But we'll be back in a few minutes,' she coaxed. Chandu looked at her, then peered back at the tree, and finally at the yawning star fields beyond. 'All right. But only if it's going to take a few minutes,' Chandu decided.
And so Chandu took a walk with Daa. Whichever direction Chandu turned to there were stars and more stars till he felt his eyeballs would pop out trying to see more. Beyond the immediate disorder of star fields were ordered systems, some round, some spiral and others shaped like a discus. With each step they took, the star fields changed. Now the stars were bigger in size. With each step the stars grew from the size of a pumpkin to the size of a thousand suns.
'Daa, the stars I see from the village are blue ' why are these ones white' Chandu asked.
Daa said, 'All stars are white, Chandu. Only you are seeing them from so close for the first time.'
'Oh! No one in the village knows that stars are actually white. I am going to ask my dada. Let's see if he knows,' Chandu mused aloud. Then all of a sudden he stopped and took hold of Daa's beautiful hand.
'Daa! What's that black hole-like thing there' It's eating up all the stars' what is it'
'It's the end of the stars. That's where they all go in the end ' into such black holes,' Daa explained to him.
'But you promised to show me where the stars came from, not where they disappear. Oh, now I see. This is where they go in the morning, but where do they come from in the evening'
'Oh Chandu! Don't be so foolish. Haven't you seen the mango tree in your village' The mango',' she is saying when Chandu butts in.
To be continued
Manu Mahadevan’s short story, Black Hole first appeared in the children’s magazine Target edited by Rosalind Wilson. It was later published in the short story collection, The Carpenter’s Apprentice, by Katha, a Delhi-based non-profit organisation and publishing house.