It was a rainy Sunday afternoon – the perfect occasion to listen to some old stories. Grandma was busy explaining a recipe to mother and father, but Anushka was impatient. She tugged on the old lady’s sleeve and said, “Grandma, please tell me a story!”
Her grandmother laughed. “Didn’t I tell you a story about your naughty mother just last night?”
Anushka nodded. “But I want to hear a story about all of them – Moo, grandfather and everybody else,” she demanded.
Anushka loved her aunts and uncles but only saw them once a year when they visited from
abroad. And as for her grandfather, he had passed away before they could even meet. Therefore, she liked to hear stories about them. It was fun to picture how she imagined they all had been back then.
Grandfather surely wore crisp white dhoti and Punjabi. And her mother used to love wearing frocks with flowery designs. Moo, Anushka’s favourite aunt, had always been the nicest in her opinion. She had only scolded Anushka once in her life and took her to the bookstore often.
So Grandma took Anushka’s hand. They settled down on the sofa, with Chiki, the sleeping pet cat next to them. Then the story began.
“Even though your mother, aunts and uncles didn’t share the same feelings for mathematics or rosogullas, they all loved animals.” Anushka already knew this because she had grown up feeding and talking to stray dogs and cats with her mother and Moo.
Grandma continued. “Once Moo had brought home a puppy. We named him Boo, to rhyme with Moo. When the children came back from school a few days after that, we couldn’t find Boo. Your Moo started crying loudly. Then your Leena mashi joined her.”
Anushka giggled. “Leena mashi always wants the most attention even now,” she joked.
“So I went running. I asked what had happened. Your mother, who was also crying by then, told me that Boo had disappeared. I panicked too. Still, I could not let the girls cry so much. I went to search the garden and roof top. Moo followed me as she sobbed.”
Anuskha was getting worried. This did not seem like a funny story like the other ones. “Then what happened, Grandma,” she asked anxiously.
“Leena had stopped crying for a while. But then your grandfather entered the room, all sweaty from the hot summer weather.”
“What is wrong, my girls?” He asked them with his eyes on me.”
“I was sitting with my head in my hands, wondering how Boo had managed to leave. Moo, your mother and Leena cried out together: Baba, Boo is missing!”
Anushka frowned. She hoped that the story had a happy ending.
“Your grandfather took out his handkerchief, wiped his face and noticed that our lunch had not been touched. He touched Moo’s head and said: Moo, let’s go look for Boo. He must have wandered off somewhere.”
“Did they find Boo, Grandma? Anushka needed to know. Her grandmother told her to be patient.
“So Moo and your mother tried to dry their tears. The three of them set off on the mission to find Boo. They walked in silence except for the occasional sniffle from Moo. After twenty minutes of searching the area surrounding our house, your grandfather suggested that they go home and eat and start the search again with more energy.”
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)