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Hey!! This is Philoanna a.k.a Arundhati Chaudhuri.. This is my blog spot, so i wouldn't really want to describe myself here, because I would like my work to speak for myself. I hope you enjoy reading my blog posts and don't forget to drop a comment after you finish reading my works, because I would love to have your criticism, and aim for your appreciation. Also, share your ideas and perspectives with me on the topics I've written on if you'd like to =) Happy Reading! " How fortunate are you and I whose home is timelessness: we who have wandered down fragrant mountains of eternal now; to frolic in such mysteries as birth and death a day ( or maybe even less )" - e.e cummings

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Magic Willow Tree

( Dedicated to Anjana Shekhar and my brother, Siddharth. Please do not copy or use this story anywhere for your convenience)

Ramaswamy was a little boy of four walking quietly along the road with a grim face. He had broken his mother's precious china crockery while playing football with his little friends in the garden, as his sister sat with her friends having a tea party. His sister had been warned not to touch amma's favourite expensive dishes, but she wanted the best plates and cups for the tea party with her friends in the garden, so she had laid them out beautifully on a blue and white mat on which she sat with her friends smiling proudly as she was the hostess. But suddenly, a ball came flying at them. " Look out, " cried one of her friends with pink flowers on her hair, but the ball had swept passed them, leaving the china broken into pieces.

" Oh what shall I do now? It was amma's favorite crockery. She will give me a beating, " she said with a worried face. Ramaswamy approached her with a guilty look, and stood as still as a pole when he saw the fire in her eyes.
" Oh Rama! See, what you have done! Amma will scold me for this. Could you not have played football today and ruin everything? "
" You could have had your party in the house. I can't play any place else, " he retorted smugly.
" You are a very naughty boy, and you have become disrespectful of late. Go find means of replacing this china or I swear never to speak to you again, " she said, collecting the tiny pieces of broken china in her hands along with her friends.

Now it had been hours Rama was walking through the coconut plantations. He didn't know how to reach the town from his small village, but he hoped he could reach there by the next day at least. He was a small boy, and he didn't know much about the world. The sky was getting darker, and the birds chirped noisily and flew away in flocks to their nests. Rama was missing his home too. He wondered if he would be pardoned if he went home with a few of the fallen coconuts on the ground, and begged for forgiveness. But he remembered his sister's promise and kept walking. The stars were shining in the night sky and the fireflies were glowing in the dark.

Suddenly, Rama spotted a glowing light in the distance. He hurried in the pitch darkness to the source of light, and found a willow tree, with radiating trunk and branches, and leaves made of gold that shone in the dark. As soon as he touched one of the leaves to pluck, a witch with crooked teeth appeared in front of him. Rama shivered in fright due to the strangeness of the situation, and since he only believed witches and fairies never really existed.

" A little boy do I see! Oh what fat cheeks and red lips bloomy, " she said in a nasal tone, as she pinched his cheeks.
" I see you have done mischief!
Now, listen to me little boy, and I will turn your leaf.
Climb the wise willow tree, and jump into the trunk.
Have no fear and you will see a talking chipmunk.
He will guide you through the willow city,
Search and devour the golden cherry.
The golden cherry is the key to the magic dust,
Yet to me, you cannot be unjust.
Bring it to me, and let me have my first three wishes,
Take it home, buy gold, pearls, dresses and china dishes! " and saying this, the witch started disappearing. But Rama had not understood her clearly being only a little boy, and he pleaded to repeat the poem before she disappeared into thin air. The witch repeated the poem for him once again, and Rama memorized it every bit, so that he doesn't fail to bring the magic dust at all. After all, it could have all his wishes come true!

Now, Rama looked at the giant willow tree with golden leaves, and so tall was it that he didn't know how to reach up to its branches. He stacked a few big rocks, and placed coconut leaves on them and made steps out of it. As he looked into the hollow truck, he couldn't see anything as it was very dark. He questioned himself if he should do such a thing at all, but he gained courage and jumped into the trunk of the hollow tree. His head started spinning and he called out for the chipmunk, but none was there. A tear dropped down his eye, and as it hit the ground, a tunnel was opened to him. It was filled with colourful lights and singing mosquitoes, and perfumed herbs which brushed against him as he walked.

" Hello,I wasn't expecting any visitors, " a squeaky voice said. Rama turned to see a brown chipmunk wearing a red shirt. His eyes were shiny, and his smile made him seem friendly to Rama.
" Hello. My name is Ramaswamy. I am on my way to find the magic dust. Can you help me? "
There was a look of hesitation combined with displeasure on the chipmunk's face. " Do not tell me that the old wretched witch sent you here! I will burn her alive in the stove, just as Gretel did. Did she give you any chocolates too?" Rama nodded in disagreement, and chipmunk calmed down by seeing how tiny and innocent little Rama was. He planned on guiding Rama through the willow city so that no danger comes upon him.

"So what and where is the willow city? " Rama asked curiously.
" You will see for your own when the tunnel ends, " the chipmunk said smiling. " My name is Munniswamy. You can call me Munni. I'm the Regional Security of the Giant Willow City of this area. I hope you like the visit in Willow City. Its the most beautiful place you can ever imagine! " he smiled proudly, his buck teeth exposed. Rama noticed a light at the rear corner of the tunnel. He started running excitedly, and the chipmunk sat on his shoulder, asking him to run a little slower so that he doesn't fly off! When Rama reached the end of the tunnel, he was bewildered with awe and amazement. He pinched himself to check if he was dreaming, but indeed he wasn't !
Here he was in the land of fairytales and cartoons! Noddy drove past him asking if he wants a ride as Mr. Plod waved, the tin soldier marched with his army, thumbelina was sleeping on a sunflower, and he stared out , his eyes wide with wonder a flying horse landed near his feet. Munni asked him to get on the chariot attached to the horse, and as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the horse flapped his huge wings and took off in the air. Rama clutched the reins of the horse as tightly as he could so that he didn't fall off his seat, as the flying horse soared in the air amidst the clouds, in a land which looked like heaven. The chipmunk was in Rama's pocket, his head popping out as he looked astonished at the wonderful beauty once again.

" This is beautiful, Munni. I've never seen anything more beautiful than this! , " he screamed his eyes shining with delight " Oh please, oh please tell me there is Aladdin, Harry Potter and Hogwarts, Malgudi in here too! Then I would stay here forever! " he exclaimed.
" Oh yes master, and we could go and pay a visit to all of them, but as you see, we have to go and inform the King of Willow City about your arrival and your length of stay. "
" Munni, will he allow me to stay here forever? " he asked innocently.
" Willow City constitution states that only dumans can live here, and humans can be attended to as guests only for a limited period of time, so I'm afraid that you would have to leave someday Rama." Munni's eyes had a kind sympathetic look when he looked up at him from his pocket

As the flying horse inclined at a sharp angle to take a turn, a stick darted towards Rama.
" Harry Potter, " he exclaimed loudly, excitement exploding in his voice! Harry haulted at lightening speed just inches away from his racing chariot in his Firebolt XP, and murmured a quick yet charming apology.
" Extremely sorry, Kiddo. Hope you have a nice time in Willow City. Gotta go, Quidditch! " and he winked at Rama with a grin before he dived in his broomstick again. Rama sat dazed with wonder as he saw his favorite surreal person in the world. " Was that really Harry Potter? Harry Potter who fought You-Know-Who, Harry Potter who studied in Hogwarts, Harry Potter who married Ginny? He looks like he's still in fourth year! "
Munni laughed, " We stop aging Willow City after a certain time. The age is uncertain and varying for every one, but we maintain our beauty without any hassles, " Munni grinned brightly.

When Rama was yet into his deep thoughts about how he met with Harry Potter on his broomstick, the flying horse started diving down at haste making Rama feel like he was on a roller coaster ride.
" We're going to dieee, " yelled Rama.
" Oh just hold tight, little boy, " and Rama closed his tightly, and bent over to hold onto the neck of the horse as it plunged down with great speed. When Rama opened his eyes after he couldn't feel the chilly wind swirling around him any longer, he found himself on the land. He uttered something about how relived he was that he was still breathing and looked for Munni in his pocket. But Munni was already walking towards the large rusted iron gates behind which was a stone castle with large golden domes on every tower. Aladdin Land? Rama thought and shook his head because it didn't look much like that in his story books.
" Hey, " he called out to Munni and trailed behind him, running fast to catch up with him as fast as he could.

When Rama was beside Munni, he opened his mouth to ask him the many many questions bubbling in his head, but Munni silenced him with a quick hush. Rama walked beside Munni in silence, as the gates opened and closed, and he passed by steel armoured nights, soldiers, lawyers with curly grey long braided hair, and arrived at an old fashioned wood chamber which was named as the reception.
" You have a human with you, " shrieked the receptionist, who looked pretty to Rama even with her twitched eye brows and flaring nostrils.
" I want to address my case to the Court of Aliens in Willow City, " Rama said politely, as Rama wondered how he could not be dazzled by the receptionist's beauty.
" 3rd Floor, second right, last chamber, 321 .Court is in session now, will be free after another hour, the judge for your case will be St. Nicholas, " she said eye the boy with a nasty look. Rama's fixed on her ocean blue eyes, and he blushed as a red tomato. The receptionist whiffed in complete disgust and got back to her work.

" Stop getting your face red because of that woman, Rama. Dumans don't like Humans. You might get permission to stay in here, but that doesn't make it easy as they can be very unpleasant to you. "
" Why? " Rama asked squealing.
" Hmm, " Munni thought. " Well, for one reason that the ugly witch is always upto something and sending human beings, transforming them, putting goblin spells on Dumans too only to end our world. "
" Why does she want to end your world? Isn't she a part of it? "
" No, No. She is the meanest creatures of the willow tales, fairy tales for you children. She has existed since the times of Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and many other legends you have listened to. Good Lord, she was there battling with our dear Harry a few years ago. Oh, how it flared up in our Willow City that Rowling, the Human Journalist came and wrote six- seven books on it. It's a pity she calls it her own imagination! "
" But why does she want to end your world, Munni? " Rama repeated curiously.
" Oh right, I forgot to tell you about that " he said as they walked by the alley and sat on the bench next to the room 321.

" Due to all the mischief she had been upto, the Law of Willow City had detained her of performing any magic. But when she had broken the rules again, she was taken into Slimy Land. It's a prison which has no bars, but spells to guard the person, distract them and confine them into lifelong imprisonment. It was stated in her judgement, that if she ever broke a rule again, she would be sent to the human world, " Munni glanced at Rama to check if he was still listening.
" She had broken a rule, because of which I saw her in the human world! " Rama said feeling intelligent.
" Yes, little boy. But she had broken many rules. She had come to know the essence of the magic world, the very substance that makes us survive. Pardon me, but I can't reveal what it is to you. Policies, you know, " he smiled as his nose wrinkled.
" Is it food? Or like water? " chipped in Rama.
" No, its nothing of that sort. She wanted to destroy our world in that manner, and reside with the humans and take over their world with all the horrible spells and tricks she knows. " Munni grew thoughtful and his face turned pale.

A loud bell ringed calling the end of the previous session and the beginning of the new. Rama saw a fat white man with red hair and huge spectacles coming out of the room, being assisted by another chipmunk who looked alike Munni. The white man snorted at Rama and he twitched backwards, feeling scared. Rama entered the huge room, and saw a huge man with long white beard, wearing a cane hat, and reed coat seated on the Judge's chair. After an hour long session in which Munni, Rama's explainer explained Rama's situation to St. Nicholas- how he arrived at the Willow City, how the witch had met him when he was thrown away from home after he broke his mother's dishes, how he's a small little boy who is completely innocent, the Judge granted him permission to stay in the Willow City for two more days, during which he would be shown the entire City, and all the characters that he adores.

" Thank you, " beamed Munni delightedly.
" You know my weakness, Munni. How unfair it is of you to bring a child of four in my courtroom and imagine of me giving him punishment. Here boy, come here, " he said with a sweet smile. Rama approached him with quiet steps, as the judge bent down from his seat and rummaged noisily through a few wrapped parcels.
" Here, this is for you. I know its not Christmas, but I'm not allowed to go out of this magic land and give presents to you dear lads and lasses anymore, " he said apologetically.
" Thank you, " muttered Rama, unsure of why he'd been gifted with a parcel covered in shiny blue paper, and he strode out of the chamber with the gift in his hands along with Munni in his pocket.
As he came out of the chamber, he whispered to Munni asking him who that was.
" Santa Claus, oh dear God! Why did you think he said all that about Christmas and gifts, and gave you one himself? Santa Claus , hello, Saint Nicholas! " Munni said with his hands swinging in the air as he actioned every word with exaggeration. Rama's eyes popped and fell down motionless on the floor.
" Are you okay? "
" I'd been a bad boy the whole year and he yet gave me the gift. I was so shocked by everything, that I didn't even thank Santa Claus. On the other hand, I didn't even know he was Santa Claus. I'm stupid! My sister is right, I'm a fool! " he said, as tears rolled down his eyes. Munni crawled out of his shirt's pocket, and perched himself on his collar to reach up to his face. He wiped his tears with a generous look in his eyes.

" Little Rama, you're not stupid. You're a very very nice lad. Don't be harsh on yourself by losing faith in you. You are what you are, but you will be what you believe to be, " he said kindly. Rama looked down on him and looked at his kind eyes. He kissed Munni on his cheek and thanked him, and off the set on their Willow City trip. As the exit the gates of the huge castle, they saw a beautiful fountain with sparkling water which was named as the magic fountain, and Rama came to know that whosoever drinks from it will be instantly caught while telling a lie. Most of the court procedures were begun only after the culprit and the others involved drank the water in front of the jury. Each single lie caused them an elongated nose, Munni explained to him in good humour. Rama now realized, why his mother kept telling him that his nose will grow bigger and bigger if he lied.

Rama met the Wise Willow Wizard who enraptured him with several magic tricks. He asked him to teach him a few, and Rama successfully managed to learn the Pea trick in which he could turn any green pea to golden ones, and the Affinity Trick in which he could move things of little weight just by the motion of his palm, and the Mind Reading trick in which he could read a person's mind while he chanted the spell. He wasn't very good at any of it, as the Wise Willow Wizard could turn the smallest peas into gigantic golden ones, and could move an entire mountain with his Affinity Spell, and could read people's mind at ease for hours even when they were far away from their sight, while Rama was confused with his own words of the Mind Reading Spell and the person's thoughts as he stood near him.
Suddenly, the ugly witch's face with crooked yellow teeth appeared to Rama who was still busy in repeating the spells he had learnt as he sat on a unicorn to pay a visit to Alice In Wonderland and then Neverland. The unicorn sparkled in the sunlight, and its horn looked like it was made of crystal.
" Old New tiding do I bring,
Oh, how curses you your little sibling,
Before fetching the magic dust, returning to your family,
Search and devour the golden cherry.
The golden cherry is the key to the magic dust,
Yet to me, you cannot be unjust.
Bring it to me, and let me have my first three wishes,
Take it home, buy gold, pearls, dresses and china dishes! "
Beads of sweat appeared on Rama's temple as he the ugly witch brought visions of his mother scolding his little sister, and his sister promising him never to speak again till he replaced the china. Munni wished he could find means of finding the magic dust and going back home to his darling amma, and hug her as tight as he could.

" Munni, " he said, his palms circling his stomach. " I'm so hungry, could I have some food to eat, please? " he asked with a plan in his mind.
" Oh yes, master! We could go to the Willow Diner where you can find the finest of foods you could have ever tasted! I'm so sorry, I completely forgot about how young you are and how hungry you must be by now." he smiled. Rama wondered how he could find the golden cherry. He didn't think it would be on a cherry tree, or even a golden cherry tree. It must be somewhere safe, like a museum or a vault where nobody could gain access to it.
" Can I have some cherries first? I love them! And yet, we get so little of them in Kerala, " he smiled sadly.
Munni spoke at once, " Then off we go to the Willow Orchard, to the majestic cherry tree, from which you can pluck your favourite cherries but one, and fill your stomach with glee.

Munni plucked a silver hair on the unicorn's neck which glimmered in the sunlight, and asked Rama to wish. As soon as Rama blew it from Munni's palm, a beautiful orchard fell before his eyes, as if it was lifted from the pre historic times of the Adam and Eve. Rama asked Munni if it was the Willow Orchard, hardly in a whisper, and they walked down the beautiful garden, as the spotted colourful fish in ponds, flowers of the most beautiful fragrance, fruits that had never looked any more delicious, singing birds and nightingale that sung and enthralled listeners with their magical voice. Rama plucked a few fruits hanging in the lowest branches of the trees, and ate the delicious fruits hungrily, sharing a few with his new friend.
" Here little boy, is your favourite fruit tree, the cherry tree! " said Munni with little skip as they reached a massive cherry tree which looked splendid in sight. Rama's eyes wandered on each and every branch in search of the golden cherry, but he could not find it!

After eating a few cherries with disappointment and passing more than the number he ate to Munni, Rama sat down under an apple tree. Feeling heavy breathing and noises of snores in his pocket, he realized that Munni was asleep. He gently took him out of his pocket and rested him against a pile of pebbles without awakening him. Then, Rama began walking in the huge Willow Orchard in search of the golden cherry. He walked for hours and hours inspecting each and every tree, the ground for fallen fruits, the fish or birdies carrying something golden in their lips till all that was left to be re inspected was the cherry tree, which Rama had excluded as Munni was present there. Weary and exhausted, but having not given up, Little Rama walked towards the cherry tree.

Rama was relieved to find that at least, Munni was yet asleep. He looked closely at the cherry tree boughs, leaves, and every fruit from all angles, and couldn't find the golden cherry. Shattered, his thoughts resumed how his mother would be furious and spiteful with him, and how his sister would disown him forever. He remembered their poverty, their torn rags in winter which kept them shivering and coughing at night, his sister's friends talking about how they attain every little thing they ask for from their parents but how his Akka has to work hard to get them, and how he wished that the golden cherry would only drop from the clouds near his feet! But, though a cherry didn't drop from the sky, a miraculous idea flashed in Rama's head!

Rama remembered how the Old Wise Willow Wizard had taught him the spells to turn a petty pea to a golden one, and surely, if he changed the words in the right manner, it could possibly turn red juicy cherries to golden magical ones, he thought excitedly. Anxious, he jumped on his feet and mumbled the spell under his breath.
" Red cherries on the bough,
Hear my words and turn golden now,
Red cherries on the bough,
Hear my words and turn golden now,
Red cherries on the bough,
Hear my words and turn golden now. "
The cherries in the bough started shaking rampantly for a few seconds, but none of them turned to gold. Rama chose another bough and repeated his spell, then another and again another. But none of them turned to gold.
" It can't be that easy to find the magic golden cherry, I guess. Maybe I should quit and go back home with my story of the Willow City. Amma will be pleasant, " but then when he marveled about it, he felt that nobody would believe him, not even Amma. It was her, who had assured him , that there's nothing called magical creatures and mystical beings.

He walked around carelessly, and suddenly something hit him hard on his foot.
" Ouch, " he whimpered in pain, and crouched down to massage his toe. And there it was, the cherry, the Golden Cherry lying on the bare ground, glinting in the rosy sunset rays. He took it on his palm and admired it for a few minutes, but as soon as he opened his mouth wide to devour it, Munni awoke and started hurrying towards him, yelling in full volume and forbidding him to eat the golden cherry. Rama dropped the cherry in his mouth before Munni could reach him, and he munched it as fast as he could. The sweet juice calmed him down and filled him with a sense of unexplainable happiness, and his vision blurred and he fell on the ground into a deep sleep. The last he saw was Munni only a few paces away from him, begging him to spit it out.


Rama woke up twitching, as he a tingling sensation on his cheek. A butterfly with yellow and blue wings was seated on his left cheek comfortable, and Rama shooed it away by the swish of his palm. he heard clanking noises of metals, and as he turned his head, he saw four knights in metal armours moving towards him with huge steps.
" Its a human! No wonder he ate the forbidden cherry, " the first knight said.
" Well, its good that Sir Nicholas likes him, otherwise he would've been sent to Slimy Iceland, where he would've frozen to death amidst all the happiness," he laughed devilishly.
" Where am I being sent to? " Rama asked as the knights reached him.
" You're in Slimy Land, the Willow City Prison. You will be sent to Slimy Flower Land till Munni, Sir Nicholas and a few others arrive and get you, " the first knight replied.
" But.. " Rama paused. He must not let the knights know about his intention of eating the golden cherry, otherwise he would be guarded at every second and his chances of obtaining the magic dust will be null.

The four knights surrounded Rama on all four sides and fenced him with their swords as they walked. He had to walk in line with the second and third knight, such that he doesn't miss a step and the sword doesn't land on him. But, as Rama walked, the idea of Slimy Land being a prison seemed more and more unbelievable to him. It was as beautiful as the Orchard and there were plenty of colorful and sweet smelling flowers, sparkling rivers on the land he was walking on.
" In Slimy Land you are now,
The land confined with the strongest spells,
Hear my voice and heed my words,
And all will be well,
Do not smell the exalting flowers in Flower Land,
They make you lose track of precious time,
And if you do not heed my magic words,
You will return home without dishes or dime! " the witches's voice echoed in Rama's ear as a buzzing bee. From then onwards, Rama walked breathing slowly through his mouth, such that it remains unnoticeable to the knights in silver armours.

" How is the boy not sneezing? All of them who come here can't stop sneezing! " the third knight eyed him suspiciously.
" I guess they're allergic to pollen grains, I'm not, " Rama smiled brightly. The third knight nodded.
When they reached Flower Land, the knights ordered Rama to walk inside, as they removed some mud from the head of the sword in which it was safely kept, and lined it along the gate of the flowered fence. Rama continued walking, hoping to hear the witch's voice again for more direction that will lead him to the magic dust. Minutes past by and then he resolved to act on his own. But he had no clue what the magic dust resembled, and where it could have been secretly hidden.

Feeling fatigued from the long and strenuous journey, he decided on taking a dip in the river with sparkling and sweet water. He removed his clothes and slowly walked into the river, and dipped his head in the water. As he dipped his head, he could see many sparkling and colourful fish, rainbow coloured corals, sea horses, aquatic plants, big fish striped black and white as zebras, orange fish with netted fins, and a pink octopus guarding a big shell. Astounded by the sight, and curious he plunged into the water and swam under water till he reached the octopus shell. Curiously, he drew it out of the water, as the octopus clung to his fingers forcefully. Rama somehow managed to get on the shore, and he pulled the octopus out from his fingers and threw him back in the water. His fingers were bleeding with the poison from the tentacles, but Rama didn't bother much. He was excited to see the pearl in the Octopus shell, and as he pulled it closer to himself and opened the upper shell. A message appeared to him in the air in a beautiful handwriting.

" The magic of dust, the dust of magic,
Turns magic to dust and dust to magic."
Rama stared down at it with disbelief as he saw the magic dust in the shell. How easily had he found it! Now, his mother and sister will be proud of him, his mother can buy many china dishes, and his sister can buy beautiful dresses that she would wear to parties. His sister would love him and adore him, his mother would call him the best son she can ever have in her lifetime, and everyone will envy them as they would have everything they want, and a few things they couldn't ever imagine of possessing. Rama stroked the magic sand in his hand with joy, but his eyes lifted to the words which was fading in the air.

" The magic of dust, the dust of magic, " he re read once gain slowly and coherently, so that he clearly understood its meaning, " Turns magic to dust and dust to magic." The magic of this dust will turn dust to magic, but it will turn magic to dust too, he ruminated. On understanding the message clearly, he said aloud,
" This is what Munni told me - the essence of the magic world, the very substance that makes them survive. If I bring the magic dust to the witch, all of these magical creatures would die, and there would be no magic existing in this world, other than the wicked spells of the Ugly Witch. She will kill all my friends, all the glorious and beautiful characters and stories that we only read about, and she would cast spells on the humans and create roguery all around. Every good thing will be put to an end. And worse still, there will no magic, simply no good magic at all in this world, " Rama pondered aloud, and threw the shell back into the sparkling waters of the rivers.

Rama smiled being pleased with himself, and a felt a hand on his shoulder. The Old Wise Willow Wizard, Nicholas, a few members of the jury, the four knights and Munni had been watching it all along from the time Munni went into the waters. Munni lowered his eyes with guilt as he faced the Willow Wizard, as he felt he had been too selfish and greedy the whole time.
" You left your gift from Santa, little boy, " Munni said, as he extended his tiny hands carrying the blue shiny parcel.
" Oh, I don't even deserve to have a present from Santa. I have been so greedy all along. " Rama said with a sour face.
" Rama, I saw what you did with the magic dust. Any other boy would have taken it, destroyed our world to gain happiness in his, but you put forth other's happiness than you're own. Indeed you have been a little selfish and greedy, but you have been thoughtful and sensitive too. We owe you for our survival right now, " Santa smiled calmly at him.

Rama shook his head in disagreement as his conscience hurt him, and he apologised time and again.
" I was just so sorry for all that I had done, breaking my mother's dishes, hearing my sister's promise of never speaking to me again, that all I wanted to do was just go home with new dishes and be hugged by my amma and akka. I didn't know that my illogical thinking and impracticality would lead me to more troubles. I didn't mean to do any of this Munni, " Rama said sadly.
" When I was reading your mind, little boy, I read all your troubles and concerns, and I read the witch's rhymes to you and the effect it had on your thoughts everytime you heard her voice. It's not all your fault. You're a little innocent boy, who is the most suitable as her victim, " the Wise Willow Wizard said thoughtfully. " And you do not need to worry anymore, for I have erased her memories of the past two days and she remembers nothing of you and her orders to you of bringing her the magic dust. " he smiled.
" Thank you, " Rama beamed and hugged the wizard.

Rama was falling homesick and he grew desperate to meet his family, so the wise old men decided that it was best for Rama to go home. The flying horse was waiting outside the gates of the Slimy Land and they climbed on the chariot together, and Rama was braver this time when the horse landed on the ground. He met Noddy once again, and this time, he went on a ride on his yellow and red taxi and gifted a few pink flowers to Tessy Bear to go with her dress. Harry was waiting for him with Peter Pan nearby, and they thanked Rama for saving their life from the ugly evil witch. Harry promised him that he would discuss with the Wise Willow Wizard on how they could punish her extremely for doing such terrible offences when Rama asked him with concern about her.
" It's good that Wise Willow Wizard erased her memory, otherwise she would have known where the magic dust is hidden. No one had ever found where it was placed. I was quite surprised to learn that you found it without any difficulty, " said Peter Pan as Tinkerbell giggled.

In a few moments, Rama was astonished to see hundreds of Dumans gathered together to see him. There was so much of rush, and cheerful noises, applause, congratulations , and dumans waiting to greet him that Rama began to feel like a hero. Many of his favourite characters personally came upto him and thanked, wished, congratulated him for what he had done. Finally, it was time for him to leave, and one of the Willow City Judges approached him with his grey braided hair with three passes of the willow city which could be valid for four more years. The crowd cheered as the Judge presented him with the passes, and the Receptionist whom Rama had admired before his court room procedure pecked him on his cheek. Rama felt like he would explode as he turned crimson.

Rama walked in the tunnel decorated with flowers and chandeliers as he walked back along the same path. He didn't speak a word till they almost reached the end of the tunnel. Rama looked dull and pale, and Munni attempts at cheering him failed disgracefully.
" Oh little boy, stop making that sad face. You can visit us for four more years, and if you remain just as good and lovely as this, they might even extend your time, " Munni smiled which couldn't hide the sadness in his eyes either.
" But I will miss you all so much. I wish I could stay with all of you, especially you, Munni. I had the best time of my life in Willow City."
" Stop talking like a grandfather. Best time of your life? Your life hasn't even begun yet! And everytime you plan to come here, I will be the first one to greet you! ," Munni said flashing a brilliant smile. Rama smiled too.

As they reached the other end of the tunnel, Munni asked Rama to extend his hand, and placed something heavy in his palm. it wasn't dark but very dimly light with the sunlight falling through the leaves of the trees into the hollow truck, Rama couldn't see what Munni handed him.
" What is it? " Rama asked curiously.
" You didn't get the magic dust and saved us all, so this is my gift to you, recognizing our friendship too. It's a wooden box with broken magic glass pieces. If you arrange it in the right order like a puzzle, you can see the Willow City through it in the animated version. We have the broken magic glass in all our houses, we use it as forms of communication at times, so if you need to see where we are or feel like talking to us, chatting with Mr. Potter, or learning a few more tricks from the Old Willow Wizard, you can concentrate on your thoughts and the images will appear on the glass!" Munni said excitedly.
" That's so stupefying, " Rama exclaimed, and his face fell when the branches shook, and the beam of sunlight shifted as they stood at the bottom of the trunk.

Munni created a magical ladder for Rama, and the leaves waved along with Rama's palm as he exit Willow City along with the wooden box, three passes and Santa's blue parcel. It had been two whole days for which Rama had been away from home. The sun was on top of his head, and he dragged his shadow along the dusty road bordered with coconut trees. He was tired and sweaty from the great magical adventure, and he was also a refined experienced little man. He knew now, how wrong it was to be selfish and greedy and how it takes over one's senses and mind, and makes one a victim of all the wrongs one can do or think of doing in this world. Rama was no longer the innocent little foolish boy who had left his home, he was now the wise little boy who was returning home with much more than precious presents from a mystical land.

A bullock cart was passing by the road, and Rama gestured it to stop. Rama climbed onto the cart and sat beside the driver, and they drank coconut water from the shells pilled behind the cart. He felt like telling his wonderful adventure to everyone, but he had promised to keep it a secret to everyone other than his family, and he kept quiet. Rama had dozed off in a light sleep, when the cart halted in front of Rama's doorstep. he climbed out of the cart, thanked the man for the journey and the refreshing coconut water and bid him goodbye as he watched him going away to the feilds. Rama took a deep breath, and walked on tip toe into the courtyard after he unlatched the door. No one was seated in the garden, where he had broken his mother's favourite dishes.

Rama quietly entered the kitchen, where he expected his mother to be present. She was standing near the gas stove, cutting vegetables monotonously. Her face was sick and gloomy.
" Amma, " Rama called out to her from outside the kitchen door. " Amma, " he called out once gain, when he had been unheard. His mother turned slowly, and her eyes filled with tears as she saw her little son standing at the door.
" I'm sorry I broke your dishes, " Rama said apologetically.
" You should be sorry that you left your little mother all alone! Where did you go, my son? " she asked worried.
" Its a long long story, Amma. I have so much to tell you and you would not even dare to believe me. But its all true, " Rama chirped.

His sister came out of her room after hearing the racket of noise, and apologized to Rama for being so cold and unjust to him. She explained to him how frenzied she was after thinking how she would be scolded, and she had uttered words which she hadn't meant at all. Rama hugged his sister lovingly, and his mother carried him in her arms. He was the happiest little boy in the world. After lunch, Amma asked Rama to narrate all of his stories to her and Rama told him and his sister of the witch, willow city, Munni the chipmunk, the cartoon and fictional characters he had only read about till now, the flying horse, unicorn, Santa Claus, the golden cherry, Slimy Land and about his whole great unbelievable adventure. He showed them the passes to Willow City which he received from the judge, the box containing the broken magic glass, and Santa's blue parcel.

When his sister begged him to open Santa's parcel, Rama found a cardboard box in it. As he opened the box, he found the exact expensive china crockery which he had broken when he was playing football! It had an extra pair of cup, saucers, dishes, side dishes too. His sister was stupified to find the same pattern and his mother laughed out gaily at all the trouble his little son had been into just to replace his mother's broken dishes.
" Rama, look, there's something else in the parcel for you!" his sister chirped happily.
" It's a mouth organ," Rama exclaimed. He blew into it, and a magical sound floated through the air bringing life long happiness in the family and the neighbourhood.

Rama visited the Willow City often with his amma and akka, and he introduced them to all of his friends who were enthralled to see him. Rama and Munni remained friends forever, and they spoke to each other everyday through the magic glass. Rama managed to learn a few more spells and tricks, and became popular for it in his village. Santa's mouth organ was the aid to many beautiful tunes Rama composed for which he received a lot of fame in the film industry. The Old Ugly Witch was fed with mushrooms, which was the strictest form of punishment in the Willow City, as dumans are allergic to mushrooms and develop severe rash and itching on consuming them, which puts them in a state of coma in a few hours time.

Rama a.k.a Ramaswamy Hari Prasad still remains as the only one in history to have found the Magic Dust. The Wise Willow Wizard cast a spell on Munni, Harry and even St. Nicholas for that matter so that nobody could track their thoughts on the Magic Dust to put an end to the Willow world. There's a public holiday in Willow City on the day Rama found the Magic Dust- every year, symbolizing the sacrifice of a human to the duman world for his belief in existance and continuity of pure and good magic.

Did Rama become a part of all the magic? We do not for sure, until someone writes about it, isn't it? ;)