“Really!” said Sana excitedly. “You are taking me to the mall, aren’t you?”
“Yes!” said her mum.
Sana was a nine-year-old girl, well-behaved but very shy. She had no siblings and was an only child of her parents, but she did have a few friends. Her mother was going to take her to the mall the next day to reward her for securing the third position in the class.
Sana woke up early the next morning, and quickly got ready after breakfast. Sana and her mum then took the bus to the new, huge mall located in an upscale part of the city. The first shop they went to was a huge garment shop with different sections for men, women and children wear. Sana’s mother wanted to buy some suits for herself so she looked around in women’s section. Sana was getting bored so she decided to play hide and seek with her mum.
“Mum, can you find me? I’m here!” said Sana as she peeked from behind a row of stitched shirts. But the woman who turned to look at Sana was not her mother. Sana was startled. She looked here and there but could not find her mother. She became terrified!
She went running towards the ‘Exit’ thinking that her mother might have gone out to look for her. But as she stepped out, she remembered that her mother had taught her never to leave the mall without her. Sana stepped back.
Suddenly, a woman stopped her. The woman said, “You are lost, aren’t you dear child? Don’t worry dear, I know your mother. Let me take you to her. Come along with me.”
Sana was about to go with the woman when she remembered her mother’s advice “Never go anywhere with a stranger!” Sana ran away from the woman in the opposite direction.
She was really scared now and a few tears started trickling down her cheeks. A salesman in blue uniform standing behind a counter stopped her.
“Are you lost?” he asked her. Sana nodded. “Did you come with your father or your mother?” was his next question.
Sana informed him that she had come with her mother. First he calmed Sana down by making her sit on a chair near the counter and giving her a glass of water. Then he asked Sana her name and her mother’s phone number.
Being so afraid and nervous, Sana had trouble remembering her mother’s number, but in the third attempt she recalled the number correctly. The salesman dialled the number.
Meanwhile, Sana’s mum had been searching for Sana anxiously. When she saw a call from an unknown number she froze. She thought that Sana had been kidnapped and that the kidnapper was calling to talk about the ransom. When she answered the call, the kind voice on the other side made her relax.
Five minutes later, the mother and daughter were happily united. Tears of joy flowed down both the faces. Sana promised her mother that she would never leave her side whenever they go out of the house.
Having relaxed a bit, Sana suddenly realised she was hungry and turned to her mother, “I’m hungry mum! May we please have biryani from the food court?”
“Of course!” said her mother.
And readers, it is very important that you should always know your parents’ phone numbers. And don’t go anywhere with a stranger.
Published in Dawn, Young World, January 6th, 2018