A Town Called Boring
All the children ever did was study. They studied in school all day. On returning home they got busy with homework and with revision for class tests in school. No one played any games -- there were no playgrounds in the town.
It was a strange town. The children were never happy to meet each other. Sometimes they would try to avoid each other's eyes. Or they would try to pretend that they had not studied much for tests. That was not all. They also lied to each other about which chapters were important for the coming test. All that the children wanted was marks, marks and more marks.
What a town Boring was! No one knew how to smile let alone giggle or laugh or crack a joke. Life was really dull and boring.
One day the town had a visitor. Ekta's grandmother had come visiting. It was her first time in Boring. She had silvery hair and a smile that stretched from ear to ear. Even her eyes smiled. The people of Boring found her very odd.
At the end of her first day in Boring Grandma understood that something was terribly wrong with the townspeople -- even her own family. When she smiled and nodded, people moved away with alarm. When Grandma told Ekta with a smile that she had made mouthwatering gajar ka halwa for her granddaughter, what did Ekta do? She said: "The history teacher cut three marks in the test. God knows how many marks she has cut over the years. By now she must have a treasure chest full of marks. I wonder what she will do with all those marks? Maybe I should steal her trunk some day. I will be a very rich girl indeed". She did not touch the gajar ka halwa.
Grandma was amazed. How could anyone talk about marks all the time? But she heard this nonsense day after day not only from Ekta but from every other boy and girl -- and as if that was not bad enough,from the parents as well!
If anything the parents were worse.They were always pushing their children to get more marks so that they could get ahead of others. Just as people go to temples to pray, the parents of Boring went to a shop called The Marks Bazaar. The shop sold a special type of pen with which one could write secret messages. The parents would buy these pens for their children who would then scribble answers on their thighs, ankles and elbows during exams. It was called preparation for exams.
The parents did not know that the shopkeeper also secretly sold infra-red detectors that could catch any secret message on any surface. The children ended up getting caught by teachers and so the parents were forced to return to The Marks Bazaar to buy better 'secret messengers', as they were called.
Grandma was shocked to see all this. "I must do something so that the people of Boring learn to be happy," she thought to herself. It was time to use her secret weapon!
This secret weapon had changed Grandma's life in childhood. As a young girl she always complained about everything and anything. She thought her parents would give her more things to try and make her happy. Then one day Grandma's cousin sister Haasya decided to change things. She came up from behind and tickled Grandma hard. Without her knowing it Grandma squealed and giggled. "Ah, so you can giggle like other children," said her cousin. When Grandma laughed she felt very happy. Grandma's parents named Haasya the 'Goddess of Laughter".
Haasya was such an expert at tickling that people could not but laugh. She knew more jokes than there were stars in the sky. Good jokes, funny jokes, that made people laugh with each other. Once they laughed together they felt warm towards each other. They made friends for life.
A Town Called Boring [Stories for kids]
By Chitra Padmanabhan; Illustration by Kusum Chamoli
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