Image Credit: Anjali Rao
Once upon a time, there lived a sprightly little boy named Om. He lived with his parents and grandparents in a beautiful home in Sunnydale. Om loved the outdoors – be it playing tennis, swimming or flying kites. And as he lived close to the river, flying kites was one of his favourite activities, given the strong, cool breeze. Om had a pet dog named Micky and they would often go out to fly kites. Micky loved to prance up and down and follow Om as he tugged at the kite and flew it. Together, they would have lots of fun.
One October morning, Om had completed his homework early. The weather was beautiful outside and the boy decided to go kite-flying. “Come on, Micky!” he called to his pet and took out a bright red kite with a golden tail. Soon, they were having a whale of a time. The kite went up higher and higher and aided by the swift wind, pulled Om and Micky farther and farther away from home.
As they passed the familiar roads, Om suddenly found himself drawn by a fragrant smell. He turned to find a beautiful purple flower growing out of the corner of a rock. It was the flower that was giving out that fragrance. Fascinated, Om bent to pluck the flower. But just as he was about to pick, it cried, “Please don’t pluck me. I want to live longer!” The boy was taken aback and decided to let it be. “If you like my smell,” continued the flower, “you can dab your handkerchief against my petals. The smell will linger. Also, it has magical properties. If you allow the smell to be in the air for some time, it will put anyone else but you to sleep.” “Woof! Woof!” cried Micky, as if reminding the flower of its presence. “And of course, your dog will also be awake,” said the pretty little thing. Om smiled, and quickly took out the handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed it against the flower. When it was steeped in the beautiful fragrance, he put it back into his pocket. He thanked the flower and continued moving in the direction of the kite, Micky next to him.
On and on flew the kite and just as Om was about to turn around the bend, he spotted a most unusual bird, one that he had never seen before. It had blue and yellow feathers and a black crest. The bird was roosting on a fence. Once again, enamoured, the boy crept by and gently caught the bird, wanting to take it with him. Awoken, the bird shrilly appealed, “Please don’t capture me, dear one! I long to fly about openly.” “Well, alright,” said Om, who was good and kind at heart. Much as he wanted to have the bird, he did not want to take it against its will. The bird now shook itself and off fell a blue and yellow feather. “Take that feather,” it said, “If you brush this feather against any inanimate object, it will become five times bigger.” The boy happily took the feather and thanked the bird. He brushed it against a little pebble that was lying there and immediately, it turned into a big boulder. Delighted, Om put it in his pocket and continued flying the kite.
Image Credit: Anjali Rao
At last, he came to the bottom of a little hill. It was daybreak and by now, he had grown a little tired and wanted to rest. So, he winded up the kite and decided to sit for a while before heading back home. The place was completely unfamiliar. The hill was filled with dense trees and there was not a soul in sight. Om seated himself on a tree stump to take some rest. He had walked quite some distance and his legs were aching. Micky too, sat next to him. However, as Om rested his eyes became heavy-lidded and before soon, he had drifted off to sleep. He was awoken by barks from his dog. The boy rubbed his eyes to find two monstrous giants towering over him. They had curved horns over their heads and long, sharp teeth. One was male and the other female. Om felt frightened but tried to muster as much courage as he could.
“It’s a human being,” said the male giant. “There you go, dear. It’s a good thing we came down the hill today. At last a human has happened to come this way. Let us capture him. He can be the servant you wanted for such a long time.”
“Indeed!” cried his wife. “And we’ll cage the dog too. But what is that red object next to it?” And she peered over Om’s kite curiously. Now, it was the boy’s turn to speak.
“That is my kite.”
“A kite? What’s that?”
It was clear that the giants did not know what a kite was.
“Well,” said Om, “You can fly it up in the air and it moves along with the breeze. I have been flying it all along. Would you like to try?”
“Don’t be silly!” thundered the male giant. “It’s such a small thing. How can we fly it?”
“Just a minute. I can make it big.” And saying so, Om took out the magic feather and brushed it against the kite and then the spindle. Within seconds, both had grown large. The male giant picked them up and regarded them curiously.
“Hold the spindle close to you and thrust the kite in the air like this.” Om gestured to the giant on how to fly the kite and he tried it. Both the giant and his wife were fascinated with the beautiful kite and soon, it was swaying against the wind, flying much higher now than ever before. The male giant ran about here and there, pulling the kite against the wind, absolutely thrilled. He soon forgot about Om. But his wife was not so easily distracted.
“Well, my little boy” she laughed sneakily. “You may have charmed my husband with the kite. But I am here to take you prisoner all the same.” And she stretched out her hands to catch him. But the clever boy scrunched up his face and made an attempt to sneeze. He took out the handkerchief from his pocket and briskly dusted it in the air. Immediately, the purple flower’s fragrance spread in the air. The female giant turned drowsy and finally slumped over and closed her eyes.
Image Credit: Anjali Rao
Om took a quick glance around. The male giant was now far off, totally absorbed in flying the kite and had not noticed at all what had happened. This was his chance to escape. Quickly, he whisked Micky and they ran away as fast as they could. Though Om could not remember the way home, Micky could, thanks to his sense of smell. When they reached home, it was nearly evening and their family had just begun wondering about their whereabouts.
The boy recounted all that had happened and told them about the handkerchief and the magic feather. He also realized the importance of kindness and good deeds. It was his generosity towards the flower and the bird that had brought him gifts that had ultimately saved his life. And in case you’re wondering, Om still has the handkerchief and the feather. The handkerchief has lost much of the fragrance but the feather still works its magic. Only last week, Om used it to increase the size of a chicken pepperoni pizza, which he then shared with his friends. I know, because I was one of them!
The central character is based on Om Chatterjee.