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Title: "Enchanted Gaze"

Updated: Jan 21



Sasha!! Sasha!! Sasha!! her mother called thrice. No reply. Sasha had hidden herself in the cellar playing with her doll Bhuvana. This was the doll that her uncle Ramu secretly got from India, and Sasha had never shown her parents the doll because she followed Ramu's strict instructions. Since the day her uncle gifted Bhuvana to Sasha, she lost interest in the outside world, choosing to spend her playtime exclusively in the mysterious depths of the cellar. It had been 15 days since Bhuvana became Sasha's secret companion, and she managed to keep her clandestine rendezvous unnoticed.

Today, Sasha found herself engrossed in examining Bhuvana's delicate features. As she meddled with the doll's eyelashes, a peculiar word escaped her lips - "glass." Suddenly, an inexplicable sensation tingled in her eyes. It felt as if a mischievous insect had alighted on her eyelids, but when she rubbed her eyes, nothing changed. The sensation persisted, prompting Sasha to inspect Bhuvana's eyelashes once more. To her astonishment, they had transformed into glass

.

Questions raced through Sasha's mind. Why had the once hair-like strands turned into glass? What mysterious connection tied her eyelashes to Bhuvana's? Overwhelmed with a mix of shock and delight, Sasha longed to see her own eyes.


Summoning courage, she ascended the stairs with heavy feet, her chest heaving. Emerging from the cellar's darkness, the light revealed Bhuvana's multicolored glass eyelashes, shimmering like a secret whispered in the language of colors. "Hey Bhuvana, it looks good on you. Let me see mine," Sasha whispered.


In the drawing-room, a tall mirror stood, crowned with a bold proclamation: "Am I Smart?" The words taunted Sasha as each letter appeared to dance before her glass-laden gaze. She stared at her eyelids, opening and shutting her eyes repeatedly, marveling at the glass eyelashes that adorned them. Sasha saw herself in the mirror - smarter, prettier, and transformed into something akin to a living doll.


"Mummy, mummy!" Sasha joyously bounded into the kitchen. Her mother turned, greeted by Sasha's radiant smile and the spectacle of colored eyelids. "Hoy, hoy, you just look like Savitha, Ramu's daughter, my loving niece. What magic played on you?" her mother exclaimed in a mix of happiness and shock.

Sasha handed Bhuvana to her mother, and Lalitha, overcome with nostalgia, embraced the little doll. Memories flooded her mind - her tenth birthday, the weird uncle, and the magical gift that had followed her through life. She recalled her childhood in Indore, the move to Bengaluru, her marriage to Deepak, and the subsequent journey to the US.


The complete incident flashed picture by picture in front of her eyes.  That day was her tenth birthday and she was playing in her velvet red new frock that had laces and tassels on the frills, on a cemented street, in front of Indore's house with friends, when all of a sudden from nowhere appeared a tall figure who looked rather weird. Lalitha was scared in the gut and she slowly slid away without her friends noticing into her gate and ran to the backyard of the house. 


To her utter shock, the lean-handed, tall, weird fellow followed her to the backyard and sat on those rock stairs that lay right in front of the big, black, backdoor. "Lalli, lalli, come, take this ... this is for you...Don't tell anybody...this doll has a magical side too and it can change the colors and texture of your eyelashes, whenever you wish to do so... Don't tell your parents... I am your uncle...Your mom's oldest brother... Nobody in the family remembers me as I had run away to Poona in my childhood. Therein Poona, all through my life, I learned the art of doll making by a Japanese guru Domrato, and have been selling for years". That day, Lalitha hugged her uncle, thanked him, and loved Bhuvana more than any of her friends and relatives. Though obsessed with the doll, she took extra care not to show bhuvana to anybody at home or with friends. after playing to her heart's content, she left the doll in a cement hole and covered that with a lid, in the back garden of the Indore house...

 

Now, an ophthalmologist, Lalitha pondered the mystical connection between Bhuvana's glass eyelashes and her changing eye colors.  She wanted to research, explore, and discover...The realization dawned that her long-lost uncle, a wanderer who had learned the art of doll-making in Pune, had left an enchanting legacy that transcended time and space.



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