The Joy of Simplicity

Once upon a time, there lived a King named Leonar who loved eating delicious food. He would send messengers to different kingdoms in search of recipes and special ingredients.

When his messengers returned, King Leonar would give those recipes and special ingredients to his cook and ask him to make those dishes. If the dishes were good, he would reward his cook, but he would punish his cook if he didn’t enjoy the taste of the dishes.

“Make many dishes. I want to taste all of them! Don’t forget to add the exotic ingredients and lots of dry fruits and nuts to all desserts,” the king ordered.

“But Sir, some dishes will lose their unique flavour if we add all ingredients to them! Sometimes, simple recipes are tasty,” the cook replied.

King Leonar was displeased with such words and ordered a harsh punishment for the cook.

The cook could not leave the palace because King Leonar kept guards to keep an eye on him as he was the best cook in the whole country. The poor cook was tired.

One day, King Leonar went hunting and got lost. The soldiers tried to find him but failed.

For once, the cook was happy. He cooked lovely dishes with simple ingredients everyone in the palace enjoyed them.

Meanwhile, King Leonar, after walking for a while, reached a hut in which an old lady lived. He was hungry and tired.

He wanted a good meal and said, “Hello, I am King Leonar of the country. Make me a delicious meal and I will reward you.”

The old lady smiled and welcomed the king. She had a mango tree in her garden and luckily, it being summer, the tree had lots of fruits on it.

She arranged a cot under the tree for the king to rest and served him a glass of aam panna. King Leonar sipped it and exclaimed, “Wow! This is delicious! What is it made of?”

The old lady replied, “Raw mango, salt and pepper.”

King Leonar was surprised that such simple ingredients could bring out such a unique taste. And so thinking, he dozed off to sleep.

The old lady continued cooking. After a while, King Leonar woke up to delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. He was eager to taste the dishes.

The old lady served King Leonar hot rice, a ladle of ghee, mango chutney, mango dal and mango rasam.

King Leonar relished each bite and kept asking her for the exotic ingredients that she had used.

But the old lady said, “Your majesty, I am poor and cannot afford exotic ingredients. I use the mangoes from my tree and cook whatever I can. I am glad you liked my simple dishes.”

King Leonar realised his mistakes. He had been collecting exotic ingredients, nuts, and fruits and trying to mix them all to create tasty dishes instead of enjoying each flavour’s uniqueness.

He realised that everything has its own speciality and it need not be mixed with something else to make it special.

Soon, King Leonar’s soldiers came to his rescue. The king thanked the old lady and rewarded her.

After reaching his palace, he hugged his cook and apologised. He asked the guards to step aside and gave the cook his freedom. The cook was happy and relieved. He chose to stay and cook for the king.

King Leonar asked him to cook as he wished.

From that day, the cook made simple dishes and King Leonar enjoyed each one of them.

Best Teacher

Hey buddy, Roli squirrel, the teacher is too strict. She scolds us all the time,” said Piyu, the tortoise.

Denko, the donkey added, “She lectures all the time.”

Tom, the dog could not stay from saying, “There are so many teachers in school. But, Roli keeps such a stern eye on us as though we are culprits.”

Piyu said, “On Sunday, I met her in the market. She asked me why I was roaming around in the bazaar. She also asked whether I had informed my parents before setting out. She wanted to know about my friends; who they were and where were they studying? I was tired of answering so many questions.”

Denko said, “We can do what we want when we are not in school. Why should that bother our teachers?”

Teachers’ Day Gift

Suddenly, Roli appeared in front of them. On seeing her, Kapil, the mole stammered and said, “Good Morning Madam. I didn’t say anything. I…I…I was just listening to them.”

Hiding her laughter Roli replied, “Classes were dismissed quite a while ago. You should’ve gone to your homes by now.”

Denko, Piyu and Tom quickly scampered away.

Roli said, “Kapil, you are good in studies. Denko, Piyu and Tom have more interest in mischief rather than studies. They don’t concentrate on their school work. You are their friend. While talking with them, advise them to take interest in studies as well. Alright?” Kapil nodded his head in agreement.

The half-yearly exams were over. The results were declared. Kapil’s results were satisfactory; whereas Piyu, Denko and Tom’s results were disappointing.

Soon, it was Teachers’ Day. The parents of all the students had been called to meet the teachers. This was the first time that the parents were meeting the teachers. Denko, Piyu and Tom were sitting together in the hall.

Grinding his teeth Tom said, “Where is Roli? I hope she doesn’t lecture to our parents as well. My father doesn’t like listening the lectures.”

Denko laughed and said, “My father gets angry easily. I hope he doesn’t get into an argument with Roli. Look, she has gone to sit on the stage.”


Piyu whispered, “My father doesn’t like people who talk a lot. He wasn’t even ready to come to school. I had to persuade him to come.”

That’s when Denko exclaimed, “Goodness! What’s happening? Look Piyu, your father is touching her feet!”

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All of them were surprised. Not just their parents, but also many other parents were touching Roli’s feet as a sign of respect.

Roli looked at Kapil and indicated that he should come towards the stage. Kapil ran towards the stage. She said something to him and Kapil immediately ran back to where his friends were standing.

He said, “Ma’am is calling the three of you on stage.”

Piyu said “What’s going to happen now? We have no idea what Roli must have told our parents about us.”

Denko said, “Come on, let’s go. Can’t you see? Our parents are also looking in our direction. Things may not go well for me.”

Tom said, “I am scared. Both of you walk ahead. I will follow you.”

Piyu, Denko and Tom reached the stage. Roli was surrounded by parents.


Seeing Piyu, Denko and Tom on the stage Roli said, “These three students are the pride of our school. They have done well in extracurricular activities. I am confident that they will perform very well in the annual examinations. They will score higher than all the other students.”

Piyu’s mother said to Roli, “You taught Piyu’s father too. He was just telling Tom’s father that whatever he has achieved so far, has been due to your efforts in teaching him.”


Denko’s father said, “Like me, there were several backbenchers, who were motivated by teacher Roli. She gave us advice, as well as a direction to our lives. We are confident that our children will make this school proud of them.”


Piyu, Denko and Tom listened silently. They thought to themselves, “Roli is the Best Teacher.”





Teachers’ Day Gift

Chimpu, the hedgehog, Shanu, the squirrel, Renu, the sparrow and Mani, the rabbit’s favourite teacher was Priya, the jackal. They wanted to gift her a card.

On the other hand, Manu, the pigeon, Pranshu, the mouse and Gopu, the fox wanted to please their teacher Akshay, the bear. They hoped that he would consider them his favourite students and praise them.

The principal of Andavan School, Aju, the lion had already put up a notice in the school that no student was allowed to buy a gift or a card. If the students wished to give their teacher something then it had to be something handmade.

Unlike the other children, Raki, the crow and his friend Chinnu, the eagle were to their usual mischief. They were unaware of the fact that the other children were earnestly preparing to celebrate Teacher’s Day.

They neither paid attention to their studies, nor did they submit homework on time. They didn’t participate in any school activity. Priya, the teacher often asked them to participate in sports, but they usually ignored her.

Trip To Cave

The children also had to prepare for their upcoming examinations. Koko, Shanu and Renu decided to make a card together so that they could make it quickly and save time. They could spend that time studying for the exams.

Priya had also said that working together in a group made each one learn something from the other, as well as saved time.

Manu, Pranshu and Gopu thought of making a huge bouquet of flowers. They gathered a lot of flowers from the jungle and arranged them together. They even decorated the bouquet with a few fancy items they bought with their pocket money. They finally presented this huge bouquet to their favourite teacher on Teacher’s day.


Seeing the huge bouquet Akshay thanked them and also told them that if they had given him a single flower with genuine respect he would have accepted that as well. He told them that the size of a gift, whether it was big or small didn’t matter, as much as the sincere intention with which it was given.

The other children at the school had also brought gifts for their teachers; some had brought sweets, some had brought fruits. All of them presented their gifts to their teachers.

That day all the children were happy. Seeing the others wish their teachers with cards and gifts, Raki and Chinnu thought that they should have brought a gift for their teacher.

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They were the only ones who had come empty-handed to class. Priya knew what was on their mind. However, she thought it would be sensible not to say anything to them.

Two weeks later, the examinations began. All the children except Raki and Chinnu worked hard. When Priya declared the results in class, everyone except for Raki and Chinnu, had passed with good grades. That day, both of them felt ashamed. They asked her to forgive them for their poor results.


Priya told them that if they wished to gift her a Teachers day gift they should promise her that they would study every day and they would listen to their elders. Raki and Cheenu promised they would do so.

Priya thought that if these two became studious and obedient, then that would be the best Teachers Day gift.




Kavya’s Umbrella

Since morning, Kavya had been looking out the window to check if Uncle Rakesh had arrived. Every year, Uncle Rakesh would visit from Dubai, and bring Kavya her a unique gift.

“Mummy, Uncle Rakesh is here!” Kayva called out to her mother excitedly, when she saw a cab stop outside the house.

Kavya ran to open the door. Rakesh too was excited to see his favourite niece. He gave her a big hug. They both sat down on the sofa, while Kavya’s mother brought a cup of hot tea and some onion pakoras.

“Kavya has been eagerly looking forward to your arrival. Ever since she got up this morning, she has been looking out the window,” said Kavya’s mother.

Rakesh laughed and said, “That is because I am her favourite uncle! And as always, I have brought a gift for my favourite niece.”

Kavya’s eyes widened with excitement as he took out a gift from his bag.

“Thank you, uncle! Can I open my present now?” asked Kavya impatiently.

“Of course!” he replied.

Kavya immediately unwrapped the present and found a beautiful pink umbrella inside.


“Wow! What a beautiful umbrella!” she exclaimed. “It even has ears and eyes! I shall take it to school every day.”

“I am happy that you like the umbrella,” replied Rakesh.

Next day, Kavya carried her new umbrella to school. She showed it to all her friends. They were happy for her.

Soon, Kavya started carrying the umbrella wherever she went—to school, her friend’s house, the market, and even the garden outside.

One evening, when Kavya returned from her friend, Disha’s house, her mother said, “Kavya, I need to go out for a couple of hours. May I borrow your umbrella as mine is broken?”

Rose Becomes Humble

“Sure, mom,” said Kavya and went to get her umbrella from her room.

“Oh no! I think I left it in the auto-rickshaw while returning from Disha’s house,” she said and began to cry.

“Don’t cry. We will try and find it, Kavya. Till then, you can use your old umbrella,” consoled her mother.


“But mom, it was a gift from Uncle Rakesh,” said Kavya sadly.

“I know it was your favourite. Let’s see if we can find it,” said her mother.

Kavya calmed down a bit but she was still sad that she had lost her favourite umbrella.

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Just then, the doorbell rang. Kavya’s mother opened it and saw a man wearing a khaki dress standing at the door.

“Ma’am, my name is Ramu. I dropped a little girl here in my auto-rickshaw a while ago.

I found this umbrella in the seat and I think it belongs to her,” said the man.

On hearing him speak, Kavya rushed to the door and saw the man holding her new umbrella. She was beaming with joy. “Thank you very much, uncle!” she said with a big smile. “But how did you know it was mine?”


“You were my last passenger before lunch after I dropped you, I went home. When I reached to take out my umbrella from behind the seat, I saw yours. That is when I remembered seeing it in your hand when you got into my auto. So, I immediately came here to return it,” he explained.

“Thank you, sir. It was very nice of you to come all the way back to return the umbrella. Kavya was very sad thinking that she had lost it,” said her mother.

Kavya and her mother fed the uncle some tea. Kavya was happy to have her umbrella back and also to know those good people are always there in this world.

Cheating the Teacher

Abhi and Rishi, King Sher Singh’s sons ran up to him. They were panting and sat down to catch their breath.

The King asked, “What happened?”

Abhi replied, “We are very tired. We lost the game we were playing.”

Sher Singh asked in surprise, “How did you lose the game?”

Rishi replied, “Father, we were playing ‘catch me if you can’—along with Cheetu, Jeetu and Deepu. As we came close to catching them, they climbed up a tree! Since we don’t know how to climb a tree, they defeated us many times. We got tired of trying to catch them.”

“Children, this is our biggest weakness. We tried learning to climb trees, but it didn’t work. Listen to this story,” said Sher Singh and started narrating his tale:

“Long ago, tigers and lions were unaware of different hunting techniques. So, they would often have nothing to eat. Due to starvation, our species became physically weak.

Bondhu Seeks His Own Identity

The cheetah, the leopard and the wild cat had a great reputation in the jungle. They were excellent hunters and experts in hunting techniques like cornering, catching and eating the prey. They were feared. These wild animals had claimed their right over a larger part of the jungle and had huge settlements.

One day, an old tiger thought, ‘Let’s send our children to the wild cats to learn the art of hunting.’

Everyone felt that if their children learnt hunting, they would never have to fear starvation.

The lions and the tigers went to the wild cats with their request. They agreed to teach the children. They put a condition that they would only teach two students!

The tigers and lions thought that this would be enough. In future, those who learnt could come back and train the rest.

A wild cat called Sonu was appointed as the teacher. Two bright and restless tiger cubs started their training. Sonu trained them in different exercises; bouncing, jumping and knocking down each other. Sonu also introduced hunting techniques.

The tiger cubs learnt skills like cornering the prey, nabbing and the proper use of claws and jaws. The training made the tiger cubs skilled in many hunting techniques. They grew up to be fearsome hunters.


One day, during a practice session, the tiger cubs suddenly attacked Sonu. Sonu was clever. She had already sensed their intentions from their attitude and gestures. As soon as the tigers rushed towards her, she quickly jumped back and climbed up a tree that was near.

The tigers stared at her in surprise. They too tried to climb, but couldn’t succeed. They asked Sonu in frustration, “Teacher Sonu, how come you didn’t teach us how to climb a tree?”


Sonu said, “Dear students, we teachers give the most valuable knowledge only after testing and being sure about our students. Both of you felt that you have mastered everything. However, this one lesson that I had kept for the last saved my life.”

“It’s too bad that you didn’t prove to be good students. If you had, you could have learnt this technique too. Go home now with whatever knowledge I have given you and never come back.”


In Search of Uncle Pat

Late one evening, Popo started crying because his father had not yet returned. The neighbours began searching for Pat.

The next morning, Pat had not yet been found. Bobo, the monkey’s father said to Bobo, “Take Popo out to play with you. He has been crying all night. We will continue to search for Pat.”

Bobo, Popo and their friends got together at the ground nearby to play hide and seek. It was Popo’s turn to seek while everyone hid. Popo was peering through a bush looking for his friends when he suddenly heard Ricky, the rabbit’s voice.

“Look what I found! Come over here quickly!” Ricky called out to everyone.

All of them ran towards Ricky who was pointing at something.

“Look! Isn’t this Uncle Pat’s feather?” asked Ricky.

“Yes, this can’t be Popo’s as this feather is much bigger,” said Bobo.


Popo studied the feather and immediately brightened up.

“Yes. This is my father’s feather,” he declared. “This means he must have been here before he went missing.”

“Let’s split up and look for Uncle Pat. Let’s see if we can find more clues,” said Bobo.

All of them agreed and began searching the area.

“I have found another feather. Uncle Pat must have gone this way,” shouted Dana, the deer.

All of them walked together in the direction where the second feather was found. Soon, they found more feathers along the way which led them to the edge of the forest.

“We have reached the outskirts of the forest. If we walk any further, we will enter the village,” said Bobo.

In Search Of the Sparrows

“Come! Let’s go to the village. I am sure my father is there,” said Popo eagerly.

“No, Popo!” said Piku, the parrot stopping him.

“Humans can be dangerous. They have caught animals from our forest earlier too and taken them away,” said Bobo.

“So what? I am not afraid. I want my father back!” said Popo.

“We understand, Popo. But it is not safe to go there now. First, let Piku fly over the village and see whether your father is there or not,” suggested Mimi, the rat.

Popo agreed. Piku flew into the village, while the other children waited anxiously for him to return.


Piku returned after a while. “Popo, I saw your dad! He has been captured by a human. He is tied up to a tree in the courtyard of a house. I saw some humans roaming nearby, so it is not safe to go there now,” informed Piku.

“I want my father back. How do we get him out of there?” asked Popo.

“When the humans were not around, I flew down to talk to Uncle Pat. He said we can help him escape after the humans go to sleep at night. Till then, we will have to wait,” said Piku.

“In that case, let’s start preparing. I have a plan,” said Ricky, discussing his plan with the group.

After the sunset, all of them set out for the village.

“Do remember the house, Piku?” asked Mimi.

“Yes, but once we are in the village, we must walk carefully without making any sound. We should not talk too loudly either,” warned Piku.

As they walked through the village, Piku pointed to a house and said, “This is the house where Uncle Pat is.”

When they reached the house, Bobo said, “Ricky and I will go in and free Uncle Pat. Meanwhile, the rest of you hide here and warn us if you see any humans.”

Piku flew up and sat on a tree to keep an eye out for humans, while the others hid behind the bushes nearby

Ricky and Bobo sneaked into the house where Pat was tied. “Uncle Pat, we’ve come to free you. After we untie the rope, be ready to run,” whispered Bobo.

“Where is Popo?” asked Pat worried.

“Don’t worry, uncle. He is right here, hiding behind the bushes with our other friends,” replied Ricky.


Bobo and Ricky bit through the rope and freed Pat.

“Now run!” said Bobo.

Ricky ran ahead, leading the way for Pat and the others. Bobo climbed up the tree and escaped by jumping from one tree to another. Piku flew above the rest towards the forest.

But as Pat was running, he tripped over a bucket and fell.

“Who is it? Is anyone out there?” called out a man, coming out of his house to check the noise.

Popo quickly grabbed a stone and threw it far away from where they were. The man went in the direction where the stone had fallen. By the time the man got back, the animals were safely outside the village.

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Once inside the forest, everybody heaved a big sigh of relief. Pat gave Popo a tight hug.

“Thank you all for helping me escape,” said a relieved Pat. “I made the mistake of venturing close to the village. I am glad you found the feathers that I dropped along the way. I hoped somebody would follow the trail of feathers and find me.”


“How clever you are, dad!” exclaimed Popo.

All the animals were happy to see Pat back. Everybody appreciated the children’s bravery, but they were told to inform the elders first before they set off on such adventures.


Find or Fined?

Brownie, the fox loved troubling animals smaller than her. She was an expert when it came to turning their weaknesses into her strengths.

Brownie always had her eyes on the rabbits that lived in the forest. She’d walk up to their burrow every day and all the rabbits would run helter-skelter.

One day, Gary, the rabbit worked up the nerve and said, “Hey Brownie, what brings you here at this time?”

“When I was passing through last night, I seemed to have dropped a golden ring. I’ve come to look for it,” lied Brownie.

“You lost a ring? Hmmm, I don’t think any of us saw a ring here,” said Gary.

“Don’t lie,” said Brownie. “I know you’ve hidden it somewhere in your burrow. I can see right through your act.”

“I promise we haven’t seen any ring here. I think you’re looking in the wrong place,” said Gary.

“Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not going to rest until I’ve explored every single room in your burrow,” said Brownie and stepped forward.

Gary had fortunately seen through Brownie’s plan and said, “Stop! We cannot let you enter our home. You have to believe me when I say that we do not have your ring.”

“If you don’t return my ring immediately, I will have to call the police,” said Brownie.

Manny, the jackal, the sub-inspector of police was a good friend of Brownie. She had won him over promising him lots of rabbits. She brought him to the scene and narrated her version of the story to him.

“If you don’t have the ring then you have nothing to hide,” said Manny without listening to Gary’s version. “You will have no reason not to let her in and check for herself. Now let her in and search your burrow.”

Seeing Manny’s behaviour Gary realized that the two of them were in on it together. He instructed his friends to keep arguing with Brownie and not to let her in and set off to inform the Leo, the lion, the king of the jungle.



“Don’t worry Gary,” Leo assured him. “I will ensure that Browny doesn’t get away with this so easily.” He went with Gary to the burrow in order to sort things out.

Seeing Leo, Browny got scared, but she tried working her story on him as well. “Your Highness, I’m glad you’re here. I have full confidence that you will deliver justice. Gary and his friend have my ring in their burrow and are neither returning it nor are they letting us search their borrow,” she said.

“Alright I will let you search their burrow, but if you don’t find your ring inside, you will need to face the consequences and pay a fine,” said Leo.

Brownie was getting nervous, her plan was backfiring. Leo instructed all the rabbits to step out of their burrows and instructed Brownie and Manny to go in and search. As they entered the burrow, the narrow entrance starched their skin.

Inside, it was completely dark and it was pretty hot too. Brownie and Manny didn’t like being inside and quickly got out.


When they stepped out, Leo was waiting. They ended up paying a huge fine which Leo used to buy lots of carrots and gave them the rabbits. He gave both Manny and Brownie a final warning that if they troubled the rabbits ever again, they would end up facing dire consequences.

The rabbits were safe and they thanked Leo for saving them.

Trip To Cave

One afternoon, Anusha came running back from school with a trophy in her hand.

“Mamma, look! I won the first prize in the painting competition at school,” said Anusha excitedly.

“That is great! I am so proud of you, Anusha!” said her mother.

“I must thank Neha didi for this trophy,” said Anusha. “I would always be in a hurry to complete my painting, therefore miss out on the finer details. She encouraged me to take my time and add details. Now my paintings are appreciated by everyone.”

“Yes, you can thank her in person. You can meet her when you go tomorrow for your morning class,” said her mother.

“Oh yes! Neha didi is taking us on a field trip. Last month, she took us to an art gallery. I wonder where she will take us tomorrow,” said Anusha.

“Wherever it is, I am sure it will be as good as your last trip,” assured her mother.

Next morning, Anusha and her art school friends were seated in the van along with their art teacher, Neha didi. Each one carried along with a small bag packed with their drawing tools, lunch box and a bottle of water.


“Didi, where are we going today?” asked Diksha.

“You will know once we reach the place in about 40 minutes,” replied Neha didi with a smile.

After a while, the van stopped and Neha didi called out, “We have reached our destination! Let’s explore.”

The students looked around confused.

“Where are we?” asked Riya puzzled.

“It looks like some historical place,” mumbled Dev.

Ratu, the Artist

“I think I know where we are. This place was excavated by archaeologists just a few months ago. I read about it in the newspaper recently,” said Anusha.

“But what are we going to learn in these old caves?” Anirudh wondered aloud.

Neha didi, who was listening to their conversation, said, “I promise that you will really like this place. There is so much to see and learn here, especially for people like us who are artists.”

“What is this place, didi?” asked Anusha.

“As you rightly said, it’s a recently excavated natural cave shelter. Inside, you will see proof of what great artists our forefathers were, even at a time when there was no technology, said Neha didi, leading them into the cave.

Once inside, everyone was surprised. The walls of the caves had magnificent paintings and sculptures of kings in their chariots, common folk going about their daily lives, and of animals like fish, lion and elephant.


Neha didi turned around to them and said, “Aren’t these paintings wonderful? Natural caves and shelters like this one contain several prehistoric paintings. Some of the paintings here are thousands of years old.”

“How did these paintings survive for so many years?” asked Dev curiously.

“These kinds of caves are generally carved out of tough rocks like granite and basalt which form the perfect base for painting. Since these frescoes—that’s what we call paintings on walls—are made deep inside the cave, they get shielded from harsh sunlight and other weather elements, and so they last long,” explained Neha didi.

The children listened in awe.

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Neha didi continued, “Another reason why the paintings last long, is because of the different techniques used. The stone surface of the famous Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, for example, were chiselled and then plastered with a combination of clay, lime, hay and dung. This formed the canvas for the paintings. The unusual shine was achieved by adding powdered conches and seashells. Kuda Caves—also in Maharashtra—were plastered with a mix of mud and rice chaff.”

“But how is it that they have used so many colours? They certainly must have used some chemicals,” said Anusha.

“The colours are natural dyes made from plants and minerals that don’t change colour when mixed with the lime surface,” explained Neha didi.

“Were all the paintings done by one artist?” asked Anirudh,

“Actually, one artist would draw the outlines, another would fill it with colours and a third artist would give it finishing touches and add details,” said Neha didi.

As they walked along the cave, Diksha took out a pen to scribble something on the cave wall. Neha didi quickly stopped her.


“These paintings are very old and fragile. This type of graffiti can damage them. We must respect the art and the artists,” said Neha didi.

Diksha apologised and put her pen away.

Later, they all sat down in the garden outside the caves and drew some sketches.

“So, did you enjoy the trip?” asked Neha didi, while they were on their way back in the van. “We loved it!” said the students together. “We want to go on more such trips to learn about Indian art.”

“Great! I will start planning the next trip right away!” said Neha didi.



Chirag’s Feathered Friends

When Chirag found out that his dad was getting transferred to the city, he was very excited. He couldn’t wait to start studying at the big schools there, roam in the fancy malls and watch movies at the theatres.

Ma was packing their things and Chirag was helping her. He wanted to move as quickly as possible and live life in the big city. But Ma knew that the novelty of the big city would wear off soon and Chirag would start missing Roohi, a friendly sparrow that lived in a tree outside their home.

Chirag and Roohi knew each other very well and Chirag would refuse to eat before feeding some rice or some grains to Roohi.

Soon it was time to move and Chirag and his parents reached the city and moved into their new home. Dad went to the office the next morning and Ma was busy setting up the house. Since he hadn’t made any new friends yet, Chirag sat at home getting bored.


A couple of days went by but on the third day when Chirag sat down for lunch, he remembered Roohi and felt sad. He remembered how he would leave a few pieces of rotis and how she would pick them up one by one and take them to her nest. He missed her sweet chirps. Chirag missed her so much that he went to sleep without finishing his dinner.

Even though he didn’t say why he didn’t feel like eating, Ma knew the reason. When dad came home that evening, she told him about Chirag. Dad suggested that he should try making friends with another sparrow just like Roohi, here in the city.

The Kind Parrot

The next evening, on the way from work, dad brought home a birdhouse. He installed it outside their home and left a bowl of water outside it for the birds to quench their thirst.

In less than a week, the birdhouse had a tenant- a sparrow. Chirag named this sparrow Roohi too and she’d flit in and out of the sparrow house. Soon, she built a nest and laid some eggs which hatched into little sparrow chicks.

Dad installed another sparrow house for the other sparrows too. Seeing all the sparrows around Chirag’s house, all the kids in the area came to watch. They made sure there were enough food and water for the sparrows and took care of them.

In Search Of the Sparrows

One day, members from the “Save the Sparrows Group’ came to their colony. When they found out that the sparrow populations were rising in the area, they tried finding out how. When they found out that it was because of Chirag’s efforts, they praised him and presented him with an award.


The next morning, the papers carried a story about Chirag and his sparrows. Chirag’s parents were proud of him and praised him for his love for birds. They told him that if he continued his efforts and made the birds and animals around him happy, they would fill his life with happiness.

Chirag hugged his parent and thanked his dad for bringing him a birdhouse and making him happy.


Where Are The Rains?

“Few months ago, the jungle was green with trees, rich with water. But today, it is gasping for some fresh, cool air,” Blacky, the crow said.

All of them finally decided to leave the jungle as there was nothing left for them.

“Uncle Banyan, aren’t you going to come with us?” Hoppy, the frog, asked.

“Trees and plants can’t move, didn’t you know that? Don’t make him sad now,” Blacky said.

Uncle Banyan said, “Don’t scold him. But even if I could move, I wouldn’t have left the jungle.”

All the animals were shocked to hear this.

“Would you have stayed in this heat, Uncle Banyan?” Harry, the bear asked.

“Yes, I would have stayed here. I can’t leave the land where I grew up. It has given me everything. This is my jungle and I love it more than myself,” Uncle Banyan said.

Khokho, the monkey then asked, “Uncle, if we stay here, how will the problem be solved?”

“If we think of a solution, we could do something about this grave issue. All of you have lost hope and this is why you are leaving. Don’t forget that we are responsible for damaging our own environment. The reason for late monsoon is pollution,” Uncle Banyan explained.

All the animals were shocked to hear this.

“Would you have stayed in this heat, Uncle Banyan?” Harry, the bear asked.

Our Own Land

“Yes, I would have stayed here. I can’t leave the land where I grew up. It has given me everything. This is my jungle and I love it more than myself,” Uncle Banyan said.

Khokho, the monkey then asked, “Uncle, if we stay here, how will the problem be solved?”

“If we think of a solution, we could do something about this grave issue. All of you have lost hope and this is why you are leaving. Don’t forget that we are responsible for damaging our own environment. The reason for the late monsoon is pollution,” Uncle Banyan explained.

All the animals agreed that this was true.

“Uncle Banyan is right. It is because the environment has been polluted that the rains are late. Earlier, it used to rain regularly, and we never had any problems,” Harry said.

“Please understand that it is not possible to change the condition of the environment in a day. But slowly and steadily, we can surely improve the situation,” Blacky added.

Everyone agreed.


“We should plant more trees here,” Khokho, the monkey said.

“We will also have to see that the ponds don’t dry up. We should dig up new wells to store rainwater, so we don’t face this same problem next year,” Hoppy, the frog said excitedly.

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“Yes, let’s work towards improving and helping the environment, so we don’t have to suffer next year,” Harry, the bear said.

Everyone agreed and decided not to leave the jungle. Just then, a few drops of water fell from the sky. Everyone looked up and saw that it had started to drizzle. All the animals were happy and started dancing in the rain.

Fearless Mongoo Gets a New Home

“May I stay here for a few days?” asked a trembling voice.

Beaky, the crow turned to see who this was. She saw a mongoose sitting below the tree.

Beaky asked, “Who are you? Why do you want to live here?”

“My name is Mongoo. The forest is flooded. The rains washed away my home. I have nowhere to go. May I live here for a few days?” Mongoo, the mongoose replied.

“I can’t let a stranger stay here,” Beaky said.

By then, other birds had gathered and tried to shoo Mongoo away.

Chilli, the parrot said, “We have eggs in our nests. You can’t stay here. We can’t trust anyone these days.”

Popo, the pigeon said, “Also, you aren’t clean. You have mud on you and it looks as if you haven’t taken a bath in a while.”

Mongoo was upset. She had tears in her eyes. She said, “Please, believe me. I’ve just lost my home and my belongings. Let me stay here for a day or two. I promise I won’t be of any trouble. I will leave once the water drains out.”

Owlie, the old owl was sitting on the branch and watching all this. He said to everyone, “Let her stay for a while. She needs help, can’t you all see that? Mongoo, you can stay here for tonight. There are a few stones below this tree. Make space for yourself there and sleep.”

Friends Of A Feather

The other birds didn’t say anything. Mongoo was relieved to hear this and thanked the old owl. She burrowed herself between the stones.

However, Mongoo couldn’t sleep very well. She kept tossing and turning. She was too hungry to sleep. She got up and sat to think what to do. Just then, she noticed a large black snake. It was crawling up the tree and was very close to Beaky’s nest.

Without thinking twice, Mongoo climbed the tree and pounced on the snake. They both fell on the ground. The snake was long and it wrapped its tail around Mongoo. But Mongoo did not give up.


With the help of her teeth, she bit the snake’s tail. The snake loosened its tail and Mongoo managed to escape from its grip.

All the birds woke with the clatter.

“Oh, what is this noise?” Chilli, the parrot asked.

“I think there is a fight going on,” Popo, the pigeon said.

The birds were shocked when they saw Mongoo fighting the snake. No one knew what was going on.

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The snake tried to attack Mongoo but she dodged its attack. She pounced on the snake and bit it. The snake shook itself loosely, retreated and was gone in a few seconds.

Mongoo was wounded. There were many marks on her body.

“Why were you fighting that snake?” Popo asked.

“That snake was about to attack Beaky’s nest. I had to fight the snake, otherwise it would have eaten her eggs,” Mongoo said.


“I don’t believe what you’re saying. What if you are just pretending to be on our side? You will say that as you wanted to stay here,” Beaky, the crow said.

“Yes! That’s what I think too.” Popo said.

Chilli agreed with them too. None of them wanted to believe her. Mongoo didn’t know what to say. She felt too weak to say anything.

Owlie, the owl had seen all that had happened. He came down and said, “I watched Mongoo fight the snake to save your nest and eggs, Beaky. She could have died today. She did this in front of you and still, you don’t believe her.”

Owlie continued, “She needn’t have done that. You all were rude to her, but she still helped us.”

And They Became Friends

Chilli, Popo and Beaky realised their mistake and apologised.

“I’m sorry that I thought you were our enemy. But you turned out to be a true friend,” Beaky said to Mongoo.

Chilli got medicines and cotton. They gently treated Mongoo’s wounds. They gave her some food to eat as well.


“Mongoo, you don’t have to go anywhere. Please live with us,” Popo said.

Mongoo was delighted to hear this. She didn’t just get home, but a family as well.


Our Own Land

There were dark clouds in the sky. The winds were blowing fast and the clouds were moving with it. Even though all the signs of rain were there, it didn’t rain.

Vaasu, the sparrow was looking up at the clouds. A partridge peered through his glasses and counted the number of clouds in the sky. The woodpecker counted the days on his feathers. It had been a month since the signs of rain had started but not a drop had touched the earth.

Everybody was suffering because of the heat. The ponds and rivers had dried up and the leaves had all turned yellow. All the animals were gloomy and there was not a single light moment to be shared.

“With each passing day, the forest looks worse than it did before. I really don’t feel like staying here,” said Minnie one day. The animals of the forest felt the same and they all decided that it was time to move to another place. They decided to give it one last chance and waited for the rain. But seeing that not a single drop fell from the dark sky, they started packing

“Mr. Banyan tree, aren’t you coming with us?” asked Chutku, the frog.

“Stop talking nonsense,” said Danny, the bear. “Don’t you know that plants and trees can’t walk? Don’t make him feel bad by asking such silly questions.”

“Don’t scold him, Danny,” said the banyan tree gently. He’s asked a very good question. But even if I had feet, I wouldn’t have joined you son.”

“But why?” asked all the animals.

“What would you do staying here in this heat?” asked Meechu, the mouse.


“I’d stay right here,” said the banyan tree. “How can I leave the very land that has got me where I am? Sure it has shown me some bad times, but the good times I have had here more than make up for it. Also, if I leave this land, then it will become even worse than it is right now. I cannot allow this to happen. I’d rather forgot my comfort than see this land become fallow.”

Hearing the banyan tree’s words, all the animals hung their heads in shame.

Lallu, the langur said, “But staying here isn’t going to make things any better. What’s the point in staying back then?”

“You feel this way because in your mind you’re certain that going somewhere else will make things better and that there’s no other solution. But if you put your mind to it, you’ll certainly think of a solution. Let’s also not forget that we are responsible for making our forest like this. We throw our garbage everywhere and are polluting everything. If we trouble Mother Nature, she will fight back.”

Saving Rainwater

“It is up to us to make things right,” said the banyan tree. “If we start now, then we can change things soon. It will definitely take time, but it will be time well spent.”

Silence spread among the animals of the forest. They realized the mistake they have made and felt bad for deciding to leave their beloved forest.

“He’s right. If it hasn’t rained yet, it’s due to our actions,” said Danny.

“Let’s plant more trees,” suggested Vaasu, the sparrow. “This will help bring down 5 the heat.”

“Yes! And let’s dig more wells and ponds. We will collect rainwater in these and use them in the summer months,” said Minku, the mouse.

“You’re right. Let’s bear the heat this year and when it rains, let’s not only collect water in ponds and wells, let’s also save water by spending it wisely.” Jaggu, the elephant said.

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All the animals decided to stay back and get started on conserving rainwater. Suddenly, a drop landed on Minnie’s head. She looked up and a few more drops landed on her head. Soon, everybody had their heads turned up to the sky and were greeted by raindrops.


Soon, the few drops grew to a drizzle and then into the rain. All the animals enjoyed the refreshing rain. They picked up their belongings and went back home.



Rango, the fox had just returned to Sundarban from the city with brand new clothes and an expensive car.

Rango’s friend Dummy, the donkey said, “What’s the matter? Did you win any lottery?”

“I got a job in a big bank. They’ll soon open a branch in Sundarban and I shall be the bank manager,” Rango said.

“Oh, that’s great news! A bank will do good to everyone here,” Dummy said.

Within a few days, there was a bank in Sundarban. Dummy along with his friends Montu, the monkey and Ricky, the rabbit went to the new bank to get their accounts made.

“Our bank has a new scheme. If you deposit Rs. 1,000 in your account, it will get doubled in a month,” said Rango.

They were shocked to hear this.

“Yes, of course. It will get doubled. Each of you will get Rs. 2,000. You can get your money after a month, Rango assured them. Dummy and Montu decided to deposit Rs. 1,000.


“How is it possible for money to double in a month? I have a bad feeling about this,” Ricky said to Dummy and Montu.

“You’re just doubtful about everything. The bank manager wouldn’t lie.” Dummy said.

“All right, then. Both of you go ahead and double your money, but I won’t. I don’t trust Rango,” Ricky said.

Both Dummy and Montu deposited Rs. 1,000 each. A month later, their money got doubled. They were very happy to receive double the amount they had deposited. However, Ricky was still suspicious about the whole thing.

Slowly, the news about the money being doubled reached everyone in the forest. Rango soon became popular among everybody in the forest. Customers started queuing up at the bank in the hope of getting their money doubled. One day, he put up a board outside the bank that said “There is a new scheme. Deposit one lakh rupees within two days and get three lakhs after one month!”

The Expedition to RoboPlanet

On reading the notice, Dummy and Montu each decided to deposit one lakh. Dummy tried convincing Ricky but in vain.

Dummy said, “I understand you were suspicious the first time but didn’t you see how we got back double the amount then?”

Ricky replied, “Yes, I did see. But this is a huge amount, Dummy. And you are thinking of depositing your entire life savings.”

Dummy wasn’t worried and both he and Montu deposited their savings.

After a month, they went to the bank to collect their money. But they were shocked to see a big lock on the door. Other customers who stood there looked worried.


“This bank has shut down. Bank manager Rango left the forest yesterday,” the security guard said.

“What do you mean? Now we’ll never get our money back! Has he really run away with our money?” Montu exclaimed with fear.

“Oh no! I had put all my savings into this. What am I going to do now?” Dummy said.

Ricky said, “There’s no point crying now. I tried to warn you. All this happened because of your greed.”

Montu and Dummy didn’t know what to do. Ricky tried to console them.

“But what do we do now? Where do we find Rango?” Dummy asked.

“I think the best thing to do now is to file a complaint against Rango at the police station,” Ricky said.

All the animals went to the police station together. Upon hearing everyone’s complaint, Inspector Gummy, the bear said, “It’s your fault. You should have been careful with your money,” Inspector Gummy said.

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“Inspector, we are aware of our mistake and we regret depositing all this money in that bank. But please help us,” Montu said.

“All right, I will help you. But do not repeat this mistake ever again,” Inspector Gummy said.

All the animals promised that they would never repeat this.

At that, Inspector Gummy smiled and said, “You’ll be happy to know that Rango is behind bars now. And your money has been recovered too.”

All the animals breathed a sigh of relief. Dummy asked, “How did you catch him, Inspector?”


Inspector Gummy said, “Actually, it’s because of Ricky. He had informed me about Rango. We had our eye on him since then. When he was trying to run away with all the money last night, we arrested him. We found all the money and documents too.”

Everyone congratulated Ricky and pledged to never be greedy again. They learnt that there is no quick way of earning lots of money.


Wise Little Gittu

When Golu and Motu, the elephants were strolling around Nandavan, they noticed Gittu, the chameleon hanging on a leaf of a tree. There was a strong wind blowing, and the leaf was moving rapidly. Gittu hung on to it, trembling with fear. With the help of his trunk, Golu placed Gittu on the ground.

Gittu was relieved and said, “Thank you, friend. What would I have done without you?”

“What were you doing up there?” Golu asked with a smile on his face.

“I was just trying to climb on to the leaf. I had no idea that it would start moving so fast. It moved even faster when I sat on it. I will never forget what you did for me. Please let me know if ever you need my help,” Gittu said.

“I understand. But how will you be able to help me? You’re too small!” Golu said.

After a few days, Gittu bumped into Golu and Motu again. They were both playing behind a large rock on a cliff.

Megha’s Gift for Mom

Motu said, “Hello, Gittu! Come and play with us. We can play hide and seek.

Gittu happily agreed and quietly hid behind a large rock. Motu did the same thing.

Golu went to hide behind a rock but when he placed his leg on the rock, the rock slipped and Golu fell into a ravine.

“Help!” Golu screamed.

Hearing him shout, all the animals playing around came to help. But they couldn’t find Golu.

“Where are you?” Motu yelled out.

“I am behind this big rock,” Golu said.

Everyone was worried as nobody was able to spot where exactly he was.

“Please help me get out of here. I’m stuck!” Golu screamed again.

“How do we help our friend? We can’t see him anywhere,” a worried Motu said.

Meanwhile, Gittu crawled down the cliff. He saw Golu was tightly holding on to a rock. He looked scared.

“Don’t be scared. I’ll help you out. I’ll tell the others and they will get you out of here,” Gittu said to Golu.

Gittu immediately went up again and informed everyone about Golu’s whereabouts. He said, “I know where Golu is. Let’s go quickly and get him out. But before that, we need some long ropes.

Motu ran and got ropes. Gittu held one rope in his mouth and climbed down the cliff and passed it on to Golu.

“Hold on to this rope and climb up,” Motu said to Golu.

“No, wait. Golu is very heavy and this rope would not be able to withstand his weight,” Gittu said.

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Gittu climbed down again but this time with another rope.

“Tie it around your waist, Golu. This will help us pull you up easily,” Gittu said and ran back to the top of the cliff.

“Let’s pull him up now,” Gittu said to everyone.


All the animals started pulling Golu up with the help of the ropes. Soon, he was on top of the cliff. Golu breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank you for saving my life, Gittu. You showed one should never judge people, by the way, their looks. I’m sorry I judged you by your size. If it weren’t for your smartness, I wouldn’t have been saved today,” Golu said and raised his trunk to thank Gittu.


Greedy Brownie

A family of bears lived in the Bandavan forest. Brownie, the youngest bear, had soft brown fur and was loved by everyone. He loved to play outdoors. He also had a huge appetite and was never satisfied with the food he ate and always wanted more.

His mother gently explained, “Brownie, you’ve become chubby. You need to remain fit.”

However, Brownie never listened to her as his mind was always on food. One day, a few bears were talking. One said, “There is a Banyan tree close by, where the honeybees have built a huge honeycomb. It will be filled with honey.”

Brownie, who was passing by, heard this. His mouth began to water. His mind was filled with images of the delicious honey. He decided to go and feast on some.

One night, the bears celebrated Blacky the bear’s wedding. There was a lavish party with a delicious spread. Brownie was the happiest, as he could indulge in lots of yummy food.

It was all in FUN

The bears returned after midnight. They only woke up the following afternoon.

“Where is Brownie?” His mother asked, rubbing her eyes.

“He was sleeping with us,” said his father. “Check the bathroom.”

She went to check the bathroom, but couldn’t find Brownie.


“He isn’t in the bathroom. I don’t know where he is,” said his worried mother. His father set out in search of him.

Just then, Cuckoo, a neighbour, entered saying, “Brownie sneaked out early this morning to eat honey. He is surrounded by the bees at the Banyan tree.”

“Really?” His mother cried out.

“Brownie is taking honey from the honeycomb, with the honeybees present inside. We need to save him,” said Cuckoo.

Brownie’s parents were terrified. They rushed to the Banyan tree. They found Brownie sitting on the tree and enjoying the honey while the bees were buzzing around him.

“Brownie, come down!” His mother screamed.

Brownie got scared, as he thought that his mother would scold him.

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“We won’t spare him. He was stealing honey from our honeycomb,” said the Queen Bee. “Our young ones will be hungry because of him.”

“Please forgive him, Queen Bee,” pleaded his mother. “He is a baby. He is a little greedy and that is why he came here.”

“Yes, Queen Bee. He is innocent. Had he intended to steal honey, he wouldn’t have come here at this time of the day,” said the Cuckoo. “You know that thieves strike only when no one is present in the house.”


The Queen Bee thought, “The Cuckoo is right. The bears who steal honey strike only when the bees are away.”

Brownie agreed. He was glad that he was not going to be punished. He then whispered into his mother’s ears, “Mamma, my stomach is full and I’m feeling very sleepy. Please take me home or else I’ll doze off here itself.”

Everyone laughed at Brownie’s innocence.


It was all in FUN

In the forest of Kumudvan, all the animals lived in peace and harmony. All this was until Rambo, the elephant decided to wander in.

Rambo lazed around all day. When he was bored, he ate as much as he could and roamed around the forest looking for the next animal he can play a prank on.

One day, Cheechee, the sparrow had flown away in search of food for her chicks. Rambo picked up her nest with the chicks inside and left it by the riverside. The scared little chicks cried a lot and attracted all the birds in the area.

Rancho’s Challenge

It was only after they shouted at Rambo for doing such a mean thing that he put them back. “Don’t take it personally. It was all in fun,” he said and walked off into the forest.

Day by day, his antics grew worse. One time, he destroyed an entire ant colony and another, he flooded the rabbits’ burrow with water. When the animals asked him why he did such things, he would simply say, “Don’t take it personally. It was all in fun.”

With time, Rambo realized that the rest of the animals were scared of him because of his size. He started taking advantage of this. When Chimpy, the monkey was taking a bunch of bananas to his sister’s house, Rambo stopped him and took them from him.

“I’m the strongest in the forest. I can do whatever I want,” he said and walked away.

At the watering hold, he had terrorized all the animals. “I am the strongest in the forest. I will always be the first to drink water. You can come and drink only after I leave. Or else, you will have to face the consequences,” he said to them.

All the animals of the forest were getting tired of Rambo’s ways. They called for a meeting and by the end of it, knew exactly how to put Rambo in his place.

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They arranged for a pot which Chimpy hung on top of a tall tree. The animals announced that they were conducting the competition and the winner would be the animal who manages to break the pot.

Lots of animals tried and failed. The pot was too high up for them to reach. Then, it was Rambo’s turn. He walked up to the tree, fully confident that he would reach the pot without any effort. He stretched out his trunk but couldn’t reach. He tried again and again from different angles and still couldn’t reach.


The other animals watching began exchanging whispers. Rambo knew it was about him and was determined to show them who’s boss. He stood right under the pot and reached up with his trunk, standing on his hind legs. As he caught it, a big smile spread across his face. But his smile didn’t last long and was quickly replaced by a shock and surprise.

As he grabbed the pot, it tipped over and stinky, slimy mud splashed all over his face. Seeing Rambo, all the animals began laughing

“What is the meaning of this?” bellowed Rambo.

“Don’t take it personally. It was all in fun,” said the animals together.

“You thought you were the strongest in the forest, didn’t you? But we tiny animals of the forest have had the last laugh. We are a peace-loving bunch and we don’t like trouble. That’s why we remained quiet all this while. If you want to stay here, then you will have to change your ways Rambo and live with us is peace and harmony,” said the animals.

Rambo felt embarrassed and ran away.


The next morning, he walked up to Chimpy, with a big bunch of bananas and apologized. He walked up to each and every animal he had troubled with a gift and apologized to them. He promised never to trouble anyone ever again.

Saving Rainwater

The sweltering heat had reached its peak and all the animals of Sonavan were going through a hard time. This year too, there was a shortage of water in the jungle. Ponds and lakes were drying up. Sona Lake was the only water body in the jungle that still had some water.

Sitting under the shade of a tree and wiping away his sweat, Bebu, the monkey said, “As if the heat wasn’t enough, now there is water shortage as well. I hope it starts raining soon!”

Pinto, the dog said, “I haven’t taken a shower in a week. It’s all because of this heat.”

“I can understand. There is hardly any water to drink and bathing seems like a faraway dream,” Golu, the elephant said.

The King of Sonavan, Yuv, the lion was worried about the situation as he was receiving complaints with each passing day.

A meeting was organised to resolve the entire situation. Yuv urged everyone, “There is a scarcity of water in the jungle. We are trying hard to get rid of this problem. If any of you have a solution, please let us know.”

Ronu, the rabbit said, “We’re responsible for this problem.”

“How?” Yuv asked.

“We have sacrificed nature for our own comfort and now we will have to pay the price. Most trees have been razed down for new buildings. The ones that are left should be conserved. As they have been cut down recklessly, there are no rains anymore,” Ronu said.

“Ronu is absolutely right. Also, a few years ago, there were many lakes and ponds in the forest and now there are none;’ Golu said.

“It’s true, Ronu. But is there a solution to this grave issue?” Yuv asked.

“We will have to understand the value of water. Maybe if we conserve rainwater, we will be able to solve our problem,” Ronu said.

“You’re right!” Yuv said.

“The monsoons will start soon. We will have to place tanks on the terraces of all houses to store rainwater. Later, we can boil the water and use it regularly. The water bodies that have dried up to be filled with water,” Ronu said.

“Your solution is brilliant. We never thought of storing rainwater,” Golu smilingly said.

Next day onwards, everyone got together to work towards saving water. Due to everyone’s effort, within days there were new water bodies and tanks available in the forest. Now, everyone was waiting for the rains to arrive.

After a few days, the sky was filled with dark clouds and it started to rain. The water bodies were filled with water again and the tanks were full of water.


The animals of Sonavan understood the importance of saving water and pledged to be more careful about it. They all danced happily in the rain.

A Holiday without Computers!

It all began one evening when Kala said to her mother. “Why can’t we take a break and go for a holiday somewhere? All my friends are off-  ‘getting away from it all’ they call it.”

“Why not?” said her mother with equal enthusiasm, adding, “On one condition—no computers! Once in a while, you have to get off that gadget for health reasons. I shall take my mobile only for an emergency.”

“Sure,” replied an excited Kala.

Her mother had only to get in touch with her elder sister Sunitha and her husband Prabhu who lived in Pune. “Come over and we will plan something,” they said. So Kala and her mother took a flight to Pune. The holiday had begun!

There were discussions. “Let’s go by road to Mahabaleshwar. It is just a short drive from here,” said Uncle Prabhu. “It’s a nice hill station with pleasant weather. We have our own cottage there and that makes it all very easy!”

Sunitha added, “We have already alerted our caretaker to get the place ready.”

So they set off in their car and reached the place in no time. Kala was in awe at the spectacular scenery that spread before them. Nestled in the Western Ghats, it was a serene place with lush vegetation, thick woods, hills, forests, valleys and wonderful views of the river winding its way through the green landscape.


The cottage itself was in the middle of the woods, just like in a fairy tale. Their caretaker had the place sparkling clean for them; he had laid out new sheets, pillows and even stocked-up the kitchen.

“This is simply marvellous!” exclaimed Kala.

Breakfast was hot and delicious, piping vegetable upma a—South Indian special and filter coffee. Her aunt said, “Tomorrow, we’ll have masala dosas. A new menu every day! ”

Uncle Prabhu took Kala to explore the woods around their cottage. Kala was very happy strolling along the little pathways among the woods wearing a woollen jersey and cap—all given by Aunt Sunitha!

A Green Holiday

Soon it was time to get back and lovely smells greeted them as they stepped in.

Gopi had made parathas and a pulav with a delectable vegetable preparation and curds to go with them. Strawberries and ice cream were served for dessert! Aunt Sunitha had brought an array of chutneys and pickles.

She said, “This place is famous for strawberries! It’s been years since we took a holiday like this.”


After lunch, Aunt Sunitha brought out two board games for them to play. One was ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and the other was called ‘Ludo’.

“Aunt Sunitha, you are great, planning so many surprises for us!” Kala exclaimed gratefully.

Her aunt said, “I looked in an old cupboard and took only two out for your sake, Kala. Your mother and I used to play these games as youngsters. I find many people going back to these games because computer games are sometimes violent!”

Later the elders went off for a snooze. But thoughtful Uncle Prabhu gave Kala a nice book to read. “I have some more books. You can take your pick.” He offered kindly.


It was the first time she was reading a book on plants and trees. In the evening they took a ride on ponies to reach some particular points for gorgeous views. It was 6:00 p.m. when they got back. Aunt Sunitha said “Music time!” and switched on her shruti box* and sang a few songs for her audience.

“How well you sing!” exclaimed Kala in admiration. She had an ear for classical music. She liked some ragas, too.

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“It’s good to have a hobby!” remarked her aunt. “Kala, I think you are the nicest teenager I have met. You are so full of compliments.”

Kala was quick to say, “But that’s because you are so full of goodness yourself and you keep us engaged with all nice things!

The brief holiday packed with a lot of fun things was almost over. How nicely time had flown by! Her loving aunt and uncle had opened her eyes to new things and new experiences!


There was another big surprise on the day they caught their flight, as her Uncle had packed two cartons of fresh strawberries and mulberries for them to take home.

*A shruti box is a small wooden instrument that works on a system
of bellows. It resembles a harmonium and provides an even-toned hum.
It is used in during practice sessions of Indian classical music.

Raju And the Firefly

It was time for bed and Raju wasn’t feeling sleepy at all. Grandma was tucking him to bed, when he asked, “Could you please tell me a story, Grandma?”

“Alright, what kind of story do you want to hear?” asked Grandma.

“Any kind. But it has to be a good one.”

“Alright. Once upon a time, on a warm summer night, a little firefly flew into a spider’s web. The sticky web made it impossible for the firefly to get out. But, a little boy named Raju was watching this happen. Feeling bad for the little firefly, he freed it from the web.


The firefly was happy to be free and flew up to Raju’s shoulder. ‘If you’re ever in trouble, feel free to call me. I’ll come to your rescue, said the firefly.

Raju laughed and said, You’re a tiny little firefly. How on earth will you be able to save me?

”Leave that to me. Never judge the capabilities of someone based on their size. All you have to do is shout out my name and I’ll be over in a jiffy,” said the firefly.

Just to keep the firefly happy, Raju agreed. With a smile on its face, the firefly flew back to the trees to join its many friends.

Many days passed since this incident. Raju decided to take a walk in the forest. He loved being among the trees and birds and wandered deep inside. Soon, it began to grow dark. Raju decided it was time to go home and turned back. But, because it was dark, Raju couldn’t find his way back. Everywhere he turned, the forest looks just the same- dark and scary.

He wandered for hours and still didn’t manage to find the way out. Tired, Raju sat down at the foot of a tree. It was pitch black and Raju could barely see his hand in front of his face. Now there was no way he could find the path back home. Worried, he sat there, wondering what to do. Just then, he remembered what the little firefly had told him.

Raju called out to the firefly, ‘Firefly, where are you? I need your help.’


Immediately, a spark of light came floating up to him. It was the firefly.

What’s the matter, my friend?’ asked the firefly.

I’ve lost my way. Can you help me get back home?’ asked Raju.

‘Is that all?’ asked the firefly. Wait right here. I’ll be back in a flash

Raju waited and in a few minutes, the firefly returned. With it were thousands of fireflies casting a warm glow on the forest. Their collective glow was so bright that the entire forest was lit up.

‘Come with us,’ said the firefly and together the fireflies lit the path back to Raju’s home. Raju followed the trail of brilliant flashing fireflies and reached home in a short while.”


Grandma had finished her story. “You see my child, it’s always good to help other people. If you help them, then one day, they will be there for you when you need their help.”

Raju smiled and went to sleep. That night, he dreamt sweet dreams of fireflies glowing outside his window.




May and its Days

The predawn call of the cuckoo is very melodious in May. The name seems taken from the Latin word Maius or Maia, the mother of God Fleriner. Further, the Britons of Yore used to call it ‘Trimalic’, for cows gave milk three times in these longer days.

Historically, nearly all days of May are important for one event or the other. Brevity, however, allows us to recall the very important ones only.

The first of May is observed as “May Day”, i.e. Workers’ Day and International Labor Day. It is also known for the first Great Exhibition of Inventions and Industrial Marvels, held at Hyde Park in London during 1851.

Swami Vivekanand established Ramakrishana Mission at Calcutta (now Kolkata) on this day during 1897. On May 2nd, 1945, the Soviets captured Berlin while the Nazis had surrendered.


On May 3rd, 1939, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose formed the “Forward Bloc” in Congress at Calcutta. May 3 is Press Freedom Day too.

On May 4th, 1494, Christopher Columbus landed on today’s Jamaica and thus discovered the new world, or America.

May 5 is celebrated as Children’s Day in Japan and South Korea.


On May 5th, 1921, Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile at St. Helena. On May 6th, 1937, Hindenburg, the largest rigid airship, exploded while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, killing 36 of 97 people onboard.

May 8th is celebrated as “World Red Cross Day” to pay tribute to the volunteers who work for the betterment of the society. Last but not least, the second Sunday of May is observed as Mother’s Day.

On May 10th, 1857, the Great Indian Mutiny started at Meerut when the Indian soldiers in the British East India Company’s army revolted against their English masters.

May 11 is observed as National Technology Day to commemorate the technological breakthroughs in India.

The birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) on May 12th is celebrated as “International Nurses Day”. Florence Nightingale is considered as the founder of modern nursing.

On May 14th, 1796, Edward Jenner (17491823) invented vaccination and in 1973, U.S. launched their first manned space station Skylab-1.On May 17th, 1540, Sher Shah Suri defeated the Mughal Emperor Humayun at Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh.

The day is also World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), which helps to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as the Internet, can bring to societies and economies.


On May18th, 1974, India exploded its first nuclear device at Pokhran (Rajasthan).

On May 19th, 1536, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England and mother of Queen Elizabeth-I, was beheaded for Adultery.

On May 20th, 1588, the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon on a misadventure against England.

On May 21st 1991, Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, was assassinated at Sriperumbudur in Chennai. The day is observed as Anti-Terrorism Day.

On May 23rd, 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest. In the month of May Africa Day is celebrated to commemorate the founding of Africa Union (AU).

On May 24th, 1844, Samuel Morse wired the first telegraphic message from Baltimore to Washington. German battleship Bismark sank the British ship HMS Hood in the North Atlantic on this day in 1941.

Indian Armed Forces launched Operation Vijay against Pakistani intruders at Kargil on May 26th, 1999.

On May 28th, 1934, the Dionne quintuplets, five daughters, were born prematurely to Oliva and Elzire Dionne at Ontario in Canada.

On May 29th, 1953, New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary and Nepal’s Sherpa Tenzing Norgay surmounted the so far invincible Mount Everest.

On May 31st, 1911, the tragic luxury ship Titanic was launched at Belfast. It is “No Tobacco Day” as well.

Thus, we know that the month of May is loaded with a number of interesting events.

Mother To the Rescue

Where have you been Sonu? How many times do I have to call out to you?” Charu, the dormouse, asked her son Sonu.

“I was just outside watching people passing by. I can take care of myself,” he said confidently.

“How many times have I told you not to go outside without telling me? It’s a dangerous place, and that cat seems to have settled down there. Please be careful,” saying so, Charu embraced Sonu.

One day when Sonu had entered their neighbour’s kitchen looking for food, one of the people living there opened the fridge to pull out a bottle of water. The light from the fridge caught Sonu’s attention and what was inside kept him glued. Sonu had never seen so much food in one place. When the human walked away, Sonu ran back home.

He narrated the entire story to his mother. “If you were there you would have jumped in and made off with all the food you can carry,” he added.

Jambu’s Special Mother

Charu was not as excited; instead, she said seriously, “Listen and listen carefully.” “Don’t even think about going near that fridge. It is dangerous, and you will regret it if you do.”

Her reaction shocked Sonu, “But Ma, we spend the entire day looking for food, and if we are lucky, we find enough to eat. All the food we need is in that fridge. Why shouldn’t we steal food from the fridge?” said Sonu.

“Don’t argue with me. What do you plan on doing if the door closes behind you? You will be trapped. There’s no guarantee you will make it out safely. Don’t be greedy and forget about that fridge,” she said and put an end to their discussion.

Sonu was not prepared to take ‘no’ for an answer. The next time he went in search of food, he observed the fridge from a dark corner.

In some time, the lady of the house opened the fridge and placed some food inside.

“No matter what the consequences, I am definitely getting inside that fridge. So what if it’s cold inside? I’ll jump out the moment the door opens,” he said to himself, fully prepared for the next time the fridge door opened.

He went home but didn’t share his plans with his mom. The next day, he found the perfect spot under the fridge and lay in wait. As soon as the door opened, Sonu quickly slipped inside and hid behind a bottle.

When the door was closed, Sonu realised that the fridge was a lot colder than he had imagined.


But when he saw that the bowl of pudding in the fridge, he didn’t mind the cold that much. He gorged on all the pudding he could when he heard the humans talking.

“Let’s go, we’ll be late for the movie,” said the dad.

“When will we come back?” asked the little girl.

“The movie is three hours long, so we should be back in four hours,” said the dad.

When he found out that nobody was going to open the fridge for the next four hours, Sonu began to panic.

Suddenly the fridge got a lot colder than it was before. He pushed hard and tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge.


“Help me, help me!” he cried out, but his calls for help fell on deaf ears. Tears welled up in his eyes. “I should have listened to mummy’s warning,” he said to himself.

Meanwhile, Charu was getting worried. She hadn’t seen Sonu since that morning, and he was nowhere to be found. When she checked all his usual hangouts, she realised that he has probably tried entering the fridge and ran towards it.

She quickly ran to the house and nibbled off the fridge’s power cord. When the cord was cut, the power went out, and the blast of cold air stopped.

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By the time the family came back, the fridge was no longer freezing cold, and Sonu had gained some of his strength back. When the door was opened, Sonu leapt out of the fridge. He gave the little girl quite a scare but escaped unharmed.


Back at their burrow, Sonu apologised to his mother. “Please forgive me; I promise I will always listen to you.” Seeing her son safe and sound, Sonu’s mother gave him a tight hug.

Jambu’s Special Mother

Jeeva, look what that boy of yours has done!” complained all her neighbors early one morning.

“What did he do this time?” asked Jeeva, the elephant.

“What did he do?” asked Mantru, the monkey. “Jambu snuck in to our banana plantation. It looks like a disaster zone now.”

“The other day, he snuck in to my sugarcane field. He ended up uprooting more cane than he could eat,” said Ketu, the rhino with his tail wagging furiously.

Jeeva said with a sad voice, “Ever since poachers killed his mother, I have raised him as my own. I try to make him understand, but he just doesn’t listen to me.”

“Look over there! That’s him walking this way, munching on some bananas,” said Sochi, the parrot.

“All the animals are angry because you snuck in to their fields and ate everything. Why do you keep doing this Jambu?” asked Jeeva.

“I can’t control myself. I am hungry all the time.” said poor Jambu feeling hurt, and ran towards the river.

“Please forgive him this time,” said Jeeva. “I will pay you for the loss.”

“I don’t think that would help,” said Ketu.

While Jeeva went to the lumber yard to start her shift, Jambu was standing at the water’s edge. Sochi found Jambu and said, “You were such a good boy Jambu, why do you give your mother so much grief?”

“Mother? Jeeva’s not my mother. I don’t have a mother.”

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

“She may not be your real mother Jambu, but she loves you just as much. You should consider yourself lucky to have someone like her to take care of you.”

They sat in silence for a while when suddenly a net fell on top of Jambu and a few men came in from the trees banging loudly on a drum. Sochi flew away but Jambu was too scared to move. The men tied him up and put him in a cage on the back of a truck.


Sochi quickly went in search of help. He saw Mantru, the monkey, sitting on a tree. “Jambu is in danger! The poachers have caught

“Jambu is in danger! The poachers have caught him!” he said in between breaths.

“Good riddance,” muttered Mantru.

“Don’t be like that,” said Sochi to Mantru. “He really needs your help.”

After some thought, Mantru said, “Alright! We have to tell Jeeva. You tell her, I’ll stop the poachers.”

Mantru called two saras cranes that picked up Mantru and flew away towards the poachers and Sochi went to Jeeva to give her the news.

When Jeeva found out what happened, she burst into tears. “My poor baby has been kidnapped. We must save him!”

Meanwhile, Mantru and the saras cranes were flying over the truck. Carefully, the cranes dropped Mantru on the roof of the truck. Mantru then swung in through the window and grabbed the driver’s shirt.

“Aieeeee! Let me go you monkey!” screamed the driver.


Mantru opened the door and pushed the driver out who landed on a soft bush.

When the truck stopped, the other poachers jumped out ready for a fight but came face-to nose with Ketu, the rhinoceros.

Don’t move another inch,” said Ketu. All the other animals had surrounded the truck. A few animals rounded up the driver and brought him back to the truck. The forest guards soon arrived, they handcuffed the poachers and took them away.

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Mantru drove the truck to the timber mill. Jeeva was nervously waiting at the gates. All the elephants were behind her eager to find out if Jambu was safe.

Mantru drove into the timber mill and said, “Special delivery for you Jeeva.”


The cage was opened up and Jambu ran towards her and hugged her. “I love you mommy. I’ll never sneak into a field and give you so much trouble again,” he said.

All the animals in the forest cheered and life was once again back to normal.

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Laksh, Chirag and Peehu loved each other, but they were always up to some mischief. The moment their mother returned from work, other children would gather around her complaining about the three of them. Their mother would explain to them why troubling others was not a good thing, they would never heed her words.


One evening, when Laksh’s friend Hari was showing him his new cycle, Laksh said, “Unless you let me take your cycle out for a ride I can’t know what it’s like.” As soon as Hari was out of Laksh’s sight, Laksh deflated the rear tyre. Seeing the tyre this way, Laksh began to cry.

“Your cycle is less than a day old, Hari, and it’s broken already,” said Laksh and began laughing. Chirag and Peehu laughed with him.

One day, Chirag punctured his friend Mohit’s football and their mom was forced to buy Mohit a new one.

The Naughty Duckling

The kid’s naughtiness was beginning to worry their mother. When she would ask them to help out with the housework, they would make some excuse or another and escape.

During the summer vacations, Mom had to leave early and come late because she had a project to complete. She hardly found time to relax. Because she had a lot of work to do, Chirag began helping her out with a little bit of the housework.


He would hang the clothes out to dry, water the plants, collect milk from the milkman and would even pick up a loaf of bread on his way home. But Laksh and Peehu, on the other hand, would spend the entire day watching TV and playing.

One day, their mom suddenly fell ill. Chirag phoned the doctor. After examining her, the doctor prescribed some medicines for her and recommended that she take some rest. Chirag promised that he would take good care of his mom and not let her any work.

“I don’t think you will be able to do all the work alone,” said the Doctor. “Take Laksh and Peehu’s help.”

Laksh and Peehu agreed to help and began with their daily chores. Peehu slowly began enjoying doing housework.


Under mom’s guidance, she even began preparing food. Laksh loved buying vegetables from the market and would serve fresh fruits to his mom every day.

Laksh, Peehu, and Chirag turned over a new leaf. After finishing the housework, they only played for an hour. They had completely stopped playing pranks on the other kids and nobody came over to complain about their antics. Their mother was very happy to see such a change in her kids.

With the medicines the doctor prescribed and the care and affection the kids gave her, their mom recovered. Even after becoming better, the kids continued to help her with the housework.

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Mother’s day was around the corner and the kids wanted to do something special for her. Peehu was good at drawing and suggested that they make her a card. But Laksh and Chirag wanted to give her something else with the card. With the money in their piggy bank, they bought her a beautiful necklace.

On Mother’s day, the three of them placed a card, the handbag and the bouquet near her bed and went back to sleep. When mom saw the Mother’s day card, she became very happy. She went into their room and hugged them tightly.


“I received the perfect Mother’s day gift, the day you stopped being naughty, took care of me and started helping me with the housework,” said their mom.

“We love you mummy!” said the kids and hugged her tight.

Trixie Gets Tricked

Ever since the circus people had captured some animals from Nandanvan, the animals and birds were scared to step out of their homes. But after the circus had moved to another town, life was slowly getting back to normal in the forest. They were alert but they stopped hiding in their homes.

One day, Kiku, the kingfisher was sitting on a tree. He saw his friend Lolo, the lamb walking by. Just as Kiku was about to call out to him, he spotted Trixie, the vixen hiding behind the bushes just up ahead. She appeared to be waiting for Lolo to walk by and pounce on him.

Kiku had to warn Lolo, but without drawing Trixie’s attention. So he quickly took out his mobile phone and called Lolo.

“Hello, Kiku! How are you?” enquired Lolo over the phone.

“Lolo, you are in trouble! Trixie is hiding behind the bushes just ahead of you. But don’t react or else she might be alerted,” warned Kiku.

Lolo was a smart lamb. He immediately came up with an idea to escape from Trixie. Continuing to talk into the phone, he said, “Oh no! The circus people have been spotted in the forest again? That is not good.”


At first, Kiku was confused as to what Lolo was talking about but then he understood, so he continued listening.

“This time the circus people want foxes?” said Lolo aloud. “We will have to alert all the foxes so that they can go into hiding for a while.”

Trixie, who was overhearing the conversation, got scared. She immediately ran off and went into hiding, afraid that the circus people would catch her.

Kiku, who could see Trixie running away from his spot on the tree, burst out laughing. He said, “Lolo, you are very clever! I can see Trixie running away!”

Lolo heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you, my friend. If you hadn’t warned me, Trixie would have certainly caught hold of me!”


“I only warned you but you were smart enough to talk your way out of it. Instead of panicking, you were calm and thought of a solution immediately,” appreciated Kiku.

Both the friends then continued to chat in peace.

Monu’s Airlift

One afternoon, as Sonu and Monu were playing, their mother, Mini called out, “Sonu! Don’t push your brother!”

“I am not pushing him, mom. We are just playing,” said Sonu.

Sonu tickled Monu in the tummy.

“Ha! Ha! Please stop! I am tired of laughing!” said Monu.

“No way!” said Sonu and continued to tickle his brother.

Humans Can Fly Too!

Suddenly, Monu lost his balance and fell off the nest. Fortunately, he fell on a pile of dry leaves, so he was unhurt. Slowly, he got up and looked around him.

“Mom! Help me! Mom!” he cried.

Molu, the mole was woken up from his sleep by Monu’s cries. He came out of his burrow to see who it was.

“You poor thing! Are you hurt? How did you fall?” asked Molu, rushing to help Monu.

“I was playing with my brother when I slipped and fell down. I am not hurt as I landed on this heap of dry leaves,” mumbled Monu between sobs. “But I am scared. I want my mom!”

Mini flew down next to Monu and hugged him. “Don’t be scared, Monu! I am here now,” she said. “And this is Molu, our neighbour and friend.”

“Mom, it’s Sonu fault that I fell down,” complained Monu.

“You know Sonu didn’t mean any harm,” said Mini consoling him.

“But now, how do we get you back to the nest?” wondered Mini.

“Why don’t you hold him with your feet and fly to your nest?” suggested Molu.

“I’ll try,” said Mini. She held Monu with her feet and tried to fly, but she couldn’t.

“I think he is too heavy for you to carry,” observed Molu.

Tina, the bird was flying by and saw Mini and Molu talking. When she decided to drop by to say ‘hello’, Mini explained the situation to Tina.

“Why don’t we try lifting him together?” suggested Tina.

Tina and Mini held Monu with one leg each and tried to fly, but their wings kept hitting each other.

“It’s no use. It’s not working,” said Mini.

Just then Molu had an idea. He brought a wooden stick. “Both of you hold on to one end of the stick each,” said Molu. ,


Mini and Tina did as told.

“Monu, now hold on tight to the stick with your beak,” said Molu.

Once Monu grabbed the stick, Molu instructed the two birds to fly. With enough space between them, Mini and Tina could fly without their wings hitting each other and they could carry Monu along too.

Once Monu reached the nest, Sonu rushed to hug him.

“I am glad you are back unhurt,” said Sonu.

“I am glad to be back too!” said Monu. “Thank you, O Mom. And thank you, Aunt Tina and Uncle Molu for helping me,” he said.


“Don’t mention it,” said Molu and went back to his burrow to continue to sleep.

Humans Can Fly Too!

“Look, mom! There’s a huge bird flying across the sky!” said Sunny.

“Yes, mom! It’s very big and it is making a loud noise,” added Marty.

“It is so shiny, unlike any bird I have seen!” exclaimed Coco.

Mini laughed and explained, “That is not a bird. It’s an aeroplane. Humans use it to reach far off places in very little time.”

“Wow! Humans can fly?” asked Marty surprised.

“But I have never seen any human flying,” said Coco.

“They cannot fly but they can build things that can. So all they have to do is sit inside an aeroplane that will take them from one place to another,” said Mini.

“Mom, how did they build an aeroplane?” asked Sunny.

“Humans came up with the idea of flying when they saw us flying. They thought it would be a faster way to cover long distances, said Mini.

“When did they build the first aeroplane?” asked Coco.

“The aeroplane was not built at one go. The one that you saw today is the result of many scientists working over several decades on different designs. In fact, people have been attempting to fly or build flying devices since ancient times,” explained Mini.

“So, there were other designs?” said Marty.

“Yes, Marty. Do you remember when we flew past the park last week I showed you a lot of people flying kites?” asked Mini.

“Yes, Mom,” said Coco. “Sunny and Marty thought they were sky-fishes,” she said laughing.

“Kites are one of the earliest man-made flying objects. People in China designed them hundreds of years ago. Some kites were so big that they could carry a man along with them,” said Mini.

The little ones listened in awe. “Later, the humans discovered that they could fill balloons with hydrogen gas to make them fly.”

“But Mom, balloons are too small,” said Sunny.

“But the balloons I am referring to are so big that they can carry humans with it,” said Mini. “In 1783, the Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur— used hydrogen-filled balloons to attempt flying.


Once, a goat was made to fly such a balloon!” said Mini.

The three giggled at the idea.

“Yes, it’s true,” said Mini. “Haven’t you heard Lonu uncle saying that it was his great grandfather who was sent up in that balloon?”

But mom, how did the humans change the design from a balloon to like the one we saw?” asked Marty.

“We helped the humans on this. They understood that our tails and wings help us to fly and maintain balance in the air. So they designed a machine with similar features and soon, they were successful,” replied Mini.

“Mom, our wings don’t just help us to fly, we can even move in any direction we want. Can the aeroplanes do that too?” asked Sunny.


“Yes, the Wright brothers dreamt of building a powered machine that could fly and also be controlled by the pilot to change directions. After observing the way we fly, they built the first successful aeroplane. After decades, this model evolved into the one we saw today,” explained Mini. “They must have been

“They must have been delighted with their success,” said Coco.

“Yes, dear. Every human is happy at their success. Every invention these humans make is to make their lives easier,” said Mini.

“Mom, how many people can travel in a single aeroplane?” asked Marty.

“There are aeroplanes of different sizes built today—from the smallest ones that can carry just two people, to bigger ones like what you just saw that can carry over a 100 or even 500. And these aircrafts can travel pretty fast,” said Mini.


“Even we birds tear across the skies with our wings,” said Coco flapping her tiny wings.

“Yes, we sure do,” said Mini with a smile.

The Parched Jungle

As the temperature rose with the summer heat, water was becoming scarce at Mangalvan. So scarce that even the King, Babbar, the lion was having trouble finding some. He wandered from one watering hole to another and was disappointed to see that they all had dried up. He stumbled through the forest, weak and tired.

Monty, the monkey saw Babbar wandering through the jungle and decided to have some fun.

“Good morning, Your Highness. I hear you’re looking for water. You know what? I just saw some myself,” said Monty, hanging upside down from a tree.

“You’ve only seen it? I just drank a whole litre of it,” boasted Bobby, the crow who perched next to him.

“What’s all this talk about water? Go find another tree to catch up on your gossip and let me sleep,” said Olly, the owl who was sleeping on another branch.

“The King is dying of thirst here and you’re more worried about your beauty sleep? Shame on you, Olly,” said Monty, still in the mood for some fun.

“Is that what’s happening? Forgive me, Your Majesty. I can’t see in the daytime. It is too bright for my eyes that are best suited for darkness. It’s sad to see that our jungle has become so parched. With all the trees gone, there isn’t as much rain as there once used to be and the little rain we get is sadly not conserved. If somebody had taken up the task to keep our trees safe and built bunds to retain water on our land longer, we wouldn’t have been in such a sad state,” said Olly.

Babbar turned red in embarrassment. As king of the jungle, it was his job to take care of it, but he had neglected his duties, as had his ministers.

“Never mind though, there are more pressing issues at hand,” said Olly. “The King of the jungle is thirsty, and I cannot rest until my King’s thirst is quenched!” Olly turned his head, “Monty, my kurta is hanging over there. If you check the pockets, there should be a piece of paper with Dumpy, the donkey’s phone number. Give him a call and he’ll bring the King some water.”

Dumpy, the donkey lived just outside the jungle and had a beautiful garden of his own. He also had a little pond that was always full of water.

“Yes, please give him a call. Here, use my phone,” said Babbar, handing Monty his mobile phone.

Mili to the Rescue

Monty made the call and Dumpy immediately got to work. He filled up a big can with water and loaded it on the back of his motorcycle and zoomed to their location. With a big smile on his face, he handed over the water to Babbar.

“Do you have a glass or a mug for me to drink from?” asked Babbar.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness. I guess I forgot to bring one. You’ll have to make do with your hands,” said Dumpy.

“Fair enough. Just give me some water, I’m dying of thirst,” said the King. Dumpy picked the can up and gently tilted it. Babbar cupped his hands together and drank the water. In only a short while, the water was all gone and Babbar breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank you for giving me water when I needed it most. Having spent the entire day thirsty, I understand the trouble the rest of the animals must be going through. I promise that I will ensure that nobody goes thirsty in my jungle again.

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For starters, I’ll speak to my friend, Veer Singh, the lion from the neighbouring jungle to release some water. Our lakes will be full and we will no longer be forced to seek water in the villages and get hurt by humans,” said Babbar.

He apologised to the animals there and promised to plant more trees, conserve rainwater, build more bunds and dig more lakes. He also promised to get rid of all the lazy ministers.

“That sounds great, My Lord. Hop on. I’ll drop you off at the palace,” said Dumpy.

Dumpy took the King to his palace and soon, all the arrangements were made. Water was available for all the animals of Mangalvan and plans for a future full of water were made.

The Clever Chimpanzees

Gabu, the chimpanzee lived in Africa with his parents. He was still a baby and his family members would teach him good things so that he could grow up to be an honest chimpanzee and a valuable member of jungle society.

Chimpanzees are social animals and very intelligent too. Not only do they work together to solve problems, they’ve been known to make and use tools and also regularly pass on skills to other members of their group. After humans, chimpanzees are widely regarded to be the most intelligent creatures on this planet.

One day, Gabu and his group were looking for food. After travelling for some time, they found a tree with dried-up fruits on it. The chimpanzees immediately climbed up the tree and picked all the fruits and gathered them.

Stripping away the peel and dried pulp, the chimpanzees picked up stones and smashed them against the seeds.

Gabu watched this in shock and turned to his mother, “Mom, make them stop. They’re hurting the seeds,” he said.

Don’t worry Gabu, the seeds are all dried up. Also, inside them are nuts that are meant to be eaten. They are nutritious and tasty too,” said Gabu’s mother, handing him a nut.

Gabu ate the nut and was very happy.

“I want to smash open a seed too,” he said excitedly.

Gabu’s mom gave him a few seeds. Gabu found a couple of stones and with his best friend, Sabu, looked for a nice place to try cracking open the seeds by themselves.

Dub Dub Turtle

They found an outcrop and settled down, but every time Gabu tried smashing the seed, it would spring out from underneath as soon as it was struck.

“This isn’t as easy as the adults make it! seem,” said Gabu.

“You’re right. How about I hold the seed in place with my hands and you smash it with the stone?” suggested Sabu.

Holding the seed between his fingers, Sabu readied it and Gabu picked up the stone. He brought it down hard on the seed and smashed it open. But, the seed wasn’t the only thing he smashed.

“Ow! My finger!” cried Sabu.

Being just babies, neither Sabu nor Gabu had thought about what would happen to Sabu’s fingers.

“I’m so sorry. I should have been careful,” said Gabu, dropping the stone.

“These seeds are dangerous. I don’t want to eat them again,” said Sabu. Even Gabu didn’t want to eat them anymore.

Once the pain in Sabu’s fingers went away, the two friends cuddled up next to their mothers and fell asleep.

Many days passed since that day and as the two chimpanzees grew bigger, their friendship grew deeper. Gradually, the time they spent with their mothers reduced and the time they spent with each other increased.

One day, their group was settling in a comfortable tree for a nap. While the rest of the chimpanzees were sleeping, Gabu and Sabu decided to stay up and chat. One thing led to another and soon, they went out for a walk. They were so engrossed in their conversation with each other that they didn’t notice that they had wandered far away from their tree. Another thing they didn’t notice was the danger lurking in the bushes.

Hidden from plain sight by the tall grass, a hungry hyena watched Gabu and Sabu walk towards him. “Looks like I won’t have to look for dinner tonight. It seems to have come to me,” he said to himself, licking his lips.

The two chimps realised that they were in danger when the hyena jumped out from behind the grass and blocked their way.


“Don’t you know you’re not supposed to wander off alone in this part of the grassland?” asked the hyena.

“Sir, we haven’t done anything to you. Please let us go,” said Sabu, his voice quivering.

“Oh no, you’re not getting away that easily,” said the hyena and stepped closer.

“Sabu, it looks like the only way we can get out alive is by running,” said Gabu.

“Where do we run? I don’t see any trees nearby and if we continued to run, he’d catch up in no time,” said Sabu.

Looking around, Gabu said, “Look over there. There’s a cave on the top of those rocks. It looks too small for the hyena. If we get inside, we’d be safe.”

Together, Gabu and Sabu made a run for it. The hyena tore after them, but the little chimpanzees were too nimble for him. Weaving in and out of rocky outcrops, the chimpanzees successfully made it inside the cave and hid there.

The hyena reached the cave’s entrance and said, “So, you’re going to hide in there, are you? Well, I’ve got all day. Maybe, I’ll just wait here. After all, you are my new neighbours.”

As the hyena found a comfortable spot outside the cave, Gabu and Sabu were busy working out a plan.


“Seems like the only way we can escape is by smashing some seeds,” said Gabu.

“Where do you intend to find some seeds?” asked Sabu. “Also, don’t you remember why we stopped eating nuts from those seeds? Cracking them open was painful.”

“You don’t have to worry about the pain or finding them. The only one who needs to worry about anything is the hyena,” said Gabu, with a smile.

They whispered the plan to each other and got to work.

“I must say, you must be the worst hyena in your pack. If you go back and they found out that a couple of baby chimpanzees managed to give you the slip, you’d be the laughing stock of the jungle. If you really want to catch us, why don’t you come and get us?” said Sabu.

The hyena was deeply insulted. “Wait till I get my hands on you,” he grumbled and stuck his paw inside the cave. At that moment, Gabu smashed it! with a rock. The hyena yelped and pulled his paw back.


“These little monkeys aren’t worth all this trouble,” he said and scrambled away.

After checking whether the coast is clear, Gabu and Sabu ran as quickly as they could to their group. They realised how important it was to try and explore things for themselves and learn about things from their elders. You may never know when they might come in handy.

Mili to the Rescue

Summer was making life at Ashokvan hard. The sun’s harsh rays beat down on the ground, taking away all the water. The earth was parched, the plants had dried and all the animals were thirsty. Since Ashokvan didn’t have any rivers flowing through it and all the lakes and ponds had dried up, the animals had to travel far, deep into the neighbouring forest to quench their thirst.


The severe water shortage meant that all the animals were growing weak. Bhola, the monkey had worn himself out while looking for food all day, when suddenly he started feeling light-headed. Then, without any warning, he fell unconscious.

A crowd gathered around him, as concerned animals gathered to see if they could help.

“He’d wake up the moment we sprinkle water on his face. But we don’t have any water to spare. What have our lives come to?” asked Kani, the crow.


Just then, Mili, the squirrel came running and asked all the animals to make some room and give Bhola some fresh air. She then ran back home, came back with a bottle of water and splashed some on Bhola’s face. He regained consciousness and she gave him a drink of water.

The animals who saw this happen were astonished. “Where did you get all that water?” they asked her. “You look so fresh, like you’ve taken a bath!” remarked others.

“As a matter of fact, I had just stepped out of a bath when I saw that Bhola had fainted,” said Mili.

“Where did you get the water?” they asked. “Where did you get the water?” they asked.

“I had saved it, of course,” said Mili. “When it rained last week, I knew that this was the right time to save water. So, I rearranged the leaves on a few branches in such a way that I could fill them up with water and save it for later.”

The animals were amazed and praised Mili for her ingenuity. Soon, word of Mili’s store of water spread across the forest. Everybody wanted to save rainwater just like her. Even the water minister, Kalu, the bear was impressed and said, “If a little squirrel can save enough water to last her the summer, imagine what we can do together?”

He asked the animals to suggest different ways to conserve rainwater. One by one, the animals gave him their ideas and the good ones were implemented immediately. Slope corrugated roofing was installed on all terraces. The roofs would slope towards pipes that would channel the water into tanks.


Slopes, planes and storm drains were all directed towards natural water bodies and tanks, thus enabling more water to be stored for use, instead of running off or evaporating.

By the time they were finished, each and every animal had done something or the other to save rainwater. When it rained, all their hard work came to fruition, and there was enough water stored to last the rest of the summer.

Kalu announced that the rainwater harvesting project was a grand success. He said, “We have enough water to last us a long time. By boiling it before drinking, we can use it well into the future.”

The animals of Ashokvan were very happy and thanked Mili for saving them from the summer.

Isha’s First Day

When little Isha learnt that on the first of next month she would start school, she was happy as a butterfly. She jumped around the house, thinking about all the fun she was going to have there.

As the days went by, her parents started buying her all the things she would need for school. With just a day to go, Isha had everything she needed for her first day. She had a pretty little bag filled with colourful books and a new set of uniform and shoes too.

Her little brother, Chotu, looked at all her things in awe. He couldn’t help but open her bag and see what’s inside.

“Be careful,” said Isha. “They’re new.”

“Sorry, I was just looking,” said Chotu.

“Alright, go ahead but don’t turn the pages. They might tear,” said Isha.

“Is this your lunch box?” asked Chotu picking up her casserole.

“Yes, that’s a casserole. It will keep my lunch nice and warm,” said Isha.

“Your shoes are so nice,” said Chotu.

“Uh huh,” said Isha. “I have two pairs. One to go with the regular uniform, one for the sports uniform and on Saturdays, I can wear whatever I want. I’ll wear a new frock every week.”

Hearing all this, Chotu also wanted to go to school. But he’d have to wait another year before that happened.

In the evening, Isha’s friends Pinky and Shweta came over to play. They were all going to board the school bus together the next morning.

“Will you come see me off in the morning, Chotu?” Isha asked him.

Chotu nodded and resumed playing fetch with Shweta’s dog, Bruno.


“Shweta, does Bruno see you off every morning?” asked Isha.

“Yes, he does,” said Shweta. “He runs ahead and waits with me till the bus arrives.”

That night, Isha had packed all her books and readied her uniform for the next day. She could hardly wait. The next morning, Isha’s parents rode with her on the bus and took her to class. They introduced her to her class teacher at Rimjhim School. Isha took an immediate liking to her new school and her teacher. She sat right next to her teacher and made lots of friends. *

Her teacher was very sweet to her and said, “You have such a nice name.”

Isha smiled and said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

“You seem to have made a lot of friends today. Are you having fun?” asked the teacher.

“Yes, ma’am, I am,” said Isha.

Courageous Brother

“Very good,” said the teacher. “Do you have any friends outside school?” asked the teacher.

“Yes, I do. Shweta and Pinky are my best friends. They are older than me, but we play together every evening,” said Isha.

“That’s nice,” said the teacher. “How many people are there at home?”

“There’s me, Chotu and my parents,” said Isha.

“Is Chotu your brother?” asked the teacher.

“Yes, he is. He’s younger than me, but he’s my best friend too,” said Isha.

“That’s great,” said the teacher. “Why don’t you stay here and I’ll be back in a minute,” she said and stepped outside.

As Isha sat in her place near the teacher’s desk, she saw that a strange man was peeping inside through the window. Isha felt nervous. After looking around, the man climbed in through the window and walked towards the teacher’s bag. Isha immediately ran to the teacher’s chair and grabbed the bag.

“Who are you? Go away!” she said to the strange man, but he didn’t listen and tried to snatch the bag away from her.


Isha held on tight and refused to let go. She called out to her parents, who were outside paying Isha’s fees. The thief yanked hard on the bag and knocked Isha down. She burst into tears and cried out loud.

Hearing her cries, her parents came running. Startled, the thief jumped out of the window and escaped.

As her parents came, they asked her what happened. Hearing all the commotion, the teacher too came running and at once understood that Isha had foiled a robbery. She took her bag from Isha and gave her a hug.

“Isha, you’ve not even finished your first day at school and you’ve already shown tremendous courage,” said the teacher. “I had my money, phone and credit cards in that bag. Thank you for not letting that man steal it,” said the teacher.


Isha stopped crying and realised what she had done. She smiled for knew she was going to like school.