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The story this week in our series of winners of the KidEngage writing competition has been written by Tannishi Das, a student of Grade VII of Vidyaranya School. This entry has won the Second Prize in the Short Story category in the 8-11 years age group. The young author has very effectively conveyed the emotional roller-coaster of children when they have been taken out to enjoy a day at the Fun Fair.
Read, enjoy, like and share!!
A fair had been set up in the town where Sakshi lived, and soon, all the children were begging their parents to take them there. Sakshi’s parents had got tired of hearing about the fair. It wasn’t possible for them to take their daughter there as they both worked in factories, and were busy as bees from morning till late evening.
But Sakshi’s problem was soon solved. Monika Ma’am, Sakshi’s class teacher, had arranged for her class, Section A of Class 6, to be taken to the fair. Sakshi and her two close friends, Meeti and Neelamma, were very excited. “This is the first time a fair has been set up in our town!” exclaimed Meeti. “I wonder what it will be like,” wondered Sakshi. “Don’t you know what a fair has?” asked Neelamma. The other two shook their heads sadly. “Well, I’ll tell you. There are rows and rows of shops that sell the loveliest of things you can imagine. The fair I went to in Vijaywada had absolutely the best bangle shops ever! That’s where I bought my blue glass bangles and pearl bracelet. And the ‘ice gola’ flavours were just out of this world…and the ‘pani puris…”But her friends wouldn’t let her go on. “Oh..do stop,” they cried out. “I can’t bear the excitement now,” groaned Sakshi. “I just can’t wait for Friday to come,” said Meeti, her eyes shining.
Friday came at last, and they were all off in the rickety old schoolbus, singing, shouting, and chatting nineteen to a dozen. Upon sighting a mango tree, laden with the ripening fruit, the children demanded that the bus be stopped and they be allowed to climb the tree and pick the juicy fruits. It was almost a quarter of an hour before the teacher could get them to scramble back into the bus again, having told them that they would never reach the fair if they kept picking mangoes.
Soon, they arrived at the fair. Unable to contain their excitement, the children flung open the door of the bus and dashed off, even before the teacher could do a head-count and group them. They simply scattered and disappeared.
Sakshi, Neelamma and Meeti had been having a lot of fun. They had bought bangles, eaten “ice golas” and gawked at the performing artists. Then they started to tire of it. The tent they were sitting in to watch a show, was beginning to get stuffy and smelly. “Let’s go out and get some fresh air,” suggested Sakshi. Her friends agreed. They got out and headed to a food stall, where they ordered lunch. The food tasted a bit strange, and by the time they had finished, all three were feeling a tad ill. That’s also when they realized that it had got rather late. And none of the other students were to be seen. “You know..we ought to get back to the bus now,” said Neelamma. “I think the bus is parked somewhere there,” said Sakshi, pointing north. The other two didn’t remember the way, so they simply followed her as she led them. After what seemed like ages, they found themselves nowhere near the bus. “We are lost!” wailed Meeti. “Oh Sakshi, you took us the wrong way! We are now deeper into the fair,” said Neelamma in despair. Sakshi started to cry. “It’s all my fault. I really did think we were on the right path.” “Come on, now..tears won’t help us get out of here,” said
Meeti, the practical one. “We’ll ask someone to tell us the way,” said Sakshi, drying her tears. They went to some of the shops to see if anyone could help them.
But the shopkeepers either shooed them away, or ignored them. One pot-bellied man leered at them, showing uneven, brown teeth..and they hurried away.
By now, the sun had started to set. Meeti was starting to get nervous. Nelelamma was still annoyed, and Sakshi was again close to tears. Their legs were sore and achy with walking. Unable to go any further, they sat under a tree to rest. Just then, a man stopped by them. “Are you lost?” he inquired. “Yes, we are,” they replied, and asked, “ Have you seen a schoolbus parked somewhere outside the fair?” When he replied that he had, they begged him to show them the way there. The man gave directions, which they closely followed, and soon, they could see the bus.
“Oh, there you are. Thank goodness!” cried the teacher, relief in her voice. “We were about to send someone to look for you,” cried one girl, followed by others chorusing about how the trio had caused “Ma’am” so much trouble, and how sure they were that the three were going to be punished.
Monica Ma’am made the three girls sit with her in the front of the bus. Sakshi asked her teacher nervously, “Ma’am, are we going to be sent to the Principal’s office?” Her teacher replied, “No, Sakshi. I think your experience at the fair itself has been a punishment. You have already learnt your lesson..the hard way.” The girls sighed with relief. All’s well that ends well.