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By Aarya Neawasekar, Class 5, Oakridge International School, Hyderabad

Tring  Tring! I ran downstairs to pick up the phone. "Hi Aarya, do you want to come to the zoo with me? My mom will take us there." It was Ruby, my friend. "Ruby, why don't you call your mom and I'll call mine." I said. "Fine." said Ruby

"Mommmm." Both of us screamed at the top of our voices. After sometime our phone call was successful. After sometime we were at the zoo and infront of the elephant enclosure. When  the grownups weren't looking, Ruby and me wandered closer and closer and before we knew it we were lost. We couldn't find our way back so we decided to split up. I don't know if Ruby found her mom or her way out because she didn't come back. I didn't know what to do so I just sat looking at the elephants. Suddenly, there was a security guard shouting at everyone that it was time for the zoo to be closed. I was so mesmerised by the elephants that the next thing I knew was that I was locked up in the zoo!

There was an eerie silence. I was scared out of my wits. Suddenly, something soft and wet touched my shoulder. A chill ran down my spine. Then I heard a voice. "Hi, my name is Alise. What's yours?" said a humongous elephant. "Y-you c-can t-t-talk?" I stammered. "We can talk only when there are no humans around." Alise whispered. "But, I am a human too." I said puzzled. "Yeah, but you seem like you love animals. Don't you?" Alise asked. "Yeah, I love animals a lot. Especially elephants. By the way, my name is Aarya." I replied. Suddenly, I felt something lifting me up and then the thing put me down with a thud. I looked around and noticed that I was on Alise's back! "Don't be scared. You are perfectly fine up there. Now I'll show you our secret place." assured Alise. "Well you can put me down." I said. Alise held me in her trunk and put me down. "Come along." Alise said. As we moved it got darker and darker. (Did I ever mention that I am not a really big fan  of the dark?) I held on to Alise's trunk. "Are we there y-yet?" I asked every now and then. We kept  walking for so long that I got really hungry. I could really do with a large pizza with mushroom, swiss and mozzarela cheese on top. Have you ever tasted it? It's the best thing I ever tasted yummmm! 

I was still thinking about it when I heard Alise say "We are here." Finally, I thought, as I sat down. Then I heard a squeak "Hey, watch where you are sitting!" I ran back to Alise. I was relieved to see that the squeak belonged to a rodent. "Human! Alise you brought a human!" All the animals shouted. "Guys cool down." Alise tried to cool them down. Just then a Toco Toucan perched on my shoulder.  He looked at me for a while then he exclaimed, "Hey guys..." But he stopped as the King Lion had entered. "Human!" He boomed "Everyone clearly knows that I hate humans" He added. Alise tried to explain "Sire, she is..." "Hold it there Alise. I want to here from Toco himself who is perched on her shoulder." The King commanded. The Toco Toucan flew and landed on the ground and then the King and the Toco Toucan began a long conversation in some weird language. No one paid attention to it except Alise. Two tigers, I guess who were twins or atleast looked like twins marched up to me. "My name is Ferocious" said one tiger. "Mine is Fiercesome. We are twins." said the other. I didn't say anything. It's not my fault. I was just too scared. Suddenly, both of them leapt on me! "Why did you come here?" Both the tigers asked. "W-well I-I was l-lost. T-then A-Alise b-brought m-me h-here." I said turning as pale as mozzarela cheese. I looked at them for a while. Though their names were Ferocious and Fiercesome, they weren't ferocious or fierce-some. I wasn't scared now so I said "Guys aren't you forgetting something?" "What?" They growled in unison.  "Where are both of you standing?" I said. "Oops sorry." Both of them said in unison again. They let go of me. "Everyone, gather here the king has a message." called a voice. I knew that voice...

Yes! It belonged to the Toco Toucan. All the animals gathered near the King and the Toco Toucan. "Everyone, the human who we have as a visitor is friendly and loves animals." said the King. "We want proof, we want proof!" Demanded the rest of the crowd. "Tweet, tweet. Why don't we allow Toco to tell us?" chirped in a little blue bird. There was pindrop silence. "Better, now here's the proof. If the human did not love animals, how in the universe would she get on so well with Alise and how would she let me perch on her shoulder." said Toco, what I guess was his name. Everyone thought for a while and then said "We agree with the King and Toco!" I smiled. "We are sorry about what we did." apologised the Tiger twins. "It's fine." I said. "Welcome to our world, human. By the the way what's your name?" said The King. "Thanks for letting me join you all tonight and my name is Aarya. I also wanted to ask you why do you hate humans?" I said. "Humans have destroyed our habitats in the forest but some nice humans brought us here and made us a natural habitat. But, the people who come to visit us don't let us live in peace. They make noise, feed us stuff which makes us sick." The King ended. I felt guilty. I looked down. There was a pool of water. It took time for me to guess where it came from. That's when I realized that all the other animals were crying and their tears formed the pool. After a couple  of minutes of silent sobs, I heard a voice say..."Ok, let's get back to work now. Now will you help us clean up our enclosures and the rest of the place? After that we can enjoy." asked Toco the Toucan. "Clean? What do you mean by that?" I asked. "Clean the mess of the people who come and visit us." said Alise. "I sure will." I said.  "Grab whatever you can find. A bucket, a mop, a broom and lets clean this place up!" The King commanded. Everyone grabbed whatever they could find and ran forward as if they were going for a war.

Then I spotted a broom and a dustpan. So, I picked them up and began cleaning. When the place was as clean as I could manage, we all went back to the secret place. "Good cleaning everyone. Now it's time to enjoy!" said Toco wiping the sweat off his feathers. Me and Alise decided to visit a movie theater. "What movie are we going to watch?" I asked curiosusly. "I don't know either .We'll just check it out." Alise replied. At the front door Alise handed two tickets and we went in. We sat in the last row. "I'll go get you some popcorn and lemonade and get myself sugarcane juice and some bananas. You sit right here and don't let anyone take my place." said Alise. Just as the movie was going to begin Alise rushed in with popcorn, a glass of lemonade, bananas and sugarcane juice. The movie was awesome at the beginning. It was about animals. It featured many prehistoric animals too .But, I guess the climax was made to teach us humans a lesson. My eyes were glued to the screen." Animals are a very important part of nature. But, because of the misdeeds of the humans they are heading towards extinction. Polluting water with trash and oil spills kill many fish and and birds." Flared the screen. I sipped my lemonade and continued to watch. "Air, noise and land pollution impacts land animals. Humans use animals for their own comfort and don't consider animals ,trees and forests as living things. Can you imagine a world without animals?" After that the screen went blank and the lights clicked on. Everyone got up and went out. As soon as we went outside I told Alise to gather everyone because there was an announcement to make. After everyone was there I began "After I watched the ending of the movie I felt really guilty and I am really sorry from my side and all the other humans." I said. "We forgive you. But, not the others." The rest of them said.     

I yawned. It was a peculiar day and it was time to get some goodnight's sleep. "Is it bedtime?" I asked. "It sure is." said the rest. Everyone went back to their enclosures. I simply followed Alise to her enlosure and lay down beside her. "Do you want to hear a ghost story?" Alise asked. "I sure do. But, not such a scary one." I replied back. "Ok here's a funny one. Once upon a time there was this ghost called Silly ghost. He was scared of his own voice. One day he went to a little girl's bedroom and then he saw his reflection and he got so scared that he ran into a cave, blocked the cave's entrance and stayed there. As far as I know he is still there today." Alise said. "That was funny." I said. Before we knew it we were asleep.

"Wake up sleepy head don't you want to go to school?" It was my sister Crystal. "When I got back to my senses, I realized it had been a dream and I wasn't sleeping in an enclosure, in a zoo, with an elephant. But in my room, in my bed with my stuffed elephant." When I was in the bus I thought about my dream. Though it was just a dream, I had learnt a lot from it and had decided to spread awareness about biodiversity among my friends and family.


Aarya Neawasekar       Oakridge International School      
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