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The bell rang. This meant it was time for English class. Chaitanya loved the stories of adventure their English teacher read to them. Her teacher entered and said, “Open your textbook kids. Today we will read a story about a person who went around the world in 80 days.” Pooja and Chaitanya looked at each other and giggled. Pooja knew Chaitanya wanted to go see the world. “This story was written by Jules Verne”, continued the teacher. “It is about a man who started from London, travelled to Egypt, India, Hong Kong and many other places till he finally got back to London. During the 80 days he had many adventures. He saw many new places and met many people. Would you like to read this story kids?” their teacher asked. The kids shouted “YES TEACHER!” 7


When Chaitanya went home that day, she decided that she had to find a way to travel herself. She tore a sheet out of her notebook, grabbed her favourite pen and began writing a letter to her hero, Virat Kohli, asking him how she could explore the world. She thought he was the best cricketer ever! He must have travelled so much; he would know what to do. She sent the letter and wondered if he would even read it.

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A few days later, the doorbell rang. She went to open it and there stood Virat Kohli! She screamed in excitement. He was actually at her house! He told her that he had a surprise for her.

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Outside, stood a magnificent hot air balloon just like what she’d seen in a book once. It was red and yellow, with a brown basket and shiny ropes. “Are we going to ride in the hot air balloon?” Chaitanya asked eagerly.

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“I love to travel. This is my own magical hot air balloon and it’s all yours for the next three days! And after that, you can come and pick me up from the RCB vs. CSK IPL match in Chinnaswamy Stadium.”, Virat Kohli responded. “OH WOW! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!” said Chaitanya.

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The next three days were the best of her life. Her favourite story talked all about a kingdom so she decided to go there first. She met the warrior princess who said, “Chaitanya, why don’t you do my job for today?” So Chaitanya became the warrior princess and had to save her kingdom from the scary two-headed beast that lived in the sea near her chocolate castle. She proudly walked up to the beast and said “Beast, why do you roar so much? Do you want some chocolate?” Then she gave the beast a big piece of chocolate as a gift, and the beast happily went back to the sea. She knew everybody loved chocolate, even beasts.

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The next day, she told her friends, her parents and her English teacher about her magic hot air balloon! They were all thrilled. So, instead of having classes in the school that day, they all went in the hot air balloon to the Taj Mahal. Chaitanya sat on a bench along with her brother, Madhu, and her best friend, Pooja. Mom and dad were sitting beside them getting a photo clicked outside the Taj Mahal! Her teacher asked the class, “Do you remember who built the Taj Mahal and which city it is we are in?” Of course Chaitanya knew the answers. “It is in Agra and was built by Shahjahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. I remember ma’am!” And so went another day of wonderful travel, and this time with all her favourite people.

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The next morning, when Chaitanya woke up, she knew it was the last day she could have the balloon. She decided to take Pooja to visit France and the Alps! They saw so many beautiful sights. In the evening, they flew back to Bangalore and sat in the balloon above the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Kohli was batting. He had scored 96 runs and the team needed 3 more runs to win off the last ball. Ravichandran Ashwin ran up and bowled.

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Everyone gasped as Kohli hit it for a HUGE SIX! The ball flew all the way up to the balloon and landed in Chaitanya’s hands. The cameras were on them and the spectators were cheering! RCB had won!! Kohli was awarded Man of the Match and he called Chaitanya to the field to watch him receive his award. She was so proud.

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They then took the balloon back to his hotel, where she told him all about her adventures of the past three days. He smiled and laughed as she told her stories and when the time came to say goodbye, Chaitanya knew one thing for sure - anything is possible in this magical world.

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Glossary Adventure Giggled Explore Travel Wondered Magnificent Warrior Thrilled Spectator Receive

A very exciting journey filled with activities To laugh secretly To go around new places so that you can get used to them To go around the world and see as many places as you can To think deeply Very royal and beautiful Someone who fights against bad people and villains in wars To be shocked and excited Audience To get something. For example, Chaitanya received a special hot air balloon from Virat Kohli.


Sabira Choudhari Writer A story ninja claiming cities in Storyland.

Shruti Jain Illustrator Shruti Jain is a Montessorian by training and an illustrator by choice. She lives in the City of Joy with her little son Arhant who brought with him the wonderful world of picture books. Her most notable achievement so far - the title of ‘Ms. Knowledgeable’ awarded by fellow classmates for raising hands for every question asked in the first year of college!



Chaitanya