And so Sara sings

Sara is a little girl. She is nine years old and loves to sing. She has a lovely voice.

Sara lives with her uncle and aunt, far away from her mom and dad because her mom and dad are very poor. They do not have a proper house. Sara’s aunt promised her mother that she will give her music lessons and help her become a great singer. But the evil aunt never gave any lessons to Sara. She makes her do all the cleaning and cooking.

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“Do you know how much does it cost to take music lessons? Who will pay for your lessons? Your mom?”

Sara spends her mornings working in the field, and the rest of the day, she cleans and cooks for her aunt. The time she spends working on the fields is the best time of her day, because she can sing while working. Her aunt will not be around to scold her.

Today Sara is working on the fields. It is a beautiful morning and Sara has a beautiful song in her mind. She closes her eyes and starts singing.

Her voice flies with the breeze across the open fields.

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It flies and flies and meets a tree. There is a mynah family living there.

“What a beautiful voice you are! Go southwards. You will meet someone who will be very happy to meet you”, says the mynah.

The voice flies and flies and meets a deer.

 

“Hey, you sound so good. Go further south. You will meet someone who will be very happy to meet you”, says the deer.

The voice flies and flies and reaches a unicorn.

“I haven’t heard anything as beautiful as you in so many years. Go further south. You will meet someone who will be very happy to meet you.”

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The voice travels further south. There’s a little hut there. And there’s another beautiful voice coming from there. The voice flies to the hut. Gets inside, finds an ear and disappears inside it. It belongs to a music guru.

“Ah, what a voice! Who does this belong to? I was looking for such a perfect voice for so long. I must find this person.”

The guru goes around the place asking everyone if they just heard the most beautiful voice in the world. He reaches the unicorn who says, “Yes, I sent it to you. It came from that direction.”

The guru now meets the deer. The deer says, “Yes, I sent it towards you. It came from that direction.”

The guru goes ahead and meets the mynah family.

“Oh yes, I knew it would finally find you. It came from the fields”, says the mynah chirpily.

The guru spotts the little girl still humming the same song. He goes upto her.

“Hello little girl. Do you know, you have a beautiful voice that touches hearts. Do you want to learn music?”

Sara wants nothing else!

Sara tells her aunt that she is going to learn music with the great guru. He does not need any money in return. Now the aunt has nothing to say.

And so, Sara sings and goes on to become a great singer who also teaches music to children without charging them any fee.

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Butterflies in my Stomach

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It was a Saturday morning. 4-year-old Mini woke up feeling happy. No school today! And mom will also be home all day! They can chat, go shopping and do some painting together which is the favorite pastime for both Mini and her mom.

She got down from the bed rubbing her eyes and went straight to the kitchen where mom was preparing breakfast.

“G’morning mummy”, said Mini cheerfully.

“Good Morning, my princess. You look fresh!”

“It’s a Saturday. What are we planning to do today, mummy?”

“Whatever you say, honey. We can paint, go for some shopping and bake some cupcakes together. What do you say?”

“Super! It’s going to be a great day!!” Mini was over the clouds.

“Amm.. but to start with, we have an important appointment today, Mini.”

Mini was puzzled.

“Appointment? With whom?”

“With the doctor. It’s your vaccination day, honey.”

Hearing this, all the excitement…

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The Problem with Nicknames

When Nonu was born, his parents named him Nonu.

Nonu liked his name, because he smiled whenever someone called him by that name.

When momma asked – “who’s my brave lil’ boy?”

He cried- “NONU!”

When dadda asked- “Who will have the biggest chunk of cake?”

He exclaimed- “NONU!”

Nonu was enjoying his days with momma, dadda, granny and granpa.

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Everyone was looking for him all day.

“Where’s lil Nonu?”

“What will Nonu like for snack time?”

One day, when Nonu was running after a bright yellow butterfly, who looked so much like Granny in her bright yellow saree, he heard momma calling out to him.

“Nonu, rise and shine. It’s your first day at school.”

Nonu rubbed his eyes, and found him in his bed beside Tim, his teddy.

Momma said again, “Nonu, it’s your first day at school? It’s going to be amazing!”

Nonu wasn’t sure. It just doesn’t sound good, ‘school’!

Momma dressed him in his favorite Popeye tee and grey shorts with three big pockets.

Granpa put one candy in each of the pockets. And Granny planted a sweet kiss on his cheek.

Dadda started the car and off they went.

In a few minutes, momma said goodbye to Nonu and before he could say anything, she hurried off.

Nonu’s lips quivered.

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What’s happening? Where’s he? And who are these people. Some looked like his momma, but smiled his granny. They all seemed to love him.

Suddenly, one of the women smiled at him and said, “Neil, would you like to come with me to the garden? We have some really beautiful red flowers.”

Nonu was even more confused.

Was she talking to me? Who’s Neil?

Nonu quickly looked away. He looked all around for his mother. He would burst into cries when he’ll see her, he thought. But she’s not here.

Then he heard it again.

“Neil, come join us for snacks.”

This time it was somebody else. Nonu didn’t know what to do.

But then he saw what the woman was pointing at. Cakes!

Nonu never says no to cakes. So he joined in. But with the last bite of cake, he started missing momma again.

“Neil, momma will be back soon. Let’s play on the swings till then,” said the woman again.

Now, Nonu got angry. This school thingy is not working for him.

They can’t even get my name right.

 Nonu had just reached the slide, when momma called him out.

“Having fun, Neil?”

Nonu was surprised. How is it even…?

 On the way back, momma told Nonu that Neil is his real name.

 

 

 

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“What’s Nonu, then?”

“Hmm, that’s your pet name, son.”

“But, I don’t have a pet!

“I mean, that’s your nickname.”

“Now who’s Nick?”

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“Urrgh… anyways did you like your school?”

“Not at all. I am not going to that place from tomorrow.

I want to stay with granny.”

“Neil!”

“Don’t call me that!”

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………And the argument went on.

 

What’s your petname….I mean, nickname…err..

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My Mom’s a Sleepyhead

This is Sam.

He loves to read magical stories.

He loves to play boardgames.

He loves to watch cartoon shows on television.

And he loves to do it all with his mom.

But there’s a problem.

Sam’s mom is always sleepy.

When he wakes up in the morning, she is no mood to watch the squirrels play in the patio or the birds twitter happily. Sam counts her yawns. 20, sometimes 25 times in an hour! Who does that!!

When she is back from work, she enters yawning. Again, not in a mood to play a game of chess or Scotland Yard with him. She is irritated and shouts at Sam.

“Sam, for God’s sake! Just look at your room. There’s no place to sit. Everything is so messed up. You are 7! Old enough to clean your room.”

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She cleans the room herself as she shouts at him and yawns. Cleaning, shouting and yawning all together. Then she cooks a quick meal and asks Sam to finish it fast.

“Mom shall we watch television while having our dinner?” asks Sam hopefully.

Mom shoots one angry look at Sam and he knows her answer.

“Finish your meal and go to bed”, said mom.

At night, Sam wants to listen to a story.

“Mom pleaaaaseee,” says Sam.

“Okay. But just one story,” mom agrees. Sam is overjoyed.

“Once upon a time, there was a king and a queen. They had a beautiful daughter. One day, an ugly ogre took the princess and started eating his salad. Suddenly… the clock struck 12 and beauty gobbled up grandma. Then she ran leaving her glass shoe behind…..the donkey and the cat started to race … zzzzzz…zzzzz….

Sam could not believe that!!

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“Mom! Mom! Wake up! Urgggggh”, Sam was very upset. He swears he will never talk to his sleepyhead mom again.

Today, Sam is in a bad mood. He cannot focus on what’s going on in the class. Sam’s teacher notices that he is upset for some reason. She calls him in the staff room and asks what happened.

“My mom’s a sleepyhead. She’s sleepy in the morning. She’s sleepy in the evening. She doesn’t read or play with me. All she wants is to sleep. I will never talk to her again,” says Sam.

“Sam, you are a good boy. You should try to understand your mom’s problem before getting mad at her. Do you know how hard it is for her to do everything at the office, at home, for you and for the rest of the family?”

Sam blinks.

“Have you seen a mobile phone? What happens when you play your favorite mobile game, watch a funny video, read about dinosaurs and talk to your grandma without charging it?

“It just switches itself off?” says Sam with a shrug.

That’s because the phone’s battery has no power left for more work. It’s the same with humans. We all have our energy bundles. And if we don’t get enough rest, we’ll be tired always. It’s the same with your mother. Maybe she is overworked.”

Sam realizes that it’s true. Mom works at the office. She comes back home and there’s more work waiting for her.

“If you want to spend time with her, you need to make sure that she has enough energy left for you,” teacher smiled.

Sam understands. He is ashamed to have behaved like a child. How could he not see that mom is tired?

In the evening, when mom comes back home, she is so surprised to see the room spic and span. Sam has done his homework too.

“Mom, let me help you with the dishes. Together, we’ll finish everything fast,” says Sam with a smile so sweet that her mom’s stress vanished instantly.

Sam is now able to save his mom’s energy for better things like bedtime reading, board games, cooking etc.

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And life is happy again.

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The ‘Pumpking’ Soup

King Sondumal was just like his name. Always sleepy and lazy. He had a huge kingdom but he didn’t try to make it rich, strong or happy. People came to him with their problems, but they were always sent back saying the king was resting.

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King Sondumal’s kingdom was in a bad condition. People were poor and unhappy. But do you know who was the unhappiest person in the kingdom? It was the royal cook. He worked hard to grind the spices, cut the vegetables, cook them into rich curries, but the king never liked what he cooked. Everyone else loved what he cooked. But it was just the king who never even finished his meals.

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“What a tasteless curry! You call yourself the royal cook? You don’t know how to make a simple potato curry. Take it away”, the king would shout and go back to bed.

The cook prepared the next meal with even more dedication. But it was impossible to please the king.

One day the cook had an idea. He went to the king and said, “My Lord, I want to treat you to the tastiest meal in the world.”

The king made a face. “ You cannot make a simple

“ You cannot make a simple daal and you talk about treating me to the tastiest meal?”

“Yes my lord, trust me. Pumpkin soup- it’s the tastiest meal in the world.”

“Would someone take this madman away? or should I throw him in the jail? Pumpkin soup is the most tasteless thing in the world. Do you understand?” yelled the king in frustration.

The cook was unafraid. He said, “What if I prove you wrong? I have a ‘pumpking’ growing in my garden.”

“A pumpking? What’s that??” asked the king.

“It’s a royal pumpkin and the tastiest breed of pumpkin. It’s so royal that when anyone who is not a king touches it, it rots immediately. So all I want from you is to go to my garden and bring that ‘pumpking’. I will make you a soup so yummy that you would want it every day. If I fail, you can put me in the jail.”

The king was surprised at his confidence. And he was curious about this ‘pumpking’ growing in his garden. So he agreed.

He called for his chariot.

“My lord, you cannot take a horse or a charioteer with you. They are not kings. The king has to go alone to the garden and pick the pumpking”, said the cook.

So the king walked towards the cook’s home. He found that the cook lives uphill. He started climbing the hill on foot. In just 15 minutes he was sweating and panting heavily. And the cook’s home was still far.

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The king kept walking and walking for 2 more hours and reached the cook’s home at the top of the hill. He found the ‘pumpking’ in his garden.  It was huge. He picked it and carried it back to his palace.

The ‘pumpking’ was too heavy and the road was too long. The king walked for another 2.5 hours before he reached his palace.

He was fuming.

“Now if you don’t make a good meal out of this, I am going to kill you,” said the king.

The cook went inside and quickly made the ‘pumpking’ soup- bland and tasteless.

He served it in the royal bowl to the king who was very tired and hungry.

As soon as he saw the soup, he gulped it down.

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“I can’t believe this! This is definitely tastier than anything I have tasted till now,” declared the king.

And then he asked for two more bowls of ‘pumpking’ soup.

The cook was happy. Back in the kitchen, the cook’s helpers tasted the soup.

“There’s no salt! It tastes horrible,” said the helpers.

“I told you, it’s a royal pumpkin. Only the kings will find it tasty”, said the cook smiling to himself.

 

But kids, you are smart. You know the truth, right? The king worked hard for the first time. He walked for hours carrying the pumpkin on his shoulders, got tired and hungry. So he found even the saltless pumpkin soup tasty. Those who work hard, enjoy their meals the most.

 

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Namby-Pamby and the tale of two cities

Long ago, there was a city called Lilyliver. The king of Lilyliver, Worrywart, had two sons, Namby and Pamby.

Namby and Pamby were just like their names, weak and lazy. They never ate greens that the royal cooks prepared. They never liked fruits and vegetables. The king tried many cooks. But no one was able to make them eat those greens.

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Namby loved burgers. You would always find him munching on his burger watching TV. And Pamby’s favorite was Pizza, dripping with cheese.

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They never went for their archery training; never cared to wake up early and do some yoga to stay fit. They started enjoying horse-riding though, but the horse hated them. They were so heavy! So one day, it just threw them off its back. And that was the last horse-riding session they had. Both of them loved watching TV and the TV loved them back. They spent the whole day munching on something greasy and watching cartoons. There was always something on TV that kept them glued.

King Worrywart was worried. Because Namby-Pamby were growing weaker by the day. They were not ready to put a strong fight with the enemies.

“What if there is an enemy attack? I am growing older and older, and these two boys are growing fatter and fatter,” thought Worrywart.

Tattle, the minister of Lilyliver, was very unfaithful. He went to the neighboring city, Wickedshire and told the king all about the bad state-of-affairs of Lilyliver.

“The king is old. The princes are good for nothing. You can plan an attack anytime, Sir,” said the minister.

So the king planned to attack Lilyliver after 5 days.

Now, there was an unfaithful minister in Wickedshire too. He was called Prattle. Prattle immediately went to Lilyliver and told the king everything about the attack that was to happen in 5 days.

Now the king started panicking. What to do now? We will be ruined!

He looked at his sons, Namby and Pamby. They had slept on the couch watching TV till midnight.

The king had no hopes from them.

Just then the queen came in and suggested that they visit Solon Longbeard, a very learned and wise sage who meditated on a bed of thorns somewhere outside the country.

The king, queen and the two princes visited Solon Longbeard and asked him if there was anyone who could fight to save Lilyliver from the attack.

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“Don’t lean on unknown pillars. Those who can solve your problem are your owns,” said the sage in a deep voice.

The king understood that he will have to send his sons to the battleground.

“But how? Please tell me how can I make my sons fit enough to fight and win?” asked the worried king.

The sage looked at the plump princes and said, “Getting up at 5 a.m. and walking 5 miles should be their routine for the next 5 days. 5 green vegetables, boiled and ground to paste, should be the only meal they get for the next 5 days.”

The princes were taken aback. Even thinking about boiled, ground veggies made them want to vomit. And getting up at 5 a.m. was out of question!

But did they have any choice?

The king and queen dragged them out of the bed at 5 am. And they ran 5 miles. When they came back they were served the meal of boiled and pureed veggies.

“No one on earth can eat this,” declared Namby.

“But you will,” said the queen, strictly.

And so they ate, trying not to taste what they were eating.

It tasted disgusting. But surprisingly, they felt quite full of energy and strength. This continued for the next 5 days. 3 meals of green veggies and 5 miles walk everyday did wonders to their health. The princes were quite active. And did I mention, they had not watched TV in these 5 days?

The princes were trained in archery and swordsmanship. They started horse-riding again. With bearable weight on its back, the horse didn’t throw them away this time.

Now on the sixth day, the kingdom of Lilyliver was attacked by Wickedshire. But they were in for a surprise! The princes fought bravely and drove the army away!

The king of Wickedshire was aghast!

“You said the princes ate burgers and pizzas, and that had made them weak,” the king accused the minister of Lilyliver, Tattle.

“Y..yes, Sir. I saw them eating burgers and pizzas all the time,” said the terrified Tattle.

“This means, these things make you strong and active, not weak and lazy. I order, from now on, everyone in my kingdom will only eat pizzas and burgers. We need to prepare ourselves for the next attack on Lilyliver,” declared the dumb king of Wickedshire.

So the entire city of Wickedshire ate only pizzas and burgers thinking it will make them stronger.

But you know what? After one month, there was an attack by Lilyliver on Wickedshire. They had grown even stronger as they had been eating greens and training all through the month. The burger-eating Wickedshire lost the battle. Lilyliver, fed on greens won not just this but every battle, henceforth.

So kids, don’t be all that Namby-Pamby; ask mom to make some delicious greens for you, tonight.

 

 

Why do Longie and Stripes stay together?

Ever wondered why the herds of giraffes and zebras stay together?

 Ok, did you know that they always stay together?

If you know, great!

If you didn’t, you now do. That’s great too!

Now let me tell you why it is so..Let’s begin the story.

Once upon a storytime, in the Savanna grasslands of Africa, there were many, too many zebras and giraffes. They had a lot to eat, fresh creeks to drink water and a very pleasant climate to roam about. But like every other plant eating animal, they had a problem.

Every second day, one among them was attacked and dragged away by lions and leopards.

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“What to do? We are so helpless?” said a zebra.

“Why has God made us so weak?” said another.

“The cheetahs can run fast. The lions are clever attackers. What a pity! We neither have strength nor brains,” cried another.

There was…

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