Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Story Time: The magic pen

September 08, 2018


It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning and I was finishing the last four sums of my maths homework. As I wrote ‘7540 + 1279 = 8819’, my mother said “Here is your salary cheque for Rs8819”.

Amazed at the coincidence, I went on to the next math problem and wrote ‘4100 + 4940 = 9040’. Again my mother suddenly came out of the kitchen and remarked, “Oh, here is your pocket money for this month, Rs9040.”

Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. Maybe if I wrote a huge number it would also come to me in the form of money. ‘No harm in trying,’ I thought to myself and quickly wrote ‘800,000 + 800,000 = 1600,000’.

Strangely enough, on the doorstep outside our house lay Rs1600,000 in nice and crispy notes of Rs5,000! The notes were in a bag with my name printed on it. I showed them to my mother and she said “Well, I guess the money is yours so you can keep it.”

So the next day we went to the bank and put the money in my account. When we came back from the bank, I wrote a subtraction sum ‘500 – 200 = 300’.

We need to learn to be happy ‘in spite’ of things and not because of things

At that very moment, a policeman came to our house and said, “Your driver has been driving above the speed limit. Therefore, we will charge you rupees 300 fine. We gave him 300 rupees and apologised on our driver’s behalf.

After this incident I concluded that these events could not all be coincidental. My sister, was also writing numbers with a different pen, but they were not coming true. Did this mean that I had somehow got hold of a magic pen?

To check this, I took another pen and quickly wrote ‘190 + 190 = 380’. Nothing happened and hours passed. A week went by and nothing at all happened. Eventually I discovered that it was the magic of the pen that made the numbers I wrote become real. It was as if I had been given a strange power where I was writing my own future.

Was this power only mathematical, or would it apply to other domains as well? After a lot of hard thinking I realised by putting two and two together that if math problems were coming true then it was likely that anything I wrote in English with that pen would also come true.

With this thought in mind, I felt no need to think any further and quickly wrote, “Make us richer than anyone else has ever been and more famous then the most famous celebrity.”

Before I had time to think about what this “rich and famous” lifestyle would be, the transformation had already happened.

Our humble home was now a luxurious palace and endless piles of cash lay on the floor along with beautiful designer clothes. The dresses had real diamonds for buttons and were studded with precious jewels all over.

At first our hearts filled with joy at having so many luxuries and finally having the glory of being famous but as a month passed, the happy feeling wore off and boredom took its place. Then boredom gave way to loneliness and this feeling was accompanied by deep depression. We had lost all our freedom and privacy and were always surrounded by media with no time to hug each other and share our worries at the beautiful meals. Now we had not a moment to ourselves without some crowd or the media following us or asking us to sign a book. I longed to get out of my expensive clothes and be in my old pajamas. My new clothes were just the right size, but still did not fit.

When I could not contain my emotions anymore, I went to my mother and cried on her shoulder. I told her all about the magic pen and asked her why I wasn’t happy despite the magic.

My mother patted me on the shoulder and advised me to rewrite my destiny with the magic pen, wishing for everything to be back as it had been. She told me to learn to be happy “in spite” of things and not because of things.

Only partially listening to everything, I ran back to my room, took out the magic pen and set out to change my destiny once again. Unfortunately as I wrote, I found that the ink of my magic pen had run out. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to write. I finally gave up with a heavy heart.

As time went by, I adjusted to the life I had written for myself. The clothes became more comfortable and I learnt to steal some private time before I went to bed daily. I finally realised that there is more magic in the smile on my baby sister’s face than in the most spectacular magician’s trick. I wonder if I will ever stumble upon another magic pen in my life but if I ever do, I will be sure to throw it in the deep, blue sea.

Published in Dawn, Young World, September 8th, 2018