From hardships to the stars

The four brothers rushed into the house bringing with them a clamour of noise.

“Yipee! It’s Friday!” hooted Don. “The weekend is here!”

“I’m going to sleep the weekend away,” groaned Dave in exhaustion.

“I have to go for a party!” Derek grinned.

“I’m going to meet my friends, Dazel and Delma at the lake!” Din Din shot back good naturedly.

The conversation stopped short when they saw their father in the house. “Dad? You’re home in the middle of the day?” Din Din asked. “Are you feeling well?”

Mr. D was seated at the huge rock table in their dining room, his brow furrowed. He usually left for the Fruit Farm where he worked, early in the morning. He returned late in the evening and barely had enough energy to sit for dinner with his family. Sunday was the only day he spent quality time with his sons. He was a hard working dinosaur and well respected in the dinosaur community in Fruit Park.

“It’s so strange to see you at home at lunch time,” quipped Don as he hugged his father. “It feels like a Sunday!”

But Mr. D did not respond as he usually did. He smiled tiredly. Their mother hurried out of the kitchen. “Boys, here’s your lunch,” she announced, putting four bowls of fruit salad before them.

She usually sat at the table with them for lunch but today she and their father went away into their room whispering to each other. Din Din just stared at the slices of mangoes and apples in the earthenware bowl before him. He was worried. He ignored his brothers’ banter and crept towards his parents’ room. He stood outside hoping to catch snatches of their conversation but they were talking too softly.

Din Din then went into his grandparent’s room. “Dad coming home early is weird. Something is wrong,” he blurted out.

Grandpa was repairing a broken toy cart which belonged to Don and Grandmama was napping.

Grandpa looked up with a start, “I didn’t know your father was home early either,” he replied in surprise.

By that night all the four adult dinosaurs looked worried. Dinner was a quiet affair and Din Din grew even more restless.

At the end of the meal, Mr. D cleared his throat. “Boys, I wanted to tell you that I have lost my job,” he began.

Din Din dropped the wooden spoon he was holding.

“The Fruit Farm has decided to let go of a few old employees and hire younger dinosaurs who are more agile,” he continued. “There is nothing to worry about though. I will find another job soon.” He tried to smile. There was silence.

“Does this mean we have to leave this big cave house? We just moved here a few months ago,” asked Don anxiously.

“No dear,” Mrs. Dee said. “Nothing will change. Your father will get another job soon.”

During the next few days Din Din saw his father leave home early, but come back before they returned from school. At dinner time Mr. D tried to be normal and make conversation as he used to but his eyes seemed dejected.

“This means he still hasn’t found a job,” he Din Din discussed with his grandfather.

“Yes, no one wants to hire an old dinosaur,” nodded his grandfather as he gazed at the evening sky. The two of them were sitting in their garden. “Please, don’t worry Din Din,” said Grandpa. “Your mother’s chocolate business is doing quite well. It’s not as if we will starve, my dear.”

Din Din jumped to his feet as an idea struck his head.

“Oh Grandpa! What a great idea!” he said. He ran inside their home hollering to his parents.

“Mom, Ddad!” he yelled. Mr. and Mrs. D rushed out of their room.MOM.

“What is the matter?” Mrs. Dee exclaimed.

“I have an idea,” said Din Din. “I know you are struggling to find a job.” Mr. D looked embarrassed at these words.

“But you shouldn’t be looking for a job! We should help expand mom’s chocolate business,” he continued. There was stupefied silence. Din Din took a deep breath.

“Mom’s chocolates are so popular. She does her best, managing from our kitchen at home. Now, what if we had a proper shop where we could barter our chocolates regularly. Dad could run it and mom could continue to make chocolates. We all could help too,” he said in excitement.

Mr. and Mrs. D looked at each other. Grandpa and Grandmamma smiled. “What a wonderful idea,” said Mr. D finally.

Within a few days Mr. D set up a kiosk outside, in their cave garden. Grandpa helped construct the kiosk. Boxes of chocolates were arranged on shelves. Old Rex, the old dinosaur leader, had come for the inauguration.

“Good, good!” the old leader had said looking at the small shop. “I wish you best of luck,” he said shaking Mr. D’s paw.

Posters which Mrs. Dee and Grand-mamma had made, announced the different kinds of chocolates on sale. ‘Try the hazelnut balls!’ announced one poster. ‘Coconut Pebbles—for a refreshing dessert!’ said another. A list was taped to the kiosk wall, giving details of the varieties of chocolates.

“I’ll have two boxes,” announced Bronto one of the dinosaurs who used to be Din Din’s old neighbour. “It’s mom’s birthday and dad’s sent me to get Mrs. Dee’s chocolates. She loves them.”

Dr. Trish walked up to them and smiled. “Hello! So nice to see your new shop doing well. I wanted two boxes for the young patient who is being discharged from my clinic tomorrow.” Mr. D handed over the boxes bartering them for a sack of wheat and basket of plums.

That evening Mr. D came to Din Din as he was snuggling into his bed.

“Din Din! Thank you for being the son we can all depend on. You came up with a solution that solved all our problems. You remind me of a Latin saying I learned in school when I was young —“Per ardua ad astra.” It means from hardships to the stars. That’s what life is about,. uUsing your tough times as an opportunity to achieve greatness.”

Din Din’s eyes filled with tears. “Thank you father! I guess I have learnt this from you.”

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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