"Uncle, Uncle ..please suggest a name for my new doll", asked his niece while he was engrossed in reading the newspaper.
"Call him Natkhat"..he answered absent mindedly.
"What!! who names a doll Natkhat....please come up with a good one!!" ,exclaimed the kid.
"How about calling him Noddy? You enjoy reading his books, right?",suggested his nephew..A suggestion which was taken whole heartedly by the little girl.
Seriously, who names a doll Natkhat, he thought to himself. But the name sure did seem to ring a bell. Was it the name of a pet, or a toy maybe.... Not that he remembered anything by that name..
"Bhaisahab, does the name Natkhat sound familiar to you? I wonder how I came up with it all of a sudden...", he enquired turning towards his elder brother. "Why, it was that doll of yours...the talking doll..remember? The one which you liked so much..you kept talking to it all the time!"
And then it all came back to him. Natkhat was a gift from his uncle on his tenth birthday. It was a pretty large doll, clad in a blue shirt and a black pant with a weird, rather depressing smile on its face. But the most important thing was that it could talk, or repeat what was recorded in it. On pressing one of its palms, it would record the voice....and repeated it on pressing the other.
He used to be rather sad ever since they moved to this new town....Leaving all the friends behind was difficult for him and what made it even more difficult was the fact the kids at school took an instant dislike to him. But with Natkhat coming into his life, things started to get better. In Natkhat he found a companion that he so badly needed. He would discuss all kinds of things with Natkhat, and Natkhat would never share his secrets with others. Natkhat used to tell him fantastic tales about fairies, and kings, and demons, and heroes.... This doll was so much more interesting than any of the friends that he ever had....But no one would believe him when he told them about how Natkhat narrated these incredible tales and cracked such funny jokes. Even Natkhat would not speak in front of others....Perhaps Natkhat was shy and liked to speak only to him.....And so he would lock himself up in his room all day long and spend the time talking to Natkhat....
Initially, his parents were relieved with the changes which the doll had brought about. But slowly they started to get worried as he would do nothing except talking to Natkhat. On being forced to go out and play with other kids, he would sneak back into his room as soon as possible. So, in order to divert his attention, they brought home a dog... But he never liked the dog, and still spent almost all of his time with Natkhat. And then one day he came back home and rushed to his room only to find that Natkhat was not there. He frantically searched for the doll everywhere but it was nowhere to be found... Finally, he found Natkhat in the backyard..torn apart by the dog. He stared at Natkhat in dismay....took him back to the room and tried talking to him but all in vain...Natkhat would not answer him back ..the dog killed Natkhat! He cried and cried for so many days....And then he put Natkhat in a big plastic box and buried him under the old Neem tree in the backyard... He even wrote a letter in which he expressed how much he would miss Natkhat and put it inside the box for Natkhat to read....
His chain of thoughts was interrupted when Bhabhi called him for breakfast. What a pathetic loser I was as a child, imagined all kind of weird stuff and could manage no better friends than a lame doll, he thought to himself and smiled. As he looked out, his gaze fell on this Neem tree and it was then that the idea of digging out the box struck him. He thought it would be funny to read the foolish letter of his (if it was still intact) , and maybe Natkhat would talk to him again after having read his rather emotional letter....he laughed at this little joke of his and went for the breakfast. As soon as he was done with the breakfast he rushed towards the backyard and set out to dig the spot under the tree...It did not take much digging to unearth the plastic box.... With a strange excitement he started removing the lid....He flinched and threw the box away in terror, letting out a gasp followed by a loud shriek , while his eyes were fixed on the ground where the half open box lay with a human skeleton inside it, about the size of a doll !!!