Train of Tales Children

Bhuvan’s secret: Did Stella tell?

Story so far: Bhuvan’s plans of feeding Mrs Miranda’s kittens fail when Baba sends Dhanush back to his house.

When Bhuvan woke up the next morning, Baba was not to be seen. “Popo Singh got Baba a temporary job delivering groceries to stranded labourers at construction sites,” said Aai, arranging a dozen colourful masks on the floor.

“What are you doing?”

“I am clicking pictures of my masks and sending them to a few clients. I think I will stitch and sell masks until this epidemic ends.”

“But you are an expert in making designer blouses. You shouldn’t be undertaking such small jobs,” said Bhuvan.

“No job is small, Bhuvan. I will stitch strong masks and earn some money.” Bhuvan hugged Aai and kissed her. “Can I use your phone? I want to talk to Stella.”

“Why can’t you talk to her through the window?”

“It’s a secret, Aai!” She tossed him the phone. “Make it quick!”

Making plans

Bhuvan caught the phone and went to the kitchen to call Stella, who was the only kid in the street who had a phone. She answered after the third ring.

“I am going to feed the kittens. Do you want to come?”

“I am not going anywhere and neither should you!”

“The kittens will starve…”

“Tell your parents! They will do something.”

“No! Aai will never let me walk home alone from school again.”

“Let me think of something…”

Bhuvan ended the conversation. Since Aai was watching television, he parked himself by the front door, watching the chickens and the stray mongrels outside till he heard a familiar laugh on the street. It was Popo Singh.

“Popo Uncle!” He heard Stella call out to him. “What is it, Stella?” he asked, stopping in the middle of the street.

A warning

Bhuvan couldn’t hear anything more, as Aai fiddled with the TV’s volume right then. A few minutes later, he watched nervously as Popo Singh stopped outside his house and met his eyes.

“Are you enjoying your holidays?”

“Yes,” said Bhuvan.

“Don’t step out of the house! Stay home! Stay safe!”

Bhuvan’s ears turned red. He picked up Aai’s phone and dialled Stella’s number. When she answered the phone, he barked, “I don’t want to talk to you again!”

“What did I do?”

“You are a snitch! You told Popo Singh about my plans of leaving the house.”

“Bhuvan, listen to me! Popo Singh…”

“You can’t stop me from leaving the house. You are not my friend any more. I am going to help the kittens on my own!”

To be continued


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 4:12:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/did-stella-tell-continuing-the-serial-story-by-shyamala-shanmugasundaram/article36728119.ece

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