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The Magic Lamp
A story about Varun - a little boy brought up in a busy modern city with all its problems for the little minds.The panacea to all his troubles in the form of increasing study-pressure and cut-throat competition came in the form of The Magic Lamp-a miracle machine,The Computer.
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The Magic Lamp
Varun was unhappy. His parents, Mr. And Mrs. Mehra were stuffing his room with more and more textbooks on different subjects and expecting him to study ‘all the time’. “You have to get admission into a good high school, Varun. And with so little study you are going to lag way behind the other children in competition”, his father used to often say in a grave voice while rebuking him for neglecting his studies. Little Varun, aged 7 years, used to run to his mother for comfort but she too seemed to echo Mr. Mehra’s words. In a small flat and a family of 3, with no friends, no games, no TV and no music system Varun had nothing else to do but seek refuge in the few story books that he possessed – birthday gifts he has received from relatives. Thus, little Varun, though encaged by his parents and the compulsions of the modern competitive world, would wander far away into the land of The Fairy Godmother and The Arabian Nights-the land of his dreams.
There, in that land, there were kind-hearted and friendly people to share with him all his feelings and emotions. These people were also very colourful and interesting.
However, he had little scope to wander in that wonderful dream world of his for he would soon have to return to the real world of grave people on hearing the door bell ring announcing the arrival of his private tutor. Then he would have to hide his story-book under the pillow and take out a large number of textbooks and copies for his tuition.
His teacher would give him several things to do as homework. This, along with the home tasks given in school, would, naturally, overburden him.
Neeraj uncle was the only person who could understand Varun’s problems. He was a good friend of Mr. Mehra and their neighbour too. He was a well-to-do businessman and a bachelor. He lived alone and looked upon Varun, affectionately, as his own child. Mr. Neeraj Gupta was a kind and considerate man and felt very sorry for Varun. He used to often see Varun going to school wearing a sad and tired look on his face, carrying a heavy schoolbag. How he wished he could help Varun, cheer him up and bring smiles to his face.
All day Varun was stuck into his fifteen feet by ten feet room bored up with his books with no entertainment to cheer up his spirits. How he wished he could travel to various places, make new friends and discover the beautiful world.
Once while studying, late at night, Varun had fallen asleep. Soon he was transported to the marvellous land of the Arabian Nights in his dreams. He found himself dressed up as a prince – as Aladdin and saw a magnificent palace in front of him – Aladdin’s palace. Then while traveling on The Flying Carpet he saw several Chinese children of his age below , playing a certain game. They all seemed to be very carefree, happy and cheerful. Varun decided to join them and ordered the carpet to descend. But as soon as he alighted from the carpet he heard loud shouts. Several fat text books had assumed the form of monsters and were shouting to get him and throw him into the dungeon of unhealthy competition. He tried desperately to run away, but, in vain. Soon, he was trapped under enormous pressures from all sides. ‘The Magic Lamp!’ he cried out as he held out his hand hoping to grasp the wonderful object that could end his sorrows and save him from the monsters.
The door bell rang and Varun shook awake to find himself sleeping on his desk with the table lamp on and books scattered all around. He quickly arranged his desk expecting his teacher to enter any moment. ‘The Magic Lamp!’ he sighed. How he wished he could have obtained the key to his freedom from horrible text books and dull teachers.
It was Neeraj uncle , not his tutor, who was at the door. It was a Saturday and so his tutor could not anyway come, Varun reminded himself. Neeraj uncle was carrying a huge package with him, wrapped colourfully. Another man was also there accompanying Mr. Gupta helping him to carry the package. It seemed to be a gift. They were coming towards Varun. ‘Happy New Year, Varun!’ said Neeraj uncle. Varun was surprised. He had quite forgotten that it was the 1st of January, 2000 – the birth of a new millennium. The new year gift was for Varun. He accepted it shyly and lovingly, thanking Neeraj uncle gently.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Mehra and Varun were filled with eagerness as the package was being opened. Mr. Gupta cut open the wrapping and then the box within. Inside the box was a ‘Computer’- science’s greatest gift to the millennium’s child to stay happy and be ahead in today’s world of competition. Varun was overtaken by joy . He remained speechless for a while and then remarked ‘The Magic Lamp – now I have got it’. Mr. and Mrs. Mehra were overwhelmed with joy too. At last all their worries would be over and they can now see smiles on their son’s face, they thought. The two of them just could not find enough words to thank Mr. Gupta.
Thus, finally, Varun got his magic lamp which was his best friend, helper and guide in times of need.It could help him carry all the information of his school’s text books in a single disk, help him check out his complicated arithmetic sums in the fraction of a second, make his studies more illustrative and interesting and thereby make study time more colourful and enjoyable. Besides it could play several common and innovative games with him just as a witty and clever friend would. The most fascinating part of the magic lamp was that it could transfer him to the wonderful world of ‘cyber pals’ throughout the globe within the blink of an eye and help him get access to nearly everything he could think of on the internet.
Truly, the computer is the greatest gift of technology that science has given to the citizens of tomorrow in this century. It is such a miracle-machine which can help the young and the old ,the ignorant and the knowledgeable - all alike in innumerable ways. With a computer in hand one can ease out one’s difficulties and possibly get access to everything one can dream of.
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© 2000 Somdev Mukherjee
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