The Black Box MYSTERY!

The Black Box MYSTERY!

The Black Box MYSTERY!

“It was a large, black box. Funny-looking, nothing like we’d ever seen before. It sat in the middle of the hall, with us making a small ring around it, at a respectful distance. We surveyed it in awe and reverence. It was a new invention, fashionably modern, and said to do wonderful things.
We were all afraid to touch it, all except Vinnu, who had studied until class eight, and was proud of his English education. With great bravado, he announced to everyone that he would get it started. After, he was the only one with sufficient knowledge, and even old grandfather, who usually growled at everyone who spoke before him, kept silent, recognizing the newfangled contraption as something beyond his generation. He handed over the reigns to his rather smug grandson, and awaited the miracle like everyone else.

Vinnu made a great show about his nonchalance, but his shaking fingers betrayed him, as he nervously twiddled with the many dials and buttons on the box. Nothing happened for a while, and we younger cousins sniggered behind our hands, making the most of this opportunity. He looked around sheepishly, wondering what to do, when all of a sudden, the box jumped to life.

He backed away quickly, surprised by it’s sudden vivacity, and looked pleased with himself, even if a little puzzled. It emitted loud noises, sounds that seemingly did not belong in this world. It was all shrieks and high-pitched groans, until we detected a voice underneath all that madness.

A soft voice, barely audible in the undercurrent, it became louder and more insistent by the second. The fearsome noises finally died down, and we heard a voice, emanating from the box, loud and clear.

It was like magic. That little black, fearsome-looking box was pouring forth a sweet melody, and we were absolutely stunned. It was a marvel! There was surely some magic at work here, that we could hear that divine voice singing, and not see anyone but this magic box. 

We were awestruck and silent when the singing stopped, too amazed to speak. It was old grandfather who broke the silence. ‘It’s one of those little people.’

His face was set in certainty, confident that he had, at last, figured out this puzzling little box. We wore puzzled expressions, wondering if old grandfather had finally gone round the bend. He explained a little impatiently, irritated that we had not immediately appreciated his genius.

‘You know, like those tiny people that we saw with the travelling circus, but even smaller.
They have got one of them to live in this box. That’s where the singing is coming from. Of course, they are resting now.’

Our parents’ faces now lit up in understanding. Of course, they were convinced old grandfather was right. There were marvellous things one could do in this new, modern world. All those long thread-like things attached to the box were probably to feed the little singers inside. How clever! They murmured appreciatively, nodding to each other, no longer awed or puzzled by the box, but merely tolerant, and even fond of it. It was now a part of their world, as they knew it. 

Cousin Vinnu, who had felt left out with grandfather stealing the show, cleared his throat loudly. He looked around to see if he had caught everyone’s attention, and said loudly in his best baritone, imitating as well as he could, the circus-master’s tone
‘If you please, kind sir, we would like to hear you once again if you have rested enough.’
He sat back smugly, and everyone held their breath. There was a soft crackling noise, and funnily enough, the black box started singing again.”

 “What a funny story, grandpa! Didn’t you know it was a radio?”
I look down at my little granddaughter who is amused at my little story, who now looks incredulous that such a humdrum radio could ever have been of interest to anyone. 
“No, my dear, we didn’t know what it was, just something new and exciting.”
It was absolutely magical.

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