“I told you not to stick to the TV for long. Go out and play in the park”, Madhvi shouted at her kids.
The well maintained children’s park was the only greenery to be spotted in that concrete jungle and was the regular playground of Madhvi’s children – Tapan and Tamanna. Tapan was 8 yrs old and Tamanna had just started to go to school. A small and happy family, Madhvi could not have asked for anything more – family dinner on weekends, grandparent’s place for vacations and fun at home. Everything was perfect in Madhvi’s life.
The children ran out to play in the garden. They wanted to avoid Madhvi’s scolding more than they wanted to play in the garden.
“Hey Tamanna, let’s go to the see saw.”
“No Tapan anna, I don’t like it. You never let me touch ground. Let’s go for the slides. They are more fun.” And she ran towards the slides.
“Tamanna, don’t be a kid, come here.” But she had already decided.
Defeated by Tamanna’s obnoxious decision and that mean see-saw, which did not allow a single child to play with it, he moved towards the slides. Unable to find Tamanna near the slides, he restlessly looked for her, only to find her talking to a man in his mid-forties sitting at a nearby bench.
“Tamanna” Tapan shouted. “Didn’t mom tell us that we should not speak to strangers? Come back.”
“Come here anna, he has a beautiful painting of us.”
Curious Tapan, couldn’t resist and went towards the bench. It was a sketch of him and Tamanna, the last time they played on the see-saw. And he realized why Tamanna never liked that game. The man holding the painting was nice. He spoke to the kids about angels and more and soon they became very good friends. All of them got so lost in his stories that they never realized it had already become dark. Finally, the kids left for home and the man returned to his world of stories.
This continued for quite a few days, the man eventually became a part of the kids’ lifves. Their day used to be incomplete without his stories. They used to call him the story teller.
On one particular day, the kids could not go to the park. They had gone out for a family picnic for the whole day. Amidst all the fun, they comfortably forgot about the story teller waiting for them in the park.
The next day when they went back to the park, the man looked lost. He was scribbling something in his notebook. The smile, which had grown on his face in the last few days, was over shadowed by sudden grim. He looked defeated and sad but calm and composed. It was the same look that you would see on the face of someone who has accepted life’s play gracefully as and when it unfolds before them.
Unaware of the man’s mood, the kids gathered around him and started demanding their share of the story for the day. With a heavy heart, the man started.
“Once upon a time there lived a Prince. He was the wisest of them all. His word was accepted by all and his decisions were appreciated. He was like the perfect man on earth.”
“Wow, I wish I were like him.” Tapan amused himself.
“Shhhh” Tamanna screamed.
“He met a Princess, who was though not the fairest of them all, but she seemed so perfect to him. He fell madly in love with her. Love, as intense as it can get, that had no fear from the world, no worry for the future. It was only love that he could see when he was with her.”
“And what about the princess, did she also love him?” Tamanna asked absorbed in the story.
“Yes, of course. She loved him as well, but with a difference. Fear of the world and worry of the future was something, which she feared all along.”
“Along they treaded the path of love for days to come. Every morning the Princess kissed him to wake him up and every night the Prince kissed her goodnight. Their life had come to a halt and yet it seemed so perfect. They were inseparable, from dawn to dusk”
“And they lived happily ever after” Tapan concluded the story the way most of the stories in his books ended.
“Oh my dear, that wouldn’t have been a story then, would it?”
“One day, there was a sudden storm. It blew out of nowhere and it took everything with it. Nothing was left in its wake. No Princess, no kisses, no life to be seen, all that was left was the blue sky and the grass green.”
“Then?” little Tamanna inquired.
“The Prince went to places, searching for her. Only if he knew where she lived when not in his heart! He searched for his lost Princess for days together but found nothing.”
“And then he lived happily ever after?” Tapan mocked.