Akshay’s Cure – a short story for children.
Akshay was a seven year old boy with a thick mop of black hair and plump cheeks. He studied in the second grade in Frank Anthony’s school, Bangalore, and lived with his mom and dad, Sunil and Meena, in a seven storied building on Hosur road. He was a clever boy, and always stood first in class. He knew the stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana by heart. He was good at games too, and had been made vice-captain of his house at the beginning of the second grade. He had a creative side, and his hobby was making little clay models and sticking them on the fridge. His problem was his stammer.
Sunil and Meena tried to cure him by giving him tablets, tonics, and powders, but to no avail. Akshay’s stutter just would not go away.
Ofcourse, Akshay’s grandmother, whom everyone called Mai, knew the name of the medicine Akshay needed. Mai was a very wise old lady, and like all wise old ladies, she knew everything. She could cook magical rotis, so soft and light that they melted in one’s mouth, and she could tell stories about magic so well that Akshay was sure that such things had actually happened.
Mai, having guessed why Akshay was stammering, tried to tell Sunil and Meena how to cure him. The problem was, they didn’t think she was really wise, and did not listen to her.
One day, when Akshay’s had had a cold for many days and wasn’t getting better, Sunil and Meena decided to take him to a doctor. It was then that Mai got a very good idea. She quietly took the doctor’s telephone number from where it had been hastily scribbled – on a piece of paper near the telephone. She then rang up the doctor and whispered her magic cure for Akshay’s stammer.
Dr. Hasmarjeet Singh, called Dr. Hasmukh by all his young patients because he never stopped smiling, believed that Mai was really wise, and promised to add her medicine to his prescription. Thus, when Sunil and Meena went to see Dr. Hasmukh, he told them the name of the medicine. He said it would cure Akshay’s cold very quickly and also get rid of his stammer.
Sunil and Meena had never heard of the medicine.
‘Is it a syrup?’ asked Meena.
‘Is it a tablet?” asked Sunil.
‘No,’ said Dr. Hasmukh, ‘it’s an exercise and you need to do it with him.’
However, when he wrote it down and showed it to them, they protested. ‘We have no time,’ they chorused.
Dr. Hasmukh was sad, because he realised how right Mai was. The medicine that she had advised him to prescribe was the right one. If Akshay’s parents did not give it to him, he would never be cured.
Sunil and Meena went home, and secretly, they were angry. How could Dr. Hasmukh even suggest such a thing! Didn’t he know how busy they were?
And so, they never bothered with the exercises.
The days passed and though Akshay’s cold got cured, his stammer became worse.
‘It’s only a little stammer,’ said Sunil, looking up from his newspaper.
‘Only a little stammer,’ repeated Meena, looking up from her favorite television programme.
All this made Mai very angry…and she became so angry that she lay awake night after night. She became so angry that bad thoughts about Sunil and Meena filled her mind. She didn’t want to, but she wished that they were taught a lesson. A lesson that would make them help Akshay.
Mai’s thoughts were so strong, and her love for Akshay was so deep, and she was such a wise, and good old lady, that her wish came true.
One fine day, Sunil got up and yawned. ‘I..I..I have to g..g..goo early ttto offfffice today,’ he said.
Meena laughed. ‘Sssstop! Immmmtating Aksshsh…’ and suddenly, she stopped speaking.
They stared at each other, hoping no one had heard them
Sunil went quietly to office. At the office his stammer became worse and he had to miss some important meetings. At home, Meena found that she could not go out at all or speak to anybody, not even to Mai. Sunil came home early from office that day, feeling quite miserable. His boss had told him to go home and rest.
Akshay was home, and he heard his parents whisper to each other, and to his surprise, they were stammering! He quietly put his ear to their bedroom door and found out what had happened to them that day.
He burst in. ‘EEven I fffind it dddifficult,’ he told them. ‘Evvvveryone lllaughs at me!’
Sunil and me listened to him and understood.
‘His problem wwwill ggget worse,’ said Sunil.
‘It’s nnnot a lllittle stammer,’ said Meena.
‘Whwere is ththaat prescription!’ shouted Sunil.
Mai had it ready to show them.
Sunil now read the paper carefully.
Ways to administer:
By hugging Akshay everyday.
Talking and listening to him everyday for at least one hour.
Taking him out to the zoo, or for a picnic every Sunday
Admiring his clay models
Telling him stories…
‘TLC,’ repeated Meena, in wonder. ‘Wwe need to give him TLC. Tender loving care.’
Mai nodded, her anger slowly dissolving…
‘We are going to start today,’ said Sunil, not even realising that his stammer had gone.
(A revised version of the story that appeared on the Children’s Page in the Deccan Herald, Bangalore)