Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tell Me a Magical Story

"Mama ! Mammaaa !! See what Uncle has got !", screamed my kid as he raced ahead of the courier guy who was carrying a slim parcel. As is the case with kids, he could not contain his excitement till he opened ( or rather brutalized ) the parcel to reveal it's contents. And in this case, he was even more intrigued when he saw the flattened toothpaste boxes. "Where is the toothpaste ? Who has taken it ?", I was bombarded with a million questions within the span of a few nanoseconds. To a four-year-old's rather fertile imagination, it was yet another 'whodunit' and he was getting restless to crack the case.

However, the last thing I wanted was cracks on my skull from incessant head-banging ( if it took longer than a split second to figure out the reason then you obviously do not belong to the tribe of despairing mothers ) . I told him that there were stories inside the cartons and we need to cut them open to reveal a world of magical sea creatures . He immediately took to the theme 'Coral Reef' which featured a quartet of sea creatures whom he felt the obvious need to christen . Hence were born 'Tio' the sea turtle, 'Hero' the sea horse, 'Stripes', the lion fish and 'Big Mouth' the barracuda.

The Coral reef with multicolored corals and light emitting fish ( inspired by 'Life of Pi' which he has watched half a dozen times) became their neighborhood complete with a school and a play area. Taking a cue from the trio of his real life friends, Tio, Hero and Stripes become buddies while Big Mouth becomes a feared bully whose stories they have been hearing for their mothers.

So here goes the story -

'One day Tio, Hero and Stripes started for their school. Weaving their way through the beautiful coral reef, the three friends wondered aloud about what might lay on the other side of the reef. Their respective mothers had warned them not to stray from the beaten path. The reef was a hunting ground for Big Mouth, the much feared barracuda.

"Hey look there !!", Tio caught sight of a beautiful fish that glowed with a blue and red light. While they had all seen fish that glowed in the dark depths of the ocean, this one stood out. "Let's follow it . There may be more of them.", added Stripes, the most curious among the three. "Maybe we will find some delicious shrimps too", piped Hero who was an incorrigible glutton. Tio and Stripes laughed at their greedy friend. They continued to swim after the fish who ducked in and out of various corals as it led them far from their home.

Suddenly they came to a stop. This part of the reef looked very different from theirs. It was significantly darker and even the fish around them looked bigger and more fearsome. The three friends started getting scared. "Let's go back", spoke Hero who was almost on the verge of tears. He had forgotten all about eating. "Yes, lets turn back before we lose our way", spoke Tio who was the sensible one. They turned back only to find their way blocked by a huge fish with a really big mouth.

"I am Big Mouth", thundered the fish who looked terrifying. The three friends were really scared by now. They had dismissed their mother's warning as a mere tale meant to scare the children from venturing too far. But now they knew that Big Mouth did really exist and he was right in front of them.

Tio was scared too but he did not lose courage. He signaled to Stripes before moving right in front of the big fish. "You fatso ! Let's see if you can catch me first ", he dared Big Mouth before swimming away from him. The barracuda's mouth started watering at the sight of the juicy turtle and he sped after him. The turtle led him on a chase before he found the way blocked by a huge rock.

The barracuda gave a sinister smile as it approached the now trapped turtle. "I am going to swallow you alive", he bared his sinister teeth. Tio's heart started beating fast as he said a quick prayer. Big Mouth was really close to him and he was immobilized with fear.

Just then the barracuda felt a sharp stinging sensation near the tail. Pain gripped his body and he started thrashing around. Stripes had been initially scared to take Tio's hint but knew that their safety depended on it. He had tailed the barracuda as it chased it's prey. And when the latter's attention was completely focused on the turtle, he had moved in from behind and dug his poison laden fins into the big fish.

This was their chance to escape. The barracuda was in no position to chase them and they lost no time in swimming back to the safety of their own home. As always, it was Tio who led the pack . '

This post is written for Colgate and inspired by the characters of 'Coral Reef', which is one of the four magical story themes printed on the special edition packs .

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