Children

Saved by the alarm

Illustrations: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustrations: Sreejith R. Kumar   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

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It was Atul’s 13th birthday. He looked adoringly at the stack of gifts he had received from his family and friends. But the best, as usual, he was sure, was the one given by Appa. What’s more, this time it would be more special since he had stepped into his teens, thought Atul excitedly.

He was, however oblivious to the financial crisis his parents were going through. He wanted something trendy and smart. But unfortunately, things didn’t go as expected.

When he opened his gift he was surprised. “Oh! He must have bought this at an exhibition that sells cheap imitations!” he said in disgust.

“A gift should be appreciated as a token of one’s love,” said Amma, trying to reason with him.

A few days later, he was invited to a friend’s birthday party. Everyone was excited about this party as the return gifts were always expensive.

That evening, the party was everything that they had expected with grand decorations and delicious food. Atul and his friends had a whale of a time. Before leaving, they were all given return gifts packed in beautiful boxes.

Atul waited for his father to pick him up. Unfortunately, his father called saying he was delayed as his bike had a puncture. After a while, unable to reach his father on his mobile, Atul decided to leave on his own hoping to catch up with him on the way.

Darkness having set in early, the street was deserted. Suddenly he realised that someone was following him. He panicked as the footsteps got closer. He turned around to see who it was and found a man just behind him. The man looked fierce and he tried to snatch the gift packet from Atul.

Danger ahead

When a terrified Atul tried to resist, the man took out a knife, threatening him to hand over the gift and all other belongings. Atul had little time to react. Gathering courage, he blurted out, “Look who’s behind you?” As the man turned around, Atul pushed him away forcefully and ran.

He hid behind a tree and watched the man searching for him.

Atul looked at his watch and realised that time was ticking. The watch had a small torch and an alarm attached to it. And, this was the gift his father had given him on his 13th birthday!

Atul had an idea. He shone the torch on the thief, and pressed the alarm button. A shrill whistle filled the air.

The powerful light and the loud whistle misled the man into thinking that a policeman was around. He ran away.

Atul came out of hiding and resumed his walk home. He was overjoyed when he saw his father.

Amma was right, thought Atul. One should appreciate the spirit in which a gift was given and not put a price on the gift. His father’s gift not only wonderful but had came to his rescue too. He felt bad for having disapproved of the gift earlier.

“Sorry, Appa,” said Atul as he climbed onto the bike.

“Why? I should be sorry for being late,” said his father.

“You won’t understand,” said Atul, flashing a smile at his puzzled father.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 9:26:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/saved-by-the-alarm/article30592878.ece

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