The little story teller


I’m sharing a couple of stories  written by Varun. His stories seem to be inspired from several sources, his dreams being one such source:) I have punctuated here and there, but have left the text unedited:)  Pictures of the original are attached.

The Ghost and the Zombie

One man wanted money. So villagers gave toothpick and he spent lot money with the toothpick. Every night it will be a ghost night. Villagers try to kill him but the rich man shooted the villages and one ghost night the villagers became ghosts and the rich man was a police. The ghosts touch “the” police and police became a ghost and god watched everything and ghost tuch (touch) the god and they became a ghost.

(The / end)

PS: When asked to explain the toothpicks connection, he says that they are magic ones that turn into money when water is sprinkled on them

Fishing for food

Once there lived a deer hunter. He wanted (to) go for fishing. He went and found 10000 fishes. He tried to eat and next day the deer hunter was strong.

The end

(This one comes with a moral too)

Moral: if you eat good food, you will be strong.

In Bon Bibi’s Forest


The boys and I were lucky to meet three stars on one platform- author Sandhya Rao, illustrator Proiti Roy, and the super story-teller Craig Jenkins. Spring & Zoom (where Vyas attends a workshop), had arranged the event and Vyas and I were looking forward to it.

It was a work-day evening and I had to literally rush home to pick up the two boys and hit the venue in time, and we almost made it. Craig Jenkins had begun his story-telling of Ramayana and we missed the first 10 mins:( We got to listen to the story of Bon Bibi fully. His voice and actions had the kids and adults hooked till the end! So much that Varun and his friend Shruti (from his play school) were paying attention too without fidgeting, and what’s more, Varun was having a ball imitating the actions by Craig which included making a face like ‘Dokkhin Rai’, grunting like one, and also threatening to tear me with the imaginary claws:)

It was a treat to say Hi! to Sandhya Rao and Vyas was super excited to get his copy of the book autographed by Sandhya, Proity, and Craig:) Chrishelle David from Tulika was around over-seeing the proceedings. Varun did a ‘Hi’ and hi-five to Craig and then followed a ruckus.. He wanted the tea that Craig was having and wouldn’t end the tantrum even after reaching home.. Before the others got to judge my poor parenting of initiating a child into the ‘tea-habit’, I scooted out of the venue with Vyas in tow! But all that was after the event:)

The Event

The book launch was organzied by Binita & Gargi of Spring & Zoom, a Centre for Literary Arts, Chennai.

The Book

The Book

Title: In Bon Bibi’s Forest
Author: Sandhya Rao
Illustrator: Proity Roy
Publisher: Tulika

The story

Dokkhin Rai, a monster with striped skin, sharp claws and teeth, ready for the kill, terrorizes the settlements bordering Sundarban. The locals live in mortal fear of falling a prey to Dokkhin Rai’s hunger and anger. It is then that Bon Bibi, and her lost and found brother, Shah Jhongoli take it upon themselves to protect the people and other lives in the forest.. Why does Dokkhin Rai terrorize the people? Will he mend his ways? Are Bon Bibi and Shah Jhongoli successful in taming the wild monster? Read the story to find out more!

The kids and I have fallen in love with this book and the little one enjoys when it is read aloud to him:) What has caught our fancy is the names of the characters with a distinct Bangla touch. If Varun knows a monster, its only Dokkhin Rai now! With the lush forests of Sundarban as the back-drop, Sandhya Rao has doled out a beautiful mix of mythology and a message which the kids can relate to so well. The story is supported by brilliant illustrations by Proity. If you want to tell your kids about co-existence, environment conservation and mutual non-interference, this book is a great fit!

Read more about what inspired the story of Bob Bibi’s Forest on the Tulika’s blog here.

Pictures: Courtesy- Spring & Zoom

The Kite (..contd)


Read Part I

Part II

Lallu always felt that she could not thank Suma and the family enough for the kindness and support they have been extending to her ever since her husband left them. She was more than just a maid in the household. Suma took care of the schooling expense and whenever she shopped for clothes or toys, she remembered to buy stuff for Gopu. She insisted that Lallu save the money she was paid as salary so that Gopu’s future is secured. A major portion of her salary was therefore directly deposited in the bank by Suma and Lallu would request to withdraw whenever there was a need. Suma would either shell it out herself most of the time and would withdraw from Lallu’s account rarely.

Lallu never disagreed with anything they said or any decisions they made on her behalf as she trusted them. She never felt the need to do so. Her life’s decisions were now made by Suma or Deepak. She had a little money in her purse but could not summon courage to buy, lest she offends her employers. It pained her to see Gopu’s small dream shattered and the feeling of servility that she’d called upon herself drove her mad.

She was still lost in thoughts when she heard Gopu calling out to her and this time he was almost pleading, “Amma, will you buy me one atleast now?”. “Gopu! Your mother is feeling tired already. Why do you keep pestering her like this? Didn’t uncle tell you that he’d buy one for you. You must wait and not yap continuously like this!” said Suma firmly! Lallu and Gopu’s eyes met for a few seconds and both looked away again. There was a lump in her throat while silent tears were rolling down Gopu’s cheeks. He wiped with the back of both his palms but they kept coming!

The stars shone in the dark sky and there were fewer kites. “Shall we start? Its late already and am sure you both are very hungry after all this play?” “Yes dad, am ravenous. We’ll go” said Sunil. Gopu remained silent and walked with his head low. Just as they were about to get into the car, the same girl selling the kites, came running to them and insisted that they buy a kite. Gopu hadn’t stirred. “Deepak, buy one for Gopu. He’s been pestering Lallu for quite some time!” said Suma.

The kite was bought but Gopu refused to take it. “C’mon Gopu! Take this. You wanted one, right?” said Suma. “Aunty, the only reason I love to come to beach is because I love to fly kites, like those kids out there. Just like Sunil wanted to shoot balloons. My grandpa used to buy me one without me having to ask. I thought amma would buy one too. Its of no use to me now. I don’t want one for adorning my home. You may have it”. Suma felt remorse for having ruined his evening and tears welled up. Lallu was blowing her nose in her pallu, no longer concealing her tears. If only there was control Z in life! They returned home in silence. Including the kite.

PS: I got to know of Fight That Mommy Guilt contest at artnavy’s, and am submitting this story as an entry..

The Kite


Gopu rushed home from school and got busy getting ready for the evening. The excitement was writ all over his chubby bespectacled face.. “Ma, hope you remember about the kite?” he called out to his mother even as his tiny hands were busy scrubbing his lunch box. “Yes dear! “, Lallu replied from the kitchen. The evening was warm, but Gopu was sweating more out of anxiety than the summer heat! Memories of his grandpa taking him to the beach and flying a kite together, kept crossing his mind. He recalled how his grandpa reveled in joy as Gopu yanked the kite higher and higher..

“I thought you were ready! Its already 5.00 and I promised Sunil’s ma that I’ll be there at 5.15. Whats come over you Gopu? C’mon, get ready! Quick!”, cried Gopu’s mother, startling him. “Yeah ma, in a giffy!”. The 7 year old hardly remembered his dad and it was his grand-pa who did his best to fill that void. Gopu had vague memories of seeing his dad off at the Chennai airport. What started as a phone call twice a week, dwindled to once a week, then once a month, and got more irregular as months progressed. The promised money never came and Gopu’s mom took to working. His grand-pa’s demise a few months earlier unsettled Gopu, leaving his mom more things to cope with.. Gopu was her world and she’d vowed to try everything in her means to make his world bright and hopeful..

Suma answered the door when Gopu climbed up the grill-gate and rang the bell. “What are you doing Gopu! get off the gate! You might hurt yourself!”, she bellowed! The little boy shrugged and said, “Aunty, I will be careful..” and walked past her to meet his pal Sunil. “Are you ready? See? I’ve worn your jeans.. It fits me so well..”. “Yeah, its nice. How is mine?”. “Very nice. Sunil, have you seen me fly a kite? I love it!” chirped Gopu. “Amma has promised to buy me one this evening. Do you want one too?”. “I like to shoot balloons. Hey, we’ll take the ball too..” said Sunil. The two caught up on an unfinished chess game from the previous day. The board and the coins lay on the table untouched.

Sunil’s dad, joined the kids on the game and 30 minutes later, Suma and Lallu were ready to go. The prospect of feeling the cool wind caress his cheek and allowing the sands of the beach clog his hair kept Gopu excited. Sunil’s dad drove the pack to the beach just in time to catch the sunset. Gopu caught sight of beautiful kites in the beach sky even as the car was being parked and his spirits soared as high as the kites. He was the first to hop out of the car. Gopu wondered how the birds never flew into the kites and how the string never caught a bird’s legs! He and Sunil loved walking bare-feet on the sand and were running ahead of their parents with their footwear adorning their little hands.

The aroma of onion and mirchi bajjis from Maami’s Bajji Stall wafted in the air and appealed to Gopu’s olfactory senses, and he turned around and gave his mom a cheeky look.. Lallu signaled a ‘No’ with her eyes and Gopu got the cue and failed to conceal his disappointment. “If only grandpa was here…” he thought.. Just as he turned away from his mom, he saw a girl, almost his age and height, thrust a kite into his hands and urged him to buy saying it would cost him only ten rupees.. He looked back hopefully at his mom and his eyes shone bright. “Gopu, give it back to her. Kids ought not be buying stuff on their own”, said Suma. Gopu looked at his mom who was shifting uneasily and she looked away from her son. Gopu was puzzled and wondered if something was actually wrong with the world. Lallu walked a little slowly and took out her small purse to check how much money she carried and zipped it again.

“Gopu, Sunil, come let us shoot some balloons” called out the dad. “No uncle, I do not want to shoot the balloons. I don’t like it. I want to fly a kite” replied Gopu. “Okay, I’ll surely buy you one ” he said and went on to shoot some balloons with Sunil. Sunil enjoyed it thoroughly and Gopu cheered him. He refused to trial it when Sunil’s dad asked him to take turns and shoot. “No, am interested only in the kite” he said with a little more emphasis.

“Here boys, take this ball”, said Suma after the boys came back from shooting. Gopu, Sunil and his dad played with the ball for a long time and Gopu was caught 9 out of 10 times gaping at a kite high in the sky instead of seeing the ball come at him! Lallu’s palms were moist and she gazed aimlessly at the sea and unconsciously kept rubbing her palms, concealing anxiety and helplessness. “Lallu, what happened? Why are you quiet all of a sudden? You look a little pale too?”. “No, nothing madam. Its, its just that I was reminded about Gopu’s grandpa.. Nothing else..” Lallu added.

[Part II…]