This entry was originally written as part of Katha Utsav and has been published here in partnership with Katha .

The camera flashed as Naira clicked a picture of the mesmerising roofs of one of the rooms in Amber fort. She was enjoying every moment but was almost nearing the last and most boring place; the souvenir shop.

As she sulkily kept her camera away she saw a boy of about six years. He was looking puzzled and a little worried about something. Her parents had already left to buy some nick-nacks and taking this opportunity, she went up close. Naira then realised that a man was telling the boy that he would take him to his parents.

Naira thought he was an official and moved on. But as she took a step she realised he was the mahout of an elephant riding next to them. “The mahout did seem in a hurry to get to the top,” she thought. Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. The boring and dull civics teacher had just taught them about child traffickers. Civics wasn’t useless after all! It had to be one of them. She turned back and decided to help the boy.

At that moment she remembered the time when her sister went missing four years ago. Dilli Haat was never a safe place for kids. She vaguely remembered the horrible event. When she snapped out of that bitter memory, the man left the boy’s hand to receive a phone cal. Given this opportunity, she grabbed his hand and fled. There was not a second to waste.

“Chodo Mujhe! Are you going to kidnap me?!” the boy screamed, while taking deep breaths. Naira didn’t say anything. On reaching a rather empty room, she explained to the boy whose name, as she later found out, was Aditya. “He was a child trafficker. I wanted to save you from him and I think we have lost him now.” Naira knew the boy didn’t understand the meaning of a single word she said but she put her sister in his place. Aditya gave her a quick glance and by her decorum and way of speaking he knew she could be trusted. His thoughts were disrupted by a cold hand resting on his shoulder. The last words he heard were “Mujhse kahan bhago ge?” The man was now gaining on them. It was nearly closing and this man seemed to be a common face.

The kids ran as fast as their feet could take them and soon they reached the elephant shed. This was the end. No escape was possible. A twelve year old couldn’t fight a bulky man! But one like Naira could.

With Aditya close at her heels, she ran to an elephant and tore its blinkers to distract it. The elephant rampaged the shed and the duo ran bolting the door on their way. Moving steadily but quickly to the officials Naira felt contented as though she had helped her sister.

“Lanka mein aag jalake aayi hoon mein!” she told the official proudly. After a little grin the official asked about Aditya. “He is ours now,” came a voice from behind. Naira’s mother had witnessed them flee from the shed, both worried and proud of her generally lonely daughter. Naira was at peace with herself and she could finally put the dark thoughts about the loss of her sister away.