Secret of the Trial Room

Krishnan and his father Jagannath went to buy clothes for his birthday, which was round the corner.

A man in a chimpanzee costume welcomed children inside the store. Many children stood near him, fascinated by the costume.

Satish, an employee showed Krishnan’s favourite star-patterned shirts in various colours. A velvet chimpanzee, the shop’s logo, was embroidered on the pocket of each shirt.

Unfortunately, none of the shirts were in Krishnan’s size and Satish couldn’t find his size.

Satish then suggested, “Krishnan, look at shirts in other patterns.”

Mr Jagannath asked, “Is everything alright?”

“There have been many shirts missing from the store since a past few days,”
said Satish.

Krishnan noticed an employee, named Alok, overhearing their conversation. When he noticed Krishnan observing him, Alok immediately looked away.

Krishnan selected some shirts in his size and went to the trial room.
Before he could enter, the trial room’s door opened and Alok brushed past him hurriedly.

Puzzled, Krishnan entered the trial room and closed the door. As he was trying on a shirt, something heavy fell on his shoulder.

He saw a packet containing star-patterned shirts lying on the floor!

He looked up to see where the packet had fallen from and saw that one of the wooden boards on the ceiling of the trial room was askew. Since the ceiling was high, Krishnan used a stool to climb and moved the board to one side and saw a secret compartment in the ceiling.

He saw several packets like the one that had fallen on him.

“Why would the shop store these shirts here in a secretive way? And what was Alok doing here?” Krishnan asked himself.

He decided to investigate further. So, he put the fallen packet back.

As he came out, he caught sight of a room that said, ‘The Store Room’.

Curious, Krishnan asked Satish, “Who has access to the storeroom?”

“All of us,” said Satish.

Krishnan was disappointed because now anyone could have placed the packets in the ceiling of the trial room. Krishnan’s father had to leave and promised to get him back to the store again.

The next day, while he was having breakfast, he saw the maid enter the house with her son. Her son was wearing the same star-patterned shirt with the velvet chimpanzee logo. Krishnan asked, “Didi, where did you buy the shirt?”

“I bought it from my neighbour, Neeraj, who sells these for just ₹ 200,” replied his maid.

Krishnan was surprised because, at that shop, the shirt was for ₹ 600. One thing was clear, either Neeraj was involved with someone from the store who was selling the shirts at reduced prices or the store was selling the shirts at a much higher rate!

On an impulse, Krishnan asked for Neeraj’s mobile number.

After that, Krishnan went with his father to the store and picked up any shirt and went to the trial room.

He took a stool and looked inside the ceiling but the packets were not there. He realised that they were being sold as soon as they were stolen.

Krishnan came out of the trial room wondering about Neeraj uncle. He took out his cell phone and dialled the number.

Someone’s phone in the store started ringing shrilly. It was then Krishnan realised that Neeraj was somewhere in the shop! He spotted the man who answered the call. Disconnecting the phone, Krishnan hurried over to Satish.

He asked, “Is the man in the chimpanzee costume allowed access to the storeroom?”

Satish nodded and said, “Neeraj? Oh yes, apart from being a chimpanzee, Neeraj also unloads the stocks from the delivery van. The supplies come from the back entrance to the storeroom.” Now, Krishnan grinned when he heard this.

“When is the next delivery due?” Krishnan asked.

Satish said, “Tomorrow morning at 8.30 am.” Satish also mentioned that the pattern Krishnan wanted would be delivered the next morning, giving Krishnan an excuse to come in the morning again. Next morning, his father dropped him at the shop and said he would be back to pick him up after an hour.

Since the shop was closed, Krishnan went to the back and found the door open. The delivery van stood outside with some boxes that had yet to be unloaded. No one was around.

Krishnan went in through the back door of the shop and found the storeroom filled with boxes.

Suddenly, he heard noises and quickly hid behind a large box.

Neeraj came in wearing the chimpanzee costume and closed the door. Then he took some packets from the box and stuffed them inside his costume and zipped up, securing them with a thick belt.

Krishnan recorded all this on his mobile phone. After Neeraj went out, he opened the back door and entered the shop. He saw Neeraj leaving the trial room.

Krishnan entered the trial room and found the secret compartment stuffed with packets.

Krishnan went to the manager and told him everything.

The manager asked Neeraj to take the day off to which he agreed. As predicted, Neeraj went inside the trial room and came out wearing the costume, stuffed with stolen shirts.

Just then, Krishnan ran and bumped into Neeraj and at the same time pulled his zipper open, causing him to lose balance.

Neeraj fell and from the open zipper the stolen packages fell out, leaving everyone shocked.

Neeraj was arrested by the police who also looked at the video shot by Krishnan.

Soon, Krishnan’s father arrived and the manager told him everything, gifting many shirts to Krishnan.

Krishnan was praised by the police and the owner of the shop. On his birthday, Krishnan found himself on the front page of the newspaper, along with his parents.

A Timid King

Leo lion did not want to become the king of the forest because he was very timid.

“Please dad, I don’t want to become the king,” he often told his father.

“But son, it is we, the lions, who have to become the kings. Now I have become old. You must slowly start taking up the responsibilities of this forest,” Papa Sheru explained to him with love.

Leo however was so timid, that he was not ready to become the king at all. “I
am tired of listening to my father,”
he thought. 

One day he told himself, “It is better that I go away from this place and hide somewhere. Then I wouldn’t face any trouble.”

As he said so, he hid behind the bushes. There was a mango tree near the bushes which had some monkeys sitting on them. They saw Leo hiding there.

“Look, our future king is hiding here.” A tall monkey pointed
to friends.

“Good. Let’s make fun of this timid creature,” said a monkey. 

He immediately plucked several mangoes and distributed among his friends.

“Let’s get started.” Saying so, he threw one mango towards Leo. On seeing this, all the others too started throwing mangoes on Leo.

“Oh dear.” Being upset with this sudden attack, Leo ran away from there.

“Timid… Timid…” shouted the monkeys as they clapped.

“How wild are the animals in this forest,” Leo thought to himself and felt sad. But he did not get angry. He feared that the herd of monkeys may attack him. So, he ran away quickly and came to the forest’s pond.

“Hey look, our future king is hiding here!” exclaimed the children of two elephants who were drinking water from the pond.

“If he is so timid, then who will save us from our enemies?” They started talking to each other.

“You are right. What is the difference whether he is here or not?” said the second elephant.

The young elephants made fun of him. They filled water in their trunks and splashed it on Leo who was still hiding.

“If you continue to hide, then we will give you a bath and also arrange meals for you,” Both of them laughed and said.

Leo got very angry when suddenly they showered water on him. However, he was afraid that if he expressed his anger, then the elephant would not spare him.

“Oops! I need to escape from here as well.” Leo immediately ran towards the mountain.

“Timid… timid…” The elephants teased him on as he ran.

Once at the mountains, Leo was at considerable peace. He laid under the dense cover of a tree.

“It’s fine here. No one will disturb me,” he thought. 

A few crows were sitting on the tree.

“Hey look, our future king is hiding here,” one crow said looking at Leo.

“Let’s teach a lesson to this coward,” said another crow, as he reached out for him.

Now the mischievous crows began to bother him. Some started crying near his ear while some others started poking him with their beaks.

“What’s the problem?” Leo got upset again. He was very angry with the crows for teasing him. When his patience broke, he roared aloud.

Hearing him roar, the crows flew away in fear.

Leo told himself, “I am a lion and I have to show courage like a lion. I can’t live in fear. I am ready to become the king of this forest.” He roared again and returned home. 

“Dad, I am ready to become the king.” When Sheru heard this, he embraced his son with pride.

Moon and Sun

Rahul saw Vikram Lander reach close to the Moon on television.

Vikram Lander had been sent to look for water on the Moon. After hearing this news, Rahul went straight to his dadi and said, “Dadi! The story you had told me about the Moon is not true.”

Dadi did not understand what Rahul was saying. “Rahul, what story are you talking about?” she asked.

Dadi, you had told me that the Sun and the Moon were brother and sister.”

“Yes,” said dadi. “And why do you say it’s not true?”

“But, dadi, how can they be brother and sister?” asked Rahul.

“They live far away from one another.”

“You mean to say that by staying far away, there is no relationship between brother and sister?” asked dadi.

“My brother lives 900 kilometres away from here in Mysore. It has been a long time since I met him. So, is he not still my brother?”

Rahul did not have a reply to this question. He was confused if he should accept the Sun and the Moon as brother and sister. He looked towards dadi  questioningly.

To clarify, dadi prompted him, “Rahul, tell me, who are called siblings?”

Hearing this Rahul laughed. “Oh, dadi, that is very simple,” he came and sat near her. “Boys and girls who are born of the same parents are called brothers and sisters.”

“Do you know, the Sun and the Moon are born from the same universe? That’s why they became brother and sister. We consider the Earth to be the mother, so what is the harm in considering her children as brother and sister.”

“But why?” asked Rahul.

“The children serve their parents who look after their children during their childhood, is it correct or incorrect?” asked dadi.

“Yes, correct,” replied Rahul.

“Then tell me, what will happen if the Sun stops rising?”

“There will be no day.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes, that is all I know,” said Rahul.

“Oh no!” said dadi, “It is not so. If the Sun stops rising, then the plants and trees cannot grow. There will be no fruits and flowers. It is so because the plants prepare their food from the Sun’s rays. In the presence of the Sun, they release oxygen into the atmosphere. If the Sun’s rays are not received, then there will be no plants and trees.”

“And if there are no plants and trees, what will we eat then?

This is what you want to say, isn’t it, dadi?” Rahul interrupted her.

“Yes, that’s right!”

“But, dadi, tell me, you are saying that the Sun and the Moon are brother and sister, and they play hide and seek every day? How is this correct?” asked Rahul.

“You must have seen the Moon rising at night. Some days, it rises early and some days late. Some days, it is small and some days it is whole. All these are its art, which we call Moon-art,” said dadi and Rahul nodded his head.

“The Moon revolves around the Earth, right?”

“Yes, dadi,” said Rahul, “And the Earth revolves around the Sun.”

“Yes. And because of this revolution, the rays of the Sun sometimes fall fully on the Moon and sometimes only partially. The Moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun. Because of this, sometimes the Moon comes completely in front of the Sun and sometimes partly, and the other part is in darkness.”

“Yes, dadi. I understand this,” said Rahul. “But if they are brother and sister, shouldn’t they live, eat and drink together.”

“As you know that the Earth is a planet; and the Moon is a satellite. Planets revolve around the Sun. This means they are lifeless. Then, how will they eat or drink?”

“But you had said that the Sun and the Moon had quarrelled and in anger, they went far away to live separately; and they did not come in front of one another. Then their mother made them make a compromise and they sometimes come to meet one another. But I do not understand how they can come from so far to meet one another.”

“You are right,” said dadi. “There is a lot of distance between the Earth and the Sun.”

Rahul interrupted her, “Not just a lot, dadi, but 15 crore kilometres.”

“Actually, the distance is 1,496 lakh kilometres.”

“No, dadi. You are wrong,” said Rahul.

“My dear, you are also right and I am also right. You are saying 15 crore kilometres; when I am saying four lakh kilometres less, which is the accurate distance.”

“What?” Rahul could not believe her words.

“Yes. This is correct, you can say 14 crores 96 lakh kilometres, which is 4 lakh kilometres less than 15 crore kilometres that you are saying.”

“Oh, dadi! You also know so much about the Sun and the Moon,” said Rahul hugging her. “I had thought that my dadi knows nothing.”

“After all, whose dadi am I?” she said. “I also read like you.”

“But dadi, are the Sun and the Moon actually brother and sister?” Rahul still asked.

Dadi replied, “Oh, dear! They are brother and sister in your dadi’s story. A story is the gift of one’s imagination. Because of stories, we learn to stretch our minds to imagine. And sometimes, our imagination may become a reality.

Hearing this, they both laughed.

“Actually dadi, the Moon of your story is really very lovely,” said Rahul and he put his head on her lap. Dadi stroked his head lovingly to put him to sleep.

Kittu’s Rotten Idea

Kittu was walking down the road, holding an apple in one hand and a sack in the other. He met Venkat on the way.

“What’s with the apple and the sack?” asked Venkat, curiously. “That apple looks delicious! I love apples.”

Kittu shook his head. “Oh no, the apple is for someone else.”

“For whom?”

“If you must know, it’s for Mrs. Natrajan who lives at the end of the road.”

“That crabby old lady? She’ll bite your head off!” warned Venkat.

“Oh no, she won’t,” answered Kittu, confidently.

“You never give things without a reason.

Why are you giving her an apple? Asked Venkat, narrowing his eyes.

“What do you mean? I have no motive!” said Kittu, opening his eyes wider.

“Don’t pretend with me. I know you better!” Kittu sighed. Mrs. Natrajan has a mango tree in her garden. And those are the best mangoes I have tasted! She loves apples and I love mangoes. So I thought I will give her this apple and hopefully she will let me take some mangoes. That’s why I am carrying the sack!”

“I knew you would not do something without a reason. Anyway, you can’t carry such a heavy sack. I’ll come and help you!”

“And I am sure you want some of the mangoes for your help,” replied Kittu, as he knew Venkat would not help just like that.

Venkat grinned and said, “Well, if you are that kind, considerate and generous, who am I to refuse?” Kittu threw a nasty look at him but realised that he wouldn’t be able to carry the heavy sack by himself, so he agreed to take Venkat along.

Both set out to Mrs. Natrajan house.

As they neared the house, they found her standing outside, yelling at the top of her voice at some kids who were trying to steal mangoes from her tree. She was shaking her hands furiously at them.

The kids ran away while she was shouting and muttering under her breath at the same time.

Kittu and Venkat stood frozen and looked at each other nervously.

Both were scared now.

Kittu gulped and said softly, “I thought we were the first ones to try and get her mangoes.”

Venkat nudged and whispered, “Let’s drop this idea and leave before she scolds us too.”

Kittu hesitated. He was scared, but the thought of those delicious mangoes wanted him to try. Also, he had an apple.

Surely that would make Mrs. Natrajan kind towards him.

“No, let’s go to her. Don’t forget that I have an apple.”

Venkat hesitated and thought, “What if Kittu is right and he is rewarded with a lot of mangoes? If I don’t help Kittu carry the sack, then Kittu will not even share one mango.” So Venkat agreed to go with Kittu.

Both of them walked up to Mrs. Natrajan and stood before her.

She turned towards them and looked at them.

She had a scowl on her face and when she spoke, they felt she was barking, “What do you want? Mangoes, I bet?”

Both of them got more nervous.

Kittu put on a fake smile and extended the apple towards her.

“For you,” he said.

Mrs. Natrajan looked suspiciously at it and asked, “For me? Why would you bring me an apple for no reason? Is it some sort of a joke?

If yes, then you will be sorry. I mean it. Now run off, you two,” she yelled.

Kittu said smoothly, “No, ma’am, this is a gift for you. It is not a joke. Sweet apple for a sweet lady.”

Venkat looked at him in wonder. He had never heard Kittu speak so sweetly before.

Mrs. Natrajan frowned. Then she looked at the apple and her frown cleared. She almost smiled, and said, “That is very nice of you, boy.”

She took the apple from Kittu and looked it over.

She loved apples so she didn’t waste any time biting into it.

The next moment, she spat it out.

“Blech! Rotten apple! How dare you give this to me?” she yelled.

She threw the apple down and ran towards them.

Kittu and Venkat ran with their empty sack and with Mrs. Natrajan chasing them.

Breathless, Venkat said while on the run, “You and your dumb ideas!”

Kittu replied, “How was I to know that the apple was rotten? I found it in our backyard a few days ago. Now, I think my mother must have thrown it out.”

Shocked, Venkat glared at Kittu. “Now you tell me!”And they both ran to save themselves.

The Spotted Puppy

Abhay was fond of puppies. He demanded and pleaded with his parents to get a pet dog, but every time they gave him some reason and turned him down.

“It’s not easy to have a pet, Abhay! It’s a lot of responsibilities. Humans can speak and ask for what they want, but pets can’t.

Just imagine if we do not understand the needs of the animal, how miserable it will be for him here,” dad explained.

“That’s not all! If we go out on vacation, there will be no one to take care of it. We won’t be able to take it with us, nor leave it alone,” said mom.

Abhay would get sad. He knew his parents were right, but he really wanted a pup.

One day, Abhay left for school when he heard a low cry. He looked around. In a shallow drain near Uncle Sharma’s house were some tiny puppies! Abhay carefully looked at them. They were of different colours—black, grey, white, spotted—all huddled together.

Abhay stared at them for a while and then started counting them. Before he could count, the puppies huddled together, making him forget his count.

Abhay giggled. He separated them and started counting again.

While he was counting, their mother came back and looked at Abhay, bared her teeth and growled.

Abhay stepped back. He knew the mother was being protective about her babies.

His school van also arrived so he left for school. But throughout the day, Abhay’s mind was occupied by the puppies.

After returning home, he quickly changed, had his lunch, and sat down to finish his homework. Mom was pleased to see him studying and went for her usual rest.

“Mom will take a nap for an hour now.

I’ll go and play with the puppies till she wakes up,” thought Abhay as he smiled and went out.

Bobo, the mother of the puppies, was not around. She had probably gone out to eat.

Abhay picked up the puppies and started petting them. He loved the spotted puppy and picked it up and walked home with it.

Mom was still asleep when he entered.

Abhay took an old shoebox, placed some towels inside and put the puppy in it. He put some milk in a bowl and tried feeding it to the puppy, but it could not drink properly.

Abhay could not take the puppy inside the house, for if mom came to know she would ask him to take it back. And Abhay did not want that.

He started thinking of ways to convince dad and mom so they would let him keep the puppy.

An hour passed. Abhay was still playing with the puppy. He heard his mother wake up. He covered the shoebox and quickly started riding his bicycle. Mom did not suspect anything.

When dad came home from work and called Abhay, he went inside the house, keeping the shoebox covered with the puppy still in it.

Meanwhile, Bobo came back and started looking for her lost puppy who heard his mother and came out of the shoebox.

Bobo realised that her puppy was inside Abhay’s house but couldn’t get in as the door was shut.

Bobo stood outside the main door, barking. The pup ran to the door but could not go out. Bobo tried to get inside but she could not either.

Mother and child, each on one side of the door, were helpless.

Bobo’s barking made a lot of noise. Mom went out and saw the puppy and the shoebox.

She realised what had happened. She opened the door and the pup ran out to its mother. Bobo picked up the puppy gently by its neck and went back to her other pups.

Abhay saw the whole thing. He was upset when he saw the pup leave. Mom called him inside the house but did not say anything about this.

“Abhay, I’m going to grandma’s place for a few days. She’s not keeping well. You will be here with your sad,” she said, while packing her bag.

Abhay started thinking. He had never been away from mom. From the time he woke up in the morning till he went to bed at night—mom was there for his meals, homework and games. The thought of spending even one day without her around gave him shivers.

Then he saw the pups and Bobo pass by the house.

“How selfish of me! I can’t live a day without mom, and I was planning to separate the pup from its mother forever,” thought Abhay, feeling bad about what he had done.

“Abhay! Let mom go! We’ll bring the spotted pup home tomorrow. You can play with him and you won’t even notice that mom’s gone,” said dad.

“No, dad! Even that pup wouldn’t want to stay away from his mom. I saw how much he was crying today. I don’t want the pup to be separated from his mom just like how I don’t want mom to go,” said Abhay and hugged his mom.

“I’m not going anywhere! I was just trying to show you that just like you can’t stay away from me, baby animals also need to stay with their mothers,” smiled mom.

The spotted pup stood outside the door and wagged its tail.

Big Dome of Lucknow

The students of Champakvan School were excited. Their teacher, Dena deer, had informed them that for their annual trip they would be visiting the ‘City of Nawabs–Lucknow’.

Cheeku rabbit, Meeku mouse, Damru donkey, Roco hen, Sally squirrel, Jumpy monkey, Jumbo elephant, Blacky bear along with their teacher Dena deer boarded the Shatabdi train to Lucknow.

As soon as they reached the Charbagh railway station, the station’s building gave them a clue of the kind of architecture they would get to see in Lucknow.

After checking into their hotel room and freshening up, all the students sat around their teacher. She told them about the places they would visit each day.

“First we will visit the famous Imambara of Lucknow. It is also known as the Asfi Imambara,” she said.

Sally squirrel could not control her excitement and said, “Can we first go and see the Bhul-Bhulaiya or the famous maze of Lucknow. I have heard that it is a lot of fun and most tourists lose their way in it.”

“Just like you have lost patience here Sally,’’ smiled Dena deer. “The maze is a narrow ladder-like path inside the Imambara that leads us to the big dome.”

The others laughed when they heard this and though Sally was embarrassed for not knowing that the maze was inside the Imambara, she was happy because they were first going to the place she really wanted to visit.

Next morning, the students wore colourful clothes and took the city bus with Dena Ma’am towards old Lucknow. Bara Imambara stood close to river Gomti.

Once they reached the Bara Imambara, Dena Ma’am met guide Gogo Giraffe who was going to show them the buildings in old Lucknow. He helped them get the entry tickets to the Bara Imambara.

Sally, in her traditional skirt, was super excited to see the maze. She walked ahead of everyone holding her skirt.

Gogo guide took them on the zig-zag stairways that led to the Imambara. He told them there were 84 steps in all. Sally ran ahead to reach the top. Gogo guide walked behind her. The stairs then branched into a fork that led to two passages—one that went upstairs and the other down.

Sally took the stairs that went up, since they were going up, but as soon as she went further that passage was blocked by a wall. She was confused.

Gogo guide explained, “Yes, this is why it is called a maze. It was built to confuse the enemy. We have to go down from here before we climb up and then we can reach the top of the Imambara. This fork confuses anybody new to this place, just like Sally.”

Sally was embarrassed yet again while the others laughed.

Gogo guide took them upstairs through the correct path. “Now, I will show you the amazing craftsmanship of this building. I suggest you all walk about 50 metres to the other end with your teacher. and I will tear a piece of paper at this end. You will be surprised at how clearly you can hear the sound of the tearing paper.”

The students excitedly walked to the other end with Dena Ma’am to experience the magic.

As Gogo guide tore the paper, they all could hear the sound. They were amazed at how that could happen.

Gogo guide told them that the building had been constructed in a way that even a whisper was clearly audible from far.

Gogo guide pointed towards the windows on the upper floors and said, “Those windows have been constructed in such a manner that anyone coming through the main gate is visible to those standing at the window but those coming in cannot see who is at the window.”

Everyone peeped out of the windows to see.

After this Gogo guide took them down the stairs towards the front of the Imambara.

“This is the main building of the Bara Imambara. It is based on Persian architecture.”

He took them inside the building, and everyone was amazed to see the magnificent structure.

“Mr Gogo, who built this beautiful and amazing place?” asked Cheeku rabbit eagerly.

“This was built by the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud-Daula in the year 1784. It was built in the memory of the Late Hussain Ali, a saint, but the main reason behind building it was something else.”

“What was the reason?” asked Jumbo elephant waving his trunk.

“Awadh faced a terrible drought in 1784. The people of Awadh didn’t have any means to earn. In those days, the people of Awadh lived with pride and didn’t accept charity. But when many started to die of hunger, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula started the construction of the Imambara, to provide the people with a source of employment. The poor population of the city worked during the day while the well to-do worked at night.”

“Does that mean that construction took place during the day as well the night and that a lot of people worked here? The expenses of building it must have been very high too,” said Jumpy monkey.

“Almost 20,000 people were employed for the construction of the Imambara and about INR 10 lakh, a huge amount in those days, was spent on its construction.”

“This means that Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula was a very kind ruler who helped many people,” said Blacky bear.

“Yes, and that is why during that times it was said that ‘One who doesn’t receive from God receives from Asaf-ud-Daula’,” said Gogo Giraffe.

“There must have been an architect who designed this amazing building. Who is he?” asked Meeku mouse, showing his big teeth.

“The architect of the Imambara was Kifayat Ullah. The Nawab was impressed with his design and the Imambara was built under his guidance.”

“The biggest speciality of this building is that best quality bricks and limestone were used in its construction. And no wood, iron or cement was used.”

The animals could not believe that a ceiling that big could be made without iron, wood or cement.

After this, Gogo took them to see the well and the mosque in the Imambara compound. They also went to see other buildings in old Lucknow, close to the Imambara.

They thanked Gogo giraffe for showing them around, went back to their hotel to rest so that they could go back to Champakvan the next day.

Cheeku Nabs the Fraudsters

Cheeku rabbit was on his way home when he saw a group of animals discussing something. They all looked troubled.

“What’s the matter?” asked Cheeku.

“We have been tricked by a duo selling detergent powder,” said Dinky deer. “They gave us a bottle of perfume free with each packet we bought as well as a prize coupon.”

“The two told me that if I bought the detergent, I had the chance to win a television set or a washing machine,” said Squiggy squirrel.

“But what is the problem?” asked Cheeku.

“When we opened the packet, it was filled with sand!” said Squiggy.

“We have filed a complaint with the police. Inspector Blacky bear has promised to look into it,” said Monty mouse.

Graffiti’s Intellect

Cheeku thought for a while and asked, “Would you be able to describe how the two tricksters looked?”

“Yes! We remember them very well,” said the other three. “Both of them were pot-bellied. They had white beards and long, white hair. They also had long, bushy tails.”

As they described their features, Cheeku quickly took out his diary and drew rough sketches of the two animals.

After he was finished, Cheeku studied the sketches and felt that they looked like Baddy and Laptu.

“But Baddy and Laptu are not pot-bellied and neither do they have white beards,” Cheeku thought to himself.

Cheeku decided to keep a watch on Baddy and Laptu for the next few days.

Early next morning, Cheeku hid behind a bush near Baddy’s house and kept a close watch. After a while, Baddy and Laptu came out of the house and walked down a path leading out of the forest. Cheeku followed them.

Baddy and Laptu walked until they reached an abandoned house on the outskirt of the forest. They discussed something and then headed into the house.

“I wonder what those two are up to,” thought Cheeku. “There are no bushes to hide in here. I better climb that tree. That way I can stay hidden and still observe them.”

More From Champak: Baba Bhootnath

After some time, two potbellied animals came out of the house. They had long, white hair and beards. Cheeku was surprised. “These two look just like the two animals Dinky, Squiggy and Monty described,” he thought. “Do Baddy and Laptu know them or…”

Just then, Cheeku saw one of them pull the beard from his face and scratch his chin.

“This beard is very itchy,” said one of them who sounded like Laptu.

That is when it all became clear to Cheeku—the two were Baddy and Laptu!

“They must have disguised themselves with wigs and fake beards. Looks like they have also stuffed their shirts to make it appear as if they have pot bellies,” thought Cheeku.

Cheeku followed them for a while. As suspected, Baddy and Laptu went from house to house, selling fake packets of detergent powder.

Cheeku dashed to the police station and informed Inspector Blacky who followed Cheeku to the street where Baddy and Laptu were. They were busy selling a packet of fake detergent powder to Jumpy monkey and Donna cat.

When Baddy and Laptu saw Blacky, they panicked and tried to flee. But Blacky swiftly caught them. Cheeku opened Baddy’s bag and showed the packets of sand to Blacky.

Blacky arrested the two of them and thanked Cheeku for his help in catching the fraudsters.

Everyone applauded Cheeku’s smartness.

Sona’s Big Adventure

Sona, the goldfish lived in a big aquarium with her parents. The aquarium belonged to a family who loved fish and kept many more fish apart from Sona and her family. Sona’s owners always fed their fish the yummiest food and Sona had nothing to worry about. Sona’s best friend was Mona, the clown fish. Sona and Mona spent the entire day together. They swam across the aquarium, looking for food or playing games.

One day, the lady of the house decided it was time to reorganise the house and rearrange the furniture. Once all the furniture had moved around, the aquarium was placed in a part of the room from where the fish had a clear view of the TV.

Since then, Sona and Mona spent the entire day watching TV. They barely ate and completely stopped swimming around the tank. They only slept when the TV had been switched off.

Sona’s mother tried warning her about the ill effects of watching TV all day, but Sona wouldn’t listen. One day, Sona and Mona watched a nature documentary on TV about the life of fish living in the ocean and in rivers. After watching the documentary, both Sona and Mona felt that their aquarium was too small.

Sona kept asking her mother to take her to the ocean. “We are fish, Sona,” said her mother.

“We can’t live outside of water and since we live in this aquarium, it is impossible for us to see the world and explore the ocean.”

Sona, however, wasn’t ready to accept defeat. She spent all day and all night trying to think of the perfect way to get to the ocean. She continued to watch TV, hoping to find a program that could teach her how to escape from the aquarium.

One day, Sona watched a program where the person on TV said, “Impossible is nothing. If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Sona was deeply inspired by this and convinced Mona into thinking of a solution with her.

Then, one day, when the little boy of the house was cleaning the aquarium, he removed all the fish, one by one and placed them in smaller jars and bowls.


Sona and Mona were in the same bowl and Sona noticed the maid wiping the floor. She had a bucket of water which she took from room to room.

This was the chance Sona was waiting for. She explained her plan to Mona and together, they waited for the maid to come closer with the bucket. Sona shot out of the water and landed in the bucket. Mona tried too, but her jump wasn’t good enough and she fell back inside the bowl.

Once in the bucket, Sona felt like something was wrong. There seemed to be some sort of chemical in the water that made her head spin every time she took a breath. Sona didn’t know how long she could hold her breath, but she decided it was better than breathing in all the chemicals.

Fortunately for her, the maid emptied the bucket soon. But, it seemed as if Sona had jumped out of the frying pan and landed in the fire, because the maid had emptied the bucket in the drain. The water here smelled foul and Sona had to hold her breath again.

Not yet ready to give up, she swam through and soon, found herself in a bigger pipe. She swam in the direction of the water and found herself in a little river. The water here was not very clean, but it definitely was a lot better.


Sona had grown very hungry by now and was desperate to find some food. But instead of finding food to eat, she found herself being food for bigger fish. Fortunately for her, Sona was a lot faster and more nimble than the bigger fish and she managed to stay safe.

Eating scraps of food here and there, Sona managed to survive for a few days. Life outside the aquarium was tough as she constantly had to hide behind rocks to escape from the bigger fish. Also, the water was nowhere even nearly as clean as it was in the aquarium.

One day, Sona saw a big juicy worm floating in the water. She looked around to see if any other fish had seen this worm. The coast was clear and Sona tried taking a bite out of the worm. Instead, she found herself caught on a hook. A fisherman had used the worm as bait to catch her.


The fisherman put her in a bucket of water and took her to his home. He was going to eat her.

As the fisherman pulled her out and placed her on the cutting board, the fisherman said, “I can’t wait to have you for dinner.

As he brought the knife down on her, Sona screamed and closed her eyes. She suddenly heard her mother’s voice. “Sona, what’s the matter dear? Are you alright?” she asked.


Sona opened her eyes and saw that she was still in the aquarium. It was all a dream. Hearing her scream, several fish came up to her to ask if she needed anything and whether she was okay. Sona calmed down and breathed a sigh of relief, and started explaining others her adventures from the dream.


Dhanno was an angry young buffalo. He got angry over small matters and when he did he would ruin everyone’s day. He would break things, throw buckets filled with water, and run after small animals and scare them. No one wanted to be Dhanno’s friend because of his anger. Except Bholi, the cow.

Bholi was his best friend. She was the opposite of Dhanno, always quiet and doing her own work. She would always be calm and forgiving.

One day Bholi was grazing grass in the morning as usual. Dhanno came and stood beside her. She knew he was angry for some reason. She waited patiently till he started talking about it.

“Jaggu did it again. He pulled my tail and ran off. I ran behind him but …” Dhanno did not complete but his red eyes showed how angry he was. Jaggu, the fox, enjoyed teasing Dhanno.

“Why do you have to get so angry every time? Every one teases you because you get angry. You should control your anger.” Bholi had tried to explain him so many times before but Dhanno never changed.

Looking at Dhanno’s sad face, Bholi would try to cheer him up. “Next time Jaggu tries to touch your tail, kick him.” And both laughed out loud.

Everyone knew their friendship was strong but it was soon put to test one day. As usual Bholi came back home in the evening only to find her home had been broken down.

The walls were broken, all money and jewelry was gone. Bholi was devastated.

All the other animals gathered around Bholi’s house and started talking about who could have done it. The police was informed. Inspector Motu, the Elephant, was on duty and came promptly to the crime scene.

Looking at the walls, he said, “This can only be done by a strong animal like me.” Realizing his folly, he said, “I meant, he is a strong animal like, like …” He looked around and realized Dhanno was missing. “Where is Dhanno?”


Everyone knew about Bholi and Dhanno’s friendship. They were surprised that Dhanno was not present. Bholi needed her friend at this time.

“Look.” Inspector Motu found a necklace hidden amongst the broken wall. “To whom does this belong?”

Everyone knew! It was Dhanno’s. Bholi was taken aback. Could it be him?

Just then Dhanno came over. Bholi could see the guilt on his face and couldn’t help asking, “Did you …?”


Before she could complete, Dhanno gave an angry look and ran off from there.

Bholi looked back at Inspector Motu. “Dhanno visits me every day. It must have fallen off at that time.” Bholi tried to defend him, not believing at all that he could have done. But everyone knew Dhanno’s bad temper and thought it was him.

Bholi started pulling together whatever remained of the house. Other animals started helping her too. But Dhanno wasn’t seen for the rest of the day.

It was late night. Bholi was sitting near her broken house. All others had left and gone back to their home.

But Bholi didn’t have any left for herself. Not only had she lost her home and everything else, but it looked like she had lost her friend too. She looked at her house and started crying.

I am sorry.” Bholi looked behind as she heard Dhanno.


“Don’t look behind. I won’t be able to meet your eyes.” He stopped for a second only to calm himself.

“It was Jaggu. He was teasing me and I got angry. I know that I should not get angry. But I could not control. He then stood near your house. I kept trying to hit him and he would escape. I never realized in my anger that I was destroying your house.”

Dhanno waited for Bholi to say something, get angry even. But Bholi did not say anything.

“Yes, I know I broke your house but … but I did not steal your money and jewellery. I swear. And I promise you I will give all my money, even my house to you” said Dhanno.

“I don’t want your home or your money.”

“Don’t be angry with me Bholi. You are my only friend. I don’t want to lose you.”

“I am not angry. I am happy that you were honest with me but I hope that you have realized what your anger has done to me.” Dhanno hid his face in shame.

“So yes you will have to pay me for my loss … by working on your anger.”

Dhanno promised that he would. That made Bholi very happy.

“Wait a minute. I think I know who stole your money and jewelry.”


Suddenly Dhanno realized who the culprit was. After realizing that he had destroyed Bholi’s house, Dhanno ran away from there in shame but Jaggu was still there.

Bholi and Dhanno immediately informed Inspector Motu who searched Jaggu’s house and found the stolen stuff. Jaggu was arrested at the right time. He was preparing to run away forever.

“Your anger may have destroyed her home but at least by being honest, you saved her from making more loss.” Inspector Motu later told Dhanno.

“Yes, as I always say, honesty pays off,” said Bholi. Everyone laughed. Dhanno and Bholi left to re-build her house.



Friends with Jimmy

The forest of Mangalvan was surrounded by hills, making Mangalvan one of the most beautiful places to live in. In Mangalvan lived Manny, the mouse. Manny was famous for his pranks and tricks.

In the neighbouring forest of Sundarvan lived Billy, the elephant. Together with his wife, Kimmy, and their son Jimmy, he moved to Mangalvan to start a new life. The house they picked out was right next to Manny’s and while Jimmy wanted to make friends with Manny, he wasn’t really successful.

The problem was that every time Manny saw Jimmy, he would immediately burst out laughing. Manny and his friends would always make fun of Jimmy, but Jimmy didn’t really mind. He was determined to become their friend.

A few days had passed since Jimmy’s arrival to Mangalvan and an announcement was made that a fair would be held soon. People talked about how last year’s fair was a lot of fun and the thought of all the food and the rides only added to the excitement.

Manny and his friends were excited too. Not only were they going to have fun on the rides, they were also going to have fun pulling pranks. A few days passed and the day of the fair arrived. Manny and his friends had planned to go to the fair together, but that morning, Manny could hardly contain himself and he left early, without telling his friends.

As Manny, set off, down a shortcut from behind his house, he didn’t notice a huge ditch in the ground and fell inside. He tried hard to get out, but was too short to climb out on his own.

As he waited in the ditch, hoping that someone to help him out, Jimmy happened to walk by.

“Help, help,” cried Manny.

Hearing Manny’s cries, Jimmy peered inside the ditch to investigate.

“Hey, what are you doing down there?” Jimmy asked Manny.

Manny was afraid to ask Jimmy for help. He was worried that he would refuse to help because of all the times he had made fun of Jimmy. Nevertheless, since Manny had no choice, he said, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get out. Please help me out of this ditch.”


Jimmy reached inside with his trunk and wrapped it around Manny. He picked him up out of the ditch and gently set him down by his side. Manny was was very grateful that Jimmy had saved him.

“Thank you Jimmy,” he said, not making eye contact. “And I’m sorry for making fun of you all the time. It was very wrong of me.”

“Think nothing of it, my friend. You would have helped me out in my time of need too,” said Jimmy, with a smile.


Manny and Jimmy had finally become friends, and together, they went to the fair and had a lot of fun together.

Help Yourself

One morning, Bimpy, the fox climbed out of her den. She was hungry and off in the distance, saw Bholu, the bear. He had a big chunk of meat with him and Bimpy, feeling greedy wanted to eat it up. As she wondered how she was going to take the piece of meat from him, She remembered that Bholu was a kind bear. He could not see anyone in misery and can’t stop himself in helping them.

Bimpy sat down under a tree and pretended to feel unwell and weak. As Bholu passed by, he saw that she looked terrible and asked if she was alright.

“What’s the matter Bimpy?” asked Bholu. “Are you not feeling well?”

“What can I say, Bholu? I haven’t been keeping well lately and wasn’t able to find any food of my own. Now, I’ve grown so weak that I can barely move. Oh, what I would do to have a bite of some fresh meat,” she said and collapsed against the tree.

Bholu felt bad seeing Bimpy in this state. He gave her his piece of meat and wished her well.

This was the easiest meal Bimpy had ever eaten and realised that her plan was foolproof. The next day, as Lambu, the jackal was going home after a successful hunt, she played the same act and paraded around him, looking pathetic.


Taking pity on her, Lambu gave her his catch for the day and went on his way.

Soon, this became a habit for Bimpy and she routinely took advantage of the kindness of strangers. As the days passed, Bimpy grew out of shape and her legs ached if she walked too much or ran too fast.

One day, a mouse walked past her and she could barely keep with it, let alone catch it. She was thoroughly out of breath and truly unwell. By then, the animals of the forest had grown weary of her act and stopped walking past her den. Bimpy hadn’t eaten in several days and desperately needed help.

Fortunately, the jungle’s doctor, Pinchu, the giraffe, happened to pass by. He immediately understood that Bimpy needed his help and took her to his clinic. Bimpy was put on a drip and was fed lots of vitamin and mineral tablets.

When she began to feel a little better, Dr. Pinchu began serving her regular meals and put her on a strict exercise regimen. As the days passed, Bimpy began to feel better. A few days later, it was time for her to be discharged.

Feeling better than ever, Bimpy was about to go home when Dr. Pinchu had a word with her.


“Your health has improved tremendously, Bimpy. It goes to show how important regular exercise and a proper meal can do to improve a person’s help. If an animal keeps in mind the importance of doing your work on your own, we’ll all be healthy,” said Dr. Pinchu.

Bimpy understood the true meaning behind these words. She promised to never take advantage of the kindness of strangers and to always do her own work.


Deep in the deserts of South Africa was a little oasis garden. Filled with many wild trees and plants, it was full of life and was also home to a cactus plant and a rose bush.

One day, a swift wind brought with it a butterfly. It was new here and introduced itself to the rose bush. “Hi, my name is Nancy. I’m new here and was blown here by a strong wind. Would you mind if I lived here in your garden?” she asked. “Of course,” said the rose bush, welcoming Nancy. Soon, Nancy became a part of the garden and got along well with all the trees and plants. Among all of them, she was best friends with the rose bush.

She’d flit over to her, flapping her big, colourful wings and sip the nectar from the rose bush’s flowers. They’d talk for hours about this and that and their bond grew stronger still.

One day, the cactus turned to the butterfly and said, “Nancy, would you like to be my friend too?”

“What? Me become your friend? No way,” said Nancy, making a face.

“Why not?” asked the cactus, innocently.

“You’re full of thorns. That’s why,” said the butterfly.


“The rose bush has thorns too. How come you’re friends with her?” asked the cactus.

“You dare compare yourself to the rose bush?” asked Nancy, threateningly. “Even though she has thorns, the rose bush also has beautiful roses, full of nectar. You on the other hand have no good qualities.”

“That’s right, you have no good qualities. You’re all thorns,” added the rose bush and the two started giggling

The cactus felt terrible and didn’t bother them again.

Several days passed and the seasons began to change. The garden was getting warmer and as the days passed by, the weather grew hotter and hotter. The plants began to wilt and the leaves began to turn brown and shed. The once green garden became a bland, bed of brown.

Soon, the entire garden had wilted and all that was left was the cactus and rose bush.

Things weren’t as beautiful as before and the rose bush was looking sickly too.

“What’s the matter?” Nancy asked the rose bush. “You haven’t borne any new flowers in days now.”

“It’s the heat. Without any water, I just don’t have the energy to make more flowers. All I have are the ones that are already in bloom,” said the rose bush.

“Oh no, what am I going to do if you’re not going to be bearing any new flowers?” asked Nancy.

“Nancy, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to stay here anymore. The summer has only started and things are going to get much worse. I suggest that you move to a cooler, greener jungle for a few months and return when it rains again,” suggested the rose bush.

While Nancy was keen on moving to greener forests, she was too afraid to make the trip. She was worried that she might not be able to make it that far. As she stayed on for a couple of more days, the dry winds wilted the last few flowers the rose bush had.

Now Nancy was left with no more food. She grew weary and sat on the branches of the rose bush. The expression on her face was enough for the cactus to tell that something was wrong.


“What’s the matter Nancy? Is everything alright?” the cactus asked.

“No,” said Nancy. “I want to fly away to a greener place, but I’m so tired and thirsty that I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it. I can barely fly across the garden.”

“Don’t worry Nancy. I’ll help you,” said the cactus and called his friend, Raaka, the vulture.

Raaka swooped down and asked the cactus what the matter was.

“Oh, nothing much, just helping a friend. Could you use your beak to carve a hole on one of my arms?” asked the cactus.

Raaka did so and out of the cut oozed drops of water.

“Now you can drink to your heart’s content,” said the cactus to Nancy.

Nancy took a sip of the sweet, cool water and felt much better.



“How are you so full of water when all the other trees and plants have dried up in the heat?” asked Nancy.

“That’s because nature has given cacti the ability to store water in their stems. We soak up all the water we can find when it rains and use it during the hot summer months. Cacti may not seem like much on the outside, but we have a lot going for us on the inside,” said the cactus.

“I’m sorry for saying mean things to you,” said Nancy. “I was under the impression that the only special beings on this planet are the ones who have beautiful wings or bear beautiful flowers. I never realised that there could be so much more. Please forgive me.”


The cactus accepted Nancy’s apology and said, “Don’t worry about flying away to another forest for now. Stay here and drink to your heart’s content. I’ll keep you safe here until the next summer.”

Nancy and the cactus spent the summer and the rest of their lives as best friends.


The Fight

Tinku and Pinku Rabbits were headed for the river to bathe in it, when Pinku saw something round floating on the waves.

“What’s that?” He asked Tinku.

Tinku looked closely and said, “Can’t you make out? It is a balloon.”

“How did it come here?” Pinku asked again.

“Maybe some child came here to bathe and left it behind,” Tinku said. “Wait here, I will be back in an instant.”

“Where are you going?”

“To bring the balloon from the water.”

“Wait,” Pinku stood in front of Tinku and blocked his way. “I saw it first. How can you take it?”

“You did not even know what it was! Therefore, I will take the balloon,” Tinku was adamant.

Pinku pushed him violently. “How can you take it? I found it therefore I will take it.”

Tinku punched Pinku’s face, who fell flat on the ground. “I said I will take it.”

While both of them were busy quarreling, Bunty Monkey came. He was very crafty. He said, “Why are you crying? Tell me what happened? I will resolve this fight.”

Feeling relieved, they narrated the entire incident to Bunty.

“Oh, so both of you are fighting over the balloon,” Bunty’s eyes glinted. “Wait, I will provide you with the best solution for this fight.”

He leapt forward to take out the balloon.

“Where are you going?” Pinku and Tinku stood firmly in his way.

“To take out the balloon,” Bunty replied

“With whose permission?”

“I do not need anyone’s permission,” Bunty smiled. “Now that both of you are unable to decide who should take the balloon, I think I should take it. In this way, your fight will be resolved.”

The rabbits caught hold of the monkey’s tail, “We will not let you take our balloon.” |


Bunty was enraged, “Release me, my tail will break.”

“We will not, you will take our balloon.”

“I said let go of me.” said Bunty Monkey

“No way…” echoed the rabbits.

Meanwhile Kalu Crow flew there. He was very cunning and often acted as a spoilsport. He interrupted them, “What happened? Why are you fighting with each other like this?”

The rabbits told him everything.

Kalu said, “Oh, now I understand. You are fighting over the balloon.”

“Yes,” Tinku and Pinku said together. “But this monkey wants to grab our balloon with his slyness.”

“Do not worry,” Kalu said with a mischievous smile on his face. “I have a solution for this problem.”

“What is it?”

Kalu said, “The reason for this entire fight is the balloon. If I burst it with my beak, then the fight will stop automatically, right?”

Kalu flew to the balloon and pecked on the balloon with his beak, but surprisingly the balloon did not burst.


‘It seems it is a very tough balloon, I should hit it with more force,’ thought Kalu and acted accordingly.

“Oh my God… this blacky almost broke my head,” Kalu was startled on hearing the shriek.

Then he saw Mangal wrestler emerge from the river, holding his bald head. “Just today I shaved my head because of the scorching heat, but this blacky did not let me take a proper bath.”

“Stupid animals, what you assumed to be a balloon turned out to be Mangal wrestler’s bald head. Run for your life,” Kalu alerted them.

“Wait, I will teach you a lesson,” Mangal picked up a stick and ran after them.

All four of them somehow saved their lives and went back empty handed to their respective homes.

Gol Guttam Lakkad bottom

Mother!” Vinay called out when he woke up one morning. “Please give me some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty. And please hurry!”

“I’ll get it right away,” Mother replied from the kitchen.

“What is the matter, Vinay? Are you feeling unwell?” Mother asked when she entered the room with a cup.

Also read: The Fight- The battle for balloon is on its verge between the animals. Read and find out who wins it.

“I’m perfectly fine, Mother,” Vinay said. “What makes you think I’m unwell?”

“Well, you did ask me to get you this concoction of herbs, didn’t you?” Mother said, handing Vinay the cup.

“Huh? When did I ask for a concoction of herbs?” Vinay asked, peeping into the cup.

“Vinay,” Mother said. “Didn’t you just call out to me and ask me to give you some booty?”

“Oh Mother!” Vinay said. “You misunderstood me. I asked you to bring me dugdh jal mishrit parvatiya booty. That’s another name for tea.”

“You’re becoming more and more mischievous, Vinay,” Mother scolded and left the room.

Vinay shrugged and got out of the bed. He then went to take a bath. After a while, he called out to Mother again. “Mother!” he shouted. “I can’t find my kanth langot.”

“What?” Mother said, perplexed.

“I can’t find my kanth langot!” Vinay repeated. “Wherever did you keep my necktie?”

“Please be direct, Vinay!” Mother sighed.

“I won’t be able to finish my household chores if you keep confusing me just because you want to be mischievous.”

Mother then took Vinay’s necktie out of the wardrobe and put it around his neck.

“Mother, I am not being mischievous,” Vinay pleaded innocently. “Really!”

Later that day, Vinay’s teacher was testing the students’ GK in the classroom. “Children,” he said. “Tell me, what is Thomas Edison’s most famous invention?”

Vinay smiled and raised his hand to answer the question.

“Yes, Vinay,” the teacher said. “Please answer the question.”

Also read: The Boring Day of Pickly Wibble the Hedgehog

“Sir,” Vinay cleared his throat and said.

“Edison invented the vidyut prakashiya kanch golak!”

“Sit down if you don’t know the answer,” the teacher said, upset.

“Children,” he then told the class. “Thomas Edison invented the electric bulb.”

“Sir, I was saying the same thing,” Vinay stood up and insisted. “The vidyut prakashiya kanch golak is another name for the electric bulb.”


All the students in the class laughed heartily.

“Be quiet!” the teacher shouted. “Now, answer the next question. Which game is the Ramanuj Trophy associated with?”

“It is associated with ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak!” Vinay said.

“Vinay,” the teacher said angrily. “Are you making fun of me again? I had no idea that you could be so disrespectful.”

“Sir,” Vinay said sincerely. “I would never do that. But please believe me when I say that ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak is another name for table tennis.”

“Please keep quiet for the rest of the class, Vinay,” the teacher said furiously.

Vinay didn’t like being shouted at even though he had answered correctly.

But he obeyed his teacher and didn’t speak again.

“Rahul!” Vinay called out to his friend and neighbour when he returned from school later that day. “Will you come with me to watch the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match? I have an extra pass.”

“What is that?” Rahul asked curiously.

“Well,” Vinay said. “A gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match is another name for a cricket match!”

Rahul laughed loudly.

“Yes, Vinay!” he said cheerfully. “Even I want to watch the match between India and Pakistan. We will have to go to the stadium by train. So let’s leave right away.”

“It will take time for the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini to arrive,” Vinay said. “So let us walk towards the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal.”

“Now whatever is that?” Rahul asked, staring at Vinay.

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“Sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini is a train,” Vinay explained. “And sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal means a railway station.”

“Which language are you speaking in today, Vinay?” Rahul asked, giggling. He was unable to control his laughter. Vinay’s incoherent jabber had made him feel both curious and thrilled.

“We have a new Hindi teacher in our school, Rahul,” Vinay explained. “His name is Mr. Sharma. He says that our national language gives us values. And that we should be proud of it rather than being slaves to foreign ones. Mr. Sharma has also told us how our national language should be respected. He suggests that we talk in Hindi as often as we can so that we discover what a rich language it is.”

“Ah!” Rahul said and laughed. “So that’s what you’ve been up to today.” Praveen Uncle, who was the boys’ neighbour, saw them laughing.

“What’s making you boys laugh?” he asked good-naturedly.

“Uncle,” Rahul told Praveen Uncle. “Vinay has resolved to talk in a new language from today.”

“Really?” Praveen Uncle said curiously. Rahul then told Praveen Uncle about why Vinay was trying to speak in Hindi.

“Son, your new teacher has taught you the correct thing,” Praveen Uncle said. “But you have not understood what he really meant.”

“What makes you say that, Uncle?” Vinay asked, surprised.

“We should definitely respect our national language,” Praveen Uncle said, “but along with that, we should also know other languages so that we progress in life.”

Vinay and Rahul listened patiently.

“Tell me,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Why do we use a language?”

“So that we can communicate our thoughts to others,” Vinay said.

“Vinay,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Is everybody able to understand you from the way you are speaking today?”.

“No,” Vinay said, sounding disappointed. “Everybody is making their own inferences about what I am saying. Mother thinks I’m being mischievous while my teacher thinks I’m making fun of him.”

“Well, Vinay,” Praveen Uncle said softly.

“A language should be such that it is understood by everyone. Did you know that words from other languages were included in Hindi in order to make it easier to understand? That has made it possible for it to reach out to more people than it originally did.”

“Is that so?” Vinay and Rahul asked, astonished.

“Yes,” Praveen Uncle said. “Not only English but words of Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Marathi and many other languages have assimilated with Hindi. And you will be surprised to know that Hindi is now being taught in schools and colleges all over the world.”

“Uncle, I have now realised that the knowledge of other languages is as important as that of one’s own national language. Knowledge is never a setback in one’s progress. In fact, it facilitates it all the more!” Vinay said cheerfully.

“That’s correct, Vinay!” Praveen Uncle said. “Why don’t we go for some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty now?’

“What’s that, Uncle?” Rahul asked, confused.

“Tea, Rahul!” Praveen Uncle said. “Your favourite drink!”


“Good idea!” Rahul said, laughing. “And after that, let us all go for the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match. I can’t wait to see India win!”

Everyone laughed and walked towards the tea shop.

The Boring Day of Pickly Wibble the Hedgehog

Once upon a time there was a day. It was neither a very good day nor a very bad day. It was just a very boring day. All boring days have a peculiar smell. Pickly Wibble the hedgehog smelt that boring day the moment he opened his left eye to take a peek at the alarm clock. Oh no! Time to get up!

Pickly Wibble the hedgehog decided that the best way to spend such a boring day was to stay carefully rolled up below his red maple leaves nibbling away at blueberries.


After calling the office faking a back strain, Pickly Wibble dozed for a couple of hours more. Then hunger woke him up and feeling famished he went into the kitchen to munch on something. But oops, the fridge was empty! There was not even a berry!

Pickly Wibble could not go shopping! Some colleagues of his would see him around and realize his back strain was a fake.

So he decided to order something yummy via the Internet. But oops his computer had crashed the day before and Pickly Wibble had taken it to get it fixed at the computer shop just around the corner. He could not go out to pick it up. He was supposed to be sick!

So Pickly Wibble decided to take a shower to soothe both his ravenous hunger and ruffled spines. Pickly Wibble used the bath foam first, then the shampoo and lastly the conditioner.

When it was time to rinse, oops, not even a drop of water fell from the tap. With his eyes full of suds Pickly Wibble tried to reach the phone on the desk of the dining room to call the plumber, Cater the Pillar.


Stumbling a couple of times and slamming against a little desk, a lamp and even a sofa, Pickly Wibble the hedgehog was able to reach the phone and dial the number, but oops, the line of Cater the Pillar, the plumber was continuously busy.

Pickly Wibble the hedgehog thought that on a boring day like that maybe Cater the Pillar the plumber too had called in sick. Mhmmm!

Pickly Wibble took a decision! He would watch the TV waiting for the sun to set. In the dark, wearing a trench and dark glasses he could slip out of the house to buy something good to eat at Daisy the wasp’s.

Greater Happiness

After taking the decision, he took the remote control and started pressing the buttons at first gently, then with more strength and increasing energy. Oops, it did not work!

It was the battery for sure. Pickly Wibble the hedgehog was trying to remember where he had put a new one when someone knocked at the door.

He looked out from the peep hole and oops, outside there was a crowd waiting for him. His colleagues were the first, then he saw his friends, his parents, Cater the Pillar the plumber, Daisy the wasp carrying a basket with fresh blueberries and his broken personal computer. Pickly Wibble the hedgehog heaved a sigh and opened the door. Whilst he expected long faces and admonishment, to his surprise he heard the crowd saying:

“Happy birthday Wiggle!”

“We knew you would find an excuse not to show up!”

More From Champak: Chirag’s Feathered Friends

“Many happy returns of the day, my son!”

How could he forget! That boring day, was his birthday! He forgot, but the others, the ones who cared for him truly did not, and they came to celebrate at his place!

And so it happened that on a boring day Pickly Wibble the hedgehog learnt that ordinary days could also be special days, especially those days which were also his birthdays!


Stay Put Timbu!

The entire stadium was packed with animals. The final round of the prestigious Maharaja Sher Singh Memorial Football Match was about to begin. It was being played between Jumbuvan and Nandanvan. Jumbuvan’s captain Blacky Bear was very worried. “How will we play without Golu Deer?” he told Uchalu Monkey who was the vice captain. “He is our main goal scorer. Why did he have to fall sick today?”

“Why wouldn’t he fall sick?” Uchalu Monkey said, sounding annoyed. “I saw him stuffing himself with deep-fried snacks like pakodas and kachoris at Ballu Ox’s roadside shop just yesterday evening. I know that Golu is one of our best players but I must say that when it comes to his taste buds, he forgets everything and turns very careless.”

“Forget Golu for now!” Blacky Bear growled. He was growing anxious about the match. “Let’s focus on who we could get to replace him at such short notice.”

“Why don’t we ask Timbu Donkey to take Golu’s place?” Uchalu Monkey suggested. “His kicks are really powerful. He is quite good at saving goals too. Our defense line-up will surely benefit if we take him on.”

“Hmm,” Blacky Bear said, sounding slightly unsure. “You are right, Uchalu. Timbu Donkey can kick the ball really well. He can save goals too. But I still don’t feel very confident about him. He acts irresponsibly and can be very stupid sometimes. Even a slight mistake on his part can prove dangerous for our team.”

“Don’t worry, Blacky,” Uchalu Monkey said confidently. “Taga Tiger is Nandanvan’s main goal scorer. We will give Timbu the task of surrounding him so that he doesn’t get to the ball. I think this strategy will work for us. What do you think?”

“Alright then,” Blacky Bear said. He then called out to all his team players and explained the game plan. “Uchalu will attack the Nandanvan team. I will take care of the midfield. Timbu’s job will be to surround Taga so that he doesn’t get an opportunity to get hold of the ball.”

All the players nodded as they understood and approved of the line of attack. When Timbu Donkey heard that he would be replacing Golu Deer in the game, he felt overjoyed. “Hooray!” he cheered to himself. “I have finally got a chance to play in this prestigious match!”

As soon as the game began, Jumbuvan’s Uchalu Monkey scored a goal through a header and made his team lead. Ding! The score on the leader board changed to ‘1-O’. The Jumbuvan fans whistled. “Well done, Jumbuvan!” they cheered. The Nandanvan team grew furious. They decided to become more aggressive in their attack. Taga Tiger roared and struggled to score a goal.


But Timbu Donkey’s powerful kicks ruined all his chances as he kicked the ball faraway from Taga Tiger.

When the ball came into the possession of the Nandanvan players the next time, they raced towards Jumbuvan’s goalpost. As they grew closer, they made a pass. Taga sprinted towards the ball, hoping to score a goal. Unfortunately, he lost his balance and hit the goalpost.

Taga was so badly hurt that he had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Nandanvan’s players felt bad about losing one of their best players. But they tried their level best to score goals. Sadly, they didn’t make any and Jumbuvan won the match. Timbu Donkey was declared as the Best Player of the defense line. Everyone praised his powerful kicks. But where was the Best Player? Timbu couldn’t be seen anywhere on the field. He didn’t even show up when he was called to receive the trophy.

Well, Timbu Donkey had gone to the hospital in the ambulance with Taga Tiger. His sympathetic attitude towards an opponent player impressed everyone.

“We should take a cue from Timbu and meet Taga in the hospital,” Captain Blacky told his team. “We should leave all our differences here on the field and be friends with our opponents outside the stadium, just like Timbu.”

Timbu Donkey was sitting near Taga Tiger’s bed in the hospital room when Blacky Bear and the rest of the Jumbuvan team walked in. He looked very relieved to see them. “Captain, for how much longer do I have to surround Taga?he immediately asked Blacky Bear. Timbu Donkey’s question perplexed all the animals. “What?” Blacky Bear said. “Timbu, have you come here only because I had asked you to surround Taga all the time?”

Yes, of course,” Timbu Donkey replied innocently. “I was following your orders. You are the captain after all.”

The whole room echoed with the sound of laughter. “You silly donkey!” Blacky Bear said, giggling. “When I told you to surround Taga, I actually meant that you should only do so on the playground, so that he doesn’t get too close to the ball! But you took me so seriously that you even followed him to the hospital! And you are ‘surrounding him here too!” Timbu Donkey felt very silly. He didn’t know what to say or do.

Uchalu Monkey, who was known for his sense of humour, decided that it was time for him to crack a joke. “Okay, Timbu,” he said. “Now tell me, if Taga had gone to the washroom, would you have accompanied him to surround him there too?”


Uchalu Monkey’s question caused another of laughter. Timbu Donkey once again didn’t know what to do. He simply hid his long face behind his hands and gave himself one of his powerful kicks.


Timbu Donkey was declared as the Best Player and everyone praised his powerful kicks. But where was the Best Player?He didn’t even show up when he was called to receive the trophy.


One morning, Honey Elephant woke up craving for some soft and sweet bananas. Though he liked all kinds of fruits, bananas topped his list. He walked out of his house, wondering where he would find a big bunch of bananas to satiate his enormous appetite. Honey walked towards a park. He saw a group of monkeys sitting inside. They were eating some ripe yellow bananas. Honey immediately stopped and looked at the bananas and licked his lips.

One of the monkeys, whose name was Jumpy Monkey, looked up at Honey Elephant and grinned. “Would you like a banana, Mr. Elephant?” he said impishly. Honey Elephant nodded his big head.

“Yes, I really would!” he said. “Then eat this!” Jumpy Monkey said cheekily. He then threw a rotten banana towards Honey Elephant. It fell near Honey Elephant’s big legs and smashed on the ground. Honey Elephant felt quite hurt. He walked away quietly.

Suddenly, Honey Elephant heard someone singing, “Buy bananas! Sweet bananas! Golden bananas!” It was Peelu Deer. He was pushing a cart full of yellow bananas to sell in the market. The sight of the plump and fresh bananas made Honey’s mouth water.

“I don’t have any money to pay you,” he told Peelu Deer politely. “But will you still give me a few bananas for free?”

Peelu Deer got very upset. “Hey! I am trying to make a living here and you want my bananas for free!” he scolded Honey Elephant. “Go away from here, you beggar!”

Honey Elephant walked away without saying a word. After being admonished by many more animals in the jungle, he felt very disheartened. “If I had the money, I could have bought an entire cart of bananas for myself!” he said to himself wishfully. Suddenly, Honey Elephant heard someone laughing. He turned around and saw that it was Goru Rabbit.

“Money doesn’t grow on the trees, Honey!” Goru Rabbit said. “You have to work for it to come to you.” Chunmun Sparrow, who was flying in the sky, saw Honey Elephant and flew down. She was one of Honey Elephant’s closest friends. “Hi Honey!” Chunmun Sparrow chirped. “I have some good news for you! I bet it will make you very happy!”

“Is that so?” Honey Elephant said. “What is it? Tell me quickly, Chunmun!”

“Well,” Chunmun Sparrow said. “A truck has turned over on the highway that’s behind the jungle. It was carrying a load of bananas to the nearby town. There are thousands of bananas lying on the road now. Just the sight of them made me think of you. I know how much you love bananas. And so, I flew all the way here, just to give you the news.”

“Wow!” Honey Elephant said excitedly. “That really is good news! I’ll go there right away and have a feast.” Honey then ran towards the highway. He found the spot that Chunmun Sparrow had told him about. A big truck was lying overturned there. Honey Elephant blinked. There were thousands of ripe bananas scattered there! When the truck driver and cleaner saw Honey Elephant, they panicked. “A wild elephant! Run!” they shouted as they ran to hide. “He might be dangerous!” Now, Honey wasn’t one bit dangerous. But he didn’t bother to tell them that. He had his eyes fixed on the bananas. He had never seen so many of them together. And there was no one to stop him from eating them now.

“I can eat the bananas to my heart’s content now,” Honey Elephant said as he walked towards the overturned truck. But when Honey Elephant reached the truck, he found that he didn’t want to eat the bananas anymore!

“The truck driver and helper must have been startled by the accident,” he muttered. “They will feel worse if I eat their bananas now.” Honey Elephant then straightened the truck and put the bananas back into it.


The truck driver and cleaner were surprised to see what Honey Elephant was doing. “Huh?” they said, scratching their heads. “This elephant is putting the bananas back into the truck instead of eating them!” When Honey Elephant finished putting all the bananas back into the truck, he blew the dust off the truck with his trunk. He then turned to go back to the jungle.

“Wait!” the truck driver and cleaner told Honey Elephant. Honey Elephant stopped, wondering what they would say. “Mr. Elephant,” the truck driver and cleaner said. “Thank you very much for your help. If it was not for you, the bananas would have rotted on the road. We would have lost our jobs too. Please accept some bananas as a token of our gratitude.” The truck driver and cleaner then gave Honey Elephant several bunches of plump bananas.

“I don’t know why,” Honey Elephant said as he thanked them, “but I have never been happier than I am today. And I think it’s only because I chose to help you.” The truck driver and cleaner smiled. “Mr. Elephant,” they said. “We travel on this highway very often. And from now on, we’ll stop by every time we are here and leave some bananas for you to eat. You really are a helpful friend.” They then drove away, feeling quite happy. .

Honey Elephant walked back to the jungle with the bananas. He was feeling quite happy too. He had more bananas than he could eat now. And so, he invited all the animals and birds of the jungle to share them with him. He even invited Jumpy Monkey who couldn’t believe that Honey Elephant was being so generous when he had been so nasty to him.

“Thank you for inviting us over,” Goru Rabbit, Chunmun Sparrow and all the others told Honey Elephant later that day. “We had a feast today. And it was just because you chose to be honest and helpful.”

“Achieving something by being honest and helpful is much better than getting it for free,” Honey Elephant told them all. “I have learnt this very important lesson today!” All the animals and birds nodded and smiled. They were happy to see this positive change in their friend.


Once there lived a big fat king who used to eat throughout the day. He was always followed by a maid who would carry a tray loaded with snacks. He would have biscuits in the evening, crisps in the night time, bread and butter in the morning and a large bowl of cereals and rice in the afternoon. He was a man who never got tired of eating. He would eat while he talked, walked, sang, felt bored and even when he ordered his troops. The only time his mouth remained still was when he was asleep.

He was also a very greedy man and would never share anything that was his with anyone. Not even with his wife. The queen was a very frail and elegant woman who was kind-hearted and intelligent. She was fed up of watching her husband eat all day long. Many a time she would request her husband “Please stop eating for a while? At least when you are discussing matters with the ministers?”

He always replied “How do you expect me to live if I stop eating?”

“Well, you will not die if you do not eat for five minutes!” She retorted.

He was always very angry when he was asked by others to do something. He always thought that he was right. He was a very proud king and thought nobody could be like him.. Therefore he did many silly things in his life and took everyone for granted.

“There is no man in this world who can eat like me! No one can beat me at eating! And I am proud of it!” He said with pride.

The queen knew that there was no point in arguing with him any more on this issue. Hence, she stopped talking to him about eating.

A few months passed by, but the king did not stop eating! Everybody in the kingdom started making fun of the king and the queen was embarrassed. She wanted to put a stop to her husband’s habit of eating constantly. So she decided to plan a trick that would make her husband to stop eating.

That night, she told him “You know, there is a man who eats more than you do!”

“What! Who?” He asked shocked and dropped a hand full of crisps.

“A man named Ben. He is a shopkeeper in the town nearby and people call him Ben, the eater!” She said in a very casual tone.

“It cannot be true.” He replied harshly. His face turned red with anger. He got down from his bed and started walking around his room as though he was thinking something very serious.

“It is! You did not hear? They call him Ben, the eater! And I have seen him. I have heard he eats more than you.” She replied very coolly.

“He cannot!” He bellowed.

She was terrified. But before she spoke anything more, he spoke “All right! I can challenge him.” He sounded very confident.

The queen smiled broadly. She knew her husband would say this and she was happy that things were going according to her plan.

“Fine!” She said. “I will arrange for it. I will talk to Ben and you can compete with him.”

“Great!” he said. “Arrange for the challenge and watch your husband win!” He was full of pride.

She did not want to talk about it anymore. She bid him good night and fell asleep.

The next day, everything was ready. It was nearly sunset when the competition began. Ben sat in the middle of the hall and the king was seated on his huge throne.

People gathered in the hall to watch the outcome. A group of young boys were there to cheer the king. The queen thought that they were the kids of the ministers. It was decided that Ben would starve for a week if he lost the bet and if the king lost he would stop eating lavishly.

Once the bet began, maids brought roasted beef, huge loaves of bread and butter, a pot full of porridge and water and served it to them. Both the men started eating. The king stuffed his mouth with roasted beef. He looked very funny with his cheeks bulging out on both sides.

Ben ate very fast and finished the roasted beef in no time. He was served more roasts. Seeing this, the king started eating like a barbarian. He started using both his hands holding a loaf of bread in one hand and beef in the other.

They ate for hours continuously. After a while, the king needed a break badly. Therefore there was a five minutes break.

During the break, he fell asleep and the queen knew that he was tired of eating. Ben left the hall and returned after a few minutes.

Five minutes later the king woke up and the competition resumed. They were served with chicken and turkey this time. The kind started breathing heavily and the queen knew that it was because of the effort he had to make to eat. But she felt that he was still determined to continue. He was a man who would not give up easily.

They ate all night. The maids were tired walking up and down the hall and serving them. The crowd too dispersed gradually. But there were a few people who were ready to sacrifice their night’s sleep for this competition.

It went on and on and they continued devouring the food. However by sun rise, the speed of the king had reduced remarkably. The queen knew that he could not eat any more. But Ben seemed to be eating without the slightest bit of exhaustion. After a while, the king gave up.


“I give up.” He said. He sounded weary.

There was applause all around the hall. The queen too applauded but only until the king spoke. “In order to win the bet, you must eat another five loaves of bread.” He ordered. There was complete silence in the hall.

After much argument, Ben accepted to eat five more loaves of bread and was given bread and butter. He continued eating for an hour. The king kept watching him and finally Ben finished. He did as he was ordered. There was a thunder of claps around the hall and it was declared that Ben had won the bet. So the King sadly accepted that he would not eat throughout the day but only at meal times.


The queen was very happy and satisfied. She was satisfied by the plan she had laid. The morning before the bet, she had met Ben to persuade him to accept the offer for the bet. Ben had a twin named Bob and the three of them had planned to trick the king. So Bob switched place with Ben during the five minutes break. They were given a bag full of gold coins by the queen for helping her execute the plan.

She had achieved what she wanted. Her plan had worked out too well and nobody ever knew. Ben and Bob left the town after the bet and promised never to return. The king was left with nothing but a limited amount of food at meal times.


The Gift

Asha and Priya were neighbours. They were both six years old and good friends. Being as young as six they experienced their own share of fights, laughter, anger, love and others. They always shared whatever they had, whether it was playthings or food.

But…… but…..but…..Asha had a doll that she never let Priya play with. Priya could not fight over it for Asha had found a way to deal with this situation. It went somewhat like this….

“May I have your doll for a while”, Priya would request!

“Of course, you can but she is sleeping and I just cannot wake her up, you know my granny tells me one should never wake up anyone while they are asleep,” this would be Asha’s reply.

“Oh….” Priya had to accept it reluctantly.

Another day Priya would again ask for the doll, and the prompt reply would be, “Oh no! I did not sleep the whole of last night because dolly was very sick. She was coughing and Mamma tells me never let anyone touch her, for they would get the cough and will have to be given a shot by the doctor!” This frightened Priya and she took a few steps backward.

This happened so often that Priya soon stopped asking for the doll which always had a problem. This suited Asha who was indeed very happy with the outcome.

One fine day Priya came running to Asha’s house screaming her lungs out “Hey Asha, we are moving to the next town, Papa has a new job there, I am going to miss you but now you will have nobody asking for dolly!” Though this made Asha very happy it also made her very sad for she would no longer be able to play with Priya.

Asha woke up one morning hearing a lot of commotion outside her house; she peeped out of the window and found that the movers were loading things from Priya’s house into their van.

She ran out and Priya came running towards Asha, she gave a tight hug and bid farewell and ran towards the car waiting to leave.


Tears ran down Asha’s cheeks, suddenly in a flash, she ran inside as fast as her little feet could carry, picked up a gift and ran back with the same speed and screamed “Wait Priya, I have something for you”.

Priya’s father stopped the car. Asha came running, gave the gift in Priya’s hands, planted a kiss on her cheek and soon the car left.

Priya opened the gift impatiently as any kid would and there inside it was DOLLY with a beaming smile, she turned around and saw Asha waving her hands happily with tears in her eyes.

Priya now realized that she was more important to Asha than her lovely Dolly! Priya screamed, “I love you, you are my best friend”.

Stubborn King

Champakvan’s new king, Sheru Singh, was a very just and caring ruler. However, he was also extremely stubborn. Very often he was struck by new ideas and would forget everything and stubbornly concentrate on accomplishing them. This habit often entrapped him in troubles; still Sheru Singh could not free himself of it.

Minister Happy Elephant was always worried because of the king’s habit.

One day when Happy went to pay a visit to the king, he found Sheru Singh sitting solemnly under a tree in the royal gardens.

“Maharaj, what are you gazing at in the sky sitting under this tree?” Happy asked.

“Happyji, I am thinking of something,” King Sheru Singh replied, still looking at the sky.

His words caused a wave of panic in Happy’s mind, thinking that some new idea had germinated in Sheru Singh’s psyche. “Maharaj, please do not think, sitting alone like this,” he said.

“Ministerji, at least listen to me. I was thinking how can the birds fly in the sky?”

“Maharaj, the bodies of the birds is made in a way that they can easily fly,” Happy grew more suspicious.

“That is true, Ministerji, but birds can also fly because they have wings. If I had wings, could I have flown?” King Sheru Singh asked, still lost in thoughts.

“I don’t know Maharaj, but why think about it, when it is impossible? Think about the various schemes you are planning for the masses,” Happy suggested.

“But Happyji, just imagine that if I had wings, then I could fly, right?” Sheru Singh asked again.

“Maharaj, I am very heavy, so maybe I would be unable to fly, but I think you can,” Happy pondered and said.

King Sheru Singh’s face beamed with happiness at Minister Happy’s words.

“Ministerji, I want to fly,” Happy could not believe his ears at King Sheru Singh’s declaration.

“What are you saying, Maharaj?” Happy expressed his disbelief. “How can you fly? You have no wings!”

“That I do not know. I just want to fly. Ministerji, you are so sharp. Think of a way so that I can fly,” Sheru Singh was back to his stubbornness.

“But Maharaj, how can you…”

“Umm… Umm… What kind of a minister are you, who cannot even fulfill a small wish of your king. I just want to fly somehow,” Sheru Singh began crying like a small child.

Happy became nervous at the sight of the king crying. “Maharaj, what are you doing? If anybody sees you crying like this, what will they think? Please stop crying. I will think of something.”

“Maharaj, I will lift you up with my trunk and walk from one place to another. This will make you feel as if you are flying,” Happy came up with this bright idea after contemplating for a long time.

“No, not like this,” said the king petulantly. “I want to actually fly like the birds.”

“Maharaj, do not be stubborn. You are trying to do the impossible. Can I think it will be possible for me to become slimmer than a bear if I am on a diet? In the same way, your flying is also impossible.”

“Okay, tell me why I cannot fly?”

“Maharaj, there are many reasons for it. You do not have wings and your body is too heavy.”

“I have a solution for this problem,” King Sheru Singh exclaimed happily.

“What solution, Maharaj?” Happy asked in despair.

“I need a pair of artificial wings. Since I am huge, the wings too have to be big,” King Sheru Singh declared.

“No Maharaj, this is impossible.”

“Everything is possible, Ministerji. Just wait and watch,” King Sheru Singh said and went to the weaving bird. He got two big wings made out of many palm leaves.

King Sheru Singh took the wings to Minister Happy, “Ministerji, look at these. I have especially got them made for myself.”

“Maharaj, you will not be able to fly with such heavy wings. Even the birds will be unable to fly with such heavy wings,” Happy said, after inspecting the wings.

“Ministerji, do not worry, just come with me. I will jump from the hill and fly with the help of these wings.”

King Sheru Singh’s words gave Happy enough reason to panic. He realized it would be pointless to make Sheru Singh understand the gravity of his action. He would never listen to him.

“Maharaj, you carry on. I will follow you,” Happy said and went away.


When he reached the hill after a while, King Sheru Singh was ready with his wings to fly.

“Maharaj, tie this rope to your leg,” Happy gave one end of a rope to the king.

“What is it for, Ministerji?”

“So that you do not fly away too far,” Happy replied. King Sheru Singh did as Happy had asked him and jumped from the hill.

He could not, fly, and started falling down into the valley below with great speed. Happy saw this and quickly pulled the rope with his hands.

Sheru Singh did not fall in the valley due to the rope but was badly hurt because of colliding with the rocky hill. By the time Happy pulled him up the hill, he was bleeding profusely.

“Maharaj, are you all right?” enquired Happy with concern for his king.

“You saved my life otherwise I would surely have fallen down very far,” King Sheru Singh groaned with pain.

“Maharaj, you are safe, I am happy about that. These wounds will soon heal,” Happy said as he began untying the knot of the rope from Sheru Singh’s leg.

“Ministerji, I am thinking about something.”

“Maharaj, such a big mishap was about to happen and here you are again thinking!” Happy was shocked.

“Ministerji, this time my thoughts are of good intention. I am thinking that one should not blindly ape others but try to be happy just the way one is.

“Now look at me. I tried to copy the birds and wanted to fly like them, without even thinking that it is impossible. See, I am so badly hurt. I have decided that now I will never imitate others and not be stubborn about anything. What is the point of being stubborn, if it gets one into trouble?”


King Sheru Singh’s words made Happy breathe a sigh of relief. After all, his king had left behind his bad habit of being stubborn without reason.

Bunty Bear’s Missing Key

Where are you going, Bunty?” Bunty Bear’s mother asked when she saw him going out of the house.

“Mother,” Bunty Bear replied. “I am going to show my friend Kuki my new scooter. I’ll be back in a jiffy!”

“Back in a jiffy?” Bunty Bear’s mother said. “Doesn’t Kuki live in Kesarvan which is 20 km away from our forest? It will be quite late by the time you return from there. Look! The sky is overcast too. It’s going to rain heavily. I don’t want you to get wet and fall sick, my dear.”

“Don’t worry, Mother,” Bunty Bear said. “I’ll take my red raincoat with me. It matches with the colour of my scooter too! I promise I’ll take good care of myself and not get wet either.”

“Can’t you go to meet Kuki tomorrow?” Bunty Bear’s mother asked worriedly.

“Mother,” Bunty Bear said, hugging his mother.

“Kuki is my best friend. Please let me go. I really want to show him my new scooter!”

“Okay,” Bunty Bear’s mother sighed and said. “Go if you like. But please wear your helmet. And do return home before it turns dark.”

“Thank you, Mother!” Bunty Bear said, running out of the house. “You are the best! Kuki will be really happy when he sees my new scooter! All thanks to you!”

Bunty Bear then wore his helmet and jumped onto his new scooter. He then sped away.

Vroom! Bunty Bear soon zoomed into Kesarvan.


And everyone who saw him turned to admire his red scooter.

It was bright and shiny. Besides, there were no two-wheelers in Kesarvan as yet.

“How about giving us a ride, Bunty?” some of Kuki’s friends asked Bunty Bear.


Bunty Bear grinned and willingly obliged. He then gave everyone a quick ride.

When he got tired, Kuki insisted that he visit his house to take a break and eat something.

Kuki had plucked fresh berries and found some extra-sweet honey for Bunty Bear.

“Mmm! Thanks, Kuki,” Bunty Bear said as he relished the treat. “You have served me my favourite things!”

When Bunty Bear finished eating, he realised that it was time for him to leave.

“I must leave now,” he told Kuki. “I told my mother that I will be back before it turns dark. But I promise I’ll visit you again next week!”

Just as Bunty Bear stepped out of Kuki’s house, a loud clap of thunder was heard. Big raindrops then fell from the sky.

“Oh no! It’s raining,” Kuki said worriedly. “How will you go home now, Bunty?”

“Don’t worry, Kuki,” Bunty Bear said. He then showed Kuki his raincoat and assured him that he would ride his scooter slowly and safely.

Bunty Bear quickly wore his raincoat and put his helmet on.

He then walked towards his scooter and put his paws into his pockets to pull the key out.


“Hey!” Bunty Bear suddenly said, sounding very alarmed. “Where is my scooter key? I can’t find it anywhere.”

“Have you dropped the key somewhere, Bunty?” Kuki asked.

He then called out to his parents and asked them to check if the key had fallen anywhere in the house.

Kuki’s parents searched high and low.

They moved the furniture about and even peeped under the beds. But the key couldn’t be found anywhere.

“Oh no,” Bunty Bear said with a frown. “How will I go home now? The rain’s getting heavier and heavier. I will be drenched if I walk home. And I promised Mother that I wouldn’t get wet.”

“Bunty,” Kuki’s mother then said. “Since you can’t find the key and since it is raining so heavily, you should spend the night with us. You will be safe here.”

“Well, I don’t have a choice,” Bunty Bear said as he went back into the house and sat on the sofa.

“Why don’t you take your helmet off now, Bunty?”

Kuki then suggested. “You don’t need to wear it when you are indoors.”

“Right,” Bunty Bear said, taking the helmet off. Plop! Something suddenly fell on the floor.

When Bunty Bear, Kuki and his mother bent down to see what it was, they had quite a surprise.

“Bunty, you are so funny,” Kuki said, giggling. “You had accidentally put your key inside your helmet. You must have done so when you came into the house and left it on the sofa.”

Kuki’s mother laughed too and Bunty Bear felt very embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,” he said as his ears turned red. “What a silly mistake I’ve made! My carelessness has caused trouble for everyone.”

“Don’t worry,” Kuki’s mother said.

“And do stay on as we had decided. We have already informed your parents not to expect you tonight. I’ll invite Kuki’s other friends to stay with us too. I’ll also make some snacks and dinner. You all can have a party and play some games then!”

“Good idea,” Bunty Bear said as he tucked the key into his pocket.

Bunty Bear then went with Kuki to invite all his other friends for their party.

Everyone had a good time that night, all thanks to Bunty Bear’s silly mistake!

A Taste of Their Own Medicine

For what could have been the thousandth time, Bob, the bear said to his little brother Teddy, “Stop eating so much honey! How will you climb trees to pick honeycombs if your tummy gets in the way?”

Teddy would not listen and all of his brother’s words would go in vain. His favorite word was ‘honey’ and if he ever ran, it was always towards a jar of it.

At parties, their mother would always say, “Teddy, I want you to control yourself. Leave some food for the other guests,” But Teddy couldn’t help himself.

Teddy’s fondness for food made him an easy target for all kids at school. They decided to play an April Fools prank on him. Harry, the fox, Jolly, the jackal and Bruno, the bull stopped Teddy after school.

“Hey Teddy, we heard that you love honey. This morning, we walked by a tree with a huge honeycomb on it,” said Harry. “We are going to take it down and have some honey. Care to join us?”

“No, let it be,” said Teddy. “Maybe I’ll join you some other time.” Teddy was more worried about what his brother Bob would say had he decided to go with them.

“See, I told you he wouldn’t come with us,” said Bruno. “Climbing trees and cutting down honeycombs is not an easy task especially for those as plump as Teddy. I told you he would be too scared to climb trees with us.”

Their April fool’s day prank was in action! The previous day, Bruno, Harry and Jolly had found a particularly thorny babool tree and hung pieces of gunny bags on a branch with long poles. From far away, it looked just like a huge honeycomb.

When they reached the tree, Teddy was ready to show them that he could climb any tree. He ran full speed towards the tree and began to climb it. The thorns of the babool tree cut his skin. With difficulty he climbed up to the branch, bruised and bleeding.


When he realized that the honeycomb was a gunny bag, the three pranksters jumped with joy shouting “April fool! April fool!

We got you! Yay!” and ran away.

Teddy began to cry and climbed down the tree and slowly made his way back home.

When his mom saw him, she was shocked. “What happened to you Teddy?” she asked. Teddy told her what happened.

Both Teddy’s mom and his brother applied ointment on Teddy’s wounds. “Don’t feel bad Teddy,” said Bob. “You should be more careful while dealing with such bullies. Stay strong little brother.”

A few days went by, Teddy’s mom packed toast and honey for lunch. Bob slipped a bottle of honey in to Teddy’s bag.

When the lunch bell rang, Teddy sat down for lunch and unwrapped the toast and honey his mom had packed for him. The smell of the fresh honey and the crunch of the crispy toast began to tempt Harry, Jolly and Bruno

“Hey Teddy, how are you? Are you still mad at us for the prank?” asked Jolly. “We were just having fun. Plus it was April fool’s day. Let’s all forget about all this and share some of your lunch with us”

As Jolly distracted Teddy, Bruno reached in to Teddy’s bag and pulled out the jar of honey. “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” he cried. The three made faces at Teddy and opened the jar.


They dipped the hands in to the jar and licked up all the honey. Suddenly Bruno’s eyes opened wide. Jolly and Harry spat out whatever was in their mouths and started looking for water to drink.

Teddy smelled the jar and realized what had happened. The jar contained honey, but it also had a special ingredient- vinegar. Teddy felt happy knowing that his brother, Bob was looking out for him. Bob knew Harry, Jolly and Bruno would pick on Teddy again and planted the ‘special jar of honey to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Teddy helped Bruno, Harry and Jolly wash the taste of vinegar away. The three of them had learnt a very valuable lesson and apologized to Teddy. They never played pranks again.

Raj’s Summer Lesson

As soon as Rinki, Munni and Raj came back home after their last paper, they all began to celebrate.

“Mummy, you have to promise us that next week, you will take us to grandma’s house for our summer vacations.”

With the kids so excited, she agreed immediately, but made them promise something too.

“Kids, I want you to promise me that, when I take you to grandma’s house, you will behave like good children. I don’t want you to trouble her and I don’t want you to tease the other children there.”

The children readily accepted and promised to be good.

The week went by in a blink and it was time to spend the summer at granny’s. The kids were so excited that they had finished their packing days in advance. Mummy and the kids went to the railway station and boarded the train to their granny’s village.

When they had settled in to their seats, Raj and Rinky immediately began to think of different ways to trouble granny and tease the other children who lived nearby.


Munni tried to make Raj understand that troubling and teasing others is a bad thing. She also reminded him of the promise he had made to their mother. But no one listened.

As the sun began to set, the train began to pull in to the station. Their grandpa and their uncle awaited their arrival. As soon as the train came to a halt, Munni ran up to them and quickly began to ask about granny.

While Raj and Rinky were dreaming of all the fun they were going to have at granny’s expense, Granny had a plan of her own. She had taken the help of all the children in the neighborhood.

When they reached, Munni hugged her granny and aunt. Raj and Rinky on the other hand began to poke fun at granny. She paid no attention to their jabs and told them about the summer competitions.

“This summer, we are going to conduct a competition for all the children in the neighborhood. There will be many events to participate in and the winner will get a cycle. You’re probably very tired right now. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning?” she said.

Raj turned to Rinky and said, “I’m winning that cycle for sure,” and ran outside.

While Raj ran around the neighborhood teasing and making fun of all the children, they all remained quiet as Raj would learn his lesson soon.

The next morning, all the children were up and ready. All the children from the neighborhood had assembled there as well.

Granny addressed the gathering, “The winner of this competition will be decided on the basis of their performance across three events. The first seven children to finish the running race will move on to the painting competition. The children who paint the five best paintings will take part in the general knowledge quiz. The smartest child will be declared the winner. The competition will be held eight days from today, so start practicing. May the best child win.”’

Raj and Rinky were confident that they would win the competition and began training at the playground. All the other children were practicing here as well.

On the eight day, all the children in the neighborhood woke up early and had assembled at the playground for the competition. Because Raj and Rinky always got up late in the morning, they were the last to arrive.


At 8:00 a.m., granny announced that the running race was about to begin. All the children stood in a line and when granny said ‘Go’, they all began to run. Even though he was tired, Raj finished fourth and moved on to the painting competition. Rinky finished eighth and was eliminated.

When the painting competition started at 1 pm, Raj realized that he was completely unprepared. Even though his painting was nothing special, he kept telling all the children that he would surely win. When the results were announced, Raj found out that he had received the least marks. He accused the judges of being partial and ran home.

Munni, on the other hand finished sixth in the running race and was awarded the most marks in the painting competition. She had won the quiz as well. When Munni reached home with her cycle in the evening, Raj had just woken up from a nap.

He became very unhappy when he found out that Munni was awarded the cycle.

The next morning, all the children began to tease Raj. He ran to his mother and complained to her about all the other children. Raj’s mom explained to him that all the children he had made fun of had felt the same way. She asked him apologize to all the children he had made fun of. Raj apologized to them and he personally apologized to granny too. Seeing Raj, Rinky too apologized.


Granny had a surprise. She took two sets of keys and handed it over to Raj and Rinki. They were the keys of the new cycles. Both hugged her tight and promised to be good.

Soon the summer holidays were over and it was time to go back home.

Forgetful Pari

Pari, the squirrel, a school teacher was very forgetful. And this was always getting her into trouble.

Once when she was going to the market, she realized that everybody was giggling at her. It was only after she checked her face in the departmental store mirror, she knew why. Pari had forgotten to wash the soap off her face before leaving

Another time, the heater in her room was not working. She called the electrician and said, “Please come immediately. I am in great trouble.”

Within five minutes, she heard a siren and her door was broken down. Two men rushed in with a stretcher and tried loading her on to it. As it turned out, she had called the hospital instead of the electrician.

Needless to say the paramedics were very angry and Pari was very embarrassed.

Yet another time, when she returned from school, she couldn’t open her front door. She tried all the keys she had, but none of them worked.

When the lock was broken and she finally entered the house, she was shocked to find that the furniture looked different. Everything was placed elsewhere.

Later that evening somebody began ringing the bell furiously. When Pari opened the door, she understood why her keys didn’t work. It wasn’t her house.

While she lived on the 16th floor, Pari had mistakenly taken the elevator up to the 17th floor. The house owners were furious and Pari then spent a lot of money fixing the door.

Seeing how scattered her thoughts were, Pari’s friend Leelu, the cuckoo suggested that she make a list of all her day’s chores.


While Pari made a list every morning, more often than not, she would forget where she left her list. She would waste time looking for it and this resulted in her being late.

One morning, when Pari reached the school, the principal walked up to her and told her that she would be giving the annual day speech next week.

Pari was excited and she was determined to prove to the others that she could be perfect for the job if she set her mind to it.

She prepared and finalised her speech the same day. In the evening she went to pick an outfit and even found matching accessories. She spent all her free time rehearsing her every move.


Soon, from getting up from her seat, to delivering the speech, to sitting back down, she knew it all.

On the day of the function she got ready early, and rehearsed again. Worried that she might board the wrong bus, Pari took a taxi to school and kept checking her reflection in the mirror. The last thing she wanted was for somebody to notice that she had applied lipstick on her eyes and kajal on her lips. Fortunately, she had made no such mistake.

She entered the school auditorium ahead of time and waited at her seat. She waited and waited but nobody arrived.

“Such indiscipline,” she thought to herself. She waited some more and repeatedly checked her watch and still there was no sign of anybody. At last the peon, Peeku, the parrot entered the auditorium.

“Why are you so late?” she shouted at him. “Come on let’s get the stage and the microphones ready. We are running late and I haven’t rehearsed even once.”

Peeku was utterly confused. “What are we getting the stage ready for?” he asked scratching his head.

“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about the schools annual day function today,” said Pari, still angry.


Peeku burst in to laughter. “Ma’am, the function is tomorrow. Today is Sunday. Luckily I came in to pick up my umbrella. Otherwise you would have stayed here all day!”

Pari checked the date on the wall clock and realized he was right. She laughed at her own folly and went home.

Pari returned the next day and told this anecdote as part of her speech and got a big laugh from everyone present. They all appreciated her ability to laugh at herself.

Jay’s April Fool’s Surprise

Jay, the deer was naive. While, he lived peacefully with all the animals of Nandavan, the animals would always try to take advantage of Jay’s innocence. They would play pranks, but Jay would never feel bad and always had a smile on his face.

One day, the animals realized that Jay was missing for a few days. The next day, Sanju, the jackal saw Jay behaving suspiciously. Jay was headed in the direction of the old banyan tree. Sanju followed him and from a distance. He saw Jay hiding a piece of paper. Then, he went away. When Sanju picked up the paper, the note read, “Just two more weeks and victory will be ours. We will rule the forest.

When Sanju showed the note to the other animals, they were shocked. They all wondered what Jay was up to. More importantly, they were all wondering who Jay’s partner was.

Jay was nowhere to be seen for another week until Heera, the parrot noticed him sneaking up to the old banyan tree. Like last time, he placed a note there.


When the other animals read his message, they were even more upset. “The day of our victory is drawing close. I can hardly wait. In a few more days the entire forest will bow their heads before us and obey our every command,” read the message.

Now the animals needed to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible. Heera was given the responsibility of finding out who Jay’s partner was. He watched over the tree for five days, but nobody came.

On the sixth day he realized that the grass near the hollow of the banyan tree was suddenly fresh and green, it had been dry all this while. Heera quickly called the other animals.

There they found yet another note. “Our wait has borne fruit. The day is finally here. All necessary preparations have been taken care of. Meet me tomorrow at 9 o’clock in the morning near the peepal tree by the river. Be careful nobody should know of our plan,” said the message.

All the animals were very eager to find out who the mysterious person was and what Jay’s plan was. They decided that they would all go to the river bank and get to the bottom of this mystery. That night, the animals hardly slept. They gathered around a bonfire and discussed what they could do the next day.


The next morning, when they reached the peepal tree, they were all annoyed. Everywhere they looked, there were signs that said “April Fool!”

When all the animals began to walk back to their homes, they found Jay walking towards them. “What’s the matter?” he asked trying hard not to laugh.

“All these years you played tricks on me and I said nothing and took it in sport. I played along because I realized it made you happy. But now, I have managed to fool each and every one of you,” said Jay.

All the animals apologized for taking Jay for granted and promised not to repeat their mistake. Jay had managed to teach them a valuable lesson.

They all had a hearty laugh and walked back home with Jay on their shoulders.


The Minister of Laughs

The king of Champakvan, Maharaja Sher Singh was under a lot of stress. He stopped visiting the royal court. He just stayed in his chambers, lost deep in thought. He no longer ate or slept properly and barely spoke to the other Ministers.

“What happened to the king?”

“What caused our jolly king’s mood to turn?”

“What will become of our kingdom?”

Such questions spread across the kingdom. The people too were feeling no better. The king had given strict orders not to let anybody disturb him. Animals who set off in hopes of cheering the king up returned disappointed.


One day, the king was standing by his window. He enjoyed standing there as the greenery that surrounded his palace made him happy.

Below his window, he saw children playing. Samba, the cub was one of them.

“Look, over there,” said Samba. “It’s Damru, the donkey. Let’s play a prank on him.”

“Let’s send him to the palace,” said the rest of the gang.

They called out to him and as he walked towards them, Samba said, “Don’t forget to keep a straight face OK? If we burst out laughing, the whole plan will be ruined.”

“Oh Damru, we’re so glad we found you. We’ve been looking everywhere for you. The king wants to see you immediately,” said Samba.

“The king wants to see me?” asked Damru. “But why?”

“We’re not sure, but we heard the news from the Ministers that the King is looking for a new Minister. Your name was being brought up a few times. They asked me to go fetch you,” said Samba.

“Wow! Do you know what this means Damru? The king wants to make you his minister. Go meet the king at once!” said Lambu, the giraffe.

“We will be waiting for you right here. Don’t forget to bring us sweets!” said the children.

Damru could hardly believe his ears. He jumped with joy and quickly set off towards the palace. Once Damru was out of earshot, the children burst in to laughter.

The king remembered it was April fool’s day. He thought of his days as a young cub and all the pranks he had played. They stirred such strong memories that he too began to laugh.

His laughter grew louder and louder. A Minister ran in to the chambers hearing the commotion and found the king holding his stomach and gasping for air.


Before he could raise an alarm, the king managed to say, “I’m fine. Don’t worry. Damru is coming to see me. Ensure he is sent in. I want to meet him.”

When the Minister reached the entrance, the guards were laughing at Damru. “I’m telling you,” he said. “The king sent for me. He wants to appoint me as his minister.”

With a stern voice, the Minister said, “Let him in.”


The guards quickly stood in attention and allowed Damru to pass. They walked together in to the royal chambers where the king waited.

When he saw Damru, the King couldn’t help but smile. Damru felt a little uneasy.

“Don’t be afraid Damru,” said the King. “It seems the children have played an April fool’s day prank on you.”

Damru’s face fell.

“Don’t feel bad Damru,” added the King. “I’m still going to make you my minister. From today, you are going to be my Minister of Laughs. You will be the royal entertainer at my court.” |


Damru was so excited, he could barely control himself. He jumped with joy and danced around the room.

Meanwhile, outside the children were getting worried. Damru had still not returned. They hoped something bad hadn’t happened to Damru. They waited for him by the palace entrance when the gates opened.

The guards announced “Make way for the Royal Minister of Laughs” and out walked Damru. The children were both shocked and surprised; Damru had actually become the king’s minister.

Soon, the news of the king cheering up spread like a wildfire and all the animals of Champakvan ran to the royal court. Damru entertained them and soon, the entire forest was back to being happy.

Once the celebrations had drawn to a close, Maharaj Sher Singh addressed the gathering.

“Laughter is crucial if one needs to lead a healthy life. I have been in a bad mood all this while, it must never happen again. This is why I have appointed Damru as my Minister of Laughs.”

From that day onwards, Damru always kept the king in a good mood. With a happy ruler leading the kingdom, Champakvan prospered.

A Fun April Fools Day

Minku, the mouse was always cheerful and loved to have fun. He had left a good impression on all the animals in the jungle.

Nandu, the elephant on the other hand was jealous that the animals loved Minku more and didn’t love him as much. Out of jealousy, he would not only trouble Minku but all his other friends too. Pandu, the bear, Rana, the monkey, Kanu, the deer and Gillo, the squirrel would face his wrath as well. While Minku and the others tried being friends with Nandu, he never accepted their friendship and would always trouble them.

Minku and the others decided to play an April Fool’s prank on Nandu. According to the plan Rana was supposed to befriend Nandu by the first of April and he had succeeded.

On April 1, Rana was riding on Nandu’s back. Rana came close to Nandu’s ears and said, “Hey Nandu, lets go down to the river bank. I heard the banana trees have borne ripe bananas.”

“Ripe bananas? I love ripe bananas. Let’s go!” said Nandu

When they reached the banana trees full of ripe bananas, they found a basket full of the yummy fruits.

“Look over there, Nandu,” said Rana. “It’s a basket full of bananas. I wonder who they belong to?”

“Why don’t we ask?” suggested Nandu.

Rana called out loud, “Hey! Is there anybody here? Is this your basketful of bananas?” Rana called out loud a few more times but he got no answer. There was nobody nearby.

Nobody except for Minku and the rest of the gang who were hiding close by, ready for phase two of the plan to begin.

Nandu was finding it hard to control himself. The smell of the bananas was driving him crazy and if he could, he would eat all the bananas in one go. “I don’t think anybody is coming to claim these bananas Rana. Let’s just eat them,” he said.


He gave Rana a few bananas and quickly began peeling the rest. “Such fresh bananas!” he exclaimed before putting them in his mouth.”

Behind them, Minku and the others were trying hard not to laugh. Nandu popped banana after banana into his mouth.

Suddenly Nandu stopped. There was a foul, bitter taste in his mouth.

“What’s the matter, Nandu?” asked Rana.

Nandu immediately began spitting the bananas out of his mouth. When he noticed that the bananas were stained bright red, his heart skipped a beat.


“What is that Nandu?” asked Rana looking frightened.

Nandu took off in the direction of Dr. Max, the dog’s clinic paying no attention to Rana’s cries asking him to stop.

Minku, Rana and the rest of their gang ran behind Nandu to witness what was going to happen at Dr. Max’s clinic.

When Nandu reached Dr. Max’s clinic, he was out of breath. With difficulty, he managed to say “Doctor… my mouth.”

Dr. Max was taken aback by Nandu’s state. “How did you hurt your mouth Nandu?” asked Dr. Max. “Do you still feel any pain?”

“No doctor, I didn’t hurt myself,” said Nandu.

Dr. Max took a closer look inside Nandu’s mouth with a torch. He found no injuries there. But when he noticed the little pieces of betel leaves in his mouth, he laughed.

“What is it doctor?” asked Nandu. “Will I be ok?”

“You are going to be fine Nandu,” said the doctor. “It seems like somebody has played an April fool’s day prank on you. It seems you have eaten a whole bunch of betel leaves along with the bananas. That is why your mouth is red.”

“It was a prank?” asked Nandu looking confused. “But who would want to play a prank on me?”

Nandu heard Minku, Rana and all the other animals burst in to laughter behind him. It didn’t take Nandu long to figure out who was behind the prank now. He realized that if he got upset, the others would make even more fun of him. So instead, he began to laugh too.

Danny, the donkey brought out a huge bouquet with a card that read “Happy April fooľs Day!” Nandu graciously accepted it.

“Tell me, how did you guys pull off the prank?” he asked.

“It took a little effort, but it was worth it.” said Minku. “We picked the best bananas and soaked them in neem leaf and bitter gourd juice. We filled another set with betel leaves and the third set we left as it was.”

“We placed the ones with the neem leaves at the bottom,” Rana added, “the ones with the betel leaves in the middle and left the plain bananas at the top. This way you would spit the bananas out only after eating the betel leaves and Rana could eat a few without any trouble.”


They all had another hearty laugh and took Nandu out for ice-cream to make up for the prank. Ever since that day Nandu was accepted as part of the gang

A Smart Pact

There was once a lion in Nandanvan named Rambo. He was very brave and would hunt down his prey with ease. But, it was a single mouse that was the cause of all his troubles. His name was Chinku and he lived in a burrow inside Rambo’s den.

He would eat pieces of Rambo’s food and would never go in search of food. Being the prankster that he was, not a single day would go by where Chinku didn’t trouble Rambo.

Rambo would shout at Chinku but this would have no effect on him. Chinku would stand by his burrow’s entrance and make faces at him.

Chinku had been crossing the line for the past few days. Every morning Rambo would wake up surrounded by chunks of his mane nibbled off by Chinku. Rambo yelled at Chinku, but as usual, it was of no use.

It was time to take some action. For this, Rambo found a cat named Rani. Rambo caught her and took her back to his den. She was scared.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Rambo. “I’m not going to hurt you. I need your help.”

Rani was surprised. What would the king of the jungle need from her?’ she wondered.

“You see, my den is not only my home, it is also the home of a pesky little mouse. I have not had a peaceful night’s sleep since he moved in and because he lives in a burrow; my paws are too big to reach inside. I want you to take care of this little problem of mine.”

Rani breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Your wish is my command your highness.”

Life inside Rambo’s den wasn’t too bad though. Rani got all the food she wanted without having to lift a finger. Her only problem was the fact that unless Chinku was out of the den, she couldn’t leave.

Chinku’s life on the other hand, was no longer as easy as it used to be. Because Rani was always on the prowl, he stopped coming out of his burrow. The only bright side for Chinku was the fact Rani got yelled at every time he managed to pull one of his pranks.


Soon, Chinku’s food supplies began to run out until he was forced to step out. As he began gathering stray pieces of meat, Rani sneaked up to him and caught him by surprise. She stood there and stared at him. Even though he was petrified, he looked her in the eye and said, “Good evening Rani.”

“It’s a good evening indeed,” she said. “I was hoping I’d bump in to you. You better get ready. It’s been a while since I have had a mouse for dinner.”


“I don’t think I need to be prepared for this. After all, generations of mice have met their end at the paws of a cat. I’m more worried about you Rani. I feel your end is quite near too.”

“What do you mean?” asked Rani.

“It’s a fact that Rambo doesn’t like me. But if you kill me, he would have no need for you.

What is the guarantee that he won’t eat you?” asked Chinku. “As long as I live, you will live.”


Rani agreed. “You make a fair point. Let’s make this easy for the both of us. I will provide you all the food you need if you don’t trouble Rambo. That way, we all stay happy.”


They came to an understanding. From that day onwards, Chinku stopped troubling Rambo and Rani never managed to catch him.

The Girl Who Loved to Learn

Kaveri loved to read. Learning about new things always excited her. At the beginning of the new school term, her mother picked up her books from the bookshop, and Kaveri spent the first couple of days wrapping them in brown paper. She stuck the labels, and wrote down her name, class and subject.


Then the fun began! Kaveri picked up her English book and eagerly read all the stories. She also made a note of interesting lines or ideas as she read. She found out more about the author and the other stories written by him/her from the local library or the internet. The additional information made for an interesting read.

Soon, Kaveri managed to read all the other subject books as well. Her friends wondered how she always seemed excited about reading the textbooks while they found finishing even one lesson tiresome! She read extra just for fun!

Kaveri’s teachers were happy with her work and her performance in the exams. It was not just the marks that impressed them. They liked how she would pack interesting facts and information in her answers. This was because she read not for exams but to gain knowledge. So she was never tensed before any exam.

Kaveri’s parents were proud of her. Her mother said each subject should be understood. Language was important. If she was learning poetry, then her mother would suggest that she try and write poems—that made learning fun.

One day in class, the English teacher asked the kids to write a short story. Kaveri finished it in a flash!


“I have written a scary story,” she announced, and began reading: Two people were travelling in a train. One asked the other “Do you believe in ghosts?”

“No,” replied the other.

“Oh really?” said the first and vanished!

The class thundered with laughter.


Kaveri was popular with her classmates because she would always share with them a joke or story that she had read. She was curious about things and had an open mind. She was good at vocabulary too!

Exam jitters? No way! Kaveri saw learning as fun and she was not afraid of exams. Learning was fun for her!

Chimbu traps the Frauds

Wily the Wolf, who was a petty thief, left his jungle in Madhuvan and came to Champakvan in search of a good fortune. He was hungry and desperately knocked at doors to ask for food. He peeped into Blackie the Bear’s shabby home. Blackie, who lay under a sheet, was seriously ill.

When he went to Miku the Rabbit’s burrow, he saw Miku shivering with fever and a doctor checking him.

“Ugh! Here in Champakvan everyone has fallen sick. I’ve come here at a wrong time. I myself may fall sick. Phew!”

Wily looked around in desperation. “Hey! There’s someone who isn’t bedridden!” It was Kalu the Crow, an idler like Wily who was sitting in the veranda of his house at the top of a tree.

“Brother, I left Madhuvan and came here hoping for a better life. But I see the animals suffering with sicknesses. Friend, you are the only one who can help me. Have pity on this starving orphan!” Wily begged Kalu.

Kalu broke into a smile. “I myself depend on others for food. Now that everyone is struck by this mysterious disease, I hardly get anything to eat.”

“Mysterious disease! Tch! Tch! Your King’s not doing anything in this matter?”

“Our King Sher Singh died a week ago.” Kalu murmured sadly. “Ever since, there’s no one to work for our welfare.”

“Your King’s dead!” Though hungry and desperate, Wily was frantically planning how to make use of the situation. King’s dead…mystery disease spreads fast…patients worried. Whew! An ideal opportunity for spreading false beliefs and fooling the desperate patients….

Wily spoke cheerfully, “A clever one will turn adversity into opportunity. The animals are scared of the mystery disease. We can easily fool them by promising to help them with magical powers.

Wily described the plan. Kalu cheerfully agreed to assist Wily and the duo immediately got ready to carry out the plan.

Kalu flew here and there and spread the news that a sage with magical powers was camping at the cave in the Champakyan forest, and that he could cure them of the mystery disease. The news spread like wildfire. Soon a large crowd rushed to the cave. Wily was sitting inside the cave with closed eyes. The animals eagerly waited to hear the sage’s answer.

“You all have forgotten Sher Singh soon after his death. You all did nothing to honour the dead. The king’s spirit is roaming around to take revenge. The revengeful spirit has sent the mystery disease.” Wily Baba cleared their doubts.

“Oh! The spirit! Baba, tell us what’s to be done to please the revengeful spirit and get rid of it.” They were terrified.

“Ah! It’s so easy to make them believe my lies! This is the chance for me to get rich,” thought Wily.


“Offer whatever you can to the spirit that’s haunting Champakvan: tasty food, grains, fruits. Bring them to Sher Singh’s den. My assistant Kalu and I will remain in the den to deal with the spirit. Continue to send the offering until everyone is free off the disease,” Wily said.

“Friend, you’re indeed a great fraud! Haunting spirit…revenge… ha…ha…” Kalu admired his new friend’s smartness.

Every day, the terrified animals faithfully brought offerings to the den: a variety of fruits, mouth-watering food, bags of grains. The duo collected the items, stored them in a dark cell and ate and drank to their heart’s content.

Chimpu the Monkey was a science teacher had just arrived at Champakvan to work in the Jungle High School.


One day on his way to the school, Chimpu saw the animals standing with bags and baskets outside the den. He found out what was going on and why they were offering food and grains to Wily.

“Uff! What a blind belief!” Chimpu decided to trap the cheats and teach a lesson to the superstitious animals. He bought a tiny spy camera. The next day, he too joined the animals standing at the den with offerings. He entered the den along with the crowd and swiftly tucked the spy camera into a flower vase.

Chimpu eagerly waited for the next day. The next day while inside the Den, Chimpu stealthily removed the camera from the vase.

“Hurray! The cheats are caught! Chimpu screamed while watching in his T.V. the scenes recorded by the camera. Not knowing that a hidden camera was recording their actions and speeches, Wily and Kalu greedily collected the items.


“What an easy way to earn! Let’s remain here for a few more days and then escape with our earnings,” said Wily.

I must get half the collection, okay?” said Kalu.

The animals, including the sick ones, watched what was recorded by the hidden camera.

“Ugh! What a shame! We believed that Sher Singh’s spirit’s taking revenge and lost our grains and money to the crooks. Let’s run and catch the crooks before they escape.”

The angry animals rushed to the den and got them arrested.

Turning to the crowd Chimpu said, “Friends, the illness that the animals are suffering from is nothing but malaria. All over here I can see pools of dirty water and blocked drains. No wonder mosquitoes are breeding, resulting in the spread of malaria. You must get medical help instead of going to frauds who pretend to have magical powers. Your illness has worsened and you have lost your money.”

The animals nodded their heads.

“Thank you, Mr. Chimpu, for opening our eyes.”.