They never played with the puppets. The puppets stood on the pelmet, covered with cobwebs and dust. The might have been mistaken for old bottles of spices which someone put there my mistake and forgot to bring down, or maybe some trophies won by some forgotten hero in some forgotten sport. I think, by now,even the spices would have decayed and the trophies would have rusted. But thepuppets stood, resolute to their strings.
Sometimes they would sit in the drawing room(under the ceiling fan whose airs hardly reached the puppets!) and talk about cricket and computers. How the apple rises up these days and how fall is sweaty. They would bring new toys, footballs and skateboards and joysticks and gizmos. They would never talk about the puppets.
The puppets never spoke, stoic as supposed.
One fine day, came a little boy, the son of the maid. No one was home, save his mum, he jumped around, climbed the bed post, ran around the terrace and even open the refrigerator! His mother was busy mopping the floor which was muddied expensive high heels. As the afternoon slopped to the evening, the boy grey tired and hugged his mum. His mum fanned him with the corner of her saree and sang him songs of brave princes and beautiful fairies. The puppets moved…
The boy, as if noticing that, jumped up. He ran up the window bars and grabbed them. His mum scolded him and ordered him to it back, He wont. He wailed, he reasoned, he argued, he cuddled. The mum, with the realisation that she has never been able to give her son a gift, agreed. The boy was happy like he had never been before.
***
The next day the maid was accused of stealing. They dismissed her and beat up her son. The puppets were back on the pelmet.
The neighbourhood cried for the little boy, at the cruelty of the rich, at the helpnessness of the poor. They gave the little boy toffees and he gleefully went to play with the butterflies. The maid found a new job.
Only the puppets stayed on the pelmet. Happy as ever!

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