The Puffle Chronicles

The child is in tears when I pick her up after school. She flings her arms around me and buries her face in my shoulders.

“CuddlePot went missing” , she tells me between sobs.

For the uninitiated CuddlePot is a bright orange Puffle. What do you mean you do not know what a Puffle is? Where were you when Club Penguin mania hit the town? And why did I not escape it? But I digress. CuddlePot is a bright orange blob with a mop of unruly hair and a demented smile. Miss A adores him. He is a permanent fixture on all our shopping trips and weekend jaunts.

But to understand why CuddlePot went missing, dear reader, we need to step back in time. By precisely two days.

Miss A and her best friends Emma and Charlie decided that they would write a short play to extol the virtues of Puffles and Penguins to the greater unwashed masses (aka the school mates). The play was to have singing and dancing and much general mirth, one gathers. Tickets were printed (read scribbled). The other girls in the class were invited to this magnum opus. Dialogues were written. Dance steps were put into place.

“Please can I take CuddlePot to school with me?”, Miss A begged.

“What if you lose him?”

“I won’t Mum. You know how much I love him. I need him as a prop”

“If you lose him, I am NOT buying you another one”

“You won’t need to. I will be like super careful”

“Good. Because I am not going Puffle hunting if something happens to him”

After much hugging and squealing, the day of the play dawned. CuddlePot was stashed next to her lunch box and he went off to school, demented grin intact. The story should have had a happy ending, one hoped.

Except that when I went to pick her up, CuddlePot had left the building. So we walked around the school locker room looking for a bright orange stuffed toy. The Puffle was nowhere to be seen. The child was mildly hysterical. The janitor was mildly annoyed at my insistence of going through bins and empty lockers. I swear the janitors think I am some kind of a bag lady because I am always peering in the bins to find A’s missing items.

Miss A set up a magnificent wail as I coaxed her back to the car.

“What will we do now?”

“We will go home. We have homework to do, remember?”

“I mean what will we do about the Puffle?”

“Umm, nothing. Cause and Effect, Missy. He was your responsibility. And you lost him!”

“I didn’t. Someone took him!!!!!!!!!!”

“Then why didn’t you put him in a safer place to begin with?”

“I did. Someone took him, it was not my fault.” The crying goes up a notch.

“Well, too bad. You can save up some money and buy yourself another one when you have $8”

“But someone took him.”  Her face is crumpled.

“Yes, A, so you have been saying!”

“Please buy me another Puffle, Mum. Please?”

“Nope. You took him to school on the premise that you would be careful. And if you are old enough to write a play, you are old enough to look after a Puffle” (very wise words, these).

Much sulking and sobbing over the pillow happened as she imagined CuddlePot  struggling alone at night in a big bad world where people did not have the largesse of heart to be kind to orange Puffles.

She came back from school the next day with a smile on her face.

“Did you find the Puffle?”

“Nope”

“Ah, you look very happy. I wondered if you had found him!”

“Emma helped me make a poster. I made a poster asking for people to contact me if they saw him or if they knew what happened to him! So, someone will find him soon!”

Faith is a lovely, lovely thing.

“Aww, that’s wonderful, A. I am SO proud of you”

“And I said I would offer a reward of $2 to the person that returned him to me”

“Ummm, I don’t think you are allowed to hand out money like that at school”.  The mind boggles at the simplicity of her thought. Her innocence. The idea of a little person handing out $2 to get back a much-loved toy. And innocence hurts. With the same simplicity.

“Why not?”

“Because you cannot. Someone could misuse this. Someone could nick someone’s things and not give them back till they were paid for it. All kinds of dishonest practices could result from this, ya know?”

“Mmm hmmm!”

“You could say that you will offer a hug to the person that returns the puffle, instead of the $2.”

“Nah. Because if someone did nick him, I am not hugging them AT ALL. Bad people!”

“Uh ok”

She revises the wording on the poster. And puts a sketch of CuddlePot next to the Missing Puffle Poster.

A few days pass by on knife-edge. No Puffle sighting. No Cuddlepot. Every now and then, she wonders how the stuffed thing is faring on its own in the world .

A week later, a jubilant Miss A greets me in the evening.

“Guess what?? ”

“Tell me.”

“Sophie from Year 5 came to talk to me today. She may have seen CuddlePot.”

“Ah ha. Tell me more.” Faith is an A4 poster with a crayon sketch. Faith is a child’s handwriting asking for a toy back.

“She saw the poster and came to find me. She said she had seen the Puffle that evening. He was in an empty cupboard.”

The plot – it always thickens. Especially this side of town.

“What did she do?”

“She adopted him. Sophie is nice that way.”

“Rrright!”

“She took him home that evening. He now lives with her.”

“Wow. Is she bringing him back?”

“Yeah, of course. She came looking for me, didnt she? She says when she saw the poster, it made sense to her.”

Faith is is a simple belief that order shall return.

I tell Miss A I am happy for her. And CuddlePot. And Sophie too.

CuddlePot doesnt turn up that day. Or the next day or the day after. Sophie forgets to bring him with her to school. I start wondering if Sophie has developed a bond of attachment with the said Puffle.

Miss A waits for a while.  I suggest that she go over to the Year 5 classroom and politely remind Sophie to keep up her promise.

Emma and Charlie and Miss A end up outside Sophie’s classroom. Emma and Charlie feel compelled to shower Sophie with hugs, she being the one that looked after the elusive Puffle and all.

Sophie has a change of heart, one presumes. Three 8 year olds that are not shy of hugging and squealing with cheerful shrieks of “We cannot believe you found CuddlePot”  perhaps are too much for one to handle. She hands CuddlePot over.

More shrieking on the lines of  “Sophie you are awesome” happens. CuddlePot comes home at the end of the day. He looks none the worse for the wear or his adventures. He looks cleaner too – Sophie must have given him a bath.

Miss A tells CuddlePot that he is never,ever, ever going to come to school with her again. CuddlePot grins back in the same zany fashion. All is well in the world again.

Nothing you truly love ever leaves you. Sometimes you have to make an impassioned plea for the objects of your affection to come back to you. Sometimes you have to wait for the universe to do its bit.  The universe has a lot of chaotic order to restore so you need to bide your time.

Which is why, dear reader, while you wait, do remember that faith is a lovely, lovely thing.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Poornima
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 12:10:07

    Aww Scarlett! This is so very sweet. I love the name ‘CuddlePot’

    Reply

  2. Rajavel
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 12:22:51

    Awesome ! Awesome stuff ! cuddlePot eh ! Have to google up the image !

    MsA is too much I say ! A play and all !And wise words indeed ! you two fit together like pieces of a puzzle ! What is a Bag lady btw ?

    Reply

  3. scarlettletters
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 12:57:50

    Thanks Poornima 🙂 There is this children’s book series she used to have as a toddler – ‘CuddlePot and SnugglePie’ – the name was inspired from there. Glad you liked it.

    Rajavel,
    Thanks so much 🙂 She is capable of writing plays. And equally capable of losing half her school things within an hour 🙂 Btw, google Puffles 🙂
    Bag lady == ladies that collect trash from bins. Kabadi waalis.

    Reply

  4. Rajavel
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 13:04:10

    Loosing school things in an hour – kid. Capable of writing plays – extraordinary kid.

    Reply

  5. Captain Nemo
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 16:30:09

    Very nice…

    Reply

  6. Arpana Sanjay
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 17:15:14

    This is such a lovely read…..and cuddlepot is such a cute name. Now what I reall want to read is Miss A’s play. What a smart little girl!!

    Reply

  7. ardra
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 13:18:23

    Thank you Scarlett, and Thank you darling A! makes me feel all is fine with the world- sometimes one needs to be reminded over and over again…

    Reply

  8. Scarlett
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 15:18:19

    Rajavel – thanks. She has extraordinary powers of disorganisation. 🙂

    Captain – Ta 🙂

    Arpanaaaaa, welcome to my blog. And thanks. This is like the DSS days, isn’t it?

    Ardra, Miss A oftens fills me with that same feeling. Everything is alright as long as you have Puffles to care for 🙂

    Reply

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