He looked up at the big poster that hung from a big wall.
Standing with his granny in a long queue,
With his little pair of hands he shielded his face
Against the scorching sun’s rays;
The people in the row moved at snail’s pace,
Step by step they finally made it to the ticket counter.
Puttu stood on his toes to see through the semi circular hole,
He saw a big bundle of pink papers and a pair of hands tearing them off.
Granny took two tickets in exchange for some money,
She gave it to Puttu and escorted him out of the line.
Both climbed up the broad, spiral stair case,
This led to a giant glass door next to which stood a tall old man.
Asking for tickets he smiled at Puttu looking down upon him.
He refused first, shaking his head, and looked at granny with an angry face.
Granny gently assured him with a smile and took the tickets from his hands.
Puttu was puzzled to see the oldie tear the ticket in to two like a mad man.
Holding onto granny’s index finger in one hand,
And a pair of half torn tickets in the other;
They stood near a half open door, which seemed like the biggest in the world;
Puttu looked petrified to see such a big wooden door;
He pulled granny’s hand twice and looked up to her,
Granny looking down at him asked “What’s the matter?”
“Is this the gateway to Africa, Ammamma?” He questioned filled with fear.
For this she laughed and told Puttu “You’ll know when you’re inside my dear”.
Rows of chairs with heads popping up here and there,
The hall was partially dark with dim lights but he could clearly see,
“Is this Africa all about? Puttu asked again in a soft voice.
After all, it wasn’t dark or scary as he thought it would be.
Out of nowhere a man surfaced with a big torchlight,
Puttu was almost taken aback and almost anxious
To see him peer into the torn tickets,
After which he led them to the centre row, corner seats.
The chair was comfy and Puttu began to bounce and recline,
The excitement seemed never ending till he saw a huge curtain.
As it lifted up people began to whistle and kids started to clap,
“What’s the big deal?” he thought “It’s just a plain white cloth like his bedspread.”
It completely turned dark followed by the ring of a bell,
He held granny’s hand tightly and granny told “Ssshh! Puttu, just wait and watch”.
Colourful slides appeared on the big screen and there was silence everywhere.
Some titles appeared with music but before Puttu could read they quickly changed.
The screen was covered by a gigantic figure,
It was the enormous African Elephant.
Puttu clapped in total excitement like never before,
He felt like he’d seen it all even though the movie had just begun.
Giraffes, Deer, Snakes, Hyenas and Lions,
Every scene had a surprise in store for him.
Granny helped him by repeating the narration,
He watched with curious eyes, relating to everything, about Africa, he had once heard.
The Cheetahs hunting a herd of Buffaloes,
Ants together building an ant hill,
Hippos lazily basking in the sun and lying in water holes,
Chimpanzees busy in their own world handling their monkey business.
Ostriches stretching those small wings and walking with long legs,
Geckos escaping from Rattle snakes and slipping into holes,
Rhinos running through the wilderness or standing still wagging tiny tails,
And Hyenas laughing over some old joke;
The movie ended with a mustering of storks flying into the sunset.
Three hours just flew past before he even knew,
And the lights came on as the movie came to an end.
He looked at Ammamma with an enlightened smile.
“Let’s go Ammmamma” he said pulling her towards the screen.
Ammamma said “The exit is on the other side Puttu, not that way.”
Instantly a reply came from Puttu’s lil lips, it left Ammamma thinking.
He told “Now let’s go and meet the animals behind that big, white bedspread”.