‘Dadu!! Dadu!! Today our teacher told us a story about a magical vase. I wish I had one, then we would be rich too. Do you think it’s possible?”, asked Somu excitedly

Grandpa Tigorilal, who was almost in his late seventies, with more than half of his head filled with white hair and skin with wrinkles, eyes a little droopy, and rest of the facial expressional neutral, said,” I don’t know about the magical vase but sure you can become rich. That’s possible if you work hard and luck is on your side. But there is no easy way if that’s what you are asking bacha.”

Somu’s eyes shifted from excitement to downcast. Noticing his reaction, grandpa again said, “But I do have a story about a kid who was just like you, curious, adventurous and thought the same way – who believed in magic and always seek a miracle.”

“Really grandpa!! I want to hear it, please!”, Somu pleaded

“Okay, Okay. I will tell you then.”, said grandpa with a subtle mischievous grin, he straightened his back, adjusted his positioned on his favorite wooden chair, cleared his throat and gestured him to be seated on the bed nearby, which he did.

“A long time ago, there was a little boy named Keshav, who was curious and gutsy, just like you. who lived in a progressive village, called Jilanpur, with a dry climate. With many people gradually migrating into the village due to industrial revolution, which would soon lead it to convert into a town. One day, a man came into the village and opened a kulfi shop. There were one or two kulfi sellers in Jilanpur, but unlike them he sold his kulfis on a shop instead on a hand cart. The day he started selling his flavored kulfi, it became popular within a few days, not only there but in the neighboring villages too. For some people, it was a new experience, for some it was an adventure, for some it was a something they would want to try once in a lifetime, for some people it was a special occasion dessert. But for children, it became a sensation – a whole different experience. What made it special for children was his way of selling kulfi, which was both eccentric and magical for them. It was the same for Keshav, he was besotted since the first time he saw the kulfi shop and immediately went with his friends to try it. The flavored kulfi’s were slightly pricier than the normal kulfis but it was worth a try. When he reached there, there was a ten-to-fifteen-person long line but what’s strange was the way he took the order. He would only take ten orders at a time and write it down a paper and slip it past the narrow opening on a metal door. After waiting for a minute, the door would open and a flash of colorful lights would fall on him, illuminating the whole room, making him look like a magician. The door was positioned in such a way that we could only see him enter and immediately come out with a tray of ten flavored kulfis on leafy plates. But now anyone who came there for the first time, couldn’t stop coming because of these delicious kulfis that they never had before. The man wore a traditional dress, with a multicolor border and bhandej pagdi. The attire was same but with different sets of colors in his pagdi every day. But one thing was always constant and that was his warm smile. That day he wore the same smile, when Keshav came to buy his kulfi, while they were in the line, he and his friends already decided, what flavor they wanted because there were so many options: gulab, pista, kesar, gulkand, pan, aam, rabdi and many other flavors. After they gave their order, the kulfi seller did the same thing again. He slipped the paper, then opened the magical door, and came out with the tray. Just like the other kids, Keshav was also blown away with him, thinking that it was something special and that there was some magic that he would get their order immediately. And if someone would ask, how did he do it, he would tell them that it’s their secret. So now Keshav had two reasons to come here, one – these kulfis were so tasty and two- he became more interested in knowing that what was behind that gate. He and his friends would observe him and cook up stories to make sense of things, like he knew black magic, or he was a wizard and things like this. So, he kept coming there whenever he would get his spending money from his father, but soon he used up all his monthly money, and so did his friends. Now he couldn’t afford to go there. Day by day he was growing desperate, he couldn’t ask for money and didn’t know how to know the kulfiwala’s secret and also with the intension that they could get some kulfis for free until they had money. So, one day he planned with his friends and decided to hide inside the shop and find out how the kulfiwala got his kulfis. One evening, after coming back from school, Keshav and his three friends went to the Kulfi shop when it was almost closing time and somehow managed to hide inside the shop. Then when the Kulfiwala finally closed the shop, they all followed the same steps that he did. They noted the names of different flavors of kulfi on a piece of paper and with the help of each other somehow reached the narrow hole to slip the paper in. But this time, nothing happened, so they tried it again, but this time noted ten names and again nothing happened. So, then they decided to open the gate by pulling it, they all tried so hard one by one, then together, by kicking it and what not, but it was futile because it was locked. But then suddenly they all heard a sound, they all froze, and the gate cracked open, they all saw the same flash of colors gleaming on all of them and a tall figure coming out. They all screamed at the same time and hugged each other to cope with all the fear.

“It’s okay!! Calm down!! Calm down its me!!”, said the kulfiwala with a comforting tone as he realized that its just some kids who were making noises. They all opened their eyes and saw the kulfiwala standing.

“But you just went outside and locked the shop, then how did you come out of here?”, said Keshav’s friend in a shivering tone.

“There is another door. Come inside.” And he went inside the door that they were so curious about. So, they all followed him. As they entered, there were all the paper pieces on the floor that they threw, and beside the door around the walls and the ceiling, it was covered with colorful glasses and lights, finally realizing this was what created the colorful illumination. After crossing the narrow hall, they entered a room where there were many steel boxes, around 2 feet tall.

“How did you all get locked inside the shop?”, kulfiwala inquired scoldingly.

“We..we…were……” one of Keshav’s friend said .

“We wanted to know what’s inside, so we hid inside.”, said Keshav. They all told him the whole truth and also apologized, and specially Keshav as he knew it was his idea. The children’s stories brought a roar of laughter from the kulfiwala.

“Ha-ha, no… no.., I am not a magician, or a wizard. I said it’s a secret, so no one can steal my recipe. Look at these boxes, here are all the kulfis and I and my wife prepare them here in this room. It’s not some magic that the kulfis appear itself, it’s our hard work. Remember there is no shortcut to success.”, He said this while gesturing towards the kitchen area inside the room.

“Then how do you get the kulfis this early when you slip the paper in? We did the same thing”

“Oh that!! That’s a secret now.”, all the kids grew silent suddenly and then he started laughing again

“Oh god you kids are hilarious. Obviously, someone sits behind the door.”, they all looked at each other and were in fits after realizing their stupidity.

“Now who wants a kulfi? But only if you can keep it a secret, promise to not be greedy and spend your money wisely.”

“Me!! Me! Me! I promise! I promise!! Please!!”, they all started chanting and jumping. The kulfiwala distributed the kulfi among the four kids and sent them home. And that day they all learned a very important lesson.

Now what did you learn Somu?”, asked his grandpa

Somu smiled and said, “That whether there is a magic vase or not, there is no short cut to success or earn money”

And the grandpa took Somu in his warm embrace.