The boy stood, fascinated by the jiggory – topies all around him. They hung from the sky on laser fluorescent threads. Some of them smiled and cheered him. One threw him a lolly pop to suck. He was spoilt for choice, but he could buy only one. He had a smiley with him, which was the only currency accepted in Twinku Land. As he stood with wide eyes, trying to make up his mind, his Mamma came and pointed at a rag doll dancing in a circle. Maybe that’s the one she would have chosen when she was a girl. His Papa came & nodded, rag doll is fine.
So, not knowing better, he threw his smiley at the ring, and the rag doll stopped its dance. She was actually awkwardly poised with one toe pointing up, like a ballerina. She could not have been comfortable; she may have wanted to complete the dance.
The boy brought the doll home and kept her with him all the time. After a few days, the rag doll decided to dance again. The boy was watching Tom & Jerry and it irritated him. He broke the doll’s leg and continued to watch.
At night, he kissed the doll with the broken leg, and fixed a teddy’s leg in its place. Then he went to sleep blissfully, dreaming of cars that fly.
A few days passed, and his vacation ended. The boy would go to school now. In evening he would come home, finish his home-work and rush off to play football with the other boys.
One day, he came home to find the rag doll singing. It amused him, and he smiled. Thus encouraged, the rag doll composed note after note in her mind, and tried to sing them whenever the boy was around. He never noticed. Once, when his friends had come, the rag doll took it in her head to sing her most special song. This embarrassed the boy and he picked up the doll and stuffed it in a drawer amidst some broken bits and pieces from where she could never be heard again.
He must have forgotten about the doll but one day he saw a similar rag doll in a book, and suddenly remembered about his doll. So he searched the whole place out and when he finally found her, the doll was crumpled and torn due to days of neglect. So he told her that he loved her and ventured to ‘fix’ her. He gathered some odds and ends from here and there. He cut off her brown plaits and tied some golden thread. He coloured her face pink. He tore apart her orange buttons and glued blue ones in their place. When he saw the transformation, he was thrilled. He loved his doll and he knew it. He would never neglect it again, he vowed.
Ever since, he has been taking special care to shield the doll from the big, bad, world. From time to time he would change some little thing about her. Every night he hugged and slept with the doll and assured her that he loved her.
But she never could dance or sing anymore; actually she was no more the rag doll.