Land of the Lost
“Land of the Lost” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Okas Narula, SPS International School, Mathura, India.
Land of the Lost
Raju loves to dig. He digs the soil in the morning, in the evening and, sometimes, at night as well. Afternoon is no-dig time, as mother thinks the sun is too strong for her son. He digs with old pencil, his sand spade, broken twigs etc.
Raju loves the feel of soil especially when it is wet and squashy. In the soil he has often found worms, ants, old leaves, pieces of glass or many things. He believes there is a whole world living there. He often wonders what the underground world must be doing while he sits doing his homework.
Soil contains the magic seeds into plants. Raju has often sown seeds like coriander, fenugreek and seen them burst out with roots and shoots and leaves . For Raju, the underground world is an exciting and mysterious place, different from his world. So he digs and digs.
One day, as Raju was digging, he found he could dig no farther nor could he get his pencil out. He started digging the soil with his fingers. Suddenly, he saw some hair. Raju pulled at the hair and he heard a cry,”don’t do that. It hurt!”
Excitedly, Raju began loosening the soil. To his surprise, in the hole he had made stood a small boy –no bigger than his hand. To his greater surprise, the small boy looked just like him –the same curly hair, eyes and sparkling teeth.
“Who are you? Why do you look like me? What are doing here, under the soil?” Raju asked. Remember your key in the garden?”
“Yes yes, I remember. How do you know?
Little Raju said, ”I am your key.”
“You? My key! You are fooling me. You are a boy. My key was a silver one”
Oh! I forget. You don’t know about the land of the lost!” replied little Raju.
“The land of the lost? What are you talking about?” asked Raju.
“The land of the lost is a place where all lost things live. They live not as the lost thing but as the person who lost them. So, in the land of lost, your key has become you, that is me. My name is Raju chaabi. Your mother’s ear ring is also there. She is pretty girl, Priya bali.
Fascinated by what he was hearing, Raju did not notice that Raju chaabi was scrambling out of the hole and dusting himself.
“I am coming with you,” said Raju chaabi.
“Coming with me, are you?” Raju was excited. “Won’t your friends miss you?”
“We have a rule,” said Raju chaabi. “If we are found by our owners, we can spend a day with them. I have to return only at sunset today. What fun we can have together! You know, I miss you. In your pocket I used to go to so many places. What I liked best was when you wore the key chain round your finger and I would dangle in the open air!”
Raju was bending down to listen to chaabi’s chatter. Chaabi quickly climbed up Raju’s clothes and settled on his shoulder. Then he said, ”let me see your cycle. I would like to go for a ride on it!”
Raju took chaabi for a ride around the garden on his cycle. Then Raju got an idea. He asked chaabi, “Do you climb well. Could you climb into my brother’s cupboard and get me a bubble gum which he has hidden on the top shelf?”
Chaabi agreed, and was soon in the cupboard, climbing up. When he found the bubble gum, he tossed it to Raju. They shared it between themselves.
Then Raju got another idea. He called his friends to his house, telling them that he had learnt a new magic trick. The children sat on a mat in front of a curtain and Raju began his act.
He announced that he would become small when he eat unhealthy food, and would grow big when he eat healthy food. From behind the curtain he said, “ I am now eating a banana,” and tossed the peel at the children. He came in front as himself and showed his big size. Hiding behind the curtain, he said, “I am eating a chocolate bar,” and sent a chocolate wrapper flying at the children. This time he sent chaabi to the front.
The children were stunned. Some giggled in glee, others sat looking worried at what had happened to their friend. Raju repeated his act with various items of food. After every healthy food, he would present himself; after unhealthy food, he would send chaabi.
The children could not believe what had seen. When finally they left, thinking that Raju was a real magician, they promised to eat only healthy food.
Raju and chaabi suddenly realized that soon the Sun would set. They walked to the garden and found chaabi’s hole.
Chaabi hugged Raju’s toe as he left saying, “you are a good friend, Raju. Take care of your things. The land of the lost is getting very crowded.”
Now Raju is very careful not to overcrowd the land of the lost.
1. We should eat always healthy food not unhealthy.
2. We should always take care of our things.
3. We should always do hard work.