Submitted into Contest #55 in response to: Write a story about an old family secret surfacing generations later.... view prompt


Fantasy Holiday Kids

He was walking towards Stratford school, San Francisco when someone from behind shouted, "Dhruv" and on turning back he saw it was his best friend 'Max'. Talking together, they again started walking towards the school. On entering the school grounds someone again shouted his name but he didn't turn back for he very well knew the possessor of that sneering voice.

It was his least favourite person, Alex Goyle with his pale and pointed face. Alex and Dhruv had been enemies ever since they had met on their first day of school. Although both of them would have never left a chance to humiliate each other but today Dhruv decided to leave the golden opportunity and kept moving. Alex could not bear someone ignoring him right in front of the whole school. 

He shouted," Hey, what's your that essay long silly Indian name?" 

"Heee..heee..heee...", came aloud the shrieks of laughter from his sidekicks. 

One thing everyone in school knew about Dhruv was to never ever tease him for his name. You would be breathing your last breath, should you tease him for his name. Dhruv hated his very own name. 

To everyone's amazement Dhruv kept on walking; he didn't even bother to look back. Standing next to him with a twisted brow, Max too was surprised at his cool reaction. 

Well, the change wasn't without a reason. 

Today, Dhruv started his day in a fantastic mood as his father had told him just in the morning that they were going to France for this year's summer vacation. What better could he expect? 

Alex, on the other hand, had some other plans for the day. He nudged George, one of his sidekicks, hard in the chest. George knew what it meant. Jeering in a sinistrous tone, he said, "Isn't it something like Dhruvam Jagannatham something something Ramaprasadam Rao?"  

This was the limit!

Before he could even realize what he had done, there came a thundering punch on his face. Alex moved forward to help George. He grabbed Dhruv's collar; Dhruv gave him too, a blow on his face. 

Aloud came the shouts from the outer circle, probably the juniors, "Fight Dhruv, Fight, show the rascal you have guts......". 

Punches and blows and slaps from either side - the free fight knew no rules. What a visual treat for the young American temperamental teens! 

They were pulled apart only when the Principal Prosper Pity - contrast to his name, a rather ruthless and pitiless person- reached the site of action.

With bleeding and bruised boys staring at each other in his office, he instantly dropped a message for both the set of parents- Dhruv's and Alex's . 

Poor parents pleaded for mercy for their sons- what better could they do! After a lot of grilling and grinding, they were asked to write an apology, which both of them wrote, though reluctantly. Dhruv got busy with his school work and forgot about the whole matter. Little did he know about the blow that awaited him at home. 

The worried Indian parents were seated in the lounge- upset and devastated. The mother was pale as a ripe papaya peel. 

Dhruv's heart sank. 

The father asked,"Your Principal told us that it was YOU who started the fight, is that true? 

His face twitched; why did his father want to talk about this when everything had already been settled in the school? Why did he want to begin it all over again? 

"Dad, it was Alex who began the fight; he was teasing me because of my long traditional and difficult to pronounce name." 

Suddenly his tone became disrespectful "But it is not his fault, it is your fault. You gave me such a name, just because it was your grandfather's wish that I should be named after his father. If you had to give me such an old fashioned silly name, you should have left me in India. Why did you bring me here- to face humiliation at the hands of Alex? " 

After a long pause, the father in a voice suppressed by anger said, "You will be going to your grandparents in their village 'Chitrakut' in India". "And You have no choice, so don't even utter a single word from your mouth in protest. Bringing you to America was a wrong decision on our part. Let's rectify that."

"Now, go to your room and start packing."

Going to India was the last thing expected from his father; he had never been to India in his senses and had never met his grandparents.

What not did he do to plead and persuade his parents to change their decision. Though the mother melted on a few occasions but the father was adamant on sending him to India. Finally, he gave up to the great South Indian mind. He would trouble his grandparents to an extent that they would book his return ticket within a month's time. 

There flashed a smile on the face!

After two days, equipped with his passport, air tickets and kindle- his love for books could not separate him from it- in his hands, he left for the airport. After a tiresome flight of 22 hours, he reached New Delhi and with another five hour flight he reached Karnataka. 

On the airport awaiting his arrival was his Ajja (grandpa). He greeted him and then travelled to the village by car which took them another two hours. On the way Ajja told him how their house was 500 years old ( this piece of information frightened Dhruv to quite some extent, as he imagined himself living in ruins).

The car suddenly stopped in front of a newly built house spread over a vast expanse of land with a beautiful garden in the front and a shed for cows on the right side of the house. 

"Ajja, why have we stopped here?" asked Dhruv. In reply Ajja said, "Because we have reached our house, you wait here I'll call your Ajji (grandma)."

"But Ajja didn't you tell me that the house is 500 years old."

"Yes, it certainly is! "said Ajja. Ajja continued, "And now, without any further questions, follow me, your Ajji is now getting desperate to meet you."

Outside the house was standing his Ajji with a silver ceremonious plate which had some turmeric powder some rice and an oil lamp made of clay. She then applied the turmeric powder and rice right in the middle of his forehead and then moved the plate around his head in circular motion (on later asking what process Ajji had done on him, he came to know that it was Indian way of greeting the guests). 

Then she took him inside and since it was already lunch time they all sat for lunch. Ajji had made numerous kinds of traditional delicacies, there was spicy and tangy rasam and sambhar, appam, puttu, dosa, idli, vada, murukku and an unending supply of banana chips with payasam for sweet. 

After lunch, Ajji introduced him to Swami. He was the son of the lady who helped Ajji in the kitchen. During summer vacations he used to be available all the time to the old couple to help them with chores, to express his gratefulness as Ajja sponsored his education.

After taking some rest and refreshing himself, Dhruv decided to go around the gardens. There were two gardens, one in the front of the house and one in the back. The front garden was surrounded by coconut trees whereas in the back garden there was a huge banyan tree. In the garden there were not the usual gladiolas or gerberas that he had seen but plenty of other native flowers like multiple varieties of jasmine, rose, plumeria and many more.

That night he could not sleep because there was no A.C; he felt he was on the verge of melting. The next morning the first thing he did was call his father. He literally pleaded him to call him back but his answer was a clear 'NO'. 

In a terrible mood, he got dressed and decided to think elaborately on his plan. How to trouble the aged grandparents! But the sinister idea didn't appeal to the Indian heart much now. After all, his grandparents had been showering all their love upon him. How could he play pranks then? 

Well, to distract his mind in this lonely place, he thought of reading his kindle sitting under the banyan tree. 

Lo! As soon as he switched his kindle on, the screen went snow white. He hadn't been more frustrated in all his life than this. 

Ajji, who had been seeing her agitated grandson for quite some time now from the kitchen window, called him to her and asked him, "What's the matter? My sweet little pea seems agitated."

Dhruv wanted to burst out at her and vent out all his anger but after a minute of serious thinking he came to the conclusion that it was not because of her that he had to come to India or his kindle wasn't working so in the sweetest voice that he could muster out of his bad mood he said," Ajji, it is nothing important, it is just that I wanted to read but my kindle isn't working. And I have nothing else to do." 

"Oh it is just that you want to read, you should have told me that earlier. Hasn't your father ever told you about your great great Ajja's book collection in the attic." said Ajji in her sweetest tone. "I'm surprised that he never told you about it but anyways why don't you go and check it out yourself. Take Swami with you; also tell him to take an extra bulb as I am rather doubtful on the working reliability of the bulb there." , she continued. 

Not wanting to dishearten his Ajji who was feeling too very pleased with herself that on having helped her grandson, he went in search of Swami. 

With Kindle in his hand ever since his birth, this Indo- American boy never liked reading physical books much.  

Words moved for him in Kindle with a slight click and it was light to carry with thousands of books in it. But, since he loved reading, he didn't mind laying his hand upon a book or two today; after all there were no friends, no company and nothing better to do.

He along with Swami went to the attic. A large wooden door with carvings one does not get to see everyday, dented and scratched with chipped brown varnish, it had a brass colored lock and a door knob dulled with age and greasy finger marks. Swami first opened a big extra lock (magnificent in looks) and then the brass lock. 

Utterly amused, he asked Swami, "Why has Ajja put so many locks on the door behind which are only books." 

"Is there an escaping troll behind the door ?", mocked Dhruv in a whispered tone.

Swami replied in a rather grave tone, "These are the last memoir of your Ajja's Ajja and are therefore very precious to him."

Behind the door what he saw was beyond magnificence. The broad daylight did not reach the room but instead there hung a 18th century bulb in the centre. Dust was collected everywhere as far as he could see, spider webs wove loosely around the books. There were shelves and shelves of books. All the bookshelves were made of teak wood and had glass panels in front of them. 

Together they cleaned each and every shelf, and within a time lapse of an hour the place became as good as new. Row after row of neatly lined up books with their spines facing outwards- fiction section, books on politics, history, law, even on magic and many other topics were arranged in an alphabetical order. In the centre of the room stood two comfortable leather arm chairs. Although he was not interested in reading, but after putting so much hard work into cleaning, he decided to try reading one book at least.

Time elapses faster when you do what you enjoy the most.

Soon enough, Dhruv got so interested in one of the books that he forgot to keep a track of time. It was only when Ajji came to call him for lunch that he came back to his senses.

That night he told Ajji that the room was very hot and asked her, "Ajji, is there any room where there is A.C, I wasn't able to sleep even last night?"

"There is no need for A.C, my little prince; just open the window.", said Ajji. 

Although his American upbringing was quite averse to this idea, still he tried. As soon as he opened the window, there came a cold blow of swift wind.

How soundly did he sleep the second night at Chitrakut! 

Days went by. Going to the attic became his everyday routine.

He didn't realize when love and respect both crept into his heart for his Ajja and Ajji. He would enjoy every bit of the time he spent with them and in the village.

One evening when he was sitting under the Banyan tree and reading a book, he saw his Ajji talking to a beautiful girl on the main gate. With long black hair decked up with white flowers.

After she went and Ajji was going back inside the house, he quickly ran to her and started walking besides her. Ajji, noticed his flattering gesture at once. 

She said, "The girl's name is Mrinalini. She is the granddaughter of your Ajja's best friend." That day in the evening when he went cycling with Swami, he again saw Mrinalini. She was plucking flowers from her front lawn and collecting them in a small basket. 

Gathering some courage, he decided to go to her. " Ajji has requested for some pink flowers for Jagannanath Puja in the evening", he heard himself saying. 

Mrinalini giggled no, almost smiled.

"What nonsense was that! Their own garden was full of flowers.", Dhruv felt embarrassed.

Mrinalini, quite lovingly, handed her own basket to him. Soon they became good friends and started meeting.

One day on his everyday excursions to the attic, a book in black leather caught his eye. The title of the book made chills pass through his spine; it was 'The Diary Of Dhruvam Jagannatham Ramaprasadam Rao'. 

The words were engrossed in golden letters but he had never in his life written a diary. 

How was this possible!  

Suddenly a streak of light struck his mind like a thunderbolt. He remembered that he shared his name with his great great Ajja so it could be his diary.

Holding the book in hand gave him shivers. Should he see someone's diary or not? Somehow, he was convinced that he must open it; after all it belonged to him too, in a certain way. He gathered courage to open it.

Out came a flash of golden light and suddenly it vanished!

He was blinded by the light! 

"Dhruvam, Dhruvam.......Swami is waiting for you. Take Ajja's tiffin. He must be dying of hunger". It was Ajji shouting for him.It was half past two. Soon he realized he had to take lunch for his Ajja today.

He closed the book at once, without even reading a word from it.

With tiffin in his hand, on his way back, the thoughts of the book once again started dancing in his head for he was coming alone. Swami stayed back to lend Ajja a hand in his work.

He was so engrossed in the thoughts of the book that he did not notice the blaring honks of a truck coming from the opposite direction even. 

It was only when he was at an arm's length away from the truck that he came back to senses. 

But it was too late now. Frightened, he quickly closed his eyes. 

CRASH!! He heard in his mind. 

Zoooooom! Passed the truck........through him. 

Slowly he raised one of his eyelids to see his dead body!

To his amazement and horror, he was standing in flesh and bones on the road. 

In one piece!

How in the world was that possible! 

What in the world was happening to him? 

Was it magic? 

Dhurv in an instant was sure that it certainly had something to do with the diary. 

Running, he reached home and grabbed that book and started reading it. 

To his surprise, every word written in it was directly addressed to him. In the diary, his great great Ajja told him about the superpowers that were passed on in their family after every three generations and how the predecessor after every three generations shared a common name. Also, only the right heir could only open the diary. All others would go blind with the brightness of light if they try opening the diary. The great great Ajja had also shared his everyday experiences with the powers that defied the laws of the universe. 

Also, now he knew well, how that truck passed through him!

It also said how this diary once kept in the attic of that house would reappear only for the fourth generation of the family who shared the same name.  

At the end of the diary, he found a small P.S that instructed him to keep a similar diary like this, to burn this diary, to use the powers for good and to never disclose this secret to anyone.

Dhruv was overwhelmed with a strong sense of strength and power surging inside him. To see if it really was happening he decided to try and lift the teak-wood bookshelf with just one hand. 

To his utter bewilderment, the shelf was three feet high in the air before he could know what had happened. It felt as light as a cotton ball.

How desperately he wanted to share this experience with his father, mother, Ajja, Ajji, Swami and most importantly, his beloved Mrinalini! 

Oh! But he had to keep it a secret.

Next day he received a call from his parents.

"No dad, I'm not coming back. India suits a boy with such an unconventional essay long silly name. Let me stay here and serve my Ajja and Ajji.", Dhruv was heard saying.

August 21, 2020 16:08

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Keerththan 😀
12:41 Aug 31, 2020

Wonderful story. Well written. Great job, Devanshi. Would you mind reading my new story “The adventurous tragedy?”


Devanshi Garg
17:00 Sep 13, 2020

Thank you for reading my story. And I would surely like to read your story.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Madhu Jain
07:33 Sep 01, 2020

Great story! Very nicely written.


Show 0 replies
Deepika Garg
15:58 Aug 25, 2020

Awesome story, every seen was as clear as if it was happening just in front of me. Loved the details.


Show 0 replies
Vishal Garg
15:51 Aug 25, 2020

Awesome !


Show 0 replies
14:31 Aug 25, 2020

Beautifully crafted! Keep it up! 👍


Show 0 replies
The Cold Ice
12:45 Aug 31, 2020

Wonderful story.Well written.Great job👍keep it up. Would you mind to read my story “The dragon warrior?”


Devanshi Garg
06:48 Sep 01, 2020

I am glad that you read my story. And definitely I would love to read your story.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.