingSisters or brothers
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-3 English Standard-6. That Sunday Morning (pp 91-105). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.