Kitchen Fight

On hearing very loud noises, Chandni rushed into the kitchen. Vegetables and fruits were in a heated argument.

Apples and oranges were fighting with elephant foot yam and colocasia. Lemons were fighting with potatoes. Tomatoes were yelling at beetroots. Grapes were taunting groundnuts.

“What is happening? Why are you all shouting?” asked Chandni.

“We don’t like these shapeless, ugly vegetables that grow under the soil,” said apple, pointing at them.

Orange and lemon in raised voices said, “Chandni, please throw them out of the kitchen!”

“You don’t have to worry about the shape and look of elephant foot, yam, colocasia and others. Like you, they are important and valuable because of their taste and nutrients,” Chandni explained though she was annoyed at the comments made by the apples and oranges.

“Taste and nutrients?!” apple laughed at Chandni.

“Vegetables that grow under the soil are always dirty and tasteless. Taste, vitamins, fragrance and beauty belong to the ones that grow above the soil on plants and trees,” orange boasted.

“Why is there so much of noise in the kitchen?” thought Chandni’s mother, Indu, entering the kitchen.

Chandni explained the fight to her mother who had been away from home buying vegetables and groceries from the market. Indu opened the basket she was carrying, with a smile and took out carrots and white radishes.

“How beautiful these carrots and radishes are!” said Indu, putting them on the table. “They must be from our family,” said apples and oranges.

“Carrots and radishes grow under the soil like elephant foot yam, colocasia, potato, beetroot and groundnut. They are not from your family,” replied Chandni.

“Impossible!” screamed apples, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and grapes.

Elephant yam foot, colocasia, potato, beetroot and groundnut joined carrots and radishes in laughter. Indu asked everyone to keep quiet. Chandni eagerly looked at her mother’s face. “Beauty lies in the eyes of the spectators and in this case, tasters. Beauty has various forms and its definition differs from person to person. We all have some special features. Apples, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and grapes are bright and colourful, but need to be consumed within a short time or else they decay. But, elephant foot yams, colocasias, potatoes, beetroots and groundnuts don’t rot so fast. They may look dull and dirty, but can exist for longer periods.”

“Radishes and carrots grow under soil. Still, they look very bright and colourful like apples, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and grapes. They can be preserved for long. So, who should I appreciate now?” asked Chandni, with a naughty smile on her face as she looked at the fighting fruits.

“We are sorry. We shall never boast about ourselves,” said the apples, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and grapes, apologising to the root vegetables. Chandni clapped on hearing this.

“What happened to you? Why are you clapping in sleep?” asked her mother, seeing Chandni clapping and smiling in sleep.

Chandni suddenly opened her eyes; looked around and said, “Mom… the kitchen fight is over!”

Indu could not control her laugh and said, “Kitchen fight!? What is that? Close your textbook and get up. Dinner is ready!”

Chandni rubbed her eyes and looked at her textbook. The page was all about vegetables and fruits. “Oh… Was it a dream?” Chandni smiled as she rushed to the kitchen!

Titu, A Brave Camel

There was once a huge camel named Titu. One day, he wandered into a thick, green forest.

Now, the animals in the forest had never seen such a tall animal and he thus appeared strange to them. 

Pintu monkey was the first to talk to him. He climbed up a tree so that he could see Titu better. “Who are you, and where are you from?” asked Pintu. 

“My name is Titu and I live in the desert. I was passing through,” said Titu.

“There’s no space in this jungle for more animals. Go away!” said a scared Dhinki deer, hiding behind a tree.

“I do not wish to make this my home. I will stay here for a short period,” said Titu. “So, let’s be friends!”

However, no one befriended Titu. Instead, they made fun of him. Bernie beaver laughed at his height, saying that Titu was as tall as a tent! 

Titu, however, did not respond to the taunts.

Soon, the animals realised that Titu, despite being huge, did no harm. They took advantage of his gentle nature and harassed him.

Cheeku rabbit ran swiftly between Titu’s long legs to trip him over. Poor Titu jumped in fright! He was scared of crushing the little rabbit beneath his legs. Cheeku, on the other hand, proud of his prank, clapped his hands in glee.

Pintu pulled the next prank. He jumped from a treetop onto Titu’ back. 


He then rattled Titu’s hump and ran away quickly.

Golu bear was next. He dangled from Titu’s long neck and laughed heartily when Titu tried to shake him off.

By evening Titu was tired. His first day in the forest was bad. He decided to leave the forest early next morning.

That night, it rained heavily. 

The river which was flowing through the jungle soon began to flood. At day break, most of the animals’ houses were underwater.

As the water level continued to rise, the animals got worried.  

Perry parrot decided to fly out in search of safe ground. He returned with good news, “The ground on the other side of the riverbank is high. The floodwaters haven’t reached that part yet. We should move there.”

Scared, Dhinki deer cried, “But the water in the river is flowing fast. If we cross the river now, we could drown!”

“Alas! We will drown if we stay here,” said Pintu monkey, in despair.

The water level was rising quickly. Soon, it seemed that the rest of the animals’ houses would get submerged too. The animals were helpless. Confused and scared, some began to cry.

“I will help you,” said Titu, standing in water, which hardly reached his knees. 

“You will?” asked a surprised Golu.

The animals struggled to stand in waist-deep water as they clung to each other. 

“Yes,” said Titu, nodding his head.

“But, we played pranks on you!” said Pintu monkey, surprised. He could not believe that the same Titu that they had troubled, wanted to help them.

“True, you behaved in a manner that made you feel good,” said Titu. “I will do what I feel is right.” He smiled, “I have always considered you all friends. And a friend in need is a friend indeed!”

The animals hung their heads in shame.

Titu spoke, “Let’s not waste time, my friends. The water level is rising! Climb onto my back and I will take you to the other side, in turns.”

“Will it be safe?” asked a trembling Cheeku rabbit.

“My legs are long. So, I can cross the river easily. Hold on to my hump, and do not let go. For if you do, you will fall into the river and drown,” warned Titu. 

It was decided. The small animals crossed the river first, followed by the big animals.

In a span of two hours, Titu took all animals to safety. “Titu, you are good! Please forgive our rude actions,” said Golu bear with folded hands. All the animals joined him in pleading for forgiveness.

Titu replied, “You are a nice lot, just a little naughty. If you stop with your pranks, you will be a whole lot nicer.” With that he let out a loud laugh, and all the animals joined him. 

“We will all stay here till the water level comes down. Then we will arrange a feast for Titu!” said Golu. Everyone clapped.

While waiting for the flood to clear, the animals kept themselves busy. Some started collecting food, while others like Pintu monkey, entertained everyone with his funny tricks. Koyal cuckoo sang a song, while Shyamu Peacock danced. There was an air of fun and frolic around.

Two days later, the floods cleared and the animals returned to their homes. 

Titu had made friends with all the animals who took great care of him.

Yet, Titu started missing his home. 

One day, he gathered all his friends and said, “Dear friends, I would now like to return to the desert. It’s been a long time since I left my home. My parents must be worried.”

“Please stay,” pleaded Dhinki deer. However, the animals knew that Titu’s reason to leave was justified. They were silent. Bernie beaver, who had grown close to Titu said, “If you can’t stay, I will accompany you back to your home.”

“So will I,” added Pintu monkey.

“I would love to take you all to my home in the desert, but you will not survive the desert heat,” said Titu. He explained, “This jungle is full of lush, green trees and flowing rivers. The desert is the exact opposite. It is extremely hot, with no signs of trees or water, for miles!”

This surprised the animals. Golu asked, “If there is no water, how do you quench your thirst?”

“We camels have a sac inside our neck. We fill that sac whenever we find water. We then quench our thirst with droplets of water from that sac. Hence, we can stay for nearly a week without water. But that is not possible in your case friends,” said Titu. 

The animals realised that they could not accompany Titu to the desert, nor ask him to stay back. Everyone was sad.

Golu finally said, “Go if you must, but promise that you will visit us all at least once, every year.”

“I will, for sure,” said Titu, happily. He too was a little sad to leave his friends.

The whole jungle had a grand feast for Titu. The animals danced, sang and rejoiced. 

The next morning, Titu started for his home in the desert.

All the animals thereafter awaited his return.

Jojo’s Confusion

One day in Champakvan, a little monkey was found all by himself. No one in the forest knew whose child he was. Jumbo elephant asked the monkey his name and the little monkey sobbed and said his name was Jojo, and he was lost. 

Jojo had come to Champakvan from another forest. Torti tortoise, who was the eldest member of the forest, asked, “Son, what is the name of your forest?”

But Jojo didn’t know the name. He said that his mother’s name was Timmy and his father’s name was Romi. However, the names of his parents were not enough to search for them. 

Everyone in Champakvan welcomed him in and asked the police to find out about Jojo’s parents from the neighbouring forests. And Jojo started living in Champakvan.

Animals of Champakvan were kind and shared food with Jojo. Children of Champakvan played with Jojo, but Jojo wasn’t happy living there and playing with other kids and eating food with them. He missed his parents and forest and wanted to go back as soon as possible.

The other monkeys who lived in the forest had gone on vacations to visit their cousins and relatives living in other forests. Jojo did not even have their company. The other animals tried their best to take care of him.

One day, Jojo decided from that day, he would search and find his own food.  Since it was summer, watermelons were ripe and growing everywhere. Jojo found a spot where there were many watermelons growing on creepers. He had heard that watermelon was a juicy fruit that fulfilled both hunger and thirst. 

From the creeper, Jojo picked up a watermelon and bit on its hard peel. The moment he bit it, Jojo felt a bitter taste inside his mouth.

Damru donkey who was standing near explained, “Son, this is not the correct way to eat a watermelon.”

“Please don’t try to explain to me. But since you have already interrupted my meal, tell me what you wish to tell me,” said Jojo rudely.

Being older, Damru overlooked Jojo’s behaviour and explained, “For us to relish the taste of this fruit, we need to remove its peel and eat the pulp inside it.”

“Oh, so this is how it should be eaten!” said Jojo. “I have understood how to eat a fruit,” He left from there and jumped to another creeper; a creeper of muskmelons. 

“Now I shall enjoy these!” said Jojo with his mouth watering. 

He picked up a muskmelon from the creeper and as he had learned from Damru, he popped the melon, split open its peel and started eating the pulp inside it. But the next moment, he spat the pulp from his mouth. The pulp was a tasteless, stringy substance with lots of seeds. This time too, he couldn’t enjoy the fruit.

With a frown on his face, Jojo muttered to himself. Camu camel was walking by and seeing Jojo spitting the fruit, Camu understood his confusion. He said, “Son, you need to eat the hull of the fruit, not its pulp.” 

Jojo now thought that Damru had not explained the right way to eat a fruit. So, he decided to follow Camu’s advice.

Jumping all over the place, Jojo climbed a walnut tree. Excitedly, he plucked a walnut from the tree and popped open its shell. But the moment he ate the inside of the shell, he felt a bitter taste and his teeth ached.

He ran towards the river to rinse his mouth with water. Standing nearby, Bullo buffalo was drinking water from the river. She asked, “What happened Jojo? Why are you gulping water?”

“Aunt Bullo, I followed the advice of Camu and tried to eat the shell of a walnut. After eating it, I’m feeling uneasy and my teeth are aching.” 

“Oh ho, Jojo! We need to eat the inner portion of a fruit and not its outer part,” she said. Jojo nodded. “Okay, I shall follow this now.”

This time, he hopped onto a pear tree. As adviced by Bullo, Jojo ate the inner portion of the pear fruit. But it was full of seeds and this time too, his mouth felt nothing, but a bitter taste. 

Walking always with his belly aching with hunger and head full of anger, he felt like crying. Roaming hungry under the bright sun all day long had left him exhausted.

Jojo could not understand what had gone wrong and started crying loudly. Hearing him cry, many animals of Champakvan gathered around him.

Jacky giraffe patted him tenderly and asked, “What happened, Jojo? Why are you crying?” Jojo narrated the entire incident in tears. Listening to his story, the animals couldn’t resist laughing.

“Jojo, not all things come with one exact formula. Every fruit has to be eaten in a unique way. However, don’t you worry! You can stay with us for some days and learn about these things For now, eat
these sweet bananas.”

Then, Cheeku peeled two bananas and gave them to Jojo. With his stomach growling from hunger, Jojo quickly ate the bananas. But even now, he couldn’t understand what went wrong and what was one exact formula. But for now, he just wanted to eat bananas! 

New Bicycle

Atul’s old bicycle was too small for him. He had problems riding it, as his legs were too long for the bicycle and would ache. He had been asking for a new bicycle from his father, who was not getting time to buy one.

Atul played badminton on weekends and all his friends came to the court on their cycles. But he had to walk. He, too, wanted to cycle to class like his friends.

At last, his wait ended when his father gifted him a new bicycle on his birthday.

“This Saturday, I too will go for badminton class on my new bicycle,” he said excitedly.

“Not so soon, son. This new bicycle is a bit big for you. Your legs don’t reach the pedal properly. Practice for a few days and then ride it,” father explained.

“But didn’t I ride my old bicycle well? My class is just 2 kilometers away and there is no traffic on that road. I want to go on my new cycle,” Atul insisted.

“You are right, son. But the road to your class is steep. Unless you have full control on the cycle, you may fall. So, practice for a few days near the house and then cycle to class,” father advised.

Atul didn’t say anything but he didn’t like what his father said. ‘I am 10 now but they always think of me as a child,’ he thought to himself.

On Sunday, Atul’s father’s friend came to visit them. Father was talking to him and mother was preparing tea and snacks. Seeing everyone busy, Atul took a chance and took his new bicycle and left for the badminton class.

While placing his racquet and water bottle on the bicycle, he dreamt of being a famous player.

After riding for a short distance, Atul lost his balance, as his legs couldn’t reach the pedals properly and went into a hedge. He and the bicycle, both, fell down. Atul got a minor scratch on his leg. But he still wanted to ride his bicycle to class. He picked up the bicycle. Its handle had got bent, but he didn’t go back and rode to class.

Atul hummed as he rode. The road became steep and he put all his energy and pedaled the bicycle uphill. 

When the road sloped down, instead of applying brakes, Atul got scared. The bicycle raced fast down the road. Another man was coming on his bicycle from the opposite direction. Atul wanted to stop the bicycle but couldn’t because of the slope and collided with the man coming from the opposite direction.

Both the riders fell down with their cycles. Atul’s bicycle fell on top of his leg. His leg hurt. His racquet and water bottle lay on the road. The man with whom Atul collided was bringing milk, bread and eggs from the market. The eggs broke and the milk spread on the road. 

Standing up, the man said, “If I go home without these things, I will get a scolding. I don’t have money to buy them again,” he cried.

Now a crowd gathered around them. Someone asked Atul’s parents’ phone number and called them who came there quickly.

Seeing the whole situation, Atul’s father understood what had happened. Atul was scared to face his parents’.

Atul’s father gave money to the man to buy the things again.

Atul’s racquet and the new bicycle both were bent. His leg had swollen by the time they reached home and his parents had to take him to the doctor.

The doctor said that Atul had sprained his muscles and gave him medicines and asked him to put hot and cold water bags on his legs.

Atul could neither play badminton nor go out to play for 3 weeks. He apologized to his parents and promised to understand when to try new things.

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.

Modern India

We live in a modern, progressive and independent India. But who was the first Indian who laid the foundation to this modern nation where people are allowed to talk freely? Undoubtedly, it was Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Ram Mohan was born on May 22, 1772, in the Hooghly district of Bengal. His father, Ramakant Roy, was a wealthy landlord and his mother, Tarini Devi, was a religious woman.

When Ram Mohan was born, the condition of the country was miserable. People in India practised several evil acts like the purdah system where women had to cover themselves from head to toe or be hidden behind high walls and curtains outdoors and even inside their homes; Sati—a practice where widows had to jump in the funeral pyre of their dead husbands; child marriage, an act where children below the age of 18 were married; and female infanticide where newborn female babies were killed. These social evils were practised throughout the country.

Many people in the country were not educated and believed in superstitions, which made the society unsafe, especially for women who had to do what they were told. There was no hope of improvement.

But just when all hope was lost, Ram Mohan came forward and took the responsibility to reform the society. But his path was not easy. He faced constant resistance everywhere, be it at home or outside.

He, too, was a victim of child marriage. He was first married when he was 9 years old. His first wife passed away at a very young age and soon his second marriage was held at the age of 10. He had two sons—Radhaprasad and Ramaprasad. His third marriage was with Uma Devi in the late 1820s.

At the age of just 14, he wanted to become a monk. But his mother opposed his decision and he let go of his ambition.

Soon, he travelled to Patna to study Arabic and Persian languages.

In Kashi (now known as Varanasi), he learned Sanskrit from the pundits and also studied the Vedas and the Upanishads— ancient Sanskrit literature that taught him to believe in the truth and accept nothing but the truth. The Vedas taught him that idol worship is unnecessary as God doesn’t have a body and is pure and cannot be created by man.

These lessons had a great impact on Ram Mohan and he began to question idol worship and several religious rituals.

This led to a life-changing incident in his life. His father was a devoted idol worshipper while Ram Mohan wasn’t. One day, a debate broke out between him and his father about idol worship.

Ram Mohan said, “Father, why do you worship idols? You should only believe in god. The idols are created by man and worshipping them is meaningless!”

His father was deeply offended and said, “Where did you learn such nonsense? Idol worship is a means to reach God.”

“Father, why not worship him directly? What’s the need for a medium for that?” asked Ram Mohan.

The argument enraged his father and Ram Mohan left his house.

In 1803, when his father passed away, he began opposing idol worship and rituals openly.

He supported monotheism as described in the Vedas. Monotheism means all gods are one and only have different names.

He deeply believed in it and wrote a book in Persian called Tuhfat-ul-Muwahidin or The Gift of Monotheism.

In 1805, he met John Digby, a British officer who taught him English. This helped him understand the lifestyle and practices of people in English-speaking countries.

From 1809 to 1814, Ram Mohan lived in Rangpur city (now in Bangladesh). While earning for his family, he met people of all religions. He understood that to fight social evils, he would not get any support from society. So, he kept increasing his knowledge and experiences.

In 1814, Ram Mohan moved to Kolkata. In 1815, he founded the Atmiya Sabha—an organisation that invited people to share their ideas.

In 1817, he founded the Hindu College in Kolkata to promote modern education and English language. He wanted the number of literate people to increase as only then would they question the society and its evil practices. He believed that educated people will think rationally.

Ram Mohan’s work against the practices of the society was not welcomed by many and he had to face several challenges but he never lost courage and kept fighting and spreading awareness.

To reach the masses with his teachings, in 1821, he launched a Bengali newspaper Samvad Kaumudi and a Persian newspaper Mirat-ul-Akhbar in 1822.

In these newspapers, he wrote about the evils prevailing in the society like Sati, child marriage, purdah system and many others. His writings encouraged people to think about reforming the society.

People were forced to think:

“Why do we get children married when they are supposed to play at that age?”

“Why do we burn women alive on the funeral pyre?”

“What is the need for keeping women behind the purdah and separating them in society?”

“Why can’t we let widows have a new life of dignity by getting them remarried?”

The exact answers to such questions could be found in the writings of Ram Mohan. This marked the beginning of a reformed society.

In 1828, he founded the Brahmo Samaj and continued to fight for various social reforms through this organisation.

He achieved success in some parts of the country.

But Ram Mohan’s biggest success was the abolition of Sati. The practice of burning the wife alive on the husband’s funeral pyre was carried out for hundreds of years. It was a terrible practice where the woman was forcibly burned.

Ram Mohan took the battle of Sati from India to England. Due to his efforts, the British government banned Sati on December 4, 1829.

In 1831, the Mughal Emperor Akbar II gave the title of ‘Raja’ to Ram Mohan Roy.

He died on September 27, 1833, in Bristol, England. In his honour, the British government named a pedestrian path in Bristol as ‘Raja Ram Mohan Walk’.

Rabindranath Tagore, a famous poet, described him as the Father and Maker of Modern India.

Moon and Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They live far away from one another.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But why?” asked Rahul.

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

“Yes, correct,” replied Rahul.

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

“There will be no day.”

“Is that all?”

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

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

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

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

“Yes, that’s right!”

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

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

“The Moon revolves around the Earth, right?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” Rahul could not believe her words.

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

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

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

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

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

Hearing this, they both laughed.

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

Kittu’s Rotten Idea

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

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

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

“For whom?”

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

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

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

“You never give things without a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both set out to Mrs. Natrajan house.

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

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

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

Both were scared now.

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

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

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

Surely that would make Mrs. Natrajan kind towards him.

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

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

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

She turned towards them and looked at them.

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

Both of them got more nervous.

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

“For you,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

She took the apple from Kittu and looked it over.

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

The next moment, she spat it out.

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

She threw the apple down and ran towards them.

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

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

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

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

Owlie Finds a Home

“Who is making noises here? Let me sleep,” said an irritated Owlie.

Upon hearing Owlie’s voice, all the birds started looking here and there. Just then, Merlin, the mynah noticed Owlie.

“Look at this owl. He didn’t even take our permission before sleeping here,” said Merlin.

“We cannot let him stay here,” said Gini, the sparrow.

“Let’s throw him out of here,” said the other birds collectively.

“No, let’s not ask him to leave now. Owls can’t see in the morning. We should tell him to leave in the night,” Coco, the parrot explained to the other birds.

“All right then. But if he doesn’t leave by night, it will not be good,” all the birds said and got back to doing their daily chores.

Owlie thanked Coco and slept off. Owlie slept the whole day, but he was feeling sick. He was afraid that once all the birds come back to their nest, they would ask him to leave. So, he quietly hid behind the leaves.

Fearless Mongoo Gets a New Home

Soon the birds were returned home. Nobody noticed Owlie. They thought he was gone. Everybody got inside their own nests.

It was night and all the birds were about to sleep. Just then, Gini’s little baby was bitten by ants. The little sparrow was so scared that she went out of her nest. Gini got worried and started calling out for help. All the birds came to help. As it was dark, nobody could find Gini’s baby.


“Gini, we will not be able to do anything right now because it’s dark. Let’s try in the morning,” the dejected group of birds said.

“But the wild animals might harm my baby in the night. I can’t leave her alone,” Gini said.

“You’re right, Gini, but we’re all helpless,” Merlin said.

Upon hearing that, Gini was very disappointed. All the birds quietly went inside their nests.

More From Champak: The Mystery of the WATERMELONS

Owlie who was hiding behind the leaves, all this while, felt relieved.

Just then, he heard the leaves move. He noticed that a small sparrow was sitting on a branch and shivering in cold.

“Oh, I think, she is Gini, the sparrow’s baby, who everyone was looking for,” Owlie thought.

“What are you doing here? Go back to your nest?” Owlie told the little sparrow.

But she did not move and kept trembling.


“Look, I know that you’re scared of the dark. I’ll help you, come with me,” Owlie said. But the little sparrow refused to move and kept sitting on the branch. Owlie thought it wouldn’t be safe to leave the little one alone, so he decided to stay with her. He stayed with her all night long and took care of her.

Next morning, the little sparrow got back to her nest. She narrated everything to her mother and Gini was relieved.

“Is Owlie still here? We need to talk to him,” Gini said.

“You’re still here? Did you think if you hide behind the leaves, we will not be able to find you?” Merlin asked Owlie.

Coco Learns A Lesson

“I am sorry! I was not well last night. I promise to leave today,” a scared Owlie said.

“Where will you go from here?” Coco asked.

“Wherever I get a place to stay,” Owlie said.

“But we will not let you leave this place,” Coco said.

“What do you mean?” Owlie asked.


“Yes, you will stay with us from now on. We don’t want to lose somebody who helped us. We all know what happened last night,” Coco said.

Owlie’s face lit up in happiness, and everyone was happy to have Owlie with them. They all lived on the tree happily.

Coco Learns A Lesson

“Oh my, look at all the idlis and dosas over there. Are you ready to have the feast of your life?” Coco, the crow asked his wife, Kiki, as he looked down at the idli stall from a tree.

Just as he was about to swoop down on the stall, his wife stopped him and said, “We’ve been here a few and I noticed that this city is full of mice and other little animals for us to eat. Do we really e really need to spend our days stealing food from the humans when we could feast on all the food we hunt? Besides, what if the humans caught us stealing?”

“Listen, your words have no effect on me. Whether it’s a mouse or free food, I still put in the effort of going and getting it. If you’d rather starve, then be my guest. Just don’t make me feel bad when I work hard to fill my stomach,” said Coco and swooped down.

Sonu’s Ball

A man had just purchased a plate of hot idlis and was having them with sambar. Coco flew past him and in a flash, grabbed an idly with his beak and flew away. The man and all the other people standing nearby were dumbfounded and simply stared at Coco as he perched on a tree and ate the idli.

Kiki shook her head as she watched Coco eat the idli. “It’s not nice to eat food that’s stolen from another,” she said.

“You worry too much,” said Coco after finishing his meal. “Let’s go to the market.

I hear there’s a store called Kallu’s Sweets and that their rasagullas are the best.”

“You’ll never change,” said Kiki, shaking her head. She reached into her back and fished out a golden crown. Placing it on top of her head, Kiki began admiring herself in a pocket mirror.

“Where did you get that from?” asked Coco curiously.

“I was down by the lake, looking for some food and I found this under a tree,” Kiki said.

“Well, I must say, you look fabulous in it. It really brings out your eyes,” said Coco.

Together, the two crows flew back home for the night. Early the next day, Coco was ready to raid Kallu’s sweet shop. Despite Kiki clearly telling him that she wasn’t interested, Coco insisted that she accompany him.

They perched on a lamppost just outside the shop and Coco keenly observed what was going on at Kallu’s shop.

“It looks like Kallu has placed all the rasagullas in that drum full of sugar syrup. I’ll wait here until the moment is right. When Kallu is busy with something else, I’ll swoop down and grab the biggest rasagulla. In a few minutes later, we’ll be enjoying the most delicious meal of our lives,” said Coco.

Even though Kiki tried to dissuade him, Coco was determined to make his plan work. In just a few minutes, the perfect moment had arrived and Coco swooped down towards the rasagullas.

Coco perched on the edge of the drum full of rasagullas and was about to pick out the biggest piece he could see. Sadly, Kallu noticed Coco trying to steal a rasagulla.

Kallu reached for a ladle nearby and in one swift move, threw it at Coco. Coco was a little too slow to realise what was happening and the ladle hit him squarely in the face.

Both the ladle and Coco landed noisily on the sweet shop’s floor. Kallu stepped out from behind the counter and approached Coco.

When Kiki saw Coco fall to the floor, she was shocked. She saw everything that had happened and knew that if she didn’t act fast, her husband would be in some serious trouble. She swooped down from the lamppost and into Kallu’s shop. Fishing out the crown from her bag, she threw it at Kallu. The golden crown caught his eye and he immediately jumped at it.

More from Champak: Fearless Mongoo Gets a New Home

Kiki swiftly landed near Coco and helped him up and the two of them flew away to the safety of the shop’s terrace.

“Thank you for saving my life, Kiki,” said Coco. “If only I had paid heed when you warned me of stealing. If I had agreed to hunt for our food like you had suggested, not only would I have not been hit by a ladle, but you would also still have your crown. Please forgive me.”

“Don’t worry, Coco,” said Kiki. “I’m glad that you’re not hurt and that this turned out to be a learning experience for you.”

Having learnt his lesson, Coco gave Kiki a hug, and the two flew off to hunt for food.

The Mystery of the WATERMELONS

In the forest of Champakvan, Jumpy, the monkey sold watermelons every summer. His watermelons were bright red, juicy and sweet, but for some reason, things looked bleak this summer.

Not only did he not have as big a yield as last year, his watermelons didn’t taste as nice as they did last year.

Jumpy’s friend, Cheeku, the rabbit munched on a watermelon and said, “Your watermelons this year aren’t quite as nice as the ones you had last year.”

“You’re right,” said Jumpy. “It’s giving me sleepless nights. If my watermelons are going to taste like this, nobody is going to come to my shop. I’ll barely be able to make any money.”

Right next to Jumpy’s store, Baddy, the fox had opened his store. He had opened it only a few days after Jumpy had opened his for the season and had placed red, juicy watermelons on display.

The mere sight of these watermelons made all the animals’ mouths water and they all lined up in front of Baddy’s store for some.

The Proud Watermelon

“Your watermelons are so tasty, Baddy,” said Meenu, the cow.

“Thank you, Meenu. I had them imported from another forest. That’s why they taste so good,” said Baddy.

Even Kamli, the camel couldn’t help but praise Baddy’s watermelons. “Juicy watermelons like these are just what the doctor ordered for this heat. I have never tasted such nice watermelons in my life.”

Soon, all the praise led to lots of customers for Baddy. His watermelons were the perfect treat for the hot, sunny days and his business was doing very well. Sadly, this was eating into Jumpy’s business and only Jumpy’s friends came to his shop.

The next day, Cheeku came to Jumpy’s shop. “Why don’t you try importing your watermelons like Baddy?” he asked Jumpy.

“That sounds like a very good idea. If I keep trying to sell these watermelons, I’ll never be able to make any money at all. I’ll go ask Baddy where he gets his watermelons from tomorrow,” said Jumpy.

The next morning, Jumpy asked Baddy where he bought his watermelons. “No way am I going to tell you,” said Baddy immediately. “If I did, you’ll take away all my customers.”

Jumpy was disappointed that Baddy didn’t want to help, but he was determined to find out where the watermelons came from. So, Jumpy started keeping a close eye on Baddy.

A few days later, Jumpy came running to Cheeku’s house. When Jumpy told Cheeku what he had seen, Cheeku was left speechless.

The next day, Cheeku and Jumpy went to Baddy’s shop. They ordered two watermelons and started eating them. As they enjoyed the watermelons, Jumbo, the elephant came to meet them.

“It’s so hot, Jumbo. Would you mind spraying us with some water from your trunk?” asked Cheeku.

Jumbo put his trunk in a bucket of water and sprayed all the water on Baddy’s shop. As soon as the water splashed on the watermelons, they began to lose their colour. Red colour began to flow down to the ground and all the watermelons looked pretty bad.

“What is the meaning of this? Are you trying to sabotage me?” asked Baddy.

“This is us exposing you to the forest as a cheater!” said Cheeku.

Turning to Meenu, Cheeku said, “If you don’t mind, Ma’am, could you please sample some of Baddy’s watermelons?”

Meenu took one bite and spat it out. “These watermelons taste terrible,” she said.

“Exactly,” said Cheeku. “He’s been injecting the watermelons with red colour and sugar syrup. He’s been cheating you all.”

“That’s a lie! I’m being framed,” cried Baddy.

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“Then how do you explain what I saw? I followed you home last night. After closing your shop, you went straight to Blacky, the bear’s shop and bought some sugar and red colouring. Then late at night, when no one else was around, you came back to your shop and one by one injected all the watermelons with sugar syrup and red colouring. I’ve been observing you for a few days. To teach you a lesson and let the other animals know that you’ve been cheating them, I came up with this plan with Cheeku and Jumbo,” said Jumpy.

Now that everybody was aware of his plan, Baddy decided to make a run for it. But, he wasn’t fast enough and the crowd was too thick for him to make his way out. Jumbo picked him up with his trunk brought him back to the shop.

Baddy was trembling in fear. “Please forgive me. I only did it because my crop of watermelons had come out badly this year. I just wanted to make them taste juicy. I promise to never do this again,” said Baddy.

It seemed like Baddy had learnt his lesson. Jumpy asked Jumbo to let Baddy go. Baddy apologised to all the animals and ran away from the forest.

Clever Cheeku

Champakvan was going through a massive heatwave. The sun beat down upon the earth, making it terribly hot. It felt as if the animals were living in a furnace. As a result, all the animals spent most of the day indoors and only ventured out in the evenings. The evenings were no cool dip in the pond either. The ground was still as hot as before, but the shade under the trees made life a little better.

Over the years, the summers were getting worse. This year was the hottest, and every evening, all the animals would plan for the next day.

Meeku, the mouse stepped out to stock up supplies for the next day. As he was walking around, looking for some food, he saw that his friend Cheeku, the rabbit was digging a hole.

Meeku found this to be very strange. While the rest of the forest was looking for supplies to last them the next day, Cheeku seemed to be wasting his time digging. After some debate, Meeku decided to go over to Cheeku and find out what he was doing.

Saving Rainwater

“What are you doing, Cheeku?” asked Meeku.

“Digging a hole of course,” said Cheeku.

“I can see that, but what are you digging?”

“A lake,” said Cheeku, continuing to dig.

“You’re joking right?” asked Meeku. “The entire forest is reeling under the heat of the summer and instead of gathering supplies for tomorrow, you’re digging a hole? Why are you doing such a silly thing?” Meeku burst into laughter.

“It is not silly. I’m very serious about digging a lake,” said Cheeku. Meeku stopped laughing

“What’s the matter, Cheeku? What’s wrong with our lake?” asked Meeku.

“Our lake is fine for now, but do you realise that every year, just after the summer, we face a severe water shortage? I’m digging this lake so that there will be enough water for all of us,” said Cheeku.

“I don’t understand one thing though,” said Meeku. “How do you intend to fill this lake up?” “With rainwater of course. Every year when it rains, we let so much water go to waste. In fact, my plan is to dig a pit near my house and send all the water from the drains of my terrace to this pit,” said Cheeku.

“What for?” asked Meeku.

“This will raise the water table and recharge the groundwater instead of letting all the rainwater flow away back to the ocean. Imagine if we saved all that water, we’d never have to worry about going thirsty ever again,” said Cheeku.

“Hmm, you make a good point. But do you really think you’ll be able to finish digging before the rains start?” asked Meeku.

More from Champak: Where Are The Rains?

“No, I don’t think so, but if you work hard now, you can reap the rewards later,” said Cheeku.

Meeku was deeply moved by Cheeku’s actions. After gathering all his supplies for the next day, Meeku came to Cheeku and said, “I would like to help you with your cause. You seem to be doing something great and I want to be a part of it.”

Cheeku was very happy to see that Meeku was also interested and together they began to dig.

Blacky, the bear and Jumpy, the monkey, who were passing by, stopped when they saw Cheeku and Meeku hard at work. “What are you guys doing?” they asked.

When Meeku and Cheeku explained, Blacky and Jumpy wanted to help too. Each grabbed a pickaxe and helped loosen the soil for Meeku and Cheeku to dig. Jumbo, the elephant joined in as well and started digging. Soon, the word spread across the forest and animals joined in from far and wide. Even the King of the jungle, Shersingh, the lion was there.

Seeing all the animals working together, Shersingh said, “Looks like next year we’ll have enough water to last us more than a year. All the rainwater will no longer go to waste.”

However, Jumpy had something to say, “Cheeku has started a good thing, but this is only to save water. What will we do about the heat that rises every day? We won’t be able to escape this heat just by digging.” All animals started thinking the same.

Teetu, the butterfly chimed in, “We can plant more and more trees, and this will bring down the heat. We should get started now.”

Cheeku then said excitedly, “Yes! This is a good idea. Before today, all we did was talk about bringing change, but from now on we will dig for water and also plant trees sincerely. This will help reduce the heat.”

After listening to him, all the animals became excited as they had got the solutions to all their problems. All of them started working enthusiastically towards these solutions.

Dr Jeru Giraffe

Dr Jeru Giraffe practised medicine at Champakvan. He was a surgeon and would perform complicated surgeries. Animals would come from faraway places to be treated by Dr Jeru. But, as talented as he was, Dr Jeru was also absent-minded.

One morning, Jumbo, the elephant came in for an appendix operation. He was taken to the operation theatre for surgery before being shifted to the ward. It was only at lunch that one of the doctors asked Dr Jeru what happened to his ring.

Dr Jeru realized that the ring he always wore on his finger was missing. He searched his office, his bag and even his pockets before realizing that he had left it inside Jumbo while he was operating. Jumbo was rushed back to the OT and the ring was retrieved. Fortunately, Jumbo was still under anaesthesia and didn’t remember a thing.

The Greatest Treasure

If you thought that was the end of that story, Jumbo was back in a couple of days with a stomach ache. Dr Jeru was worried that he might have left something else behind. He took an X-ray and realized that he had left the scissors he used to cut the stitches inside him.

Jumbo was rushed to the OT once again and the scissors were quickly removed. Jumbo was shifted back to the ward. He sat in his bed and wondered how much the hospital bills were going to come up to when his phone started ringing.

Jumbo reached into his pocket and pulled it out to answer, but his phone wasn’t ringing. Yet, he could hear the sound of ringing phone loud and clear. Jumbo decided that he was just tired and turned in for the night.

Unfortunately, Jumbo woke up every five minutes to the sound of a ringing phone. It was only at two in the morning that Jumbo finally fell asleep. But three hours later, he woke up to the sound of an alarm.

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The lack of sleep and the ringing alarm had driven Jumbo crazy and Jumbo ran along the corridors waking everybody up. Dr Jeru calmed him down and Jumbo explained what was happening. Dr Jeru slapped his forehead.

“Jumbo, I think we’ll have to take you in for another operation,” said Dr Jeru. “I think it’s my phone that’s been ringing. I may have left it inside you.”

Jumbo was prepped once again and as he was about to be given anaesthesia, he said, “Doctor, maybe you shouldn’t put stitches this time.”

“Why do you say that?” Dr Jeru asked.

“Every time you stitch me up, you have to open me up again. It’s painful. I was hoping you could install a zipper instead,” said Jumbo.

Dr Jeru laughed and apologised to Jumbo for all the trouble. “This time I’ll be extra careful,” he said. “Also, because I’ve caused you a lot of trouble, I promise not to charge you for your stay here.”

Jumbo was relieved and as he fell asleep because of the anaesthesia, there was a big smile on his face.


Blacky, the bear, loved weekends. Weekends meant a trip to his grandma’s house. He liked to walk through the woods to reach his grandma’s house. Little birds and honey bees used to greet him on the way. He always carried some homemade goodies for his grandma. Blacky’s mother used to bake some cakes or cookies and give them to Blacky to take to Grandma. He used to spend the night at his grandma’s house and then come home the next morning. He liked to listen to grandma’s funny stories and play with the rabbits who lived near her house.

The much-awaited weekend came, and Blacky finished his homework as soon as he got home from school so that he could be completely free for two days.

Baddy Steals The Show

Blacky’s mom called out, “Blacky, I have kept some honey buns for grandma. Take them with you when you go, and give my love to grandma. Come soon tomorrow. We are going out for a birthday party.”

Blacky said, “Ok, mom. I will come soon. Don’t worry.” He took the basket of honeybuns and filled his water bottle, and started to walk towards the woods. It was quite a distance but Blacky loved to walk instead of going by cycle. It was a sunny morning and he stopped to watch the tailor bird weaving its nest. Then, he came across two deer playing hide and seek. The elephants were bathing in the river and Blacky waved to them. They too waved back.

After walking for half-an-hour, he felt tired and sat under a tree to rest. The cuckoo bird who lived in that tree was singing a melodious tune. Blacky drank some water from his bottle and settled for a small nap. Soon, he was asleep.

Baddy, the fox, was watching Blacky from behind a tree. Seeing him asleep, he came near him. Baddy’s mouth watered as he could sniff the sweet smell of honeybuns coming from Blacky. He crept up to Blacky and took the basket of honeybuns. He went behind a bush and opened the basket. The honeybuns were very delicious and he ate them all. Then, he took some grass and hay and filled the basket. He kept it near Blacky and left the place.

After some time, Blacky woke up and rushed to reach his grandma’s house in time. His grandma greeted him with a warm smile and gave him strawberry milkshake. Blacky said to his grandma, “Grandma, open the basket and see what I have brought for you.”

Grandma opened to find only grass and hay. She was disappointed. So was Blacky. He said, “Oh, my! I had brought honeybuns for you, Grandma. I do not know what happened. I am very sorry.”

His grandma said, “Don’t worry my child. Come and play with your friends. They are waiting for you.” Blacky went to play with Cheeku, Meeku, and all his other friends and had a good time at his grandma’s house, but at the back of his mind, he was always worried about what had happened to the honeybuns. Blacky left for his home the next day.

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Next week, Blacky carried some grapes in a tiffin box but the grapes were replaced by pebbles by the time he reached his grandma’s house. Another time, Blacky took some cookies but found only rotten eggs on reaching grandma’s place. Blacky realized then that someone must be replacing his basket of goodies when he takes his nap on the way to his grandma’s house. So, Blacky decided that he would plan a trick to catch the thief in action.

The next time he was going to his grandma’s house, he took some mango juice in a bottle and added a lot of chilly powder to it. Before his usual nap, he said loudly, “I hope grandma likes the delicious mango juice that I have gotten for her this time.” Then, he fell asleep.

Baddy, who was waiting for Blacky to come and fall asleep so he could steal his goodies, heard this. He hurriedly stole the basket and drank the juice inside in one gulp but soon his mouth and throat started burning. He started howling badly. Hearing the noise, Blacky opened his eyes and caught hold of the fox. He dragged Baddy all the way to his grandma’s house, and told her, “See, grandma, this is the thief who has been stealing all the goodies meant for you!”

Blacky’s grandma congratulated Blacky on figuring out a smart way to catch the thief, and called the Police to come and take Baddy to his parent’s house so that he could get a scolding. Blacky never had any problems bringing goodies to his grandma ever again.

Billy’s Bad Mood

Billy, the ball had been missing all morning and Bittu, the bat was growing worried. The players would be here soon and they’ll need Billy for their practice session.

Bittu looked everywhere; in the kit bags, in the lockers and even the washrooms. But, Billy was nowhere to be seen.

Bittu walked around the dressing room looking for him. He saw the stumps sleeping the corner and asked them if they had seen Billy.

Opening one sleepy eye each, they said, “He should be around here somewhere,” and went back to sleep. The long hours playing day-night matches had left the stumps exhausted and Bittu decided to let them rest.

Gol Guttam Lakkad bottom

He saw one of the players’ pads on a table and asked them if they had seen Billy. “We saw him heading to the stadium,” they said.

Bittu looking in the field and couldn’t find Billy anywhere. As he walked around the boundary, his face lit up. In a ditch almost completely hidden from view, was Billy. He looked like he was hiding from something.

Bittu walked up to him and said, “Hey Billy, what are you doing down there? The players will be here soon and will need us for practice.”

“I’m not coming for practice today,” said Billy. There was sadness in his voice.

“Why? What’s the matter Billy?” asked Bittu.

“As a ball, I feel nobody gives me the respect I deserve,” said Billy.

“What made you feel this way?” asked Bitty, a little concerned.

“When I was hit into the stands last night, I heard some people talking.

They said they’d hate to be a cricket ball because it’s the worst job. They said that all a cricket ball does is get beaten up. The fielders keep tossing me around from one place to another and nobody really appreciates my contributions,” said Billy. “This is why I have decided to stop playing cricket.”

“Oh, so that’s what’s happening,” said Bittu, with a smile.

“Here I am telling you my troubles and you’re smiling?” asked Billy.

“I’m sorry Billy, I was just smiling at your innocence,” said Bittu. To tell you the truth, cricket wouldn’t exist without you. You may be small in size, but all eyes are always on you. All the players are always running behind you and only you can make the crowd go wild.”

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“What do you mean?” asked Billy.

“When the bowler sneaks you past the bat and you hit the stumps, the crowd cheers. The same thing happens when you get hit over the boundary,” said Bittu.

“About that, I just remembered that I’m mad at you too. You keep hitting me all the time,” complained Billy.

“I’m so sorry Billy,” said Bittu. “I never mean to hit you on purpose. Besides, even though we may be on opposite teams on the field, off the field we’re best of friends.”

Billy felt a little better now and realized that being a cricket ball wasn’t as bad as he thought. He jumped out of the ditch and went back to the dressing room with Bittu.

Devil in Disguise

In the forest of Champakvan lived Cheeku and Meeku. They were the best of friends. While Cheeku was bright and knew no fear, Meeku, over the days had grown lazy and wasn’t as brave as Cheeku. Nevertheless, they played together every day. Their arch rival was a fox. He’d always try to catch Cheeku and Meeku, but Cheeku would always foil his plans. But the fox refused to accept defeat.

One day, the fox dressed up like a saint and walked up to Cheeku and Meeku.

“Where are you going, children?” he asked them.

The Bushy Trap

Cheeku immediately understood that this was just another ploy to catch them. But, he decided to play along. With his hands joined and his head bowed in respect, Cheeku replied, “We’re off to play sir. But why are you dressed this way?”

With the deep sigh, the fox replied, “I have done a lot of bad things in my life. I want to make amends. This is why I have decided to live life as an ascetic and help the little animals of the forest.”

While Cheeku saw through the foxes plan, Meeku was fooled.

“You seem like a weak little mouse,” said the fox, turning to Meeku. “I have the recipe for an amazing tonic that will make you big and strong.”

“Is this tonic the secret behind your strength? ” asked Meeku.

“That’s right my child,” said the fox. “I’d love to share some with you, but I’ve left it at home. Would you like to come to my home with me? I have an extra bottle just for you.”

More from Champak: Cheeku and Meeku are Sitting Under A Tree

Meeku was ready to go, but Cheeku spoke before him and said, “We’d love to. But we can’t come with you until you prove to us that you drink this tonic too.”

The fox was in a fix. Unless he did as Cheeku says, they would never come with him to his house. As he wondered what his options were, Cheeku said, “Do you see that tree over there? If you can touch it and come back before I count to ten, we’ll come with you.”

The fox was relieved. He was glad it was something so simple. “A little exercise before a meal is good for you,” he said to himself and took off. The long, flowing clothes weren’t the best for running, but he still managed to run.

As the fox ran towards the tree, Cheeku turned to Meeku and said, “Run! By the time the fox reaches the tree, we’ll be long gone.”

“But why, Cheeku? That Baba will help me get strong and fast like him,” said Meeku.

“Of course not, Meeku. If there was such a tonic, you think he would be giving it to strangers for free? He is surely a con man – or worse, a predator out to eat us!” explained Cheeku.

Meeku thought about what Cheeku said, and agreed that the two of them should run before the fox got back. Cheeku was relieved that by running home at least his friend Meeku was getting some exercise.

The fox wondered what he should cook when he got home. The thought of the yummy food made his mouth water. The fox touched the tree and turned around only to find that Cheeku and Meeku were missing.

He saw that they had run far away and that there was no way he could catch them now.

The Egg Burglar

Sammy, the bear had a poultry farm. Every morning, he would go to the chicken coops to collect eggs. But one day, when he opened a coop, he was shocked to see many eggs missing and some were broken. The hens looked frightened and were either running around or cowering in a corner.

Sammy immediately filed a complaint at the police station. Inspector Rocky, the dog came to Sammy’s farm to look for clues. He asked Sammy a few questions, but he could not come to any conclusion. Sammy too couldn’t think of anyone who would want to attack his chickens or steal from him. The only thing he noticed was that the door to the coop had the number 2015′ written on it.

Ten days after the incident, Danny, the deer’s poultry farm was also similarly attacked. When Rocky inspected Danny’s farm, he realised that it was the same thief who had struck at Sammy’s farm as “2015′ was written on the coop. But this time too, none of them could come up with any suspects.

One morning, when Pookie, the pig was walking about his farm, he noticed the same writing. He informed Rocky about it, who immediately deployed two officers to keep an eye on his farm.

Fearless Mongoo Gets a New Home

“The thief should attack Pookie’s farm tonight,” presumed Rocky.

But to his surprise, Benny, the goat’s farm was burgled instead. Rocky reached Benny’s farm to investigate.

“That’s odd. Then why was the number written on Pookie’s farm?” pondered Rocky confused.

“Number? What number?” asked Benny.

Rocky then showed Benny the number 2015′ written on one of the doors of others’ farms.

Rocky explained, “You see, when Sammy’s farm was burgled, he noticed the number written. But when I saw it written in Pookie’s farm, I thought it would be attacked. But yours was attacked instead.”

Suddenly, Benny brightened up; he knew who the thief was. “It’s Benji, the fox!” he declared.

“Who is Benji? And why do you think he would’ve done this?” questioned Rocky.

“Benji used to work for me as my farm manager. But he was always careless especially with the calculations and I had warned him several times. One day, I incurred a huge loss because of him and so I fired him. I think he could be behind this,” said Benny.

“But how can you be so sure?” asked Rocky.

“When he writes ‘5’, it looks like the letter ‘S’. If you look carefully at the number written on the gate it is written that way,” said Benny.

Rocky noticed that Benny was right and so he, along with the others, went to Benji’s house. Benji was shocked to see all of them. Rocky walked around the house looking for evidence. He soon found some eggs, chicks and broken eggshells in a corner.

“Benji! You are the one behind all the burglaries at the farms. I am going to arrest you for it,” said Rocky.

“But how did you know it was me?” asked Benji surprised.

“You led us to you by writing the number on the farm doors,” replied Rocky.

“How is that possible? I wrote that to confuse you,” said Benji, still baffled.

“You made one tiny mistake and that’s what gave you away. You always write the number ‘5’ like the letter ‘S,’ said Benny.

More from Champak: Farm trouble

Then, Danny asked, “But why did you attack the other farms? You could’ve just attacked Benny’s farm.”

“If I had attacked only Benny’s farm, everyone would have suspected me right away. So, I decided to attack the other farms to confuse everyone,” said Benji.

“Is that why you didn’t attack Pookie’s farm even after you wrote the number there? To confuse us?” asked Rocky.

“Yes, I did that to divert your attention away from Benny’s farm,” explained Benji.

“But now you will have to pay for the losses and regret your action while in prison,” Rocky said putting a handcuff on Benji.

Baddy Steals The Show!

Hurray! Our experiment is successful!” cheered Blacky, the bear and Jumbo, the elephant as they saw their car floating mid-air.

On hearing their excited shouts, Baddy, the fox came into the garage where the two were working to see what was happening.

“Blacky and Jumbo, is your experiment over? Why do you both look so happy?” asked Baddy.

“Yes! We have successfully built a solar hover car,” said Jumbo excitedly. He then pressed a button on the remote and the car started to rise from the ground.

“Wow! This is incredible!” exclaimed Baddy.

“Day after tomorrow, we shall exhibit it before the entire jungle,” said Jumbo.

“We will become famous and everyone will refer to us as the inventors of this impressive solar hover car,” said Blacky happily.

The Night Ghost

“But we must thank you, Baddy, for letting us work in your garage. Thank you so much!” said Jumbo.

“Yes, Baddy too is responsible for the invention of this solar hover car,” pitched in Blacky.

“I am more than happy to have helped you both. I am happy for your success,” said Baddy.

The three then locked the garage and went home.

The next morning, NEWS when Blacky and Jumbo switched on the television, they saw Baddy all over the news and that everybody was praising him for his new creation—the solar hover car!

“What’s this, Jumbo?” asked Blacky shocked.

“I have no idea. I am quite surprised myself,” replied Jumbo.

Both of them hurried to Baddy’s house where a lot of reporters had already gathered and were waiting to interview Baddy.

“How does your invention work, Baddy?” asked one reporter.

“My latest invention is a car that can be driven with the help of sunlight. But the best part is that it is not to be driven on the road like other ordinary cars; it actually flies! It is a solar hover car,” said a boastful Baddy.

“Fly? Could you demonstrate?” asked the reporter.

“I would have given you a demo but it is very cloudy right now, so it will not work,” said Baddy.

“Does that mean we will not be able to use this car at night?” asked the reporter. “You will be able to operate it in the night but it needs to be charged for which you will need sunlight. Right now, it is not fully charged and so I cannot demonstrate how to use it,” answered Baddy.

“Did anybody else help you build it?” asked another reporter.

“Yes, Blacky and Jumbo helped me. One of them got me tea and the other got me snacks while I was working on the car,” said Baddy with a laugh.

More from Champak: The Case Of The Missing Lotuses

All the reporters started laughing too.

“Liar! We built this solar car!” interrupted Blacky and Jumbo angrily.

“What? Why are you both lying? Now that my experiment is successful, you want credit for it?” asked Baddy.

“No, we are telling the truth. This is our invention and we worked very hard on it,” said Blacky angrily.

“If both of you built this car, why didn’t you inform us earlier and how come Baddy knows all about it?” questioned one of the reporters.

Blacky and Jumbo tried their best to convince the reporters but nobody was ready to believe them. Baddy then announced that he would demonstrate the car’s flying capabilities the next day at 11 a.m., following which everyone dispersed. Blacky and Jumbo went home disappointed.

The following morning, Baddy had parked the car in the garden so that it would be charged by the time everyone arrived. When it was 11, he stepped outside to see people already waiting for him.

“I know that all of you have been eagerly waiting to see this car hover in the air. You shall witness it now,” announced Baddy as he sat in the car.

He switched it on but it didn’t start. Baddy tried again and this time, the car slowly started floating in the air. There were loud gasps of surprise from the crowd. And then some started to clap.

Carried away by the applause, Baddy failed to notice that the car was rising fast. Suddenly, he realised what was happening and tried to slow it down but he couldn’t do it. He tried everything but the car just kept rising and rising.

Baddy panicked and started yelling for help. By then, the car had already risen so high that nobody could hear his cry for help. Everyone assumed he was waving his hands because he was excited. As the car flew higher, it became difficult for Baddy to breathe and he eventually fainted.

When Baddy finally woke up, he realised he was lying on his bed at home and noticed the reporters gathered around him.

“How did I get here?” asked Baddy.

“Your car was out of control. We didn’t know what to do when we didn’t see you for a long time. Your car had risen so high that we couldn’t even see you. That’s when Blacky and Jumbo arrived and they brought the car down with the help of a remote,” explained a reporter.

“Yes, and they brought you down in time, otherwise it would have been fatal for you,” said Dr Drake, the deer who was called in to check on Baddy.

“They’re waiting for you outside now,” he informed.

Baddy immediately rushed outside to apologise to Blacky and Jumbo.

“I am sorry. I lied about the invention. It was yours and I wanted to take all the credit for it,” said Baddy regretting his behaviour.

On hearing his confession, everyone who was gathered there became angry with Baddy and started yelling at him.

“Please, stop! We have forgiven Baddy. We request you to forgive him too,” said Jumbo to all the reporters present there.

Baddy apologised to everybody and assured them that he will never try to steal the credit for someone else’s hard work.

Tony Gets a New Friend

It was a beautiful and sunny day. Mini, the bird was flying around cheerfully and then decided to perch on a tree and sing. But when she started to sing, she was rudely interrupted.

“Stop singing!” said Tony, the tiger harshly.

“Oh! But why? I was only singing,” responded Mini politely.

“Keep quiet, will you? Don’t argue with me!” growled Tony.

Mini noticed that the tiger was in a rather foul mood, so she decided to stop singing. Instead, she simply looked around and observed: “This is a zoo; that’s why there are so many animals here. But I wonder why this tiger didn’t want me to sing.”

Just then, Mini noticed that a lot of people came to visit Tony who was in a cage.

“Oh! Now I understand why this tiger is annoyed. He has to live inside a cage. Even though he’s been given a big one, he must be used to the freedom of the jungle where he would take long walks. He really must be unhappy here. And here I was thinking that it must be because I was a bad singer!” thought Mini.

The Parched Jungle

“He still looks very angry,” she murmured as she observed him closely.

Just when Mini was about to talk to him, a few kids came running towards Tony’s cage.

“Look! It’s a tiger. Don’t go near it,” cautioned a kid.

“Hey, don’t be silly! He’s inside his cage. There’s nothing to worry,” said another and walked up to the cage and started teasing Tony.

Tony was now getting angrier. He roared loudly.

“Oh! He’s roaring. What fun! If we tease him more, he’ll roar louder,” suggested one of the kids.

Soon, all of them started teasing Tony which annoyed him more and he roared even louder.

This excited the kids and they continued to tease him. Tony, who finally got fed up of them, got up and moved to a far corner of his cage. Wanting to draw him closer to them, the kids they started throwing stones at him.

“Naughty kids! I will teach them a lesson,” resolved Mini.

She flew straight towards the kids and attacked them by pecking their heads. Scared, the kids ran away.

“Thank you so much, Mini,” said Tony with a relieved smile.

“I didn’t know that it was so difficult living inside a cage. It must be suffocating for you,” said Mini.

“No, Mini. I am used to living inside this cage. I don’t feel sad here. The people who take care of me are good people. I only have a problem with these kids who come to see me every day. Their idea of fun is to annoy me,” explained Tony.

“I always thought the animals that lived in the zoo were happy. But many of you look sad,” said Mini.

“Yes, that’s because of some people’s behaviour, we’re always angry at all the other visitors. The other day, somebody threw a big stone at the crocodile and he was hurt,” said Tony.

More from Champak: Bunty Bear’s Missing Key

“There are some kids who are nice. Not everyone wants to torture you. But these naughty kids needed to be taught a lesson,” said Mini. “And if you get bored, I could come here every day and entertain you. Just don’t be mad at me.”

“Oh!” That would be wonderful! exclaimed Tony. “If you come to meet me every day, I will never be in a bad mood again!” he said with a wide grin on his face.

The Night Ghost

It was quite late in the night when Jumbo, the elephant was walking home along a deserted stretch of road. Suddenly, a strange-looking object appeared before him.

“I am the Night Ghost!” it proclaimed. “Give me whatever you possess.”

“I am not scared of you. You are so puny, said Jumbo waving his trunk at the ghost.

“Puny? You think I am puny?” asked the ghost enraged. It miraculously began to grow bigger and bigger.

“Do I look puny now?” asked the ghost.

Jumbo fainted in shock on seeing the ghost grow bigger. After some time, when he regained consciousness, he noticed that all his belongings were gone. He was now very scared. He quickly rushed home and fell sick immediately.

On hearing about his condition, his friends came to visit him.

The Ghost of Penupuram

“What’s wrong, Jumbo? Are you feeling unwell?” asked Jumpy, the monkey.

Jumbo narrated the entire incident.

“How is it possible? Ghosts aren’t real,” said Meeku, the mouse.

“I thought so too but ever since my encounter with the Night Ghost, I have started to believe in them,” said Jumbo.

“I think you must have been hallucinating. How is it possible for something to just grow bigger in a matter of seconds?” asked Meeku curiously.

“Yes! That’s why I know for sure that what I saw was indeed a ghost,” insisted Jumbo.

“I don’t believe you,” said Jumpy.

Nobody believed Jumbo. But when the other inhabitants of the forest started having similar experiences, everyone began to fear the Night Ghost. No one dared to venture out alone at night, especially on the road where the ghost was usually seen.

One day, Cheeku, the rabbit fell ill. He asked his friends to take him to the hospital, but they were too scared of the Night Ghost. They had to take the deserted road to reach the hospital which they were afraid to do so at night. Instead, they took Cheeku to the hospital the following morning.

There, Dr Pintu, the giraffe checked Cheeku and prescribed some medicines. He said, “I am glad that you got him here on time. If you had been slightly late, it would have been difficult for me to save him.” Everyone was relieved.

Cheeku was in the hospital for a week. During that time, he resolved to get rid of the so called Night Ghost as soon as he got home.

After a week, Cheeku felt better and was back home. That night, he decided to walk down the deserted road hoping to meet the Night Ghost. And as expected, the ghost appeared before him.

“I am the Night Ghost! Hand over all your belongings,” it said.

“Only owls and bats fly around at night. So are you the ghost of one?” asked Cheeku.

This angered the ghost. “Don’t try to act funny or else I will have to teach you a lesson!” it threatened and started changing its shape.

Instead of getting scared by its growing size, Cheeku calmly took out a bottle.

“What’s this? Going to trap me in that little bottle, are you? I am no Genie. I am a ghost!” it howled.

“No! This is magic powder. See what it does,” so saying, Cheeku blew the magic powder into the ghost’s eyes.

“Ow! My eyes! They are burning! What was that powder?” cried the ghost.

“It was chilli powder. Show yourself and I will give you water,” said Cheeku waving a bottle of water in front of the ghost.

More from Champak: The Sugarcane Ghost

“Ok! Ok!” exclaimed the ghost and immediately removed the costume. And out emerged Baddy.

“Now give me the water!” he said and grabbed the bottle from Cheeku and washed his eyes.

He then tried to escape but Cheeku caught hold of him and produced him before everyone. Cheeku asked Baddy to confess and he did. He told everyone about his plan to dress up as a ghost and steal everyone’s belongings.

“But how did Baddy become bigger than me?” Jumbo asked.

“When Baddy was hiding inside the big black robe, he also kept a balloon hidden along with him. Whenever he wanted to appear to be growing bigger, he would loosen the string of the balloon and it would float upwards lifting the robe along with it,” explained Cheeku. “So that is why it looked as if it was becoming bigger right in front of your eyes, and you were all convinced that it was a ghost.”

“You are right, Cheeku. We shouldn’t have blindly believed it. If I ever come across another ghost, I’ll lift it with my trunk and toss it away,” said Jumbo waving his trunk about much to everyone’s amusement.

The Greatest Treasure

One day, Baddy, the fox was walking down the forest trail, lost in thought.

“Where are you off to so early in the morning, Baddy?” asked Cheeku, the rabbit who was on his morning walk.

“I’m glad I ran into you, Cheeku,” said Baddy.

“Why? Were you looking for me?” asked Cheeku.

“I wasn’t exactly looking for you, Cheeku. I’m actually looking for a well,” said Baddy.

“You’re looking for a well? Why? Are you thirsty?” asked Cheeku.

“No, no, let me explain,” said Baddy. “I had a dream last night that there’s a well somewhere in the forest and it’s all dried up. I’m looking for that well.”

Cheeku gave Baddy a confused look. Baddy further explained, “In my dream, the dried-up well is filled with treasures. I need to find that well and dig out all the treasure. With it, I’ll become the richest animal in the forest.”

Things made sense to Cheeku now and he said, “Baddy, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think there’s any treasure or even a dried-up well in Champakvan. It was just a dream. So instead of running around the forest looking for some treasure, why don’t you join me? We’ll run together. It’ll be good for your health.”

Baddy said he’d rather continue his search for the well and walked away, and Cheeku went back to his morning walk.

Baddy spent some time wandering around Champakvan, until he saw a well. Baddy ran to the well and peered inside. It seemed to be dry.

“I’ve found it! I’m rich! I’m rich!” he shouted and danced. “Now I’ll climb into the well and search for that treasure!” he said and peered inside once again.

The well was deep, but its walls had rocks jutting out in different places. “I can use these rocks as footholds and climb down,” Baddy said to himself and began to climb down.

The well was deeper than he thought and it became dark very fast. Baddy almost made out of the well but one of the steps gave away and he fell into the well.

At the bottom, there were rocks and stones and Baddy was badly bruised. But he was so keen on finding the treasure that he paid no attention to his injuries and began digging the ground. All he found were stones and rocks.

Baddy looked at the walls of the well, and just then he saw a big black snake come out of one of the holes in the wall.

“Oh no! A snake!” he shouted and began to tremble with fear.

Fortunately for him, the snake was good-natured and meant no harm to him.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you,” said the snake reassuringly. “What are you doing here in this well?”

Baddy told the snake about his dream and that he was looking for the buried treasure.

“Hmm…you seem to believe in superstitions,” said the snake.

“You’re so keen on finding the treasure that you’re not bothered by how difficult or dangerous the situation might be. Well, let me spare you the effort of digging and tell you that there is no buried treasure here.”

Baddy felt dejected. He decided to head back out of the well, but he realised that he didn’t know how he was going to do that.

Baddy scratched his head, looking for a solution. Even after thinking for several minutes, Baddy had no idea of how to get out of the well. He sat down and started to cry.

The snake said, “Why don’t you shout for help. Maybe someone will hear you and help you out.”

When Baddy called for help, Meeku who was passing by heard his cries. He put his hand out and asked Baddy to grab on.

“Give me your hand and I’ll pull you out!” Meeku said.

But Baddy refused to put his hand out. Meeku didn’t know what to do. He called Jumbo.

Jumbo offered to help and said Baddy, “Here! Give me your hand and I’ll pull you out with my trunk.” But Baddy refused again.

“I think he’s gone crazy,” Meeku whispered to Jumbo. “He called for help, and when we offer it, he refuses!”

Meeku saw Cheeku going home and he called out to him. He told Cheeku everything.

Cheeku realised what was happening and told the others what to do.

Cheeku said, “Baddy has always taken. He doesn’t know how to give. Ask him to take your trunk, Jumbo and you’ll be able to pull him out easily.”

Jumbo told him, “Here you go, Baddy! Take my trunk. I’ll pull you out.”

Baddy didn’t refuse this time. After Baddy was rescued, Cheeku told him, “Baddy, Do you know what the biggest treasure is? It is friendship. We’ll always help you out, Baddy, and we know no treasure can replace our friendship.”

Baddy realised his mistake and apologised to others. He realised there is no bigger wealth than friendship. He was changed and began to help others and was not greedy anymore.

Cotton Football

Meeku, the mouse came back Champakvan after spending his summer vacations in the city. He rushed to the ground to play with his friends in the evening.

“Look what I got from the city!” he said to his friends pointing at his football.

“Oh wow! Let’s play now,” Jumbo, the elephant said. “Let’s make two teams first. Without two teams, we can’t play,” Meeku said and they immediately formed two teams.

“Tarry, pass me the ball,” Meeku said to Tarry, the frog.

Tarry passed the ball to Meeku who quickly converted the pass into a goal.

“Hurray! I scored!” Meeku shouted excitedly.

“Good job, Meeku!” Tarry congratulated his friend.

Stay Put Timbu!

The match continued heatedly. Jumbo ran to score but Meeku stopped him. In the process, both of them fell on the ground. Jumbo thought Meeku would get squashed by his weight, he tried to fall on the other side. The football came under Jumbo and burst and seeing this, Meeku was in tears.

“I didn’t have a choice, Meeku. If I had not diverted my fall, you would have been squashed. But don’t worry. I will go to the city and fix your football in a day or two,” Jumbo consoled Meeku.

“I am sad because today is the first time I scored a goal. I would have definitely become the player of the week. Now, we will not be able to play anymore,” a dejected Meeku said.

“Don’t worry about it Meeku. If you play well the next time, you will be the player of the match,” Tarry said.

“But the match was fun. Now, what do we do?” Cheeku, the rabbit asked.

“Should we play with a coconut?” Baddy, the fox suggested.

“Baddy, that sounds like an idea to send us to the hospital. How can we play football with a coconut? If it falls on our head, we will surely get injured.” Tarry told Baddy.

“Let’s use a pumpkin instead?” Jumpy, the monkey then suggested.

“Jumpy, first of all, the shape of a pumpkin is not proper for playing football and even if we do play football with it, it will soon be a squish squash football.” Jumbo laughed.

“We need something made out of cotton,” Damru, the donkey then suggested.

More from Champak: No Place to Play

“Fine, Damru, but where do we find a football made out of cotton?” Baddy said and everyone started laughing at Damru.

When everyone started making fun of him, Damru started crying.

Just then, a weaver bird was sitting on the tree and overhearing this conversation between friends. She came to Damru and said, “Hey, why are you making so much noise here? My children are sleeping. You will wake them up.”

“Sorry, dear. Damru here is crying. He gave us an idea, which sounded quite funny. So everybody laughed at him,” Jumbo said.

“What idea?” the weaver bird asked.

“Our football burst. We were thinking of what to do. Damru said that we could make a football out of cotton,” Jumbo explained the sequence of events.

“Why not? That may be possible,” the weaver bird said looking at them.

“But how?” everyone asked.

“Go get some cotton. I will make a football for you,” said the weaver bird.

Meeku got some cotton and the weaver bird started filling the busted football with cotton. Then, she stitched the end that had burst and gave the football back to them.

“Here, your football is ready. It will not bounce so much but you can still play with it and entertain yourselves,” the weaver bird said.

“Oh wow!” Jumbo exclaimed.

Everyone was very excited and impressed with the weaver bird. All of them thanked her.

“Don’t make fun of others without thinking about it. Doing so hurts their feelings,” said the weaver bird.

“You’re right. We promise we will not do so in future,” said Tarry and all of them hugged Damru.

“Okay, I’ll take your leave now. But don’t make any more noise. My children will wake up,” the weaver bird said and flew back to her nest.

“Let’s re-start our match. I was playing well today,” Meeku told the rest of the team. They all went back to their game.

The Case Of The Missing Lotuses

Tarry, the frog lived in a small pond. He was very fond of flowers, so he grew lotuses, water lilies and many other kinds of water plants in his pond. For any special occasions such as birthdays, he would readily give his flowers to anyone who asked.

One day, Blacky, the bear was walking past Tarry’s house as Tarry was cleaning his pond. He would remove weeds and other waste from the pond frequently.

“What are you doing?” asked Blacky.

“These weeds do not allow the good plants to grow well. They feed on the nutrition that these other plants could use,” Tarry replied. “In a way, they are parasites. So, it’s important to rid the pond of them.”

“Tarry, the lotuses of your pond are very exotic. Nothing can match them,” said Blacky.


Tarry, as always, replied modestly, “Thank you so much, Blacky.”

Just then Cheeku, the rabbit came there and asked Tarry for some lotuses. “Tomorrow is Meeku’s birthday. I want to gift him some lovely flowers,” said Cheeku.

“OK, I shall give you these flowers in the morning,” said Tarry. “These fresh buds would bloom by tomorrow.”

“Thank you! I’ll meet you tomorrow then,” said Cheeku and bid him goodbye.

But the next morning proved to be a surprise for Tarry. All the lotuses were gone!

“Oh my!” cried Tarry. “Where have the flowers gone?”

Cheeku too was sad on not getting the flowers. He said, “Don’t worry, Tarry. Whoever did this will soon be caught.”

Cheeku was on his way back, thinking to himself, “I’ll have to think of something else to gift Meeku.” He noticed Baddy, the fox selling lots of flowers. There were also many lotuses and water lilies there.

Cheeku was curious, and so he asked Baddy where he got all these flowers. “I have started selling flowers to make money. I do not own a garden or a pond but I get these from my friends in other forests,” replied Baddy.

Cheeku looked at Baddy with suspicion, “Well, who are these friends?”

Baddy laughed slyly, “I can’t disclose my business secrets to you.”

It was getting late, and Meeku’s birthday party was about to start, so Cheeku bought five lotuses from Baddy and left.

At Meeku’s birthday, everyone praised the beautiful lotuses, which were placed in a vase at the centre of the table.

Blacky complained, “Even I had gone to Tarry’s house to get flowers but he had none. I wonder how he gave you these flowers.”

Cheeku said, “I got these from Baddy, the fox.”

Blacky sniffed the flowers and said, “I don’t believe it. These flowers are surely from Tarry’s pond, I can recognise their fragrance anywhere.”

Cheeku said, “Even I had my suspicions about where Baddy got these flowers from, but I don’t know how I can prove it.”

“Let’s go to Tarry’s house to look for clues tomorrow,” suggested Meeku.

“Yes!” everyone agreed.

The next day Cheeku, Meeku and Blacky went to Tarry’s pond. Tarry was standing outside his gate with a worried look.

“Hello, Tarry. What’s up?” asked Blacky.

“My flowers have been stolen again! This time even the buds have been snipped!” wailed Tarry.

“Did you lock your gate properly?” asked Meeku.

“Of course, I did!” cried Tarry.

Cheeku had a thorough look at the pond and said, “We all should guard Tarry’s pond tonight to catch the thief red-handed. But first, I need to do some investigation.”

Everyone worked together and they were shocked to find Crocky, the crocodile stuck in the net.

“Crocky, you!” said everyone in disbelief.

Crocky was very embarrassed.

“I… I am sorry,” he said. “Baddy promised me a bag of fishes if I help him steal flowers,” he blurted.

“But, how did you come into the pond unnoticed?” asked Meeku.

“From the underground tunnel inside the pond, right?” answered Cheeku instead.

Crocky nodded.

More from Champak: Naughty Baddy Gets Caught

Looking at the surprised glances of his friends, Cheeku explained, “I knew it because the theft was done even with the gates locked, so the thief was coming in through another route. I asked Jumbo, who used to live here before, and he told me about the underground tunnel under the pond. So, I realized that the thief was someone who was a good swimmer.”

They all went to Shersingh, the King of Champakvan and explained to him all that had happened. Shersingh was very angry at Baddy and ordered him to return the flowers he had stolen and the money he had made selling the stolen flowers.

Baddy was also sentenced to clean weeds in Tarry’s pond for six months as punishment, and Tarry and his friends got to share his beautiful, fragrant flowers once again.


It was hot in Champakvan. Summer had taken a toll on all animals. Meeku, the mouse wasn’t feeling well due to this sweltering heat. Inside the small hole he lived in, he felt suffocated. Outside, he found the hot wind difficult to deal with. He would often try to save himself from this heat but would get no respite.

One day, he was lazing under the shade of a tree. The heat was too for him to handle. There was no wind and sweat kept dripping from every corner of his body. Around that he noticed Jumbo, the elephant walking carefree by the river. Jumbo came stood next to Meeku.

Meeku Saves the Day

“Hey Jumbo, you don’t look tired. Aren’t you feeling hot?” Meeku asked him.

Jumbo said, “Meeku, it is indeed hot but I am not as dirty and lazy as you are. I keep taking baths in the river, which keeps my body cool. Here, come and feel my fat skin, it is cold.”

Meeku, obviously, was not as tall as Jumbo and was not able to reach up to his back. So, Jumbo picked him up by his trunk and placed him on his back. He realised that Jumbo’s skin was cold.

After a while, when Jumbo was resting under the tree, Meeku jumped off his back. He thought about whispering something into Jumbo’s ear. But just at that moment, Jumbo flapped his fan-like large ears vigorously, which gave Meeku a whiff of fresh air. He instantly felt as if he was transported to the streets of Nainital.

More from Champak: Cheeku and Meeku are Walking into the Forest.

He was happy at the thought of using Jumbo’s ears to get rid of the afternoon heat. But then again, he did not want Jumbo to know about it. He was scared that if Jumbo found out, he would stop flapping his ears.

However, Meeku realised that Jumbo usually flaps his ears when a fly buzzes near his ear.

He thought to himself that it would be brilliant if flies constantly kept buzzing around Jumbo’s ears. Then, he would be able to enjoy the fresh air he got from the flapping of Jumbo’s ears all the time.

He came up with an idea. He knew that there was another tree somewhere close by with a beehive. He went to the beehive and got a couple of drops of honey from the queen bee and quietly put it on Jumbo’s ear.

The honey made all the bees buzz near Jumbo’s ears and he started flapping his ears so that the bees would fly off. That is exactly what Meeku wanted. The more Jumbo flapped his ears, the better it was for Meeku, as he was able to enjoy loads of fresh air. In this way, his afternoon was well spent.

Since then, every afternoon, Meeku would be on the lookout for Jumbo and Jumbo would always be found taking his afternoon nap somewhere below a tree. Meeku would quietly put some honey on Jumbo’s ears and Jumbo would start flapping his ears. Thus, Meeku’s “fan” saved him from the dreadful summer.

Baddy, the Prankster

Baddy, the fox was very naughty. He loved pulling pranks on people and would tell them things that weren’t true. He was so good at telling these lies that everybody believed him.

One day, as he was coming back from the market, he saw Meeku, the mouse on his way to school. Exam results were to be announced that day and Baddy decided to have some fun.

Baddy Reforms Himself

“Meeku, I’ve been looking for you. I just spoke to your teacher. She said you’ve failed in your exams,” said Baddy, the fox.

“What? Oh no! I thought I had done well this time!” said Meeku disappointedly.

“Well, I wish I could tell you more but this is all I know,” said Baddy and walked on. He turned to watch Meeku run to school and laughed.

The next day, Soni, the cow was happily munching on some grass on a meadow. Baddy decided to play a prank on her and said, “Soni! There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. I just heard that your house is on fire.”

“What? Oh no! Everything I own is in that house,” cried Soni and ran home.

When Soni reached her home, she was out of breath. She was relieved to see that her house was still fine, but was angry at Baddy for playing such a prank on her. She tried telling the other animals of the forest about Baddy, but nobody really felt as strongly about this matter as she did.

A few more days passed and Baddy saw Cheeku, the rabbit and Jumpy, the monkey walking down the street. He thought it did be great fun to play a trick on them. Baddy went up to Cheeku and said, “’Cheeku, Cheeku. Quickly, you have to go home. I just saw a few masked thieves enter your house!”

Shocked, Cheeku and Jumpy ran to Cheeku’s home. When they got there, they saw that everything was intact and there were no thieves as such. They understood that Baddy had just played a prank on them. Cheeku was determined to teach Baddy a lesson.

Baddy was making lunch when his doorbell rang. When he opened the door, it was Inspector Jumbo, the elephant. Seeing him, Baddy became a little nervous and somehow managed to ask him what the matter was.

“Cheeku, the rabbit has accused you of robbing his home. You are under arrest.” said Jumbo “Inspector, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t rob anyone. I’m innocent,” said Baddy.

Jumbo asked, “Did you or did you not tell Cheeku that there were masked men entering his house?”

Baddy replied, “ Yes, but I didn’t mean to.”

Before Baddy could finish, Jumbo put the handcuffs on his wrists and said, “That’s all I need to hear. Come with me to the station. We’ll sort it all out over there.”

More from Champak: Naughty Baddy Gets Caught

When Baddy was lead into the police station with handcuffs on his wrists, Cheeku exclaimed, “There he is! He’s the robber!”

Baddy had never been more scared in his life. He was made to sit in the interrogation room and was questioned.

“Baddy, unless you want to be put behind bars, confess and return everything you stole from Cheeku’s house,” said Jumbo.

“Inspector, I didn’t steal anything,” said Baddy.

“Did you not tell Cheeku that a couple of masked robbers were at his home?” asked Jumbo.

“Yes, but I was just kidding,” said Baddy.

“I don’t care whether you were kidding or not. You were the one who told me that my home was being robbed. So you must know who they were or have a hand in the robbery. You are the one who has to take the responsibility,” said Cheeku.

“Are you saying your house was really robbed?” asked Baddy. He was shaking uncontrollably with fear. “Sir, I really don’t know what’s going on. Please let me go. I didn’t steal anything from Cheeku’s home.”

Baddy began to cry and Inspector Jumbo, the elephant turned to Cheeku.

baddy the prankster

Cheeku was trying hard not to laugh. Seeing him, Inspector Jumbo began laughing too. Baddy was confused.

“It seems like you’ve understood the consequences of lying,” said Jumbo.

“Yes Sir, I have. I promise never to lie again. I promise never to play pranks on anyone,” said Baddy.

They let him go and Baddy never lied again.

All About Indian Cinema

Cheeku, the rabbit’s uncle Whitey, the rabbit lived in Mumbai. He was a film reporter. As soon as he arrived in Champakvan, all the kids would surround him. They wanted to know about the actors he had met.

One would ask, “Have you met Amitabh?” Some would ask, “Uncle, Rajpal Yadav is not to be seen in films these days. Is he still acting?”

Whitey would reply affectionately, “Yes, children, Rajpal Yadav is still acting.”

Taking Indian Music Global

When Whitey came to Champakvan during the holidays, Cheeku said to him, “Uncle, we are having a quiz in school because Indian cinema has completed 100 years last year. You know everything about cinema. Can you help me?” Cheeku said as he sat on Whitey’s lap.

“Yes. Tell me what you want to know,” Whitey replied.

“Who made the first film in India?”

“In India, Dada Saheb Phalke was the first person to make a film.”

“What was that film called?” Cheeku asked.

“Raja Harishchandra was India’s first silent film.”

“What is the meaning of silent film?”

“A silent film has no dialogue. There was no sound in the films like they have these days.”

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“When was the first film with dialogue made?”

“On March 14, 1931, the first Indian talkie Alam Ara was released in Mumbai’s Majestic cinema hall. Master Vittal was its lead actor.”

“Do you know the name of the film with the most number of songs?” asked Whitey.

“No,” replied Cheeku.

“Those days movies had many songs. Indra Sabha produced by Madan Theatres had 71 songs.”

“Uncle, how many movies share a similar name?”

“There are seven films with the name Insaaf. The first film of this name was made in 1937.”

“Do women also direct films?” Cheeku wanted to know.

“Now there are many women directors. But in the beginning, all the work was done by men. Even female roles were enacted by men. Jaddan Bai is recognised as the first woman film director. In 1938 she produced a film named Talash-e-baq.”

“Similarily the first female music composer was Khurshid Homji. In those days music was composed only by men. Director Himanshu Rai took a woman as a music composer for the first time. He kept her name Saraswati Devi so that people would not come to know of her.”

“Besides this, there are other facts concerning films. Double roles were first enacted by A. Salunke. He played the role of Ram and Sita in the film Lanka Dahan. In 1970, comedian Mahmood played three roles in Humjoli. In 1974, in the film Naya Din Nayi Raat, Sanjeev Kumar enacted nine different roles. The most interesting fact is that the most number of double roles in films have been performed by Amitabh Bachchan.”

“Uncle, earlier only historical and religious films were made. Where did the idea for detective films come from?” asked Cheeku.

“I do not know. But Sir Alfred Hitchcock is considered to be the father of detective films. In 1925 he made the first detective and suspense movie named The Pleasure Garden.

“Uncle I saw a film in which the hero breaks into pieces and after a while melts and forms a human being.”

“This is the marvel of special effects. With technology anything is possible like the hero and heroine jumping from a great height, fighting while hanging from a helicopter or performing stunts while sitting on a horse. Looking at them we think as if the actor is really doing it.”

“Uncle, I feel like laughing while watching old movies,” said Cheeku laughing.

“You feel like laughing when you watch old films, but have you ever thought if those films had not been made then would such good quality films have been possible in the present time for us to watch? Now even 3D films are being made. In the near future we will be able to watch some amazing things,” Whitey explained.

“Uncle you have given me a great deal of information. Now I will definitely win the quiz,” Cheeku said excitedly.

Work With Patience

Jumbo, the elephant was ambling along swinging his trunk. He passed a sugarcane field on his way. He stopped by and pulled out some sugarcane and moved ahead.

After walking some distance he saw Kittu, the squirrel with a pile of coconuts beside her.

“Kittu, what are you doing?” asked Jumbo.

“Jumbo I am shredding coconut to make coconut ladoos.”

“Wow! I like coconut laddoos too. May I have some of your coconut ladoos?” asked Jumbo in a pleading tone.

“Surely, but first let me prepare the ladoos. Since you are here, help me in shredding the coconut,” said Kittu and Jumbo agreed readily.

Jumbo started shredding the coconut, but soon got fed up.

Work Without Risk

“How boring! I don’t want to shred the coconut,” said Jumbo and got up and went away from there, before Kittu could say anything. After he had gone some distance he saw Dabbu, the rabbit standing in the field.

“Dabbu what are you doing in your field in this scorching sun?”

“Jumbo, today we are preparing carrot halwa at our house. I came to collect some carrots for it,” said Dabbu pulling out a carrot.

“Halwa! Dabbu can I come to your house to eat halwa?” Jumbo asked, his mouth already watering

“Yes, why not, but then we will require more carrots to prepare the halwa. Jumbo, please help me grate the carrots. That way we will be done with our work sooner.” They walked to Dabbu’s house and entered his kitchen.

“I will be done in a giffy,” said Jumbo and started grating the carrots. Just as with the coconuts, Jumbo enjoyed it for a while, but soon felt bored.

‘It takes so long to grate the carrots. Who knows how long it will take to grate enough to make enough halwa for the both of us,’ thought Jumbo and moved on from there.

“What happened? Where are you going?” asked Dabbu, when he saw Jumbo go.

“I just remembered I have to do something important,” Jumbo made an: excuse and went away from there.

Going, further along, he saw a banana tree. He broke a bunch of bananas and sat under the shade of a tree eating it.

‘Such tasty bananas!’ thought Jumbo as he ate them and threw the banana peels on one side. Then he peeled one banana after another and ate the whole bunch.

After a few moments, Jumbo felt a slight movement on his leg. He shrieked when he saw ants moving on his leg.

Yikes! So many ants! What will happen if they go into my trunk?’ Jumbo shouted and he flicked them from his legs and threw them far.

Jumbo saw that the ants were taking the pulp from the banana skin to their ant holes in the tree.

Most of the ants lost their balance and fell off the tree, when they tried to climb the tree carrying the pulp. However, not accepting defeat, they got back on their feet and climbed again. However, the same thing happened again.

When this happened three or four times, Jumbo felt pity for the ants.

“Oh! Why are you working so hard just to get a bit of pulp? I will keep a peeled banana near your hole,” said Jumbo and he kept a peeled banana near the ants’ hole.

But the ants continued trying to carry the banana pulp to their hole.

‘It seems they haven’t seen the whole banana,’ thought Jumbo. At that moment he saw a few ants go near the banana.

Good, the ants have come to know about the banana. Now they will not come down and trouble me,’ thought Jumbo happily. But the ants continued to carry the little bit of banana pulp.

‘Is one banana not enough for them, that they are still working so hard for that bit of pulp, thought Jumbo and kept another banana near the ants’ hole. But the ants continued to bring little bits of pulp.

More from Champak: Unity Is Strength

One by one Jumbo kept five bananas near the ants’ hole. But the ants continued to carry a little pulp to their hole. Seeing this Jumbo lost his temper.

“Either you’ll are foolish or greedy. I have kept five bananas near your hole, but all of you are still toiling for a bit of pulp,” Jumbo said in anger.

A tiny voice spoke up. “We are neither foolish nor greedy but we just do not want to change our way of working patiently.” Jumbo was shocked at hearing this because it was coming from an old ant who had stepped out of the hole to speak to Pappu.

“Today you have given us bananas, but if we get used to getting things easily, we will not be able to look for food late, when there is no one to give it to us so easily. So we do not want to leave our habit of working patiently,” said the elderly ant.

On hearing these words Jumbo realized that he neither had any patience nor did he believe in working. If the small ants facing such difficulty can do such hard work with patience, then why can’t I?’ Jumbo thought and went to help Kittu and Dabbu with their work.

In return, they let Jumbo have some coconut ladoos and carrot halwa and Jumbo finally understood that hard work and patience always pays off.

Venki To The Rescue

Venki, the bear, kept his luggage in his car and turned to his wife, Shyamali, “Hurry up, darling! It is already six, and we need to start any minute now! Where are Blacky and Browny? Are they ready?”

“They have gone out to the beach. They wanted to say goodbye to their friends before leaving, since they won’t be seeing them until after the holidays,” said Shyamali quietly.

“They had to do this now! It is a long way to Nandavan, the long journey there is so tiring. We will have to take a break along the way too, and that will take more time. I want us to reach home by afternoon and eat lunch there,” Venki explained to Shyamali.

Riya’s Train Journey

“I know, but you know how our two boys are. Besides, they have become good friends with the Otter’s children Chintu and Mintu. They should be back soon, just you wait,” Shyamali consoled.

“I have a better idea. Let’s put all our things in the car. We’ll go over to the beach, pick up the kids and start for Nandavan,” Venki said.

Shyamali and Venki packed everything in the car, and drove to the beach. They spotted Blacky and Browny talking to their friends, Chintu and Mintu.



As Shyamali and Venki neared the children, Chintu and Mintu greeted them, and introduced their friends to them. “Uncle, aunty, this is Shweta, the swan, Kaku, the tortoise and Sonu, the fish,” said Chintu.

They greeted the children, and the children went back to their conversation. They had brought gifts for Blacky and Browny. Before Venki could ask the children to come, Chintu and Mintu’s parents Uday Singh and Billo also came there. They were carrying a package with them. They introduced themselves to Shyamali and Venki.

“The children informed us that you are all going to Nandavan today. We packed some seafood for the journey. Hope you like it.” Said Uday Singh.

“We do not get seafood in Nandavan, thank you so much!” said Venki. He really enjoyed seafood and his mouth had already started to water. “This is very kind of you. I hope it wasn’t too much trouble?”

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“Oh no, it is no trouble! Consider this a gift from us. We have plenty of seafood here.”

A thought crossed Venki’s mind: ‘It is so kind of this family to give us gifts. And there I was, getting angry at my children for taking so long to say goodbye to them.

“Venki,” said Uday Singh, bringing him back from his thoughts, “Why don’t you go keep the food in your car. That way you’ll be ready to leave as soon as the kids are done talking.”

Venki went over to his car to put the food in it, when he noticed that a tyre was completely flat. He figured that it must be punctured, and he set about changing the tyre.

Venki had changed tyres before, and it didn’t take him long to change the punctured tyre. He turned around, and was shaken by what he saw – a saltwater crocodile was creeping up behind Uday Singh and was about to eat him!

He had to think fast! Venki grabbed the nearest thing – the car jack – and ran towards the crocodile with great speed.

Uday Singh was astonished to see Venki do this. He turned around, and he too was frightened at the sight of the crocodile, who was almost about to eat him!

But, thankfully, by that time Venki had already reached the mouth of the crocodile and had put the car jack inside its mouth. No matter how hard the crocodile tried, it could not close its mouth! That gave Uday Singh and Venki enough time to escape, and take their families and the kids with them.

Somehow, the crocodile managed to spit out the jack and go back into the sea. But, thanks to Venki, everyone was safe and sound.


Aman Cooks Up a Solution 

It was a Saturday. Usually, Aman would be out playing with his best friend, Rohit. But today, he was busy in the kitchen. Since his mother was unwell, Aman had taken her place, preparing simple meals for his family. His little sister, Neelam, was the happiest.

“Aman, the aloo parathas you had packed for lunch yesterday was so yummy that all my friends gobbled it up within minutes. I had to make do with eating their lunches,” said Neelam.

“Ha ha! Next time, remind me to pack some extra for your friends as well,” said Aman. “I am happy that you have taken over the kitchen duties now. Imagine having to eat Dad’s boring bread and jam for a whole week like he made us eat last year when Mom had gone out of town!” said Neelam.

Dad, who had just walked into the kitchen, overheard Neelam’s comment and asked in mock anger, “Who is complaining about my cooking skills?”

“Not complaining, Dad, but just sighing in relief,” said Neelam cheekily.

The three laughed. Aman then prepared tea for his parents and served it to them.

“Thank you, Aman, for helping Dad with the housework while I have been unwell,” said Mom. “I hope it has not been too much trouble for you. Hope you are not missing out on your schoolwork because of this.”

Hip Hip Hurray

“Don’t worry, Mom. You just relax. I have more than enough time to study in the evenings,” said Aman.

That evening, Rohit dropped by to invite Aman over to play.

“I can’t come out now to play, Rohit. I am quite busy,” said Aman.

“You didn’t come out to play in the morning as well! Why are you wasting your time in the kitchen doing girlie things?” asked Rohit, making a face.

“It’s not a girlie thing to be in the kitchen, especially if you are pitching in with the housework when your mom is sick. Our moms do all the house chores for us without complaining. So, when they are unwell, it is our turn to help them without complaining,” said Aman.

Rohit gave it a thought and then said, “I guess you are right. I won’t trouble you anymore.”

In a couple of days, Aman’s mother recovered and took over the kitchen duties.

Aman continued to help around the kitchen by chopping the vegetables and kneading the dough. Mom taught him a few new recipes. Even Neelam helped with whatever little she could like washing the vegetables and peeling the skin of garlic pods and potatoes.

“Aman, now that I am well, you should start focusing on your studies again,” said Mom.

“I love cooking, Mom. It is fun and also helps me relax before I sit down to study, replied Aman.

A couple of months later, Aman, Neelam and their school friends were on their way to a day-long picnic organised by their school. The picnic spot was a few kilometres away from the city. Once they reached the picnic spot, the kids divided themselves into groups and began playing.

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Close to lunchtime, the teachers looked visibly worried. The cooks who were supposed to prepare the lunch had not reached as yet. The van they were travelling in had broken down. By the time they reach, it would be way past lunchtime, and the three teachers weren’t skilled at cooking for a large number of people.

While the teachers debated the options, Aman stepped forward and said, “If you do not mind, I can help you.”

“How? Do you know how to cook?” asked one of the teachers surprised.

“Yes! He cooked for us for a whole week when our mother was unwell,” said Neelam.

“And we will help in whatever way we can,” volunteered a few of Aman’s friends, including Rohit.

“Okay. There’s no harm in giving it a try,” said another teacher.

Aman divided his friends into groups and put each group in charge of a task—the first group washed and peeled the vegetables, the second group chopped them, and the third group helped grind spices and stir the pots in turns—all under the supervision of their teachers who handled the major portion of the cooking. To make it more fun, Aman and his friends sang songs and played word games as they cooked.

Within no time, lunch was ready! Even though it was simpler than the one planned for the picnic, everyone ate it with relish.

The next day, during assembly, the school principal appreciated the students for helping with the picnic lunch. He made a special mention of Aman for coming up with the idea and mobilising his friends.

The principal said, “Times have changed. Cooking is not a woman’s job anymore. Today, it is a basic skill that everyone needs to learn to be able to survive on their own. To encourage all the students to learn cooking, I plan to organise an annual cooking competition starting this year. Let’s schedule it for next month.”

Everyone cheered at the announcement. Neelam beamed at her brother with pride.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Many frogs lived in the Champakan pond. Kanduk was a jovial frog. He loved to make other frogs laugh.

One day, while Kanduk was entertaining his friends in the pond, King Sher Singh came there to have a bath. Unfortunately, the king stepped on one of Kanduk’s legs and it broke. Kanduk screamed in pain. The king immediately admitted him to the hospital for treatment.

The Minister of Laughs

Doctor Bhola, the bear had to replace Kanduk’s leg with a wooden leg. Kanduk practised using his artificial leg and soon got used to it. Now wherever he went, he would praise his wooden leg a lot.

Once Kanduk’s friend Champa, the squirrel was unwell. She was down with typhoid and was admitted to the hospital. When Kanduk heard about it, he went to visit her along with his brother Tandul.

More From Champak: Laugh all day

The hospital was crowded with patients and visitors. Kanduk decided to entertain all the patients and began narrating the story about his wooden leg. He said, “Having a wooden leg has its benefits. It cannot get injured and so does not pain!”

Then he called a patient and gave him a stick. “Hit and see.”

That patient, Uluk hit Kanduk’s leg with all his might. Kanduk started laughing. He said, “See, I didn’t get hurt.”

Everybody smiled looking at Kanduk.

After visiting Champa, Kanduk and Tandul returned home. Kanduk began stroking his leg. Seeing this, Tandul asked, “What happened?”

“Uluk hit me on my real leg by mistake. If I wouldn’t have laughed, how would I have brought smiles on so many faces? It was a small price to pay to make others laugh.” said Kanduk and laughed out loud.

Tandul was amazed and said “You are great! Kanduk. You can laugh despite the pain. Laughter is the best Medicine.”