The boy replied “Mi nombre es Federico” (My name is Frederick) Just then Anika was sucked in by the air. The next moment she was back on her bed in Shillong. She faintly heard the voices of her grandma and Radhika. They were calling out her name. Radhika came running inside the room and angrily questioned her “Where were you? Why were you not answering when we called your name?”
She then rushed out to inform her grandparents that Anika was in the room. As Radhika left, Anika saw her sister’s knees and hands were bandaged. She felt miserable for causing so much trouble to her family.
She went out and apologized to everyone in the house “I am sorry, I was just here”.
Radhika furiously responded “Where? We have been searching for you since the past half an hour but you were nowhere to be seen. Where were you?
Anika hesitated and then lied “I was sleeping beneath the bed”. Radhika yelled at her “Are you crazy? Why are you behaving this way since evening?”
Grandmother stopped Radhika and instructed the two girls “Ok, stop fighting and go to sleep. It is eleven in the night. We should sleep now”
Anika cuddled beside Radhika and tried sleeping but could not. Days passed by and Anika’s summer vacation at Shillong was turning out to be an overwhelming suspense. Whenever she looked at the Moon, she felt a lady call out to her. Someone very close, like her mother.When she slept at night, she felt she was walking towards Frederick sitting in the cave, surrounded by snowcapped mountains.In the days to follow Anika remained distracted and lost. This disturbed everyone at home, including her doting sister Radhika. After a great deal of persuasion, Anika told her about Frederick. Radhika was puzzled. Being more mature, she told Anika that it was just a figment of her imagination.
Frederick had become a regular feature who appeared whenever the pomegranate juice was served to Anika. He stopped speaking though, only his stressed countenance sent butterflies in her stomach. She tried talking to him, but he chose silence until one day when the weather seemed particularly rough and the pine trees outside did a mad dance, grandmother ordered Agnis to shut all the doors and windows.That night sleep came easily to everyone except Anika. She crept inside the kitchen and made juice from the pomegranates brought from Spain. Instantly Frederick appeared but looked more perturbed than ever before. He spoke; yes he did speak this time
“Los arboles se mecen y la Luna se llama” (The trees are swaying and the Moon is calling).
“Leer las estrellas”(Read the stars).
Anika’s entire body was shaking and she was murmuring “I know the trees are swaying and the Moon is calling; I have to read the stars!”She continued repeating it until dawn.
Anika’s strange ways triggered tremors in grandparents’ heart and soon the two sisters were sent back to Singapore, in the swatting heat of summer.
(children books online)Share