The bicycle wobbled as ten-year-old Rucha leaned forward in the seat and pumped the pedals. “Hold tight, Vishnu! I will fall!” she shouted to the boy, who ran behind, steadying the bicycle. For the past two weeks he had been teaching her to ride. “Don’t worry, Ruchaji, you are doing well,” he puffed. For a few moments he let go of his hold and Rucha was on her own. Of course, she did not know it and rode along smoothly. “Vishnu, stop the cycle. I want to get off,” Rucha called. “Use the brake!” Vishnu called out. His voice came from some distance away and, Rucha realised that he was not holding the bicycle any more. “I will fall, I will fall” she wailed. And, before Vishnu could reach her, the bicycle wobbled, tilted to one side and Rucha was deposited into a bush. Shaken but unhurt, Rucha cried angrily, “I told you to hold tight. I told you I would fall!” she glared at Vishnu. “But, Ruchaji, you were riding quite well and anyway you have to learn riding without someone holding the cycle, isn’t it?” Vishnu explained. “See I fell, didn’t I?” Rucha would not be pacified.
     She stormed into the house to complain. You fell. Doesn’t matter,” said her mother calmly. “We all do when we are learning to ride a cycle. At least you are not hurt.” “The bicycle is too big for me,” Rucha complained. “When I am in the seat, my toes barely touch the ground.” Her mother explained to her that she found nothing wrong with it. Riding a cycle of that height was right for her. After all, she was growing up! “Mummy, may I ride the bicycle?” asked Seema, Rucha’s sister, younger to her by three years.
     “No, Seema, you cannot,” Rucha cut in before her mother could answer. “When it is so high for me, how can you sit? You are much shorter.” No amount of pleading helped.
The story starts with a scene of a 10-year-old girl named Rucha, learning to ride a bicycle from her friend Vishnu. Rucha went forward in the cycle, and it moved unsteadily as she pressed on its pedals. She told to Vishnu, the person who was holding the cycle from behind, to hold on to the cycle tightly or otherwise she may fall. He steadied the bicycle immediately. He had been teaching her to ride the bicycle for the past two weeks. Vishnu, maybe younger than Rucha in age, as he refers to Rucha with respect (Ji - in Hindi is used to address elders). Vishnu assured that she was doing well and that she need not worry. After some time, Vishnu let go of the bicycle, and Rucha was on her own. She did not know it, but she rode along without any problem. Suddenly she called to Vishnu to stop the cycle. Vishnu, who was some distance away from her, shouted to her to apply the brakes.  Rucha immediately realised that Vishnu was not holding the cycle because his voice was distant. She cried that she would fall and before Vishnu could catch up with her, she fell down because she lost her balance. She leaned on to one side, and the cycle shook before she fell down. She fell into a bush, and she was trembling but not hurt. She shouted at him angrily as she stared at him. She argued that she told him to hold the cycle tight for this reason. Vishnu told her that she was cycling well and someday she had to cycle without someone holding behind. But Rucha was not convinced.
learning to ride the cycle.jpg
Rucha learnt to ride a cycle!
She went inside the house swiftly with anger, to complain to her mom. But her mother was calm - she told that Rucha had fallen down and that it did not matter much. She explained that it happened to all those who learnt to ride the bicycle and that thankfully she was not hurt. Rucha complained again that the cycle was big for her and her toes did not touch the ground when she was seated. Her mother convinced her that it was the right size for her and that she was anyway growing up. Seema, Rucha's small sister, younger by three years, chipped in and asked if she could ride the cycle.
Before her mother could answer Seema, Rucha said she could not ride it as the cycle was so high for her, being tall - and that her sister was too short for the cycle. Seema appealed again, but Rucha disagreed.
Seema, Rucha's younger sister also wanted to ride the cycle!
Meanings of difficult words:
 1wobblemove unsteadily from side to side
 2shakentrembled, vibrated
 3pacifiedcalm down the anger, excitement
 4stormedmove angrily in a specified direction 
 5pleadedmake an emotional appeal 
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-6. Think to Win (pp. 101-108). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.