3. Vikram likes to wash his hands frequently.
6. One is not a good number.
9. Two isn’t great either.
12. Multiples of three are good.
15. He needs to hum the tune from Star Wars while he does it.
18. The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite.
21. It’s actually the fifth film in the series. Not the third.
24. Vikram already liked the movie before Rashi told him about this.
27. The numbering is messed up in Star Wars.
30. A lot of things are messed up.
33. The pavement in front of his house is a good example.
36. Vikram cycles on it every day on the way to visit Rashi.
39. It’s a ritual he’s followed since the day at the beach.
42. The pavement full of tiny cracks that taper out like branches, looking to escape the concrete.
45. Vikram has every one of them memorised.
48. Sometimes there are new ones.
51. He has to stop and examine them closely when that happens.
54. There’s a specific way in which they need to be avoided.
57. There’s a pattern. And it’s nice if it’s followed precisely.
60. But sometimes Vikram cannot get the pattern right.
63. That’s not a huge problem.
66. He waits nine seconds and tries again.
69. All he needs to do is to hold his breath this time.
72. Vikram’s a pro at holding his breath.
75. He got good at it during his swimming lessons.
78. He is a competent swimmer.
81. But Rashi was better.
84. He would watch mesmerised, as she cut through the water with her languid grace.
87. Rashi wanted to swim in the Olympics one day.
90. Vikram looked up the Olympics on Wikipedia.
93. The length of an Olympic pool is fifty metres.
96. Their pool was only half the length.
99. Vikram and Rashi decided to practice on the beach.
102. The waves were fierce. But they were good swimmers.
105. Vikram was the first to notice her cries for help.
108. There were three lifeguards on the beach.
111. Vikram ran to the nearest one for help.
114. The lifeguard swam towards her flailing body.
117. It was over soon.
120. Vikram caught a glance of the lifeguard’s jersey through his tears.
123. It had the number one printed on it. In bold white font.
126. One is not a good number.