Estimated read time : 7 minutes
Zaara gazed at her dream house in wonder and felt her heart beating in excitement. She had built it with a wee bit of help from her grandpa and her best friend, Naomi. How could a house be so lovely, so exciting and fill her with so much of exhilaration? She sighed in contentment and gazed at it yet again.
Zaara’s house was made out of a huge Amazon cardboard box in which her Ma’s oven had been delivered. As soon as her eyes fell on the box, Zaara knew that she had to build a house for herself. She almost felt like an architect as she imagined the house in her mind.
Also read: Corona, Zaara, And Me
In excitement, she called her grandpa who was in the verandah reading the newspaper.
Grandpa told Zaara that such important things required very careful planning and a great deal of thought.
Paper and pen in hand, they sat down together spreading a big sheet of paper on the dining table. Zaara’s Grandpa told her to get a ruler, pencils and an eraser. Zaara got some sketch pens too just in case they were required. Then, they planned the designing of the house very carefully. First, they made a drawing of the house on a small piece of paper. This was their rough sketch. Next, they measured out the length and breadth of the cardboard box. According to this, they drew out the house on the sheet of paper sketching in a big door. Zaara coloured the drawing because she felt it would look so much better. They were tired after all this activity. So, they took a well- deserved break. Ma made them some mango shake which they had along with a few cookies. Then, they set to work again.
First, they measured out a door. It had to be big enough for Zaara and her best friend, Naomi to climb in and out. Grandpa cut out the door in the front of the box and asked
Zaara to test it out and decide whether it was the correct size. They realized it was slightly too small. So, he widened the door until Zaara declared it was exactly right. They decided that the house did not require any windows since they would get plenty of air from the open top. Grandpa said that both Zaara and Naomi would now be able to complete the house. Zaara went to fetch her playmate who lived next door telling her about the exciting things which they were going to do.
The two children took out their craft box which held all sorts of interesting things like tassels, bits of gauze, streamers saved up from Zaara’s last birthday and colourful pieces of wrapping paper. They decided that they would cover up the sides and top of the box with strips of brown paper and went to ask Ma if she had some. She found a few rolls of brown paper in an old box under the cupboard and helped them to cut it out. This, they pasted carefully onto the box. With the door cut out and the brown paper pasted on, it looked so real. After this, the two girls decorated the house with pictures of butterflies, birds and the moon peeping out of a starlit sky. These pictures they cut out from their old drawing books and magazines. They glued on buttons and bows, coloured threads and sparkly sequins. They stood back and admired their handiwork. Their dream house was so very beautiful and ready for them to play in. Holding hands, they skipped about in delight as they planned out what they would do in their house.
First, they decided to have a tea party in it, with two of Zaara’s dolls. Zaara sat on the left side with Janey doll on her lap while Naomi cuddled Emma doll. Zaara’s Ma gave them chilled lemonade which they poured into the dainty blue cups of their tea set and sipped along with chocolate chip cookies which had been arranged on a dish between them. They had so much fun!
They made sure that their house was always neat and tidy. After every tea-party, they would tip out the cookie crumbs and toffee bits from it. One morning, some water spilt from Naomi’s green water bottle and made a damp patch on Zaara’s side of the house. The two children had to dry it out in the sun for one whole day. Then, their dream house was as good as new!
However, one sunny evening, everything changed. Five year – old Tarun came to play with the girls. After one tea party, he got bored with their girlie games and announced that he was Rohan Singh, the king of the jungle and Zaara and Naomi were his soldiers who had to obey all his commands. He sat majestically in the cardboard house with a glittery crown perched at an angle on his head and ordered the two girls to pull him along with the aid of a rope attached to it. The three children thoroughly enjoyed this, screeching at the top of their voices and clapping their hands till Ma told them to calm down and stop screaming.
Also read: 7 Room Design Ideas For Your Toddler
Alas, the rough treatment given to the cardboard house caused it to tear in one corner. Zaara and Naomi with Grandpa’s help, carefully pasted the torn edges together with Fevicol and left it in the verandah to dry. But, when they sat in it for yet another tea party, it fell completely apart.
Zaara’s dream house lay in shreds at her feet and she was very sad. She watched while her Ma pronounced it unsafe and told Leela aunty, the maid, to throw it into the bin downstairs.
Ma tried to console the two children with mango milkshake and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But, they had lost their dream house – their sacred haven where they could plan and fantasize, and dwell in a magic world of their very own.