Children

Vineet’s Magic Mantra: Grounded!

Story so far: For no fault of his, Vineet gets into trouble with his neighbour, who complains to his father.

“Sorry Dad,” Vineet apologised softly.

“It’s too late for apologies. You will spend the entire holidays helping the staff clean the house for Deepavali. Dadi will supervise you.”

Dadi nodded.

“No Deepavali crackers for you,” Mr. Malhotra said.

Vineet gasped. Being grounded was no big deal. He could play computer games. The cleaning could be avoided by coaxing the staff to cover up for him. But no crackers!

Every member of the house was scared of Vineet’s father, so the staff didn’t succumb to Vineet’s pleas.

A terrible time

The next few days were torturous. His dadi watched him like a hawk, seldom leaving him alone. Mr. Malhotra confiscated his cell phone and laptop. His allowance and outings were stopped, and friends banned from visiting the house.

Deepavali cleaning was a chore Vineet disliked. He hated cleaning his cupboard every year. Now, due to Mrs. Sen’s complaint, he lined up for his share of the chores.

He was furious and had a scowl on his face, as he went through his chores. He climbed up on stools to remove cobwebs, dusted elaborate chandeliers, and wiped fans and tube-lights.

For a lady with weak eyesight, his dadi was quick to spot a string of cobwebs left on the wall or a small spot of dust on the tube-light. The old lady made him scrub until his hands ached.

Vineet silently cursed Mrs. Sen. He had been working non-stop from morning. It was now time for lunch. He was sure that his father wouldn’t deprive him of food. Though his favourite dishes — matar paneer, dum pulao, vegetable raita and gulab jamun — were on the table, the sight failed to delight. He watched his family enjoy their lunch. Vineet felt sad that his dad had stopped talking to him.

While cleaning the windows, Vineet tried to hide from the neighbours. But, it was not possible. Mrs. Sen watched him with a satisfied look on her face.

“After lunch we will clean the puja room,” his dadi smiled, as though she was offering him a treat. He grimaced at the thought of dusting the holy books preserved by his grandmother.

... to be continued


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 1:25:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/vineets-magic-mantra-grounded/article37171734.ece

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