Friday, February 21, 2014

Abhay's prized top!

Abhay's latest fascination is the "Beyblade" which is nothing but our good old spinning top packaged as a prized merchandise of the Japanese animated series! Abhay has had his eye on the said toy for a long time now and knowing better than to expect his mom to buy it for him, he tapped the daddy! Nevertheless, it wasn't a complete walkover with his dad too! Daddy managed to extract a few promises (well done daddy!) here and there about Abhay eating on his own and sleeping on his own, and Abhay finally became the proud owner of a Cosmic Pegasus Beyblade!  But as it turned out, neither was the Beyblade an original (so claimed his Beyblade brethren at school!) nor were his promises fulfilled !!:-)  Gone are the days when kids regard a much sought-after toy as their  most cherished possession.... now with every other wish fulfilled, where's the thrill in it? Anyway, after all said and done, the Beyblade or it's imitation is nothing but a spinning top! So when we saw a couple of local boys playing with spinning tops at a playground last week, it rekindled my husband's childhood passion. Overcome with nostalgia, he made a pit stop at a local shop and bought one for Abhay. When he wound the string, tight and taut and released it into action, we realised that the pleasure is the same, or may be even better! The only difference being one cost Rs.590/- (plus the ignominy of not being the original) and the other just Rs.15!!!

Today I had Abhay read “Mangu’s Top” by Kamakshi Balasubramanian and illustrated by Amitava Sengupta brought out by National Book Trust publication. Mangu longed for a toy but couldn’t afford one as his parents were poor. Mangu sat outside watching other kids play with toys like top, marbles or a kite, when suddenly he stumbled upon a top that lay by a large stone in the corner. Mangu found that it was an old, pock marked toy with hardly any colour on it. Mangu brought it home and began to play with it. As it spun, Mangu thought it looked dull and tired and did not exhibit the same vibrancy like the other tops. So Mangu decided to give it a makeover – he rubbed the top with a piece of brick, so as to cover up its pits. He then coated it with a spoonful of oil that his mother gave, some leftover paint that his father borrowed and left the top to dry overnight, while Mangu slept dreaming about the top. During the night, the colourful top rolled towards him as if to surpise him in the morning when he opened his eyes!  But while he was delighted to find his colourful top all ready for play, he was also dismayed to see a gaping hole on his top that ran from one end to another that made sadly conclude that the top may never spin again. Without giving up hope, Mangu wound a string around the top and as he released it, his red and yellow top spun merrily reflecting colour, sunlight and what’s more, his top even whistled as the wind blew through the hole. Finally, Mangu had his own spinning whistling top! A nice little story of longing that our kids today may find it hard to relate to! Well…who’s to blame??  

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