Here’s a story that I simply loved writing. It was published in Young World, the children’s pages of The Hindu. Pull the curtains and turn off the lights before you read this story out to your children. Go on…and see who screams first!
The View from the Cupboard
‘Atul,’ Amma called. I heard her voice very clearly. But I said nothing because I knew why she was calling me. This was the usual night time war that waged between Amma and me, with her reminding me that it was time to sleep while I begged for five minutes more. Today, I particularly didn’t want to sleep, not when I was at such an exciting point in my game. Just a few more minutes, I thought, that’s all I needed.
‘Atul,’ Amma called again and her voice sounded closer. I knew then that she was halfway up the stairs. In a minute she would be in my room. She would see me with my phone in my hand and lecture me on the need to get enough sleep. I would beg to be allowed to play a little longer but it wouldn’t make any difference to Amma. She would snatch my phone away, scolding all the while and I would be forced to get into bed.
Not today, I thought.
I raced towards my cupboard and pulled myself in. It was a big cupboard and I got right into it, squashing the neatly folded piles of clothes. I pulled the doors shut, plugged in my earphones and went on with my game. I knew that I was going to win and the excitement shut out the world. My world was made up only of the thumps and shouts, the bangs and the explosions of my screen. It was an exciting fight and the only thought in my head was of winning it. Finally though, I sat back, grinning in the dark. I had won!
A thin line of light fell on me. Through the tiny gap in the cupboard doors, I heard Amma say, ‘That’s wonderful, Atul!’
Could Amma see me? Heart thumping with fear, I put my eye to the thin line of light between the doors.
Amma was sitting on my bed and all I could see of her was her back. But there was someone lying on my bed. Who was it? At this moment the person in my bed sat up. He wore my face, my clothes and he spoke in my voice, ‘Don’t worry, Amma, I am going to be the best son in the world!’
Amma hugged him. Over her shoulder his eyes looked at the cupboard and he smiled as if he could see me through the thin gap. And I sat with my phone, feeling my insides turn to hot melting fear while my world was taken over by someone else.