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Play House

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December 2003
Play House

A place of magic?

By SHAMILA JANAKIRAMAN

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I was watching my daughter Jhani play with her toy house ? a plastic one which opens in halves on hinges, and has a trick fireplace.

Jhani placed her tiny Harry Potter figurine and shouted "dragon alley" while turning the knob on top of the chimney. Viola! Harry Potter disappeared and plastic flames appeared in his place. The ensemble also consisted of a figurine of Ron Weasley, Harry's best friend. She made Ron go round and round on a rotating platform singing "round and round, you go my friend". The rhythmic repetition was enough to render me roaming into another realm.

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Soon, I was busy cooking lunch when Jhani came walking into the kitchen. As she always does (to my dismay, may I add), she started pulling out the drawers, one after another; the one with spoons, the one with medicines, the one where I keep the coupons, bills and other odds and ends. But lo-and-behold, she could see nothing in the drawers?nothing!

So, the charm worked! I could hardly believe it.

My friend Sabitha's uncle had taught me these magical charms; and here it was?actually working! This uncle was none other than the famous magician P.C. Sorkar's personal assistant who had come to Atlanta to attend my friend's brother's wedding. After the wedding, when we were talking over cups of chai, he heard me grumbling to Sabitha about my kids and the mess they make all around the house. He offered to help and taught me the charms. On my request, he also taught some other charms to help me in my household chores.

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With tingling anticipation, I decided to test the charm again. It was time for Jhani's siesta. It is never easy to make her sleep. I usually have to tell stories, sing rhymes and even devotional songs, and most of the times she is still awake.

But that was all before my newfound powers. Today all I did was say, "SLEEPAMORA". It worked! She closed her eyes letting out a small protesting whimper. As difficult as it is to make her sleep, it is just as bad to wake her up. Later when it was time for her to wake up, I used my counter spell and she was up, fresh as a daisy. This was an important part of my daily routine; or else she would sleep late in the evening, and in turn, late at night.

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Back from school, my son had decorated the living room carpet with his shoes, socks, backpack, snack box, water bottle, his craft projects and much more. Now supremely confident, I closed my eyes to the mess and said "LEVIOSA ARRANGIO" and all the things lifted and arranged themselves in their respective places! Done without my having to bend my delicate back! Amazing!!

Before my senses could make much of it, I had turned into the resident magician of the house. After setting the vacuum cleaner to work in the room and the scrubber to clean the bathtub, I came to the kitchen for some tea, which my dutiful kettle was making. With the cup of tea in my hand, I settled on the sofa.

Tap, tap, tap. A knock on the door. If only I had a house elf! Now, that is asking for too much! I had to drag myself to open the door.

On the way to the door I saw my son's school things strewn all over the floor. I was crestfallen! Didn't, my LEVIOSA charm work? Then I saw my kitchen floor all littered with spoons and plates. The charm, what happened to the charm?!

Well, well?now it came to me. Jhani's humming while playing with the toy house had lulled me to sleep. It was all only a dream. Now Jhani was sleeping on the carpet with Harry Potter firmly clasped in her hand. My son was clicking away on the computer having let himself into the house with his key.

How nice it would have been if all this were real! I stood for a moment recollecting my dream. On hearing the knock on the door again I opened it to let my friend in. She noticed the amused smile on my face. I described to her my wonderful dream even as I bent down to clear the kitchen floor?


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