In every bubble that Ravi blew he saw his dreams. And when they burst, he thought to himself that his dreams would never be realised.

The clock in the park chimed 5 p.m., as Ravi entered the children’s play area to sell his bubble bottles. Ravi’s parents were migrant workers. Unable to stay in one place for a long time they left Ravi in his Uncle’s care so he could go to school regularly. Ravi’s Uncle agreed to let him stay in his house, but on condition that he sell bubble bottles in the park after school.

There were just a few kids in the play area. Ravi saw a three-year-old boy with his parents. He blew some bubbles in the boy's direction. The boy was fascinated as the bubbles floated around him. His father asked Ravi the price. “Twenty rupees, sir,” said Ravi. “Twenty rupees for the small bubble bottle, ridiculous!” said the man angrily and turned away. Ravi blew more bubbles hoping the little boy would throw tantrums and force his father to buy a bubble bottle. The little boy did start to throw a tantrum. “I’ll buy you balloons,” said the father and immediately the bubble bottle was forgotten.

Ravi got up and blew some bubbles near two children who were playing at the swings. But they were not interested. When the last child left the play area, Ravi was crestfallen. Ravi had not been able to sell even one bubble bottle. He dreaded going home as his Uncle would shout at him for not bringing him any money and would be sent to bed without dinner. Ravi blew a bubble. He pictured his dream in that bubble — he was staying with his parents and enjoying a delicious meal cooked by his mother. He watched his dream bubble till it burst. He blew another and this time he was receiving accolades from his teacher for coming first in class. His dream bubble bounced up and down in the air and burst. “My dreams are like these bubbles. They’ll never come true,” said Ravi sadly.

Ravi left the children’s play area and went towards the fountain. The park was now filled with evening walkers. He looked for his friend Mani, the elderly gardener. Mani was coughing a lot as he watered the lawn with a hose. “Mani Uncle, take rest,” said Ravi as he took the hose and began to water the lawn. The crowd in the park had thinned.

In action

Suddenly Ravi heard a cry. “Catch him! He stole my chain!” shouted a lady. Ravi saw a man running towards him with a gold chain in his hand. Ravi dashed out of the lawn and sprayed the man with water. The thief lost his balance and fell down. In a flash Ravi snatched the chain from the thief and ran towards the park’s entrance. Ravi shouted for help but the watchman was not around. There was a corporate office in front of the park and Ravi stood at the corner. Soon, the thief caught up with him and threatened him and asked him to hand over the chain. Ravi saw some men walking by and shouted for help. The thief panicked and ran away.

Mani and the lady who had lost her gold chain came out of the park towards Ravi. “Thank God! You’re all right! What were you thinking? You could’ve got hurt,” said Mani.

“You‘re a brave boy,” said the lady as she called the police.

“It’s sad the thief ran off with the gold chain,” said Mani.

“No, he did not!” said Ravi. “I’m not a fast runner. I knew the thief would catch me. So after I grabbed the chain from him I threw it in this flower bed and kept running.” said Ravi.

A police constable retrieved the gold chain. “Good work Ravi! Can you describe the thief?” asked a police officer.

“Sir, you can see him on TV,” said Ravi to the puzzled police team. “The reason I stood near the corporate office corner was because there was a security camera here. The thief’s face is captured by the security camera.” said Ravi.

The Police officers lauded his brilliant thinking and quick reflexes. The thief was soon caught and many other stolen gold chains were retrieved from him.

Ravi’s uncle was angry because the reward money was handed to Ravi’s school Principal for his studies. His uncle told him never to enter his house again. But Ravi was not worried. The corporate office in front of the park appointed Ravi’s father as the night security guard. His mother got a job as a noon meal cook in his school. Ravi still comes to the park in the evening after school, not to sell bubbles but to play in the children’s play area and he still helps Mani.