Deepa Agarwal (Children's World)

Deepa Agarwal



Vinny blew hard on her whistling lollipop, but nothing happened. She tried again. But not even the teeniest meeniest squeak came from it.

  ‘The old man cheated me!’ she wailed. ‘He said this was a whistling lollipop!’

  A short and chubby ten-year-old, Vinny had two bunches of curls sticking out of her head like a pair of squiggly antennae.  She loved sweets and just that afternoon she’d bought a big bag of lollipops.

  ‘Verr-ree special lollipops!’ the wrinkled shopkeeper had said. Vinny thought he meant extra yummy. But the very first one turned out to be a dud.

  She was about to crunch the lollipop up in disgust when she heard a big BANG like an enormous cracker going off.

  ‘Help! He-lp!’ Vinny shrieked. ‘There’s a bomb in this lollipop!’

  ‘Please!’ someone said. ‘Must you yell so loud? It hurts—my ears are so sensitive!’

  Slow-ly Vinny turned around.

 A strange man stood there. He had a long mournful face and a long curly moustache and was wearing a pair of shiny harem pants with a round cap perched on his head.

  ‘Who are you?’ Vinny asked, astonished. ‘Where did you come from? And you made a really loud noise too.’

 ‘Madam,’ the man said, bowing, ‘I’m the Djinn of the Whistling Lollipop and your wish is my command.’

  Vinny gaped at him. ‘The Djinn of the Whistling Lollipop! What a joke!’

  ‘These modern kids!’ the man rolled his eyes. ‘Believe me, I am the Djinn of the Whistling Lollipop. If you make a wish, I will fulfill it. Ask for whatever you want.’

   ‘You can fulfill a wish? But this is not a whistling lollipop—it didn’t whistle.’

 ‘Ah…It does whistle, but you can’t hear it,’ said the Djinn. ‘Only I can.’

  Vinny stared at the man. Whoops! He wasn’t standing on the ground but sort of floating above it.  A real Djinn! But what should she wish for?

  Just then an ice creamwala yelled from down the road, ‘Aai—ce-ka-ream!’

  ‘Ice cream!’ Vinny cried. ‘Lots and lots of ice cream—in all the flavours possible!’

  ‘Ice cream? No palaces or gold or jewels?’ the Djinn frowned.

  ‘No thanks,’ said Vinny virtuously. ‘I’m not that greedy.’

  ‘As you wish!’ And he vanished with a flash and a bang.

   Within a second the Djinn returned with an ENORMOUS freezer. Written on it were the words—ZOOPER  HEXTRAORDINARY ICE CREAM PVT. LTD. INC. ALL FLAVOURS POSSIBLE.

  ‘Here you are, madam!’ he said with another bow. ‘All the flavours possible!’ He sounded almost cheerful and if Vinny had been listening, she’d have noticed.

  But she was already charging at the freezer, grabbing as many ice creams as she could in two hands. She was worried that they might disappear as suddenly as they’d appeared.

   The Djinn’s moustache quivered as he watched her. Then he vanished.

   Vinny was too busy to notice. She was digging into: Super-Duper Yumma-licious Vanilla, Slurpy Scrumptious Strawberry, and Choco-bloc-Chic-Choc. She was also trying to slurp up Riotous Red Rose and Plangent Pulpy Passion Fruit at the same time.

  She was setting a record for being the fastest ice cream eater in the world too, already having sampled 29 different ice creams in just 9 minutes. What a time she was having! The ice cream ran down her chin as she slurped it as fast as she could. There were so many flavours to try! It dribbled onto her dress, onto the floor in sticky pools. Some even got onto the walls and the ceiling.

  But she’d asked for ALL the flavours possible...

  So, after she had licked her way through 55 flavours, she got to Toothsome Tickly Toffee, which was toothsome, but also horribly tickly. So, it was tickle-and-laugh, tickle-and-laugh, till she was quite tired. It didn’t stop her from reaching out for the next one—Jiggly Jumping Jiggleberry. That made her bounce like a football with a merry jingle inside her tummy! But she just said, ‘Oops! I’m (jingle) sure the n-ext(jingle) will be all right.’

  The next turned out to be Itchy Icky Ickream, so it was nothing but scratch-scratch and SCRATCH-SCRATCH.  Quickly, Vinny reached out for the next one and got Yucky Yaller Yamba.

  ‘YUCK!’ she screamed. ‘This can’t be—yice cream!’

  To get rid of the horrible taste she grabbed another. Unluckily it was Pukey Pinko Pie!

  ‘Yukko! Ack-thh-ooo!’ she yelled.

   Frantic, she put her hand in the freezer and pulled out—Rrevolting Rizzky Rizzberry. True to its name, it was rrevolting!

  ‘Ggakk-kk!’ Vinny croaked.

  Just then her eye fell on the half-sucked lollipop she’d thrown down on the table. Immediately, she put it into her mouth to get rid of the horrible taste. And without realizing—she blew on it.

  BANG! FLASH! The Djinn reappeared. For a moment Vinny was flummoxed. Then she yelled, ‘Take them away! All of them!’

  ‘All of them?’ The Djinn raised an eyebrow.

  ‘Yes! ALL!’ she shouted. ‘AT ONCE!’

  ‘AT once,’ replied the Djinn, lifting the huge freezer as though it was as light as a feather. He turned to remark cheerily, before he vanished, ‘You did say, “All the flavours possible.”’

  ‘Phew!’ Vinny breathed. ‘Thank God, it’s all gone!’

  But the yucky taste in her mouth hadn’t gone. And no matter how much she rinsed and gargled it remained. Worse, her tummy began to twist and turn in the most horrible way possible. 

  ‘Ow-ooohh!’ Vinny groaned.

She picked up the bag of lollipops sitting on the table and was about to hurl it out of the window in a rage, when she saw two little girls picking rags from the rubbish heap outside. And from somewhere a thought floated into her head—quite an unusual thought for her.

  So, she walked out of the house and handed the bag to them. ‘Take these,’ she said, trying to smile. ‘Enjoy!’

  Surprised, the girls hesitantly took the bag, and smiled back.

Hope they ask for gold and palaces, Vinny thought. Then she got a surprise too. The Pukey, Yucky, Rrevolting taste vanished. So did her tummy-ache!



Bio Note: Deepa Agarwal

Deepa Agarwal -- Author, poet and translator, Deepa Agarwal writes for both children and adults and has over 60 books published. A frequent contributor to magazines and journals in India and abroad, she has edited and compiled several anthologies. She received the N.C.E.R.T. National Award for Children’s Literature for Ashok’s New Friends, Caravan to Tibet was on the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Honour List 2008, Journey to the Forbidden City on the Parag Honour List 2020 and shortlisted for the Neev Book Award, Kashmir! Kashmir! on the Parag Honour List 2021, while Forgotten Kaleidoscopes was shortlisted for the PVLF Best Poetry Award.

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