Amazing Kids! Magazine

Listen

By Uma Padmasola, age 12, India

 

I couldn’t wait for the harsh winter to get over. I was anticipating the season of spring. Being a kitchen child, I couldn’t enjoy the privileges the mistress’s daughter, Marianne, enjoyed. She could always look forward to Christmas. Even I found Christmas lovely, when the town was lit up with bright lights and children could be spotted singing carols in the snow. I especially loved the first snowflakes that fell; they gave me a feeling of magic I usually didn’t feel. The very first day of snowfall was beautiful too, when I would wake up to a quiet that replaced all the usual bustle of the town. But whenever I passed by the shops and the savory smells of the various Christmas delicacies reached my nostrils, I felt an ache of longing in my chest, for I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them like every other ordinary child did.

Spring was my favorite season because it was the time when all these differences faded a little. Every child, whether rich or poor, could enjoy the treasures nature gave – the blooms and the warmth of the sunlight.

On Christmas Eve, I cleaned and helped decorate the house, said a prayer to God, and completed all my usual duties. In the night, I dreamt that I had gone back to my people, the Gypsies, and I could actually smell the incense and hear the tinkle of the bangles of the other girls. When I woke up on Christmas morning, for a moment, I felt I was still there with the Gypsies, dancing near a warm bonfire. I said a prayer to God, asking if I could really find the Gypsies and join them for a different life. In my heart I had always longed for adventure. I knew that the Gypsies’ life wasn’t always magical and romantic. They had hard times too. But I was tired of being a servant who got two pennies a month and was kept on her feet night and day. Usually, I didn’t notice my employer’s unkindness to me, because I had worked for them since I was just a small child, and I had gotten used to it, but the way they treated me recently filled me with a strange pain. I knew that I had more potential and I had my own dreams.

I asked God for his blessing and then got out of bed to fetch the post. As usual, there were a ton of packages for Marianne and the rest of her family, but I was astonished when I saw a package addressed to me. Everyone was happy and excited, decorating the tree, opening presents and singing carols, and for once I was too. I waited till the night, when everyone was asleep, to open my package.

The glossy paper unraveled to reveal a cardboard box. Inside was a small note that said, ‘LISTEN.’ There was no name signed on it. Surprisingly, I was not disappointed. I suddenly felt that feeling of magic that I felt when the first snowflakes fell, and also when the first buds blossomed on the arrival of spring. I strained my ears, and heard the notes of a distant song, soft and lilting.

I carried on with my usual life. New Year’s came, and exactly at midnight, in spite of the hustle and noise of the celebrations, I heard a tune of hope and dreams, beckoning to me. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. I just followed the notes of the music, which seemed to be dancing, leading me along. I reached the outskirts of town, and the wood situated here came into sight. I entered it, and I couldn’t stop, I just went on walking. The music had stopped now but I could feel the notes within me.

I walked on and came to a clearing. The intoxicating smell of incense hit me. Brightly painted caravans stood here, with horses grazing on the wild grass. Men were playing fiddles and flutes and other instruments I didn’t know the names of, and women were dancing around the bonfire, their anklets jingling, their flamboyant skirts swirling. An old man whom I took to be the leader came forward. “The ears are deaf,” he told me. “One must listen with the heart. As you have done so, you are one of us, I can see that.”

He clapped his hands and the other Gypsies started a new melody, a gripping tune of secrets and miracles. There were other girls my age, who were making flower garlands and picking wildflowers. Here, spring had already come.