Train of tales Education

Homecoming: Back to India

Get started on this new serial story and follow Akash and Dharti in their village Singahalli.Akash and Dharti are bewildered by the sea of people who have come to welcome them. Who are they? And, why are we here, they wonder.

When Akash and Dharti stepped out of the car, all they could see were people. They hid behind their mother, but their mother surged forward towards the crowd of smiling people and was soon lost. The kids felt exposed. They searched for their father who was unloading the luggage.

“Oh, you are so thin.” Someone grabbed Dharti’s arm. “Look at my kids, how healthy they are. You have eaten ‘foreign’ food but don’t look healthy.”

“Did you meet the queen?” asked an old man. “— the London Rani?” Not waiting for an answer, he went on. “...I have met her. She came to Delhi in 1983. She went in a long black car and she waved right at me.”

The children looked more and more confused. They spotted children their age but they looked unfriendly. They searched for their mother, but she was nowhere to be seen.

“Do you speak Kannada?” asked an uncle, pinching Akash’s cheeks. It was his turn to be scrutinised. Akash squirmed and managed to say ‘no’. “What a tragedy! Children of our soil, do not speak the language of the soil.” Another voice interjected. “It is okay. Children will learn. That is why they have come back to Singahalli,” said a kindly granny.

Granny to rescue

“Come in, I have got ice cream for you,” she said, her face crinkling in a smile. The weary kids understood the language of food and readily followed her.

They passed an ornate hall with wooden pillars and old portraits, and went into the kitchen. Eyes seemed to follow them everywhere. They were relieved to find their mother there. She was sitting on a tiny stool, drinking something from a steel tumbler.

“I missed this coffee so much,” she was saying. She barely looked at them. The granny took them to the fridge and showed them a stack of ice cream cups in many flavours.

For a minute they forgot their surroundings and got lost looking at the ice cream. Akash chose chocolate and Dharti butterscotch.

“Does it taste the same as what you eat in England?” They nodded.

“You can call me Ajji. I am your mother’s mother. You can come to me for anything, especially if you want ice cream,” she said and winked.

The kids tried to eat but kept looking at their mum. She was still drinking her coffee.

“I miss home,” whispered Dharti. “Me too,” said Akash and squeezed his sister’s hand. He was glum.

“Do we really have to live here?” he wondered.

To be continued

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:31:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/homecoming-back-to-india/article30386669.ece

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