The twins love stories. They always have. I’ve spoken about it in many of my earlier posts. And they’re master story-tellers too, specially when they are the protagonists of their tales. In our weekly book club, story-spinning used to be one of the most loved games.
When Colgate came up with this idea of packs with readymade characters that could be cut out to form a story the children were absolutely delighted.
The children went to work. Once they opened the pack and cut out the pictures they lined them all up and then came the best bit - the telling of the story. You should have seen how every little detail was meticulously discussed and debated. You would have thought they were planning a Sanjay Bhansali style magnum opus.
They began with arguing about the name of the characters (how they settled onto those has a back story too but I'll spare you the details). Mercifully one character was a girl and another was a boy so that tied in pretty neatly with the two of them. They then proceeded to completely get into the skin of their characters. They argued about who should play what role, who should be manning the controls and who should have the gun, who should alight on the ‘alien’ planet first and who should fight the alien. H wanted to hog all the action but N pointed out that the cutout showed the girl holding the gun so she had to have her bit too. Finally after two whole days they arrived at the story.
And if you think it is a bit too long, spare a thought for me because when they first narrated it, it was a full length novel.
Ra and Ri and the Crazy Comet
Something had to be done.
Seasoned astronauts had been sent to explore. Not one had returned - all swallowed by the strong gravitational pull of the comet. Scientists needed someone smaller and lighter. A child.
They needed a brave child, or maybe two. The moment the news flashed on the media channels aspirants flocked to ISRO headquarters. Parents with their wards, moms pushing reluctant children and eager youngsters dragging apprehensive parents - there were all kinds.
Among them were the twins Ra and Ri. They stood waiting their turn, for each child had to go through many tests before they could qualify.
First they tried on space suits.
‘Gosh’, said Ra, ‘these are heavy!’
‘That’s 127 kgs, my delicate darling’, teased Ri. Ra swiped her on her arm and they burst into giggles. Along with other children, they learnt satellite control and space walking and familiarised themselves with the Rover.
After days of training and testing and trials the results were announced.
Ri and Ra were the only chosen ones.
They couldn’t believed it even as they high-fived each other. They would get their dream of going into space and finding out information about the Crazy Comet which threatened the very existence of their dear planet.
The day dawned. Dressed in their space suits they boarded the satellite and off they went as hundreds of scientists watched their ascent. They waved by Venus and the jewel planet Saturn. Finally they spotted it - the Crazy Comet.
‘I’ll stay here’, offered Ri, ‘close to the satellite. You go and explore’. She knew they would need a cool head guiding the satellite should they need to make a quick getaway.
Ra, swam off weightlessly in space. He checked for the rope that tied him to Ri and felt reassured. No longer afraid, he circled the Comet looking for a weak spot - a place to attack. And then he saw it - that flame of fire. If only they could blow it backwards, it would burn it’s own Comet up. Yes thought he - that’s it!
Suddenly he felt it - the pull of the Crazy Comet. He was being dragged into its strong gravitational field. Ri felt it too. The pull was taking away her twin. Ra tried to scramble back. ‘Save me Ri,’ said he desperately. Quick as lightening she dashed into the satellite manoeuvring it as far from the Comet as fast as possible. She reeled her twin in. He fell into the satellite hugging his sister.
‘Thank God you’re safe’, said she.
‘That was close,’ breathed Ra trying to make light of the situation. He told Ri of his plan. ‘You’re the expert. tell me, can our rockets blow the flame onto the Comet?
‘Yes we can, you’re brilliant Ra’, said a delighted Ri, her eyes shining.
‘Well some people just are!’
‘Shut up and help me you conceited bighead’, said Ri, still smiling.
‘Take the levers to your right and pull hard when I tell you’. She positioned the rockets carefully and began the count down 3… 2… 1 and PUUULLLLLL.
With a mighty roar the rockets shot out making straight for the Comet. The fire from its tail turned round and in a few seconds the Comet was one huge red ball more magnificent than the Sun. For a moment it blazed and then with an explosion that shook the entire universe it was gone - Just like that - gone. Finished.
The Satellite was thrown up in space due to the explosions and then all was dark.
‘Are you okay, Ra’, said Ri.
‘Yeah I’m fine, but I can’t see anything’.
‘Is your oxygen mask in place?’
‘Obviously it is. Or I would’ve been dead, Ms Smarts.’
‘Alright alright, that was a silly question’, conceded Ri, grateful that Ra could still try to laugh.
They felt for each other’s hands, then prised the door open. They climbed down Ra propping himself with their satellite’s flag. They found themselves on a strange planet. A strange creature with a head as big a a watermelon was watching them.
Ri tightened her hold on Ra’s hand while her other hand was around her safety gun. She looked at Ra. “Don’t try anything silly,’ she seemed to say with her eyes.
The creature approached them.
‘Who are you?’ Ra and Ri heard the question even though they didn’t actually hear any sound.
‘We’re from earth,' Ri tried to say. No sound came out yet the creature seemed to understand. Reading her puzzlement it said, ‘We communicate through our minds. I can see what you think’.
‘Holy Cow,’ thought Ra.
‘Holy Cow?’ asked the creature. ‘What’s that?’
This is awkward, thought Ra not liking his thoughts being read.
‘We’re from earth,’ repeated Ri, ‘We mean no harm. We came to destroy the Crazy Planet’.
‘We were watching you’, said the creature. ‘You are incredibly brave. The entire universe owes you a great debt. You saved us all.
But now you must leave.’
‘But how? Our satellite is destroyed’.
‘You earthlings and your toys!' laughed the creature, ‘We don’t need satellites. We’ll teleport you. But you must promise not to tell those meddling scientists anything about us. We don’t want hordes of earthlings coming and making ugly buildings here.’
‘We won’t,’ promised Ra and Ri.
‘If you don’t mind may I keep your flag as a reminder of your bravery?’ asked the creature.
Sure said Ra as he stuck it in the ground.
‘Now stand on the small mounds there,’ said the creature.
In the blink of an eye they were back right in the ISRO control room, scientists crowding around them.
‘That was brilliant. We saw it’, said they, ‘we saw the explosion but then you disappeared. We thought you were dead. How did you get here? What happened?’
The twins looked at each other. Amazingly, they could still hear each other think. ‘It is a miracle. A melon-headed God saved us,’ they chorused together.