Kaku and Lal Hawa
Kaku lived in a small village called Chhoti Dadi. The village had a
small school. Everyday Kaku had to walk from his little hut at one end
of the village to the primary school near the village well. On his way
to school, he passed through green paddy fields, the village lake and
the old Ram Lila ground.
All his friends, be it dreamy Jhunjhunu, colorful Pinaki or talkative
Tachi, did not like walking to school.
But Kaku loved the long walk to school. He had made a new friend on
Sun or rain, Kaku would walk to school. Kaku's mother was very happy
that he loved school so much. She did not know about her son's BIG new
friend. Kaku had told no one.
No one knew why he loved walking past the green paddy fields, the
village lake and the old Ram Lila ground to reach school. No one knew
Kaku's little BIG secret on the way to school. Kaku wanted to keep this
friend a secret. He thought his friends might make fun of him.
Every morning Kaku got up before the neighbour's cock could bellow
its loud and shrill cuck-a-doo-coo.
Kaku would be ready in his neatly ironed blue and mustard-coloured
school uniform, eagerly waiting for his tiffin box.
As soon as he got his favourite rice idlis and coconut chutney, he
would run out of the house. Kaku left home as early as 6.30 in the
morning to meet his friend, whom he called Lal Hawa.
As he crossed the paddy fields, the soft chuk-chuk sound greeted Kaku.
Kaku was the happiest when he heard Lal Hawa coming.
Kaku knew that he got the best view of Lal Hawa from a small mud hill
near the village lake. As the chuk-chuk sound got louder Kaku walked
faster. He knew the trick.
He timed his running with the chuk-chuk sound of Lal Hawa. On every
chuk-chuk of Lal Hawa, Kaku took a swift step forward through the paddy
fields towards the lake.
Kaku knew the exact point when the red, speeding Lal Hawa would
whistle. Now, with practice, he could match his whistle with the loud
whistle of Lal Hawa. Kaku knew, Lal Hawa said, "Hello", in her language
when she whistled.
Kaku whistled back, welcoming Lal Hawa. He ran through the paddy
field doing chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-koooooooooooooo...
As he reached the lake, in a moment, the huge engine came towards
him. As Lal Hawa approached, a powerful wind started blowing. Kaku's
hair flew from his forehead into his eyes. His blue and mustard school
like a kite flying in the morning sky.
Standing on the small hill, Kaku saw Lal Hawa become bigger and
bigger. In seconds, Lal Hawa covered the whole blue sky as it chugged
Kaku was jumping with joy. He clapped and waved as Lal Hawa
chuk-chuk-ed past him. He waved till the very end. Small-unknown hands
waved back from the windows of Lal Hawa. As Kaku's eyes followed the red
train, he saw small hands waving at him.
He ran along with Lal Hawa waving back at the small hands.
Kaku could not believe how fast Lal Hawa could run. He was sure Lal
Hawa had magic wheels. In seconds Lal Hawa could cross him and his big
Kaku loved meeting Lal Hawa everyday. He liked the red colour, the
fast moving wheels, the waving windows and the chuk-chuk sound, as it
Kaku prayed every night for Lal Hawa to stop at his village just
once. One day he asked his schoolteacher if Lal Hawa could stop at
Kaku's schoolteacher laughed loudly and told him that their village
was too small for the big and mighty Lal Hawa. Disheartened Kaku decided
to ask Amma, his mother, the same question. In the evening, Amma said, "Kaku,
just as you want to meet Lal Hawa, even Lala Hawa will want to stop her
one day and meet you." Kaku put his arms around Amma and kissed her.
Kaku had made big plans for the day when Lal Hawa would stop at
Chotti Dadi. Kaku dreamt of flying on the fast wheels of Lal Hawa.
He imagined he was waving at Amma, Jhunjhunu, Pinaki, Tachi and his
He also saved three idlis everyday for the small hands that waved at
him from Lal Hawa.
But Lal Hawa never stopped. Every day, Lal Hawa raced past the
village lake, leaving Kaku on the small mud hill. He had to sit and
finish the idlis alone. Seeing Kaku unhappy, one day Kaku's mother told
his friends Jhunjhunu, Pinaki and Tachi to walk to school with Kaku.
Kaku knew he would miss seeing Lal Hawa because his friends walked to
school through a shorter way. Kaku asked Amma if he could walk to school
alone for just one more day, and see Lal Hawa one last time.
Amma agreed, and explained to Kaku that when he was older he could go
to the big station in town to meet Lal Hawa.
The next morning, a pleasant breeze welcomed Kaku as he walked to
school. He went past the green paddy fields, the village lake and the
old Ram Lila ground. Kaku walked slowly. He was sad.
Today was the last time he would wave at Lal Hawa. As he walked, he
heard the distant sound of Lal Hawa ....chuk-chuk-chuk. Kaku started
walking faster. Like always, he started running to the beat of Lal
Hawa's chuck-chuk and started whistling "cooooo: just like Lal hawa
He could see big and mighty Lal Hawa approaching as he reached the
small hill. It was fast and red. Kaku closed his eyes and started
praying that Lal Hawa, his dear friend, would stop.
The powerful breeze that blew every time lal Hawa came, stopped.
Kaku's eyes were still closed but his ears could not hear the chuk-chuk
of Lal Hawa. Startled, he opened his eyes. There, right in front of him,
Lal Hawa, so red and so big, had stopped. Kaku could not believe it. He
closed his eyes shut and opened them, quickly.
That's when he heard the noise coming from the village. Everyone was
running towards Lal Hawa, shouting and cheering. He could see his
schoolteacher, Amma, Tachi, Jhunjhunu, Pinaki and the old retired
railway guard hurrying towards Lal Hawa. Lal Hawa had stopped at Chhoti
Dadi and was waiting for Kaku to meet her.
Lal Hawa whistled aloud, Kaku laughed and whistled back. Quickly, he
picked up his tiffin box with the idlis and coconut chutney and climbed
onto Lal Hawa. And, just then, as if it had been waiting just for for
Kaku, Lal Hawa chuk-chuked again. The slow chuk-chuk sound became faster
and by the time Amma reached the train tracks, Lal Hawa was flying on
magic wheels with Kaku was in it. Amma smiled. She had tears in her eyes
seeing Kaku so happy. From a window, Kaku waved at everyone. Lal Hawa
was flying and so was Kaku!