Train of Tales Children

The Toy Clinic: Board ... or bored?

It all started began because they were bored. Summer holidays had just begun. All the children of Ashray Apartments were waiting for the results of their final exams, after which their holidays would actually take off. There were 82 children here. Surprisingly, only 20 were going on holiday that year.

Even Muniyappa, the daytime security guard, shuddered at the thought of 60-odd children all over the place for two whole months. He would have a tough time trying to remember who could be allowed out of the gate and who could not. When the lucky ones left, the others spent their time playing indoor games during the day and cricket, tennis and badminton in the evenings. Screen time in most homes was restricted to half an hour before dinner by a pre-decided consensus of all parents during a meeting.

Toy exchange

The mornings were rather long since the fiery sun forced them to wake up early. They started playing board games in the mornings, but the younger ones soon got bored. Nethra, the default leader as the oldest at 14, suggested “Why don’t you kids exchange your toys, dolls and games with each other if you’re bored of board games?” The children thought it was a brilliant idea and immediately scooted to their respective homes. Rumi, the writer, smiled at the wordplay.

Exactly 20 minutes later, the children came out with their toys. A huge squabble broke out, as there was no code of exchange. Called in to settle the dispute, Nethra found it almost impossible. Susan’s doll had a torn dress and Jugthi’s had an arm missing. Rahul’s teddy bear had a ripped tummy that dropped pieces of foam. Minal’s Sher Khan was so dirty that his stripes didn’t show at all. Sara’s toy soldier had a leg and hand dangling. Puneet’s electronic gun made a funny sound that made everyone laugh. Seven Barbies were in bad shape and most of the stuffed toys needed a thorough cleaning and quite a lot of patching up.

As Nethra wondered what to do, her best friend and classmate, Shreya, exclaimed “Hey, let’s do something about these poor little things.”  

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” answered Nethra.  

“Not these little things,” said Shreya, pointing to the children, “but these poor little things.” She pointed to the heap of toys lying on the carpet of their community hall. 

To be continued... 


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2022 10:06:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-toy-clinic-board-or-bored/article65680723.ece