Chess Set

It’s World Chess Day on July 20 – make your own chessboard and chess pieces to celebrate!

You will need: Black paper, white paper, scale, scissors, cutter, pencil and glue

How to make: 

1. Draw a border on the white square sheet and divide it into eight equal parts.

2. Similarly, divide the black chart paper into eight equal parts without a border and cut the strips.

3. Slit the white paper and weave the black strips on it like a mat.

4. Glue the edges. The chess board is ready.

5. For the pieces, cut strips of white paper and roll it.

6. For the king, roll a square and glue the ends. Cut two diamond shapes and glue them as shown.

7. For the queen, roll a square.

8. For the bishop, roll a long triangle, as shown.

9. For the knight, roll a wide triangle, as shown.

10. For the rook, roll a hexagon.

11. For the pawn, roll a square. Make white and black chess pieces.

There you go, your game is ready!



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!

Secret of the Trial Room

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Jagannath asked, “Is everything alright?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All of us,” said Satish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Krishnan went to the manager and told him everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunt for a Nest

Mikki mynah was getting restless to lay her eggs. Since she didn’t have a nest of her own, she set out in search of a suitable nest to lay them.

First, she went to Mili mynah and begged, “Mili, I am starting to have pains. Please allow me to lay eggs in your nest.”

“Oh no, Mikki, I can’t! I have to lay my eggs too and I do not have enough space in the nest for both our eggs,” apologised Mili. She was also annoyed with Mikki’s laziness. Mikki would not build her nest and every time asked to lay them in someone else’s.

Mikki then went over to the tree where Saini mynah lived with her husband.

“I’m sorry, Mikki that I can’t offer you space in my nest. My husband lives with me and I will be laying eggs in a few days too,” Saini stated her helplessness.

Disappointed, Mikki flew to Sonu mynah’s nest who lived on a banyan tree, at a short distance from there.

Mikki was surprised to see Sonu laying eggs in her nest. She knew there would be no space in Sonu’s nest for Mikki to lay her eggs, but since she was there Mikki asked formally, “What are you doing Sonu?”

“I am laying eggs,” replied Sonu from her nest.

“Oh! I just came by to see you. I shall leave now,” said Mikki and flew to a branch of a nearby peepal tree. Kalu crow was also sitting on one of the branches of the peepal tree and asked, “Mikki, you look upset. You want to tell me what is bothering you?”


“I have been looking for a nest to lay eggs with no success,” Mikki responded.

“Oh, you can lay your eggs in my nest. It is big and you can even sit on them till they hatch,” offered Kalu.

But, it did not take long for Mikki to understand what Kalu really wanted.

“Thank you, brother Kalu,” she expressed gratitude and flew away from there.

During the next hour, Mikki looked into each big and small tree in Shantivan but could not find an empty nest. And nobody allowed her to lay her eggs in their nests.

Feeling disappointed, Mikki flew further away from Shantivan. On the way, she saw a big shady tree and she flew and sat on one of its branches with hope in her heart.

Mitthu parrot was sitting on the same branch. There was a big empty nest on another branch of that tree.

Mikki saw the empty nest and asked Mitthu, “Brother Mitthu, whose nest is this? I am in urgent need of a nest right now.”

“What do you need it for?” asked Mitthu. “I have to lay eggs,” said Mikki.

“Don’t you have your own nest to lay eggs? This nest belongs to Shika eagle. You will be inviting death, if you lay eggs in it,” said Mitthu.

Hearing Shika’s name, Mikki immediately flew away from there to save her life.

A little distance from there Mikki saw a dry sal tree. She flew towards it and saw Bhura woodpecker there. Mikki expressed her need to find a nest to Bhura.

“Brother Bhura, I am in dire need of a nest. I have to lay eggs, but I don’t have a nest of my own. Can you peck a hole for me in this tree?”

“I cannot help you at this time because I am leaving for Khushalvan just now,” Bhura expressed his helplessness.

“Oh! What should I do now?” Mikki muttered to herself in despair.

Sensing her helplessness Bhura suggested, “Mikki, there is a cavity in the trunk of this sal tree. It belongs to Blacky snake, but he is staying in Kundanvan these days. It is difficult to say when he will come back and meanwhile, the hole is lying empty. If you want you can lay eggs there and sit on them while they hatch and then take your chicks somewhere safe.” Bhura then flew to Khushalvan after giving Mikki this suggestion.

Mikki saw that the cavity was neat and clean. It was perfect in terms of safety. She laid eggs with a carefree attitude in the cavity. Days passed while she waited for them to hatch. Mikki could not leave the eggs and go out to get food and she became weak with hunger and thirst.

When she could not bear it anymore, she flew out of the cavity to look for food and water. She was shocked to see Blacky snake in the cavity when she came back and started screaming seeing him.

Hearing her scream, other birds too came and screamed. Blacky heard them screaming and came out and asked, “Why are you all making so much noise?”

“This cavity is my home and I have laid my eggs in it and have been waiting for them to hatch,” said Mikki in a quivering voice.

“But this is my house. I had left this cavity while I was visiting Kundanvan,” Blacky challenged Mikki.

Suddenly Mikki remembered Bhura’s words. Bhura had told her that it was Blacky’s house. She became quiet after she realised that.

“But my eggs?” Mikki enquired.

“There were two eggs in the hole and I swallowed them as my reward,”
said Blacky.

Mikki was scared and she regretted her laziness. The other birds became quiet too.

“Mikki, it is unfair to lay your eggs in someone else’s nest or cavity. You
should lay eggs in your own nest,” said Boogi bulbul.

“But I don’t have a nest of my own that is why I laid my eggs here and was waiting for them to hatch. I am paying the price for my laziness and carelessness,” said Mikki in a sad voice.

“Have you learnt a lesson now?” said the swallow bird. Mikki then vowed that she would give up being lazy and careless and build her own nest and only then think of laying her eggs.

This was a new start for her.

Frog Paperweight

You will need: Red, white, green and black chart papers, scale, scissors, glue and an old coaster.

How to make: 





1. Cut 4 strips of green chart paper, each measuring 1.5cm.

2. Fold 1 green strip into a circle and stick the ends.

3. Fold 2 green strips into the shape of a teardrop and stick the ends.

4. Stick the two teardrop shapes and the circle, as shown in the picture. This will form the legs and body of the frog.

5. Fold the last green strip into a circle. Pinch any two corners of the circle to form the head of the frog.

6. Stick this to the frog’s body.

7. Cut strips of green, black and white chart papers. Fold them into a circle and stick it together for the frog’s eyes.

8. Stick the eyes on the head of the frog, as shown.

9. For the mouth, cut a red strip, fold it into a circle and pinch any two corners.

10. Glue it to the head to complete the paper frog. You can stick the frog on a coaster and use it as paperweight.


Try making this yourself at home! Send your creations to us at or take a photo and send it to us at +917042531377

How to stop your dogs from barking?

I adopted three dogs. My neighbours are complaining that they bark a lot. What should I do?

– Krish, 11 years old, Benguluru 


Aunt Maneka says, “Perhaps you should get a trainer who teaches them not to bark. Or you should look for the reason that makes them bark and then see how you can avoid that. If they bark a lot at night, let them exercise in the evening by going on long walks. Take them indoors and feed them a heavy meal so that they sleep at night.”



Why some birds can’t fly

9-year-old Raihanur from Rampurhat asked Aunt Maneka, “Why some birds can’t fly?

Aunt Maneka: Certain birds like chicken, ducks, and peacocks fly little because they are so heavy. Large birds like emus, ostriches, cassowaries, and penguins cannot fly for the same reason. Sometimes, bird sellers capture birds and pull out their flight feathers so they cannot fly. Sometimes, birds get hurt from kites or fall out of their nests and they can’t fly until they become well again and their feathers grow back.



If you have questions about pest/animals/birds, write to us at and we’ll ask Aunt Maneka.

Read more answers by Aunt Maneka.

How to help strays in winter

There are many street dogs around my house. They do not have a house, even in the cold. In such a situation, would it be safe to keep them in our house?

Bhoomi, Bikaner, Rajasthan

Aunt Maneka:

It would be wonderful if you could keep them safe and warm in your house. But if that is not possible, get large cardboard boxes and put them against your wall on their sides so that dogs can sit in them. If you can make permanent kennels against your wall so that dogs can keep warm in there at night. You could put newspapers for them to sit on in the boxes. I suggest you feed them well at night so that they feel less cold. If you have a good veterinarian you should get them sterilized one at a time so that no puppies are born to suffer.

Read more answers by Aunt Maneka.

If you have questions about pets, write to us on

Surviving winters

During winter, we wear sweaters to keep us warm. Sometimes, we also light a fire. But, unlike us, the wood frog freezes itself to escape the harsh weather.

The wood frog, found in North America, is known to freeze through winter. It organs pump water that fills up every little cavity in the body. Gradually, 65 percent of the water turns into ice. Subsequently, the frog’s breathing and hearing stop. 

The fogs have a substance in its body that lower the freezing temperature, preventing them from completely becoming frozen and dying. During the frozen hibernation, the frog’s body temperature remains between -1°C and -6°C. Moreover, the metabolism of the frog drops, helping it survive without food.

During spring, when the temperature raises, the ice inside the frog’s body melts. The water flows back into the cells and blood starts flowing again. Slowly, the frog returns to its normal state.

Building Cities

Human civilization has constructed cities for many years. For the longest time, it was believed that humans were the only ones capable of building them. However, scientists recently discovered a species of octopus tetricus build cities too.

Octopus tetricus, a species of octopus, is found around the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. They have built two cities, Octlaantis and Octopolis, off the coast of Australia. The walls of the cities are made from clam and scallop shells. Around 10-16 octopuses live in each city.

It was always assumed that octopuses liked living alone and interacted with other members of their species only when it was mating season. However, these cities prove these animals like mixing with each other. They also build their houses close to one another, just like we humans live next to our neighbours.

Scientists think the octopuses have built their houses at these locations because of the availability of plentiful food. Both locations also have some land formations jutting out of the ocean floor, providing the octopuses with some protection from predators, like sharks.

Want to read about other animals that are similar to humans? We think you’ll like this article!

Scintillating Sapna

Sapna was the monitor of class 7A. She was active and chirpy as a parrot. Ever willing to lend a helping hand to her classmates, she was the joy of her class.

Anyone who had any issue or wanted to solve any problem came to Sapna for a solution. This was because, according to Sapna, “Wherever a problem exists, the solution also exists. You just have to persist.” This earned her the tag of ‘Scintillating Sapna’.

The final exams were just two months away. It was recess time and Krisha, Hrithika, Aisha, Vaibhav, Kiran and Michael were looking tense. Sapna, who had just finished some work that the class teacher, Ms. Fernandes, had given her, walked into class. “What’s up? Has the sky fallen or is there going to be a tsunami?” she asked, trying to lighten the situation.

“Sapna, Why do we even have exams? It’s so boring to study, and give exams every year,” complained Krisha.

“Yes. Sapna. What are they for? Why can’t they just give us marks for our understanding of the subject?” asked Kiran.

“That would make things so much easier for us. Also, the teachers will not have to correct so many answer papers,” said Hrithika.

Michael, who loved nature, said, “Yes. It would save so much paper. We have to think of nature conservation first, not exams.”

Vaibhav, who was a voracious reader, said, “I would be able to read so many interesting novels, rather than delve deep into the geography of hills and mountains I would never explore.”

Aisha, who loved trekking, glared at him. “I love geography. I would throw a rock at you for saying such things. The hills and mountains are so beautiful. It is interesting to know about the type of rocks, trees and the topography of regions.”

Sapna smiled at them. She said, “Oh…so that’s it. The exam monster has attacked you. That’s why you are all looking tense.”

She then sat down with them. She continued, “Ok, I have an idea. Let’s make our studies interesting.”

To this, Vaibhav said, “Nothing can make me love geography.” Aisha looked at him in anger.

Michael, who loved the subject English and also nature, said poetically,

“Take me to a park, or a playground, Take me outside in nature, Everything is over there, All the poetry of English, All the problems of Maths, All the mysteries of Science, All the forts in History or All the mountains in Geography.”

Krisha laughed and said, “He plans to travel the world, when the exams are coming nearer!” The rest of them also started laughing and the atmosphere lightened.

“Okay, Sapna, tell us how we can make our studies interesting,” said Kiran.

“Yes. After all, studies do take up most of our time. It would be good to make it interesting,” said Hrithika.

All of them were all ears for Sapna. She was, after all, ‘Scintillating Sapna’.

Sapna said, “Look, let’s set up weekly goals for our studies. More important, let’s help each other clear doubts. None of us is an expert in all subjects, but each of us does like a particular subject more than the others.”

Krisha said, “That’s true. I like History very much.”

“So you could be the group head for History. Michael could be the head for English. Aisha shall be the group head for geography… and so on. If any of the group heads are not able to clear a particular doubt, then we shall meet and clear the doubt from the respective subject teachers,” said Sapna.

Vaibhav said, “That’s a good idea. It’s time I delved deep into my school books rather than my novels.”

Sapna announced in class about the group. She told the whole class to form different study groups, and see that no student was left out.

Each student was now filled with energy and hope. They prepared their own study charts, set up weekly goals, and looked forward to seeing each other’s progress in studies.

The teachers were also told about the study groups and they were very happy about it.

Earlier the students were looking tired, dull and tense. Now, they had got back their zest for life, all sparked by the bubbly Sapna.

Sapna said, “Let us try to understand what we read, then it makes writing the answers easier. Let’s compete with ourselves, so that we can better the marks we got in our previous exam.”

Vaibhav, who almost always got the highest marks, said in an amused tone, “Sapna, can I get 51 out of 50?”

The rest of them laughed. Sapna also laughed. She said, “By trying to improve our own marks, at least, we won’t be trying to get each other’s throats!”

All the students in the class were very happy. “I think we do require a name for our group. What shall we call them? Any suggestions?” asked Sapna.

A voice came from a girl who usually spoke less, but loved doing Karate… “The Stress Busters.” It was Disha, who packed the last punch.

Exam fever was now lesser and all the students had written their exams with confidence and with much less stress.

The results showed a marked improvement from the previous term. They had all passed in every subject and many more students had come into the merit list. Together, they had helped each other succeed.

All the children in the class were happy. Krisha said to Sapna, “You truly are scintillating. Studies don’t seem to be boring anymore.”

The teachers praised the class for their whole-hearted group effort in studying.

‘The Stress Busters’ group were a hit. They set an example for the other classes, who were inspired by them to form such groups in their classes too.

Money On A Tree?

“Money on a tree?” asked everyone. Blacky bear had been telling the animals about this. They knew about flowers and fruits growing on trees, but this was the first time they’d heard someone mention trees on which money grew.

“I don’t believe a word of what Blacky said. He’s trying to fool us,” said
Jumpy monkey.

“If he had asked us to get money, I’d have thought that he was fooling us. But he is offering us such a tree in return for some help. Why do you think he’s playing a prank?” asked Dora.

Jumpy could not answer Dora. He decided to get a money tree and went to see Blacky.

“Though I hate even the thought of doing work, I should get this wonderful money tree. Then I’ll just relax and rest throughout my life,” thought Damru donkey.

Behind Blacky’s house was a large plot of unused land that could be used as a farm but the land was uneven and full of gravel and stones. It needed a lot of work for it to be ready for farming. Blacky spoke to the animals in the forest about his farming idea. But most of the animals didn’t want to work, so nobody offered to help Blacky. That’s when he got this bright idea to offer money trees to all helpers!

Very soon, there was a long queue of animals at Blacky’s door. Blacky was excited to see them.

“If your promise turns out to be false, we’ll bury you right here in this ground. To get a tree on which money grows, we can dig not just this piece of land but the entire forest,” Zimba leopard roared.

“Stop worrying about that and quickly start working. We have very little time,” said Blacky, looking up at the cloudy sky.

The animals got out their spades and hoes and began digging. Some removed stones, while others made the surface smooth. The barren, rocky land became a smooth plot, fit for farming.

“Now you all may go home. After exactly two months, you’ll get your money trees,” Blacky thanked the animals and they left.

After they had gone, Blacky sowed seeds of various fruits and vegetables in the soil. After some time, it started raining.

In a few weeks, the whole field was lush green. The grain was swaying in the wind and the place was full of fruits and vegetables.

Blacky took the harvest to the market and sold everything. He kept aside the money and waited. At the end of two months, the animals came to him. “Blacky, where are our money trees?” they asked impatiently.

“They are here, right in front of you. Why don’t you see for yourself?” Blacky showed them the swaying plants. “And yes, money has already started growing on these trees. Here it is.”

Blacky distributed the profits he made by selling the crop. The animals now understood that the flowers and fruits that grew on trees are what got converted into money trees and that hard work is the first step to success.

Golu’s Wisdom

Golu elephant was enjoying his bananas when his friends Zebu zebra and Honey deer arrived and said, “Come Golu, let’s play.”

“Yes, let’s. What shall we play today?” asked Golu.

“The weather is pleasant and cloudy. Let’s play catch me if you can,” suggested Honey.

Just then, Sona duck and Casty tortoise arrived.

“This is not the time to play! We have just heard on the news that in the next one or two days, heavy rains and thunderstorms are expected in our forest,” said Sona.

“Golu, last year when it rained heavily, remember that the low lying areas of our forest were underwater. Trees also fell due to the storms, which led to big losses,” said Casty.

“Yes, you are right. We should do something so that we don’t face such loss again!” said Golu.

“Golu, your father is the king of the forest. Tell him and he will take care of everything,” suggested Zebu.

“That’s the problem. He has some work and is not in the forest for a few days,” Golu replied.

“Now what can we do?” asked Honey, worried.

“We will definitely do something,” said Golu. “Let’s go to Prime Minister Gingy Rhino.”

They all went immediately to Gingy. “Gingy uncle,” began Golu. “Heavy rains and thunderstorms are expected in our forest.”

“How do you know?” asked Gingy, looking at the clouds with a worried look.

“It was on the news a while ago,” Sona said.

Before Gingy could think of anything, Golu said, “Uncle, shall we set up relief camps in the upper areas of the forest and shift the residents of the lower areas there to safeguard them?”

“That’s a very good idea. I will get people working on it immediately,” Gingy said.

“We will also help you,” said the kids and joined Gingy.

In the next two days, the animals living in the lower areas were shifted to the relief camps in the upper areas.

Golu and his friends helped Gingy a lot. By the time the job was done, it had started to drizzle. Soon, the drizzle became a heavy shower. It rained heavily for two days. Right through that, Golu kept visiting the camps to check if the food and other arrangements were in place and that nobody had any troubles.

After two days, the rain stopped and the sky cleared. Golu’s friends were happy. “Come Golu. Let’s play today!”

“It’s still not time to play,” said Golu. “We have some work left.”

“Work? But everyone is safe. The sky is clear. What is left now?” asked Zebu.

“When I visited the relief camps, some of the animals told me that their friends were missing. But because of the rain, I couldn’t do anything. But now that the weather is good, we need to find them. Who knows where and in what condition they are in!” said Golu.

First, Golu asked the crows to help. “Fly in different directions. See if anyone is stuck anywhere and tell us,” he instructed them. Then he and his friends went to hunt for the missing people.

After walking for some distance, Golu came across a place filled with water. In the middle of that was a squirrel sitting on a stone, shivering. “Sona, in so much water, we don’t know where there could be stones and pits, so I can’t go there. Since you know how to swim, you go and bring the squirrel,” said Golu.

Sona immediately got into the water and reached the squirrel. The little creature was wet and shivering and seemed to have a fever. “Come, sit on my back and I will take you to safety,” said Sona, and the squirrel could barely climb on.

In no time, Sona was back to her friends with the squirrel. Golu picked up the squirrel with his trunk and placed her on his back. They went to Dr Babloo bear who was taking care of people in the relief camp.

Babloo immediately examined the squirrel. “There is no need to worry.

She has a fever because she got wet. And because she has had no food or water,
she is very weak. By tomorrow, with food, water, and medicine, she will be a lot better.”

Just then, Kaku crow flew in. “There are people stuck on the cliff near the old banyan tree,” he said. “They are wet and scared.”

“How many are stuck there?” asked Golu.

“Maybe 20 or 25,” replied Kaku.

“They may be in the same condition as a squirrel. Till the water settles, we will not be able to bring them here. So we will have to take food, water, medicines, and warm clothes to them,” said Golu.

Immediately, the eagles and crows took those items to the people on the cliff. That was a huge relief to those who were stuck. For the next three or four days, Golu made sure that food items were sent to the cliff regularly. Meanwhile, everyone was taken care of in the relief camp as well.

Finally, the water level went down and all the animals were rescued. Golu got the entire place cleaned. Dr Babloo made sure everyone was vaccinated against diseases spread by infected water. People started moving back to their homes and were advised to boil water before drinking.

King Gajraj also returned to the forest and heard about the entire incident. “Golu, I have heard about how, in my absence, you and your friends carried out the relief work during the floods. I am proud of you.” Golu smiled and hugged him

Wise Cheeku

Shersingh lion was the king of Champakan. He tried to do the best for the animals of the jungle, who were very happy with their king. Whenever someone had difficulty, they would go to King Shersingh, who would listen patiently and solve their problem.

Blacky bear was the Health Minister of Champakvan. He was proud and did not talk nicely to others. He did not respect anyone and felt that all the other animals were inferior to him. Baddy fox, Jumpy monkey and Kimi koel would flatter him and say things to please him. They did whatever Blacky asked, and in return, took benefit of his being a minister.

One evening, Blacky, dressed in fine clothes, with perfume on him, went for a walk by the riverside. There he saw Henko hyena with others, taking things out of a garbage dump and eating them, even though there was a foul smell coming from the garbage.

Seeing Blacky, Henko greeted him but proud Blacky did not return the greeting.

“What awful stench!” said Jumpy monkey, covering his nose with a handkerchief.

“Because of this stench, fragrance of the expensive perfume that Blacky sir sprayed on him is no longer there.”

“I hate to look at his ugly face,” said Kimi koel pointing at Henko. “I wonder how they can eat filthy!”

“Such ugly creatures in our beautiful Champakvan! These dirty animals spread filth, ugliness and diseases in our forest,” said Baddy fox.

“They are blemishes in our beautiful Champakvan,” said Jumpy monkey.

“How can they do this in front of our honourable minister! Look how they are chewing and enjoying the bones,” said Baddy looking at Henko and then pointing him to Blacky.

“You are right,” said Blacky. “These low-class animals are a disgrace to our society. They have no right to live in Champakvan.”

Covering his nose with his hands, Blacky went to Henko hyena and said, “You all must immediately leave Champakvan!”

“Your Highness, why should we leave? What have we done?” asked Henko
in astonishment.

“You all are ugly and live in filth. You eat dirty things and because of you, disease will spread in Champakvan. If you do not leave immediately, you will be punished,” said Blacky arrogantly.

Henko had no choice and left Champakvan with his companions.

But in a few days, diseases started spreading in Champakvan. One after the other, everyone started falling sick. There was confusion everywhere. There was hardly a family that did not have a sick member in the house.

When King Shersingh came to know that the residents of his kingdom were falling sick, he became concerned and asked the medical teams to immediately treat the sick. But animals continued to fall sick. There seemed to be no end. The sickness became an epidemic.

King Shersingh called the Health Minister, Blacky bear.

“Sir, we should leave Champakvan and start living in another forest. The epidemic cannot be controlled by our medical team,” advised Blacky.

“But we cannot abandon our animals in this condition and run away!” said
King Shersingh.

The wise Cheeku rabbit also lived in Champakvan and was concerned about the sudden epidemic. He wanted to know the reason behind it and took a tour of the whole forest. He saw dead bodies of different animals everywhere, with worms, maggots and germs growing on them.

Cheeku had never seen something like this before. When animals died in Champakvan, hyenas ate them and ensured that there were no dead bodies rotting. He remembered his friend Henko hyena, whom he had not seen for a long time. He went to look for him but he couldn’t find him anywhere. He met Kallu crow at the riverside.

“Who are you looking for, Cheeku?” Kallu asked.

“Friend, Henko hyena is not to be seen anywhere,” said Cheeku. “Have you seen him?”

“Oh, Henko? Minister Blacky insulted and threw him out of Champakvan about two months ago. Henko and all the hyenas went to Sundarvan,” Kallu said.

“What?” Cheeku exclaimed, now understanding the reason for the epidemic.

Cheeku immediately went to King Shersingh and shared this information with him.

“Your Majesty, Henko and the other hyenas never harmed anyone. They are scavengers who eat dead animals. Since they are not here, diseases are spreading. Hyenas consume all parts of the dead bodies. They eat all rotten and decayed things. When hungry, they even eat leather boots, bones, different types of filth, foul-smelling corpses, even those with worms and germs, that can spread diseases. In this way, they keep our forest clean and disease-free.”

King Shersingh asked Cheeku to go to Sundarvan and bring back Henko and
his friends.

Henko and his companions were happy to come back to their home and immediately got busy cleaning the forest. The epidemic was halted and the animals started recovering.

King Shersingh was pleased with Henko and rewarded him by making him the Health Minister. Cheeku was appointed the court Counselor in appreciation of his wisdom.

Blacky was asked to resign and think about how he could help the animals without being arrogant.

A Petty Fight

Sadhana and Vandana were best friends. Both studied in class III. They were always together, living in homes, opposite to each other.

One day, Sadhana was in her garden, when she saw a colourful butterfly sitting on a rose. She ran to catch it, but the butterfly flew away. It kept fluttering from one flower to another, sometimes landing on the trees. Sadhana kept running after it, but could not catch it.

After a while, Vandana came to the garden. She saw Sadhana jumping and running around. “What are you doing, Sadhana?” she asked.

Sadhana whispered, with a finger on her lips, “Shhh… The butterfly will fly away.” Meanwhile, the butterfly had once again flown and sat on top of a guava tree.

“Just sit quietly. The butterfly will come down on the grass,” said Vandana.

“Okay, let’s wait for it,” Sadhana agreed.

The butterfly flew again, fluttering around, came and sat on the green grass. Vandana promptly took out her handkerchief, placing it on top of the butterfly and gently caught it.

“Come on, give me the butterfly,” said Sadhana.

“Look, there’s another one there. You can catch that. This one is mine,” Vandana said pointing to another butterfly.

“No way! I have been after this one, for so long! Give it to me, it’s mine!” Sadhana replied.

“But I caught it! So, it’s mine now!” said Vandana.

“No, I want it!” Sadhana was adamant.

“Ok! Then go and catch it,” said Vandana and released the butterfly from her hand. It flew up high and disappeared. Sadhana looked at Vandana in disbelief.

“I will not talk to you anymore!” said Sadhana angrily. “Our friendship is over!”
“Fine, I also don’t want to talk to you either! I too, break my friendship with you!” Vandana declared and walked away.

Both went home angry. For some time, they remained upset with each other and
did not care about their broken friendship.

But after a couple of days, they were anxious and wanted to talk to each other again. However, neither wanted to take the first step. Both wanted the other one,
to talk.

Sadhana and Vandana tried to show that they had new friends and were happy playing with them, but they were unable to enjoy without each other. They would slyly look at each other and when their eyes met, they would quickly turn away.

Now, they couldn’t tolerate the pain of being apart any longer.

“Mummy, Vandana doesn’t speak to me anymore,” Sadhana said to her mother.

“Why? Did you both fight?” asked her mother.

“Yes, we were catching a butterfly in the garden. She caught my butterfly and took it. That’s why we broke our friendship,” explained Sadhana.

“What? Why were you catching butterflies again? I had told you not to do that! Butterflies are garden fairies. They are the life of a vibrant garden,” said her mother.

“Sorry, mummy. I will remember that and not trouble them again.

But please tell Vandana to talk to me,” Sadhana pleaded.

“I can’t tell her. You should tell her, that, yourself,” said her mother.

“No. I do not want to be the one taking the first step. That will show I am weaker than her.”

Meanwhile, Vandana made the same request to her mother.

“Mummy, tell Sadhana to be friends with me again and heal our broken friendship,” said Vandana.

“Why don’t you tell her directly? Oh, I get it. You think, it will be an insult if you take the first step,” teased her mother.

“No, no… I don’t want to show her that I need her friendship and that I am sad without her,” Vandana said.

The next day, Vandana was passing by a shop when she noticed Sadhana buying something. Both of them saw each other and quickly turned their faces away.

Feeling bad about this incident, Vandana went home, sad. In the evening Sadhana’s mother came to Vandana’s house.

“Why don’t I pretend to be sick? Sadhana will surely come to visit me.” Vandana covered herself with a quilt and lay on bed.

Seeing her lying down, Sadhana’s mother asked her, “Why are you in bed? Are
you unwell?”

“Aunty, I have a cold and my head is aching. I feel sick,” Vandana, put on an act.

Vandana’s mother touched her head. “But you don’t have a fever. Wait, I’ll give you a pill, for your headache,” she said.

“Get well soon, Vandana,” wished Sadhana’s mother and left.

On reaching home, she told Sadhana about Vandana’s sickness. As soon as Sadhana heard this, she came running to see her best friend. On seeing Sadhana, Vandana threw the quilt and jumped out of bed.

“You were not feeling well. Are you ok?” asked Sadhana concerned about her friend.

“I was not well, because we fought. But now you are here and talking to me, I feel perfectly fine!” replied Vandana, hugging her friend.

“Oh! So, this was a trick! You pretended to be sick to heal our broken friendship,” Sadhana laughed.

World Wetlands Day

February 2 is World Wetlands Day.

Circle the following animals hidden in the Sunderbans: Crab, Tiger, Mongoose, Crocodile, Moniter Lizard, Water Snake, Monkey, Kingfisher, Tortoise and Pelican

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on February 13. This day is observed to make people aware of the importance of radio – a powerful and low-cost medium, specifically suited to reach remote communities.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bunny, the cat’s school teacher had told the students about Valentine’s Day that is celebrated on 14th February every year and it is a day to express love for near and dear ones. Bunny was thrilled when she came to know about this.

Coming back from school, Bunny sat down to decide to who she should gift a greeting card as a Valentine gift. Bunny’s grandmother was nearby.

Bunny said, “Dadi, can you help me? I was thinking about who should be my Valentine?”

Dadi suggested that Bunny should show gratitude towards people who she learns from. She said, “Bunny your friends, teachers, relatives and family members can be your Valentine. It helps you…”

“Dadi! Please don’t disturb me. My teacher has already told us everything,” Bunny interrupted her Dadi, making a face.

“Okay, dear. But let me know once you finish,” said Dadi leaving Bunny alone.

“Shall I make a card for my friend Sofie who sits beside me? No. She didn’t show her new compass box to me.”

“Shall I give a gift to Jimmy? Na! Na! He pulls my tail every now and then,” Bunny murmured to herself.

“Bunny, I am leaving for your aunt’s house. I will be back tomorrow morning. Don’t trouble Dadi,” said Bunny’s mother and left.

“Mom. I know. I will take care of myself. Please don’t disturb me,” fumed Bunny.

A few hours had passed since her mother left, and Bunny was still engrossed in making her special valentine card and deciding on who to give.

“Shall I gift it to Dadi? But last week only I had given her a birthday gift. Now I should think of someone else,” thought Bunny to herself.

She had gone over all the names of her friends, but Bunny was still unable to settle on any one name. By now it was evening.

Bunny came to the balcony to take a break. She saw the sun and waved it goodbye. She kept gazing at the sun for a long time. She felt a sense of loneliness as the darkness increased. She could not understand what was bothering her.

Bunny looked up at the sky. The birds were flying hurriedly to their home and the children waiting for them. Seeing the birds, Bunny too started missing her mother.

Bunny decided to spend some time with her Dadi; and sat on the sofa watching her favourite show on television. But nothing seemed to make her happy. Dadi served her favourite ice cream, but Bunny was not interested. She had never been silent before.

Bunny had never lived without her mother for a single day. She was used to seeing her mother taking care of her, loving her, making her favourite dishes, taking up homework and all other things with her.

“Oh, mom! Where are you? I am missing you a lot. Please come back soon,” Bunny said aloud.

“I have taken you for granted. I’m so sorry mom. I love you,” Bunny realised her deepest love for her mom that day.

The next morning when her mother came back, Bunny ran as fast as she could and snuggled into her. She didn’t utter a word.

Her mother patted her lovingly but was curious to know what happened to Bunny.

Then she saw a greeting card in Bunny’s hand.

She removed and started reading, “To my dearest mom, Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you a lot. But please don’t leave me alone again. Yours, Bunny.”

Bunny’s mother hugged her and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dear.
I love you too.”

Furu’s Valentine!

Today was February 14, Valentine’s Day.

Furu fox was walked around Champakvan, holding many heart-shaped red balloons by their strings in his hands.

He saw Jovi rabbit with Biklu bear and stopped to greet them.

“What’s up, Furu?” asked Jovi.

“Apart from the balloons, of course!” joked Biklu. “Why are you carrying so many balloons?” he asked.

“These are for my sweet friends on this sweet day,” said Furu and bowed.

“I am going to get diabetes, because of so much sweetness!” joked Jovi.

“My heart is fluttering,” said Biklu, theatrically.

“Each of these balloons is a token of my love,” said Furu and bowed again.

“Be careful, Jovi. Furu is behaving out of character,” Biklu whispered to Jovi.

Furu gave one balloon each to Jovi and Biklu saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!” and went his way.

Then Furu met Lovina boar, Tara tortoise, and Leo tiger, who were all arguing.

“Hey, break it off, everyone! Here, a small gift from me to all of you,” said Furu, handing each of them one of the heart-shaped balloons.

“I am off to distribute more of these balloons to my other friends in the jungle,” said Furu, bidding them goodbye.

All the animals enjoyed playing with their balloons.

“Funny! It’s unlike Furu to be so sweet and lovable,” said Leo.

“Maybe Furu has mended his crooked ways,” said Lovina.

Just then, Leo’s balloon slipped out of his hand and went up in the air!

“Aaahh…my balloon!” cried Leo.

Tara immediately caught hold of it but pressed it too tightly. The balloon burst and its shreds fell on all of them.

Leo was heartbroken when his balloon burst.

Soon, his nose started twitching and he started sneezing loudly.

Aachoo! Aachoo! Sneezes followed and soon Lovina and Tara joined the sneeze frenzy.

“Aachoo! What’s the matter? Aachoo! I fail to…” said Tara between sneezes.

Jovi and Biklu came there, and they too were sneezing every few seconds.

“Aachoo! You all too! Why are we all sneezing so…aa aa choo!?” Jovi sneezed before he could complete his sentence.

“…much?” said Biklu completing Jovi’s question.

“Aachoo! Nobody knows. Is there something in the air?” Tara asked between sneezes.

“We started sneezing right after Furu gifted us the balloons,” said Jovi.

“Wasn’t that a nice gesture from Furu? Where are your balloons? Mine burst,” Leo said sadly, as he sneezed.

“My balloon burst too!” replied Jovi, with another sneeze.

“And then the sneezing started!” said Biklu suddenly.

“That’s right! Only after Leo’s balloon burst, we too started sneezing,” said Tara.

“Do you think Furu put something in the balloons that caused us to sneeze?” asked Lovina.

“I may just know how to find that! Tara and Lovina, please give me your balloons,” said Biklu.

He took the balloons and inspected them carefully, bursting one of them. After a few seconds, the animals started neezing again. Biklu’s suspicion was confirmed.

Then, Biklu unknotted the other balloon slowly and let out the air. Powder-like particles came out of the balloon.

Leo sniffed the powder and gave out a loud sneeze!

“Sneezing powder! FURRRUUUU…wait till I catch you!” roared Leo.

Just then, they heard someone laughing, followed by complete silence.

Biklu looked at the bushes to see if Furu was hiding behind of them and
found a handkerchief on the ground.

He showed it to others. They all realised that Furu had been hiding behind the bushes and had run away. They were all furious at Furu.

“That notorious prankster! He will pay for this,” Leo roared again.

“But how?” asked Tara.

“Let’s take the help of Sona hyena. She is new to the forest, Furu will not suspect her,” said Biklu and shared his plan with everyone. After hearing him out, the animals had a good laugh.

“I can’t wait to see Furu’s face once he is caught in our plan,” said Jovi.

“Just wait!” promised Biklu.

They all went to Sona and requested her to help them teach Furu a lesson. Sona agreed. As planned, Sona took a gift box to Furu and the other animals followed her discreetly.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Furu!” she said on meeting him.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Sona!” Furu wished her back.

“I have a gift for you,” said Sona.

“What is it?” asked Furu, excitedly.

“Chocolates!” said Sona, gifting him the box.

“They are my favourite! Thank you, Sona!” gushed Furu.

“Please enjoy them,” said Sona and went her way.

Sona ran and joined the others who were hiding behind the bushes.

Furu opened the box, picked a piece of chocolate and put it in his mouth. Immediately, he felt his mouth was on fire!

“Aaaaarrrgggg…water…!” he cried out as he dropped the box and ran towards the nearby lake, to drink water to cool down his burning mouth.

“Chilli flavoured chocolates made Furu run for water,” said Jovi.

All the animals burst out laughing. But Sona was sad.

“Hey, Sona. Cheer up! We paid him back his way,” said Tara.

“I feel bad. I want to apologise to Furu,” said Sona.

“Oh well, ok then! Come on, let’s go and gift Furu a box of real chocolates,” agreed Jovi.

They all headed to the lake where Furu was busy gulping down mouthfuls
of water.

“That was a mean trick,” cried out Furu.

“So was yours, Furu! But let’s forgive and forget. This is a small gift for you to show you that we care,” said Tara, giving him the box of chocolates.

After a moment’s hesitation, Furu took the box and ate one of the chocolates. He apologised to them as well and shared the chocolates, hugging all of them.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” they all wished each other.

Our Republic Day!

Neel was very excited. He had been selected to take part in the Republic Day parade at his school’s function.

Neel gave this news to his father and told him that from next week, he will have to stay back after school for parade practice.

Neel’s father was very happy for him. Although Neel was happy about being able to participate, he wanted to know why Republic day was celebrated on 26th January and not any other date.

“Father, we got freedom on 15th August, 1947. That’s why we celebrate Independence Day on that day every year, but then why do we celebrate Republic Day on 26th January?” he asked.

Father replied, “Oh! That’s a good question dear son, but let me ask you
one question before answering. Have you heard about the Constitution of

Neel said, “Yes father, we have a lesson about the Constitution of India in our Civics book.”

“My dear boy, our Constitution came into force on 26th January 1950. To mark that day, we celebrate Republic Day on 26th January,” replied Father.

“Dad, why the date 26th January only and no other date?” asked Neel.

“26th January was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the declaration of Indian independence or Purna Swaraj was adopted by the Indian National Congress all across the country,” explained Father.

Father asked, “Do you know about Dr B. R. Ambedkar? He is the father of the Constitution along with 15 members.”

Neel added he knew that Dr Ambedkar was the father of the Indian Constitution and also India’s first law minister.

Neel was still curious to know about how Republic Day was actually celebrated.

“The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India. The ceremonious parades are performed as a tribute to India; its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage. The parade in its present form has been going on since 1955 and the head of state or government of another country is invited as the guest of honour,” said Neel’s father.

“Oh, that’s great,” said Neel.

Looking at Neel’s interest and curiosity, his father then asked, “Have you heard about the Beating Retreat ceremony?”

Neel was surprised. This was the first time he had heard about this. “No,” he said. “What is it?”

“Beating Retreat is a traditional ceremony that marks the end of the Republic Day celebrations. It is held on the evening of 29th January. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military – the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force,” said Neel’s father.

Neel hugged his dad and said that he will share this information with his classmates as well.

Indian Army Day!

Indian Army Day is celebrated on January 15, in recognition of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army.
Observe the picture and answer the questions.

  1. Which day is being celebrated?
  2. What is the name of the memorial in front of which, soldiers are marching?
  3. In which city is Amar Jawan Jyoti located?