New Resolutions!

Beauty and Naughty were excited. The year was coming to an end and the new year was about to begin. They were eagerly waiting for their New Year’s Day picnic when the whole family went out, ate, played and celebrated together.

Naughty was eight and he was smart and playful. Beauty, his elder sister, was ten and she was quiet, beautiful, responsible and studious. They both studied in the same school.

“Well, you both look very happy. What’s special?” their dad asked.

“New Year is almost here!” replied Naughty.

Their dad pretended not to understand. “So, what? What’s there to be happy about that? There’s a new year every twelve months!”

“And every twelve months, on New Year’s Day, we go for a picnic! We go outside and have lots of fun!” said Naughty jumping with joy.

“Why do we have fun?” dad questioned him again.

“Come on, dad! Isn’t the new year supposed to be filled with happiness and fun?” asked Beauty.

“Yes, but why?”

“I don’t know! Maybe to welcome the new year,” said Beauty.

“Yes of course, but why is the beginning of a new year something to be happy about? It happens every twelve months. Instead of ‘2018’, we will now write ‘2019’ in the dates, that’s all! Everything else would remain the same. Right?” asked dad.

Beauty thought for a while and she said, “Before starting anything new, we
eat something sweet, hoping that everything goes well. Similarly, we start the new year by enjoying and having fun, so that the entire year is filled with joy and happiness.”

“Very good,” said their dad. “But do you believe that if the beginning of the year is great, it will remain great till the end?”

The kids now remembered their dad telling them not to believe in fixed notions and superstitions.

Hesitantly, Naughty replied, “Dad, that’s what people believe…”

Beauty had a more certain answer. “No dad, just by starting off right, everything need not go smoothly till the end. We must continuously work towards what we want,” she said.

“You’re right. We must understand and remember that just by having lots of
fun on New Year’s Day, we cannot be sure that the rest of the year will also be full of fun. We must therefore be responsible and work hard through the year to make our life the way we want it,” explained dad.

“Yes, dad,” said the kids, feeling a little low.

Their dad realised that the kids’ initial eagerness to celebrate the new year was now replaced with disappointment.

“I’m not saying that we won’t go for the picnic or won’t celebrate the new year! We’ll certainly do all that. But I want you both to do something else at the beginning of the new year apart from having lots of fun. Something that many people do,” said their dad trying to cheer them up.

“What’s that?” asked Naughty and Beauty together. They looked at him hopefully, wondering what dad would ask them to do. They hoped it would not be something that would stop their celebrations.

“I want you to make a New Year resolution for 2019, a resolution that will make the new year better and brighten your future. A resolution is a promise that you make to yourself, to make small changes in your life to achieve what you want. Tiny changes to begin with,” suggested dad.

They all laughed.

“Well, kids, what do you think?”
asked dad.

“It’s a great idea, dad! I’ll make a resolution to study harder and to not postpone work,” said Beauty.

“Wonderful! And you, Naughty?” asked dad, turning to him.

“I… I… I’ll think and let you know…” Naughty said, and everyone burst out laughing again.

Race Among Equals

It was New Year’s Eve. Grandma rabbit was narrating a story to her grandson, Harry.

“And then,” Grandma rabbit continued the story. “My grandpa ran the race against Tippy, the tortoise. Midway, he noticed that Tippy was very slow and far behind. So, grandpa rested under a tree and dozed off. Not someone who gave up easily, Tippy tortoise, slowly and steadily moved past my grandpa, who was still asleep and reached the winning post.”

“But what happened to your grandpa? Did he challenge Tippy to another race?” asked Harry, the curious, young rabbit.

“Oh, nothing much. He woke up much later, realised his mistake and accepted Tippy as the winner,” remarked grandma. “He left us this story which is passed on from generation to generation.”

“Great-great grandpa lost the race because he was careless and lazy. If he had slept after reaching the winning post, there would have been a nice trophy in the shelf up there today,” declared Harry, pointing at the empty shelf on their burrow.

“That is not the point Harry,” said grandma while munching a carrot. “The point is that even if you’re slow, and if you consistently work towards your goal, without ever thinking of quitting, you’re sure to be a winner!”

“I don’t think so,” said Harry. “And grandma, I am going to prove my point before the New Year,” said Harry, hopping out of the burrow.

“Prove your point,” laughed grandma, following Harry. “But never on an empty stomach,” she said handing a bunch of carrots to Harry. “Never skip your breakfast,” she advised and waved at her grandson.

After finishing his delicious meal, Harry walked towards the pond where Tippy lived. Finding Tippy near the edge of the lake, basking in the sun, he shouted. “Tippy uncle, are you ready for yet another competition a running race?”

Tippy’s head appeared out of his hard shell and he looked at Harry. It seemed like he had grown older and wiser. “I am ready to compete, little Harry, but I have a condition,” he said. “Let it not be a hopping or walking race. Instead, let us ask the judges to conduct a competition for longevity.”

Harry heard this without batting an eyelid. Guessing that his tiny visitor did not understand what he said, Tippy continued. “Let us ask the judges to award a prize who lives longer out of the two of us,” he said.

Harry shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “How can that be?” he snapped. “I know that you tortoises live for more than a hundred years
while we, rabbits, barely live for six years,” he said.

“In that case,” quipped Tippy. “Find someone more suitable to take part in the race.” Then Tippy slowly slid back into his shell to enjoy a quick nap under the warm sun.

A little disappointed, Harry hopped on. It had become too hot in the forest. He saw Shera, the lioness rushing to her den.

“Shera, Shera,” Harry called out and hopped ahead and stood before the lioness. “How about a running race between you and me?” he asked, tapping his paws on the ground.

Shera laughed at Harry’s suggestion. She felt protective about little Harry. So, instead of scaring him, she patted him lightly on his back.

“Harry, I can’t run a race with you. But I have a suggestion. How about a shouting competition? Let us see who is louder.”

Harry stepped back. “How can that be?” he asked lifting his eyebrows. “Every animal in the forest gets frightened when you roar. I cannot take part in that competition,” he said and hopped ahead. He stopped by the river to drink some water. He felt happy when he found Trunkie, the elephant, there.

“Trunkie,” he called as he hopped and jumped on to the elephant’s back. “As
you are my friend,” said Harry, “I invite you to take part in a running race with me. The winner will receive a medal from grandma,” he said, hugging the elephant’s neck.

Trunkie smiled indulgently.“A running race with super runner Harry?” he asked. “Let me suggest something else. Let us have a competition about who can fill more water in his mouth.”

Harry hopped down and placed his paws on his waist. “This is cheating, Trunkie. Everyone knows that you have a big trunk and you can fill more water at one go. I can’t compete in such a race with you,” he said and hopped on.

Harry was getting restless. He had to prove his point to grandma before New Year dawned but still he was unable to find any animal ready to take part in the running race with him. But he decided to continue his pursuit. Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks as he felt a sharp tug. Turning back, Harry saw some rabbits, all his classmates, ready to surprise him!

“Harry, are you ready for a race?” asked Montu, the rabbit.

“Yes,” agreed Harry instantly. “And the winning post would be my burrow,” he added. So, all the rabbits set out on a race and Harry won it by just a fraction
of a second!

At the stroke of midnight, Harry told his grandma. “You may be a right grandma when you said that slow and steady wins the race but I have realised that any race should be only among equals.”

‘Tidy’ New Year!

Skip, the rabbit was very happy as New Year was about to arrive. Every year, he used to do something naughty on New Year’s Day to get his younger brother, Jack, in trouble.

Skip enjoyed watching Jack get scolded. This was how Skip’s new year used to start. And it had been that way for the last two-three years.

This time too Skip was eagerly waiting for the New Year.

Their mother strictly instructed Jack to clean his room before New Year.

Skip made up his mind of going to Jack’s room quietly and messing it. That way Jack was sure to get into trouble with Ma and Skip would watch Jack get scolded.

Sitting in the veranda and lost in his thoughts, Skip suddenly heard Jack talking to someone over the phone.

“No. I will not be cleaning my room this time at all. Every year I clean my room, but bhaiya comes and messes it up. Later, mom shouts at me, thinking that I did not clean my room,” said Jack.

He nodded his head a few times and then continued, “This time I have found a way of teaching my brother a lesson. Like always, he will come to mess my room. Instead of cleaning my room this time, I will tell mom about it. This way bhaiya will get scolded when mom actually comes to see my room and finds it dirty. It will be my turn to enjoy the sight of him getting scolded.”

After secretly listening to Jack’s plan, all the excitement faded from Skip’s face.

He thought, “Oh! What will happen now? If Jack will not clean his room then there will be no fun in messing it up as mother won’t scold him. On top of that, he too has made his plan to get me scolded by mom,” thought Skip. He decided that he had to do something about this plan.

Skip thought long and hard and finally got an idea and felt good again. He started waiting eagerly for the New Year.

On New Year’s Day, Skip got up early in the morning.

When he saw Jack walking out of his room, he quickly got into Jack’s room and started cleaning the room.

Skip picked up things from here and there, organised them properly and finally he cleaned the room completely.

He looked at the neat and tidy room and felt extremely happy.

“Now, I’ll have some real fun. Jack will tell mother that I have spread the things in his room and made it dirty. But when mom sees that the room is clean and well organised, she will get angry about Jack lying to her. And then she will scold him,” thought Skip and smiled.

He went out of Jack’s room and started waiting for Jack and his mother to come.

After a while, he saw both of them coming towards the room. He put on a sad expression and sat in a corner.

When Jack and mother went into Jack’s room, Skip too went behind them.

Mother looked at the cleanroom and she smiled at her sons.

Skip, who was waiting for his mother to scold Jack, was surprised to see her smiling.

“Why is mother smiling? She should have scolded Jack for telling a lie about the room,” thought Skip.

“Skip, this time Jack has taught you a lesson,” said mother, laughingly.

Skip surprisingly asked, “What lesson are you talking about, mom?”

She explained, “Skip, every time you make Jack’s room dirty and this innocent child used to get scolded for it. But this time Jack made a plan to teach you a lesson.”

Jack said, “This time I pretended to speak over the phone, saying that I will not clean the room and I will complain to mom about you. I already knew that if I say something like this, then you will clean my room in order to get me scolded for telling lies.”

“And see, it happened like that only. Jack had already told me about all this,” said Mom.

“Happy New Year bhaiya,” teased Jack said. Skip wished them too and also realised his lesson.