Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“A New Beginning” by Monnit D. Relwani, Arya Vidya Mandir, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Monnit D. Relwani is 11 years of age and is a fun loving, witty and a cheerful child. He studies in Arya Vidya Mandir Bandra (W) and lives with his family in Mumbai, India. His immense love for books and writing can be seen in his imagination and ideas when he writes. His favourite authors are Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond. During his free time he loves reading, writing, playing with his lego blocks and football. History and General Knowledge are his favourite Subjects. He aspires to become a writer.
A New Beginning
Andrew Robertson was a small boy of two years. He had wonderful parents. He was a very loving child. They were a happy family until one fateful day a tragedy struck their lives…
One day they decided to go to a carnival. Andrew was very excited. He insisted on carrying his favourite toy along. The carnival was too crowded with a sea of people. Andrew was very content holding on to his toy, a remote control car. Suddenly a little boy his age snatched the toy from his hands and ran away. Andrew enraged, chased him and disappeared in the crowd. The parents ran after him pushing their way hard through the massive crowd but soon lost sight of their child. They asked people around but to no avail. After some time Andrew returned, but his parents were nowhere in sight. He called out “Mom!”, “Dad!” several times but in the massive crowd no one looked like his Mom or Dad.
Andrew started sobbing. The police noticed and went to him. They asked him what happened and why was he crying. Andrew was inconsolable, and told them he was lost. The police announced his name and informed their headquarters but no one came for him. The decision was made. Andrew was to go to a foster home. A kind hearted couple Mr. and Mrs. Clinton offered to take care of him. They had no child of their own and considered Andrew a gift from God.
Time flew like a bird. Many years passed. Andrew was now twelve. His foster parents had given him the best upbringing. By now he had forgotten his real parents and considered Mr. and Mrs. Clinton to be his parents. Life was beautiful for them until one day… At the dinner table they had to take a hard decision. Almost choking with agony behind a smile, Mr. Clinton told Andrew “I have some good news for you Andrew. Your Grandmother lives in Kansas”. “Wow, I have a Grandmother?” “Yes” replied Mr. Clinton. “She wants to meet you and wants you to stay with her from now on. So we have booked a ticket for you to Kansas for tomorrow.” Andrew could not understand whether to be happy or sad. He told Mr. Clinton “I am very excited to meet my Grandmother, Dad, but I don’t want to stay there forever. I cannot live without you both.” He rose with anger, strides towards his room and shut the door. Mrs. Clinton could not control her emotions. She could not part with the apple of her eye, but could not say No to his Grandmother either. After several attempts, Andrew was finally convinced. The next morning he bid farewell. “We shall meet very soon Andrew. Take care of yourself.” He left for the station.
The station was humongous and crowded. Andrew pushed his way through and then boarded his train. Hours later, the conductor announced “Tennessee Avenue Station!” Andrew wondered and asked the Conductor, “Excuse me Sir, when will we reach Kansas?” The conductor looked flabbergasted. He replied in an old western accent “This train goes to North Tennessee Station!” Andrew showed the conductor his ticket. The conductor guffawed and said “You have boarded the wrong train.” Andrew was puzzled and began to cry. The conductor consoled him “you don’t need to cry about nothing, we are approaching North Tennessee Station. You can take another train back home from there.” This gave Andrew some hope. When they reached North Tennessee Station, the last stop, Andrew got off and thanked the conductor for his assistance.
He stood in the almost never ending queue for a ticket. Finally, the person at the counter told him there was no train available to Kansas right away. Disheartened, Andrew sat down until his brain lit up with a brilliant idea. He went back at the ticket counter. The man sitting there looked like a kind old man, with grey hair, a beard and spectacles as round as the moon. Andrew asked “Sir, how far is the city from here?” “The city, eh? It is …. Uh, I’d say 10 miles away. I am sure those little legs aren’t going to get you there. But the nearest you can go is where the Robertsons live” replied the man. “You can safely halt there and they would be kind to help you." Andrew liked the idea and asked for directions. The man guided him. Andrew thanked him and followed the directions.
Finally, he arrived at a rather old, but neat looking house. The lawn was mowed with vibrant flowers all around. He rang the doorbell. A tall woman opened the door. “Yes, she asked”. She looked familiar to him. Andrew said “Hello, I am Andrew.” He narrated his situation briefly and politely asked the lady “Can you please assist me to reach my Grandmother who lives in Kansas?” “Sure, we can do something, but first, please come in and make yourself comfortable” answered Mrs. Robertson. When he entered the house, he saw a man sitting on the couch reading the newspaper. Andrew greeted him and said “I am Andrew… Andrew Clinton. Thank you for your kindness.” The name sounds familiar said Mr. Robertson. “What would you like to eat? Can I get you some milk and cookies?” asked Mrs. Robertson. “Oh I’d relish that” he happily replied.
There was a photograph on the wall which caught Andrew’s eye. He asked who the child in the photograph was. Tears welled up in Mrs. Robertson’s eyes as she told him that he was their son who got lost in a carnival 10 years ago and coincidentally his name was also Andrew. Andrew said “Strange, the child in the photograph looks like me when I was small.” Mrs. Robertson then asked Andrew for his Grandmother’s number so they could call and inform her that Andrew is in safe hands. As she dialled the number there was a surprised expression on her face. That was her Mother’s number! She couldn’t believe this. She stood frozen in stunned silence. “My Mother is Andrew’s Grandmother” she thought. She felt an incredible upsurge of emotions and joy as Andrew was understandably their long lost son. Andrew wanted to speak but choked on words. Mrs. Robertson hugged him to her heart’s delight and rushed to give this good news to her husband who was on the recliner in their living room. He was ecstatic. They then told Andrew about their tragedy and how destiny snatched away their son at the carnival and here they stand today, reunited. God had a new beginning in store for them. Andrew lived happily ever after with his parents but deeply missed his foster parents for their genuine love they had raised him with, all these years.