Sunday 30 May 2021

Bhupendra Dave, Prose 500 2021 Longlist

Mini’s Doll

Mini, Professor Arnold’s only daughter, loved her doll for two reasons. First, it was the only doll ever presented on her birthday and secondly, it was a gift from her best friend, living next door. She carried this doll all day with her and had even reserved a space in her bed for it to sleep. Sally, her stepmother, however, did not like Mini and therefore she wanted to get rid of the doll. ‘Keep that black-witch away,’ she often shouted. One night in her furry Sally threw the doll outside the open window into the gutter right in presence of Mini.

Mini said nothing but looked up at her parents with tears in her eyes.

‘Stop crying,’ warned Sally, ‘I will throw you out as well, if I find tears in your eyes. Tears make no child loving.’

Mini ran out of the room sobbing and entering her bedroom covered her face with the quilt so that Sally may not see her tears. Her parents followed her and when they removed the quilt, they found her shivering. ‘Mother, will you really throw me too?’ Mini said fearfully.

‘Yes, if you don’t stop crying.’ Sally said.

But seeing Mini still shivering and getting pale, Sally got alarmed and cried frantically, ‘Call the Doctor.’

But before the arrival of the doctor, every second appeared as an hour lost. The doctor examined the girl and then with grim face said, ‘the case is difficult to diagnose but it appears as due to some mental shock. It requires absolute sympathy and care.’

‘I must retrieve the doll from the gutter,’ said Arnold. But he returned all exhausted; the doll could not be traced. Meanwhile, the doctor’s prescription helped to control rising temperature and gave Mini a restful sleep.

At mid-night, when the full moon was peeping through the window, Mini woke up. A fairy came flying from the bright moon and said, ‘Don’t cry my baby. Your smile will be my sole strength to find the doll. Just wait.’ 

In no time fairy reappeared at the window holding a Golden doll.

‘No, that’s not my doll,’ said Mini who had got up and come to the window.

‘OK,’ said the fairy and disappeared only to come back with a silver doll, but Mini once again rejected it saying, ‘Mine doll was of no metal. It was fluffy and looked real.’

‘OK,’ said the fairy and vanished, only to return with an extremely costly American doll. ‘No, that’s not my doll,’ said Mini.

The fairy then brought the most beautiful dolls from Japan, China, Russia, U.K. and so on. But Mini rejected them all for she wanted only her doll. At last, the fairy went near the gutter and saw an African doll. She picked it and washed it clean with the morning dew. When Mini saw it, she said joyfully, ‘that is mine.’ Mini thanked the fairy profusely, ‘I got it from my best friend, an African girl who lives next door.’



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