Children

A home for Anona

The huge store had the best toys, dolls, games, and gadgets from all over the world. In the midst of all this sat an unusual doll. She was big, slightly dirty and plump. Every time a child passed by her, the doll’s hopes were raised expectantly — only to crash soon after. No one wanted her. They always chose the skinny hard dolls in designer dresses and blond hair. Since she was unknown for so long, let us call her Anona.

The other expensive dolls that sold fast were designed abroad and manufactured in big factories. But Anona had been made with fabric and soft cotton in a village by the warm hands of cheerful women. Anona, unlike the other dolls, had a little heart with feelings. No wonder she felt miserable at not being picked.

An idea

She dreamt of being a playmate to a sweet child who would pamper her. She yearned to spread joy in someone’s life, for, that is what dolls are meant to do. But she had been stuck here for two years and no one seemed to care.

Finally, Anona had an idea. She decided to fall into someone’s shopping basket and be bought, unawares. Putting her plan to action, she jumped into a trolley of a busy woman. On the way to the billing section, Anona kept her fingers crossed. She squeezed herself under the other toys and, for the first time, prayed that she would be unnoticed. The woman whose basket she’d jumped into was talking on her phone while her purchases were being billed. So she paid without checking what she’d bought. Anona couldn’t believe her luck. Finally, someone had bought her! her little heart thumped excitedly during a bumpy car ride.

At home, when she was unpacked, a little girl gave her a long look and tossed her aside to play with the other toys. Anona saw her luck slip away. After a few days of being thrown around, she was given away to Saras, the house help, who took her home for her 10-year-old daughter Mala.

Happy at last

Mala screamed with joy and hugged and kissed Anona. The doll’s heart filled with joy. Mala loved playing with her. She cleaned her, stitched clothes for her, combed her hair and even made a small cardboard doll-house for her. Anona was transformed into a happy, beautiful, cuddly doll called Gudiya.

One day, Mala was dressed in her best clothes to be taken out. She dressed Anona too to take her along. They were taken to the big mansion where Mala’s mother worked. A cake was cut and the party began. The birthday girl noticed Anona in Mala’s hands and suddenly cried out, “That’s my doll. I want it.”

Mala held on to Anona and shook her head. The girl’s mother reasoned with her, “No sweetheart. It belongs to Mala now. Remember, you didn’t want it?” But the girl threw a tantrum and demanded the doll be returned to her.

Mala clutched Anona tight and ran out muttering, “ Gudiya is my baby and I will not give her to anyone.” She neither glanced at the goodies she was longing to eat, nor the lovely return gifts. When she reached home and hugged her doll, she noticed Gudiya’s smile had widened. Mala also felt a tear on Gudiya’s cheek. Was it her own tear that had fallen there? Mala was puzzled but she was sure she would never exchange her doll for anything in this world.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 7:48:23 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/a-home-for-anona/article65496697.ece