Seven-year-old Avika lived in a vibrant Mumbai neighborhood, bustling with honking vehicles, loud vendors, and lively chatter. She was captivated by playing games on her tablet and watching cartoons on TV, mesmerized by the glowing screen and its animated contents.
One stormy afternoon, a power outage plunged Avika into boredom, leaving her frowning at her now-useless screens.
Soon, the storm subsided into a gentle rain.
“Now what?” Aika wondered. Her feelings were a blend of irritation and unexpected excitement.
Her grandmother, knitting nearby, chuckled, “Back in my day, Avika, we only had our imagination and the outdoors, not gadgets.”
Avika, puzzled, asked her grandma, “What did you do all day?”
Her grandmother, eyes twinkling, said, “Let’s go outside.”
Together, they strolled through lively, rain-kissed roads. Avika relished the cool rain on her skin, the petrichor, and the nearby samosa aromas. A gentle breeze tousled her hair. They reached a park alive with children’s laughter and puddle splashes.
Her grandmother suggested Avika make a paper boat for puddle play.
Avika’s eyes sparkled. “A paper boat? Let’s try!”
Avika repeatedly folded the paper, furrowing her brows.
“It doesn’t look right, Grandma,” she sighed.
“Try again, Avika,” Grandmother reassured. “You’re almost there.”
Avika’s first attempt at a paper boat looked more like a crumpled hat. With her grandmother’s guidance, she finally made it sail-worthy.
Avika set her boat afloat. “Go, little boat, go!” she cheered.
Children from the neighborhood joined her, exchanging papers to craft paper boats. A boy with a green cap approached. “Can I join your race?” he asked shyly.
Avika nodded eagerly, “Sure! The more, the merrier! Let’s have a race!”
Children clustered around puddles, launching boats on adventurous journeys amid laughter and cheers.
“We’re all captains,” Avika declared.
“Ready, set, go!” echoed the group, eyes on the racing boats.
“Let the waves be your guide,” her grandmother cheered.
Avika joyfully launched her boat into the puddle, exclaiming, “I’m really doing it, Grandma!” as it sailed away.
Avika’s colorful boat skimmed the puddle, rippling the water. She jumped, exclaiming, “My boat’s the champion!”
The braided-haired girl proposed, “Let’s race again! I’ve improved my boat.”
As race followed race, the children’s laughter and cheers filled the air. Avika discovered this real-life fun surpassed any video game.
As day closed, Avika shared her paper-boat race experience.
“I didn’t miss my TV or phone,” she beamed.
“Real adventures often outshine screen ones, Avika,” her father replied.
Avika, captivated by her new world of creativity, friendship, and adventure, dreamed of fun-filled ocean voyages with friends. In bed, she didn’t miss TV or phone. Her mind was alive with the day’s memories and tomorrow’s potential. She embraced a new way of engaging with life. She chose to live fully present, embracing real-life experiences and connections.
In Mumbai’s unpredictable and frequent rainy days, playing with paper boats in puddles became Avika’s favorite game. This experience inspired her to become a successful marine biologist — a career she attributes to those sans screen, rainy day adventures.
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