Sona sat in her chair silently, observing her parents. “They make no time for me,” she thought. She hardly got to be with them.
By Mesha Oh
Sona had a lovely time at school that day. Instead of the usual classes, the children watched a film. It was about a family”a father and mother and their son”who spent a whole month up in the Himalayas. They hiked to little villages tucked deep inside narrow valleys. They met hardworking farmers and shepherds, and even a family of yak-herders! They saw a lot of wildlife”colourful birds, hairy mountain goats, and also, far in the distance, something that they thought might have been a snow leopard! Some nights, they camped out in the open, under a star-filled sky, having great fun warming themselves by a bonfire! As you can imagine, the family learnt many new things on that trip.
Returning home in the school-bus later that day, Sona kept thinking about the film. “I wish I could go to such places,” she thought to herself. It had been years since her parents had taken her out of town. They were just too busy doing other things.
Sona felt very sad.
When her parents got home from work that evening, Sona told them about the film she had seen. “Papa, could we could go to the Himalayas during my summer holidays this year?” she asked her father, who was busy tapping away at his laptop.
Sona’s father glanced at her for a moment and then went back to his computer. “Not possible this year, Sona,” he mumbled. “I’ve got too much work.”
Sona didn’t like her father’s reaction. Thinking that her mother might respond differently, she turned to her. “Mummy, if Papa doesn’t want to take us to the Himalayas, maybe just the two of us could go?” she asked.
“Don’t be silly Sona! How can we go to the Himalayas all by ourselves?” Sona’s mother snapped. “You better stay here during your holidays and brush up your Maths and Science.”
Sona sat in her chair silently, observing her parents. “They make no time for me,” she thought. She hardly got to be with them. Almost as soon as her father got back from work, he would open up his laptop, hardly lifting his eyes from it till dinner time. Her mother also worked in an office, and when she returned home, she’d spend hours chatting with her friends on her cell-phone.
“I think they love their laptop and phones more than me,” Sona said to herself.
“Sona, we’re having a dinner party tonight, so you go up to your room now,” Sona’s mother said as she put her phone down. “Your dinner is on your table. I want you to finish everything, do you hear? No wasting. And don’t forget to brush your teeth.”
Tears welled up in little Sona’s eyes, but her parents were so busy”her father on his laptop, and her mother on her phone again”that they didn’t notice. She slipped quietly out and went to her room.
That night, before she went to bed, Sona said a little prayer. “God, please make Mummy and Papa take me to the Himalayas,” she whispered. Then, after a while, she added, “Okay God, if the Himalayas are too far away, then somewhere nearby will do.”
As Sona lay in her bed, she came upon a wonderful idea! She decided she would work on it the very first thing next morning!
The next day was Saturday, and Sona’s school was closed for the weekend. Her parents had off from work, too. Early that morning, Sona tiptoed into her parents’ bedroom, and, very silently, picked up their laptop and cell-phones and slipped them into a bag. Returning to her room, she carefully placed the bag in a box that stood on the top of her cupboard. She couldn’t think of a better hiding place!
When Sona’s parents woke up, you should have seen how they panicked! Almost the first thing they did every morning after waking up was to check their emails on their laptop and to get busy on their cell-phones. And so, you can imagine how very upset they were when they found that their laptop and phones were missing! They searched every room in the house but they could find no trace of them.
“Maybe one of our guests last night pinched them,” Sona’s father said, exhausted after a long but futile search.
“I’d hate to think that,” Sona’s mother replied, although secretly she felt her husband might just be right.
Sona’s father rang up the police and lodged a complaint about the missing things.
“If we get any news, we’ll inform you,” the policeman said to him.
Without their laptop and cell-phones, you won’t believe how fidgety Sona’s parents got!
“I can’t sit at home doing nothing for two whole days,” said Sona’s mother impatiently at lunch-time. She spent much of her weekends on her phone and watching movies on the laptop, and she was really very agitated that she couldn’t do that now.
“I don’t know what I’ll do either. Imagine not being connected to the Internet for two days! I’ve never faced anything like this before!” Sona’s father grumbled.
“I know what we could do!” Sona suddenly announced, “Let’s go somewhere for an outing!”
“Why, that sounds like a wonderful idea!” Sona’s mother said, after thinking for a while. “We haven’t been out of town for years actually.”
“Hmmm. It certainly sounds better than sitting at home doing nothing,” Sona’s father added.
Sona had heard from a friend about a little farm not far from their city, where there were many animals and lots of trees and where people could stay over for a few days. She told her parents about the place. “Let’s go there!” she said.
“Sona! Sometimes you come up with brilliant ideas!” Sona’s mother exclaimed.
“Okay, let’s pack our bags at once and get there before dark,” Sona’s father said.
“Wuppy! That’s so nice of you! Thank you so, so much!” Sona cried out in joy as she rushed to give her parents a big hug!
Sona and her parents had a lovely time on the farm that weekend. They saw lots of birds and animals and played games and sang songs. They learnt about the life of farmers and enjoyed fresh village air and food. Sona’s parents were so happy that they almost completely forgot about their missing laptop and cell-phones!
“We haven’t had so much fun in years!” Sona’s father said while they were returning home on Sunday evening. “It’s been lovely spending time together”after ages!”
“We must do this more often”at least once a month!” Sona’s mother added.
Seeing how happy her parents were, Sona knew it was time to tell them what had happened to their laptop and phones.
“My goodness! You clever girl!” said Sona’s father after she told them what she had done. “What a clever way to get us to get off our computers and cell-phones and go on a holiday! If it wasn’t for you, we would never have done this and had such a nice time!”
“Thank you Sona for doing what you did,” Sona’s mother said as she gave Sona a cuddle. “Otherwise, we might never have given up watching one silly movie after another on the computer and gossiping on our phones! Thank you child for showing us a better way to spend our weekends!”
“For being such a clever girl Sona,” Sona’s father announced, “you’re getting a special prize. Guess what that is! We’ll spend a whole month up in the Himalayas during your coming summer vacations!”
Sona could hardly believe her ears! An entire month in the Himalayas, just like the family she had seen in the film at school the other day! You wouldn’t believe how happy she was!
“Thank you God!” Sona whispered, smiling at God, for God had answered her prayers! “You are so, so sweet!”