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The tourist remembered the old magic shop. He remembered the tea-party that was held there when he graduated. He smiled as he recalled having his first sip of Dom Perignon from a tea cup. He laughed out loud as he remembered how all of them had enjoyed the farewell party – Mr Jhingaroo had arranged for them.
Nothing was what it appeared to be. The flowers shrieked out their congratulations to each one by name. The multihued parrots wilted as soon as you spoke to them. A few cats served the french fries that were actually fish fingers. It was a long party and as the midnight approached Mr Jhingaroo asked everyone to finish their drinks in the teacups before the clock struck the midnight. This was followed by the storm in teacups as none of them could finish their drinks and the old grandfather clock started chiming.
He and his class had an impending sense of doom but Mr Jhingaroo guffawed, ‘well you all have brought this upon yourselves’.
The leftover liquid in the many cups started boiling. It changed colors and fumed. The young graduates could not help staring in their cups. The last chime delivered an eerie silence. Each one was busy staring inside their teacups. Some saw war, others looked inside detox-centers, a few found themselves looking inside jails, still others saw grand palaces and churches, etc etc.
‘You all have just had a glimpse of the critical turning-point in your future lives. The right decision at that time will lead you to your destiny and a wrong decision will take your destiny away from you.’ Mr Jhingaroo told his guests. ‘Just remember the magic is inside you, and at any time you need my help – just think of me and I shall be somewhere nearby’.
The tourist stopped his car just at the bridge and got down as the clock was striking the midnight hour. He could see the misty silhouette of the castle in the distance. A single light glimmered for a few seconds in one of the turrets. He felt the sun rise in his heart, and the disquiet vanished.
The young boy who had to be coerced to believe was on his way to meet his childhood friend and mentor.
I stood on the bridge at midnight as the clocks were striking the hour -Longfellow