చాన్నాళ్ళ క్రితం రాసిన ఈ కథను ఇప్పుడు ఇంగ్లీషులోనూ చదవవచ్చును.
Once Upon a time * anagaa anagaa *
Once upon a time, there was a small town.
In that town, a spacious building.
In front of that building, a beautiful flowering garden.
To go through that high compound wall, a strong gate
And if one went through that strong huge gate and entered that spacious building, one could see a young loving couple dwelling there.
To that charming young man, that beautiful young woman was the wife. A symbol of their warm domestic life was the cute bonny child.
Besides these three, there lived a docile servant and an obedient cook.
And also visited that house often the in-laws who looked after that young woman tenderly and the in-laws who treated that charming young man affectionately. Sometimes they returned to their places immediately. At others they spent a day or two before going back.
But after the birth of the little one, their habit changed. As if to fulfill the dreams of three generations on the side of the young man was born the first girl child in the family. That’s the reason the young man’s mother and father were unable to part with the child for even an instant.
The young woman’s parents were unable to leave the beautiful child who, after twenty-five years, looked like an embodiment of the young woman’s childhood again.
Noting their love for the child, the charming young man had asked his in-laws to stay back forever. And then that beautiful young woman made a request to her mother-in-law and father-in-law to live there and help her.
Once arrangements were made to suit everybody’s wishes, in that ideal family happiness had overblown. Affection overwhelmed everyone.
However, they had to get another docile servant.
In the same way, they also had to get another obedient cook to assist the obedient cook. Everything worked out smoothly.
In that spacious building, the loving couple, that cute little baby, the parents of the young man who showered affection, the mother and the father of the young woman, who take loving care of them, the obedient cooks-all of them had been living happily.
As the time moved on in that manner, the little one crossed the doorsill for the first time.
Those who have noticed that event were the grandmothers who were always by the side of the child. Forgetting even their age they ran happily and fetched grandfathers. Stirred by the commotion, the young couple also reached there.
For the great deed done by the little one, they all begun leaping in joy.
To celebrate the crossing of the doorsill by the baby, the obedient cook has prepared Garelu. Both grandfathers fetched a basket of causeau nut and have used to remove the evil eye from the child by circling it around the baby’s head.
The docile servants joyously distributed all these to the people. And also the big Aresalu cooked by the paternal grandmother.
The docile servants joyously distributed all these to the people. And also the big Aresalu cooked by the paternal grandmother.
Now the child was walking actively from the inside of the house to the beautiful garden in the front.
Charmed by the toddler’s wobbling the grandfathers were also walking behind her in short steps.
The child began running on the lawn, playing hide and seek with them among the flowering bowers
The young couple had been watching the mischief of the child with secret pride.
The docile servants had been cracking fingers once every five minutes to protect the child from the bad eyes. The obedient cook, to ward of the evil eye of the neighbours, was circling raw salt around the child to throw it on live coals.
They had all been living happily amidst the little one’s frolicking
Meanwhile the child learnt to babble.
Thinking, “Who has taught the little doll to utter each word so sweetly…” the young couple was overwhelmed by surprise. Once the child had called them “mamma” and “papa” their joy turned into an ocean.
Happiness of the grandfathers was also boundless.
The paternal grandma and the maternal grandma made the child call them out repeatedly, feeling proud.
The obedient cook had prepared candy parrots for each of the words she lisped. The docile servants distributed the news and candy parrots to all the neighbours.
The maternal grandpa and the paternal grandpa had opened out and sang the songs they sung in their childhood. They also opened the book of remembered short stories. And the little one liked the grandpas’ “Twinkle stars,” “Jingle bells” as well as the grandmas’ “Chitti chitti miriyalu,” “Chitti chilakamma,” and “Cheti venna mudda.”
Swimming in the ocean of the little one’s songs, everyone in the house was spending time happily.
Meanwhile the time had come for the baby already to recite what others taught her and exactly imitate their other activities.
The grandpas had decided that now the child ought to learn fine arts.
However much she had tried since her daughter failed to learn classical music, the maternal grandma had secretly nursed the wish that her granddaughter should learn music for a long time and at last expressed her desire.
She immediately got her sun-in-law’s support,
”Let us get someone to teach the child classical music.”
Wouldn’t it be beautiful if the child like the sandalwood statue dances the Kuchipudi,” said the child’s mother.
“It is true,” the paternal grandma readily agreed.
That day at the dining table they all discussed elaborately what to teach the child.
As the maternal grandma wished the music, as the mother wanted the dance had to be taught. But what do the grandfathers’ wish!
“I always wanted to make you a tennis star. You could never learn it. So we must teach the child tennis,” announced the father of the young man looking at his son.
“Isn’t it the age to teach her swimming?” the young woman’s father courteously expressed his wish.
The loving young couple did not wish to hurt anyone.
And so from the next day, they asked the music teacher and the dance teacher to come.
The beautiful garden in front of the house got converted into the tennis court and the swimming pool.
One coach to teach tennis and another to teach swimming have been arranged.
So far the little child was toddling only in the spacious building. So far the grandpas’ revelry was also taking place inside the four walls.
And the child’s time had slipped from her hands, her mother and father’s hands, the grandpas’ hands, the maternal grandma’s and the paternal grandma’s hands and shifted to the hands of the master, the teacher and the coach.
One day, low spirits overwhelmed the child’s mother. She felt the whole business of learning might be a big burden at her age for the child, and broke into tears, leaning her head against the young man’s shoulder.
The young man easily set aside all his wife’s misgivings.
“Why should you get anxious like this? Do you know at what age the present world tennis queen started playing? When she was not even as high as the tennis racket. And our own cricket star? When he stood less than the height of the cricket bat. Now one can have a record in swimming at two years, and at three and half, a record in driving a car, at four and half a record in water surfing, at six a record in blindfold car driving, at seven a record in driving an airplane – in every thing a record at the youngest age, a record, record, record. In what way our little one is inferior? Our dear daughter ought to get some record. That’s what we should wish.
“Whatever it was … the child away from me … all day … without any play, isolated from other children,” the mother grumbled.
“Aren’t these the games and songs? Why play again? We have to prove that our child is unique in not one thing but in every field,” saying the young man reeled out lists of those who made great records at a very young age and earned fame and fortune. He got posters of all those and pasted them on the walls.
The young woman at once realized her own ignorance.
It is true! How else would one achieve great things in life if one doesn’t put in effort?
The cook, obedient to all of them, had been cooking excellent cooking. The docile servants had been looking after all the needs of the family.
The young couple, the grandpas, both the maternal and paternal grandmas, the obedient cook, the docile servants had all been anxiously and happily waiting for the auspicious moment when the young child would acquire international fame. They were living happily. And then the young woman’s younger brother who had been living far away came down to spend the vacation in that spacious building. He brought several toys, books and games and a little angel dress as gifts for the child. He at once came to know that the little one could not read and was surprised.
He was amazed to know that a three-year-old had not been sent to school. When children were being sent to school at two, he wondered how they delayed sending the child to school. “If my sister doesn’t know, how did you neglect, Bava Garu?” he expressed regret.
Every one had fallen into a sorrowful mood.
Since schools were opened for the year, it was only possible to get the admission for the child next year. Serious considerations were made.
Both the grandpas had made a whirlwind tour of all schools in town.
At last in one school, against the backdrop of an entrance test and interview, they promised to try to admit her. Everyone at home felt assured.
A teacher had been arranged at once and she began to coach the child for the entrance test.
The little child started sweetly chattering all that had been taught.
Whatever time was left by the music teacher, dance master, swimming coach and the tennis coach was allotted to the teacher.
And then they all left a sigh of relief.
And in that manner, in that spacious building all had begun spending their time at the swimming pool, at the tennis court, at the study room, at the dancing room and the music room.
Meanwhile the coaches got into a dilemma regarding the nutritious food the child should be given.
Immediately the young man arranged a nutrition expert for the child.
And now, the obedient cook had to take instructions from the dietician and cook accordingly.
To maintain a disciplined routine for the child from waking up to bedtime, the young man appointed an experienced secretary for the child.
She would make the child ready, according to time, either for tennis, or for music or something else.
She also saw that a particular teacher came to the child at that time.
And then, the supervision of the grandpas on her.
And also that of the paternal and the maternal grandmas.
Whether the child lifted its foot or put it down, it was a great feat for them to watch. They proudly watched when the child could drag the tennis racket or dipped her feet in the pool.
When the child jumped or leaped madly they took it for dance and when she cried shrilly they considered it music. In front of their eyes moved the scenes of the records the child was going to break, the international renown she was going to claim and honours they would receive as the relatives of the child.
With renewed energy, they all began to spend all their time and the child’s time according to the fixed schedule without wasting a minute.
Sometimes the pranks of the child, however, caused trouble. She liked very much to play with Mother, play hide and seek with Father, to run with the grandpas or revel in the love the grandmas. Since it was very important to maintain her schedule, these things proved to be impossible.
But some of these little problems were solved by the child’s secretary tactfully.
When being fed salads the child would insist on being told a story.
But the grandpas had told the secretary in unmistakable terms not to waste time on stories.
Even then, the experienced secretary would sometimes fulfil her wish without angering the grandpas and without disappointing the child.
The child loved the story of little angel, told by her secretary.
Opening the wings that shine, wandering in the realms of stars, amidst the noise of crickets, showering of flowers, the little angel would perform miracles, which the little one loved dearly.
Whenever her mother put on her the little angel dress brought by her brother, the child would beg the secretary repeatedly to tell the story of the little angel. She had begun imagining herself as a little angel flying into stars, shooting towards the moon, playing trapeze in the high skies, running on the pillowy clouds, and sliding over rainbows.
And then the child’s imagination ran contrary to the dreams and ideals of all others.
The young couple had gone out.
The grandpas had gone marketing.
The maternal grandma and the paternal grandma were seriously discussing what sort of mangoes to pick up for making pickle.
The obedient cook was also reciting his own experiences.
The docile servants were attentively listening to them.
It was time for the child to practice dancing.
That day she was in her favourite little angel dress.
The secretary had to get the child ready for the dance.
While playing the hide and seek with her, the child had climbed the stairs and was on the terrace of the spacious building.
The secretary and behind her, the dance teacher had started searching for the child.
After reaching the terrace the child slowly approached the parapet wall. The wide beautiful world made its appearance suddenly in front of her eyes.
The child’s eyes moved across the spacious building, over the swimming pool, over the tennis court, leaped over the boundary wall and focussed on the playground. In the ground, some children were playing. Their running and leaping, joyous laughter and carefree shouting had attracted the child. The multi-coloured kites they were flying moved in the blue sky like boats.
The child had stood there in open-eyed wonder.
She wanted to somersault with the children in the grass, to build sand castles, to heap pebbles, and to play hide and seek.
And then the cool evening while parting sent up the full moon.
The studded sky-bright moonlight- the child had forgotten herself and could not shut her eyes.
Some wonderful experience flooded her being.
In the little angel dress, looking like a jasmine just blossomed, the child breathed and filled her lungs with air.
The shining sleeves of the dress stitched like wings, she stretched like the little angel, like a legendary bird and flew straight across the ground towards stars with abandon.
And just then the young couple had returned and was about to step into the house.
The child fell right in front of their feet like a string of crossandra flowers.
The young woman screamed.
The young man had bundled into his hands the red heap, which until then shone like a little angel and ran out.
Following him, the terrified young woman.
Behind her the agitated grandpas.
The shaking grandmas.
The writhing secretary, the startled teacher, master, coaches, servants and everyone else.
All began running…
The child to hospital. The story to Kanchi.
Telugu Story : Chandra Latha Translated by Dr. C.L.L.Jaya Prada
Published in: Sarasa ,A literary Acedemic magazine.
All rights @ writer.Title,labels, postings and related copyright reserved.