My kid is grown-up. He is an architect and stays in London. But at home in Delhi we always have a lot of kids coming in and going out yelling, shouting, playing hide-and-seek, pretending to be imaginary characters, and writing.


Well, yes, I ask them all to sit with their notebooks and pencils and then we first talk about the stories that they can think of, give them some shape, and then they write. Most are adventure stories with characters picked from movies and books that they have read. And then one day when I happened to buy a few packs of Colgate, I discovered stories on the inside of these packs. I showed them to these kids and said, ‘We are going to cut them, arrange them, and see if there is a story there.’

‘Sounds exciting!’ said Armstrong. Armstrong? I haven’t mentioned this yet, but we have given names to them all and so there is Armstrong who wins arm-wrestling all the time, there is Goofy who is forever slipping and falling, Cutter who loves to shred all our newspapers, Mutter mumbles instead of speaking loudly, and there is then there is Beauty who falls asleep every time there is a writing task.

So here is the wonderful story that Cutter, Mutter, Armstrong, Beauty, and Goofy thought of after we had snipped, cut, fixed, and arranged all the characters from not one but three Colgate packs.

Venture into adventure

01_The space lesson

01_The space lesson

Goofy suggested the title of this part because he always managed to find words that snuggled into other words.

‘Adventure is such a goofy word,’ said Armstrong, ‘so funny that venture is inside it.’

‘That’s right,’ I said, ‘and there is no space without adventure.’

‘I think there is no adventure without space,’ replied Mutter. He was so right. It was Cutter who told us first that the figures were of the galaxy and so must be arranged properly. Beauty was searching something on the laptop after she saw the others create the first set.

‘What are you doing, Beauty?’ I asked.

‘I love Venus,’ she said, ‘look what I’ve found’.  We listened as she read out that Venus fancied rotating in the opposite direction to most planets. That mars was also called the ‘red planet’… and that the Sun is mostly Helium.

Goofy pointed to Saturn and asked, ‘Why is Mars called the red planet?’ Beauty said it was because it had red oxide. Then she noticed that he did not seem to understand this and added, ‘That’s chemistry, Goofy. And our planets have a lovely chemistry between them. They don’t harm each other.’

I was happy to hear her comment on the chemistry between planets and then pointing to a comet, told them that the tail that they had was full of dust and ice crystals whenever they were near the Sun.

‘I want adventure,’ muttered Mutter.

‘Then you be the Astronaut, Mutter,’ said Armstrong, ‘you are thin and gravity won’t affect so as much as it would affect me.’

Adventure needs preparation

02_The adventure begins

02_The adventure begins

The kids were excited to hop on to the next set where there was a rocket blasting off, a space station, and an astronaut wearing a space suit.

Mutter began breathing noisily to show us that he was actually inside a space suit and breathing oxygen that was coming through the tubes there. He even showed us his favourite moon walk that he was anyway an expert at.

‘A space suit weighs 12 kilograms,’ I said, reading out from a little note inside those packs, and added, ‘and has 113 layers of material.’

‘Why is that?’ asked Cutter.

Beauty frantically searched on the net and replied, ‘This suit must not tear because of pressure and must protect the astronaut.’

Armstrong, who had been quiet for some time, got up and brought two pule blocks and placed them one on top of the other. He then asked me to get the Gargoyle that I had on my book-shelf and perched it on top of the blocks.

‘What is this?’ asked Cutter.

‘This is preparation for an adventure,’ said Armstrong, ‘We don’t know who we will meet in space and so we must be prepared. All the time.’

Beauty smiled appreciatively. Goofy and Mutter clapped their hands and shouted, ‘The adventure begins! We are now prepared to fight the aliens.’

What they did to the alien

03_This alien has bad breath

03_This alien has bad breath

The third set had an alien and the kids were thrilled. The UFO was closely examined by all and so was Rover, the space exploration vehicle.

Beauty suddenly said, ‘I have my story.’

‘Let’s hear it from you then,’ I said.

‘The alien was going shopping for food when he saw Mutter trying to enter the space exploration vehicle. The alien thought Mutter would be good food for many days and came down to capture him,’ said Beauty, and then paused, ‘I am not sure of what happened next.’

‘I know,’ shouted Armstrong, ‘Mutter pulled out his laser gun and shot him dead. And then towed his UFO to Earth where it was kept in a museum.’

Goofy wasn’t impressed. He said, ‘But why kill the alien? Why not capture him alive. Then we’d have a real alien to see here on Earth.’

Well, Cutter had been listening all this while and asked if he could add to the story.

‘Go ahead,’ I said.

‘The alien had bad breath,’ he said hesitatingly, ‘and Mutter simply offered a new tooth-brush and his tube of Colgate to brush his teeth.’

Beauty clapped her hands, ‘This is so much better. The alien was impressed at having lost that foul smell that always tailed him. And then he smiled.’

Mutter who wasn’t happy about him having to kill someone, was now pleased and said, ‘and then I asked him come with me to Earth.’

‘Sounds good,’ I said, ‘let us allow the alien to fly his own UFO and follow you back to earth in peace.’

There was excited pause and it seemed that everyone was busy reliving this adventure in their own mind. I said, ‘Now it is time for you to go home and we’ll think of a new space adventure with these cut-out figures tomorrow.’




Note: I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.




Arvind Passey
10 March 2017