Train of tales Children

Back at home

Illustration: Sonal Goyal   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sonal Goyal

The story so far: At the shop, they hear the sad story of the girl in the photograph.

Mr. Michael continued with his story. “The children were put into a boarding school but, the girl, Cara, was unhappy. She was angry with her father and everyone around her. She kept to herself and had no friends…when the teachers spoke to her, she was sullen. Then, one cold, misty morning, they found her dead in the playground. She had not come back to the dormitory the previous night and no one had missed her. She died of hypothermia.”

“But, what’s with this picture?” asked Keya.

“Well, that picture was taken by her father before everything went wrong. It’s a beautiful picture… see how he has captured the light, the expression on her face…”

“That’s why I wanted to buy it,” said Moti uncle.

Secret unravelled

“What is she searching for? She messed up the house and our rooms…” said Keya.

“I think she was searching for the title deeds of her house. She thought if she got hold of it, she could get back her house.”

“Can we see that cottage?” asked Keya.

“I know where it is…I can take you there,” said Mr. Michael. “It’s a beautiful part of our hills and as yet untainted…”

Dhruv carried the picture. It took them the better part of the hour to get there. They had to park the car and take a narrow pathway up a slope to get to the cottage. Lantana grew wild and the many colours of the wild shrub added colour to the hillside. Finally, they reached the cottage. It was exactly as it was in the photograph. The stone bench stood outside the door. The view was spellbinding. “No wonder she was upset about leaving this place,” said Keya. Dhruv took the picture into the house. The furniture was almost falling to bits. “No one has been able to stay in this house ever,” said Mr. Michael. “Bad stuff keeps happening to them.”

Dhruv found a table in the front room, unwrapped the picture and left it standing on the table. He stepped out of the house with a smile on his face. “How do you know so much about this story and the house?” asked Moti uncle. Mr. Michael said sheepishly, “Molony was my grandfather… My father changed his name because he didn’t want to have any connection with the scandal…”

“Understandable…” said Moti uncle. They turned to leave. Dhruv turned to take one last glimpse. A weak sun peeped out through the clouds, and a ray of light shone into the house, catching the photograph. He thought Cara smiled.

The End

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 5:06:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/back-at-home/article33889480.ece

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