Children

The Castle in the House: Time to rebuild

Illustration: Sonal Goyal  

Story so far: Shalu and Samit thought a cat broke their castle the first time. But how did it break again?

Shalu stared at the castle’s ruins. She heard Samit rush out and the murmur of voices. Samit came back to announce, “It was Nitin! Amma says he came yesterday when we weren’t here!”

“But why ...”

“I guess he was trying to help!” Samit shrugged. “But didn’t realise that he had destroyed the castle!”

Seeing the look on Shalu’s face, he said, “But we can fix it, Shalu!”

“It took so long,” Shalu’s voice quavered.

“And we’ll do it again,” Samit promised. “It will mean working longer on it, that’s all!”

Shalu cheered up because Samit made it seem so easy.

No an easy task

But of course, it wasn’t. They had to read the instructions again because all the parts had been scattered around the room. “It’s like Nitin hates us,” Samit said grimly.

“Oh, no, he doesn’t!” Shalu protested so Samit kept quiet. “It’s a good thing it’s Saturday,” he said instead. “And I don’t have homework!”

Shalu longed to ask if Samit was missing his phone. Weekends had earlier been devoted to playing on it. But, today, it sat in a corner, playing songs softly, while they worked. Amma had to drag them away for lunch. “Tomorrow,” Samit promised Shalu, “we’ll get back to it!” and she was happy.

The promise was enough to make Shalu happy. The castle was so big! It grew even taller on Sunday because Samit decided to work on it all day. Amma made them a picnic lunch, with cheese sandwiches and milkshake, which they ate in the playroom. Shalu thought gratefully of Rajani Ma’am and her ‘No Phone’ plan, as she fell asleep.

Samit was waiting for her when she got home from school the next day. “Guess what? Rajani Ma’am is happy because we have all been keeping away from phones. As a reward she is going to let us have our phones back tomorrow! Isn’t that great?” He saw the dismay on Shalu’s face and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll still help you finish building the castle!”

Shalu smiled but was filled with despair. The minute Samit got his phone back, she would lose her brother again.

“Almost done!” Samit sang out later that evening. The towers were in place and now the castle rose over Shalu. “Wonderful,” Amma and Papa said. “Only the moat needs to be fixed,” Samit said, fussing around the castle. “And I’ll do that tomorrow.” He looked at his sister, standing still and silent and asked, “Okay, Shalu?”

“Okay,” Shalu said even though she knew nothing would ever be okay again. How could it when she was going to lose her brother again?

To be continued


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:07:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-castle-in-the-house-time-to-rebuild/article35354403.ece

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