A Story A Day #20 How Pranav Enjoyed the Firecrackers

 There are several things about the world that are frightening. How do we deal with  our fears?

The word of the day is – fear!

How Pranav enjoyed the firecrackers

On Diwali day Pranav woke up very early. He was very excited because it was finally Diwali.  He had his bath. Then his mother gave him some sweets to eat.

“What is this sweet?” Pranav asked.

“That is the sweet that you helped me make,” Pranav’s mother said. Pranav ate the sweet. It was delicious.

“I helped make a yummy sweet, didn’t I?” Pranav asked his mother.

“Yes,” his mother agreed.

Pranav enjoyed Diwali very much. There was so much to do. After he finished eating the sweets that he had helped make, Pranav’s mother told him that there would be firecrackers and lamps in the evening. Pranav could hardly wait to see how the lamps looked.

“Ooh!” he said, when all the lamps had been lit.

“Come on Pranav,” his mother said. “It is time to light the firecrackers!”

Already Pranav could hear other people lighting their firecrackers and they sounded very loud. Then his mother started lighting firecrackers in front of the house. Pranav watched from the doorway as the firecrackers went off with loud noises and a lot of light.

“Aren’t they beautiful, Pranav?” his mother asked him.

But Pranav did not reply. His mother turned around and saw that Pranav was not standing in the door.

“Pranav,” she called. “Where are you?”

But there was no answer from Pranav. His mother went into the house to look for Pranav. He was not playing with his cars and she didn’t see him sitting at his table reading his books. She found Pranav under the bed.

“Pranav,” his mother called. Pranav pulled his fingers out of his ears.

“Why are you under the bed?” his mother asked.

“The firecrackers sound very nice here,” Pranav told his mother. “That is why I came here, under the bed!”

And for the rest of the evening Pranav lay under the bed and enjoyed all the firecrackers that went off loudly around him.

 

This story was published in Young Buzz, the children’s pages of Sakal Times.

A Story A DAY #17 How Pranav Made a Roof of His Own

 

Children ask the strangest questions and often come up with the most innovative solutions! 

The word of the day is – Innovate!

 

How Pranav made a roof of his own

 

Pranav was five years old. He lived in a house with his father and mother.  One day Pranav asked his mother, “What is below our house?”

“Below our house?” Pranav’s mother said. “Below our house is another house!”

“And what is above our house?” Pranav wanted to know.

“Above our house?” Pranav’s mother said. “Above our house is another house!”

“Then where is our roof?” Pranav wanted to know.

“There!” Pranav’s mother pointed to the ceiling. “That is the roof of our house!”

“No,” Pranav shook his head. “That is someone else’s floor! How can that be our roof?”

And then Pranav said, “I want a roof of my own!”

“A roof of your own?” Pranav’s mother said. “How will you get that?”

Pranav thought and thought. He sat in his special place and thought very hard. How could he have a roof of his own? Then he got an idea. He jumped up and went into his room.

“What is this?” Pranav’s mother asked him a little later.

“It’s my umbrella!” Pranav told her, holding the umbrella over his head.

“But why do you have it open?” Pranav’s mother wanted to know. “It is not raining inside the house!”

“This,” Pranav told his mother, “is my roof!”

“Your roof?” Pranav’s mother was surprised.

“Yes,” Pranav told her. “It is not anybody’s floor. It is over my head. It is my own roof!”

And so whenever Pranav wanted his own roof over his head, he opened his umbrella and sat down under it. His very own roof!

A Story A Day #16 The Girl Who Was Afraid of Frogs

Living away from home can teach you to make friends and deal with enemies. But sometimes, it gives you an opportunity to make friends with enemies! 

The word of the day is  – fears! 

 

The girl who was afraid of frogs

“Oh look!” Madhavi said. “It’s raining!” The girls gathered at the window of the common room watching the silver drops falling outside.

“And look at those frogs hopping around!” Geeta exclaimed, “Aren’t they cute?” The group turned their attention to the tiny, bright green frogs that were hopping around in the rain.

“I once kept a frog as a pet,” Maya remembered, a smile on her face.

“And?” Madhavi wanted to know. “What happened?”

“Nothing,” Maya said. “But the frog hopped away and I never found him again!”

They laughed at that and then Radhika said, “Can you imagine? Some people are scared of frogs?”

“I don’t believe it!” Madhavi said with certainty. “I mean, what is to be scared of?”

“But some people are terrified of frogs,” Radhika told her.

“Crazy,” Madhavi muttered while Maya said, “You knew someone, didn’t you, who was scared of frogs?”

“Yes,” Rdhika admitted. “It was when I was in a hostel. I was new that year and for some reason some of the senior girls seemed to find me a good person to tease!” she smiled at the memory but the others guessed that it could not have been pleasant.

“So who was the girl who was afraid of frogs?” Maya wanted to know.

“Her name was Banani,” Radhika said. “And she was one of the girls who were really teasing me!”

“But why didn’t you complain to the teachers or wardens?” Geeta demanded, “They could have punished those seniors!”

Radhika shrugged her shoulders, “It didn’t seem worth the trouble,” she said. “Anyway, this girl Banani was always teasing me and playing jokes on me. And then one day – it was a Saturday, I remember. On Saturdays we were allowed to watch a film in the evenings and all of us looked forward to this. I had been two weeks in that hostel and still hadn’t got used to the time schedule. That was why I was the only one in our wing that evening. I had been working on my homework and hadn’t noticed the time. When I did, I locked the room and hurried!” She paused, thinking back on that day years back.

“What happened then?” Geeta asked.

“I was passing the bathrooms when I heard someone sobbing! I went into the bathroom on our wing but there was no one there!” Radhika smiled. “For a minute I wondered if the bathroom was haunted! Then I remembered that the bathroom for the senior girls was just below ours. So I walked down to the bathroom. Thankfully all the seniors were watching the film, or I would have got into trouble!”

“And what was it?” Madhavi asked. “An army of frogs in the bathroom?”

“No, no,” Radhika laughed. “But someone was inside one of the bathrooms- must have gone in to wash up- and was crying! At first I couldn’t make out what the girl was saying but then I realized she was saying, “It’s staring at me! The frog is staring at me!”

“What?” Maya exploded. “How can people be so strange?” she said in disgust.

“Anyway,” Radhika said, “I knocked on the door and asked, ‘What is wrong?’ and the person said, ‘There is a frog here and it is staring at me!”

“So you sailed in and rescued this girl?” Geeta guessed.

“Not that easily,” Radhika said. “The frog was near the door and that was why this girl wasn’t able to get out. Fortunately there was a gap between the door and the floor. So I pushed in a broom and moved it around till the frog moved.”

“And this girl?” Maya asked. “She just stayed still while you did all this?”

“Of course not!” Radhika said. “She screamed and squealed and yelled till you would have thought there was a dragon at the very least in there! Finally I got her to unbolt the door. And I pushed in the broom and got the frog to move out! And then the frog hopped out!”

“I bet it was relieved to be out!” Maya grinned.

“I bet!” Radhika agreed. “And then the girl came out! And it was Banani!”

“What did you say?” Madhavi asked excitedly.

“And what did she say?” Geeta added.

“She just looked at me. I looked at her,” Radhika said. “Both of us were embarrassed. So we said nothing. As she passed me by, I think I heard her mumble ‘Thanks’ but I couldn’t be sure. And then she went away to her room and I went to watch the film. And that,” she finished, “was that!”

“That is it?” Maya said incredulously. “You mean she didn’t say anything?”

“No she didn’t,” Radhika smiled. “She didn’t need to, you see. She knew that I knew her weakness and that was enough! I had helped her and she had allowed me to see her weakness! We were quits!” Her friends stared at her, as if doubting the sanity of their friend.

“Actually,” Radhika said thoughtfully, “we were not quits – I owed her for letting me know at least one person who is afraid of frogs!”

And the four friends laughed at the various weaknesses that made up people, made them human and sometimes even made them your friends.

This story was published in Young Buzz, the children’s pages of Sakal Times.

A Story A Day #15 The Boy Who Could Do Anything

When things don’t go the way we planned, doubt creeps in. What we need at such times is someone who knows us and recognises our potential.  

The word of the day is – Potential! 

The Boy Who Could Do Anything

 

Raju stared at the building and the board that said National High School. It was the same board and the school too looked exactly the same. But Raju was a changed person.

He had left school with so many hopes. And what had happened? He had failed. He had lost all the money he had invested in his company. All that remained was a company. And even that, Raju knew, could go.

Why had he come to his old school? No one knew him and coming here wasn’t going to help him.

‘Hello,’ someone called. Raju turned, surprised. The school vacations were on and he hadn’t expected to see anyone.

When he saw who it was, Raju’s heart sank. It was Ganapathy Sir, the strictest teacher in the school. Perhaps, Raju thought hopefully, the teacher wouldn’t recognise him. But Ganapathy Sir was staring at him. ‘Weren’t you a student here?’ he asked. ‘About twenty years back?’

There was no way out of it and so, Raju nodded. ‘What do you do now?’ Ganapathy Sir asked. What could he tell his teacher? But Ganapathy Sir was waiting, so Raju said, ‘I worked for a few years, then invested in a company…’

‘It’s doing very well, I hope?’ Ganapathy Sir asked.

‘Actually,’ Raju said, ‘no. It’s not doing well at all. I may have to shut it down and lose everything!’

There, he thought, he had said it out loud.

But Ganapathy Sir didn’t seem to think this was the end of the world. ‘Very sad, very sad,’ he said, shaking his head. ‘But you can always work hard and get your company back!’

‘That’s impossible!’ Raju said. ‘No, no, don’t think it’s impossible!’ Ganapathy Sir said. ‘It is possible…’ He exclaimed suddenly, ‘You never did tell me your name!’

‘Rajashekhar Varadarajan.’ Raju said.

‘The Boy Who Could Do Anything!’ Ganapathy Sir said. He looked with greater interest at Raju and said, ‘That’s what we called you, you know, in the Staff Room!’

‘You should change it to the Man Who Can’t Do Anything!’ Raju said bitterly.

‘No, no,’ Ganapathy Sir said.  ‘You can’t tell me what to call you. You see,’ he looked at Raju seriously, ‘an old teacher remembers things from your past. And you will always be the boy who was meant to do great things, achieve the impossible!’

Raju stared at his old teacher. ‘In fact,’ Ganapathy Sir said dreamily, ‘I think you can still do anything you want to!’

Raju nodded, his thoughts confused. What did Ganapathy Sir mean? Could it be that…? Was it possible that…?

‘Goodbye, Sir,’ he said abruptly.

‘Come again,’ Ganapathy Sir called out, ‘if you need anything!’

Raju knew he would not need to. Twenty years after he had left school, his teacher had still managed to teach him something new.

Ganapathy Sir had taught him to look carefully, look closely at himself. And now, Raju was determined to find and be that Rajashekhar Vardarajan, the Boy Who Could Do Anything!

 

This story was published in Young World, the children’s pages of The Hindu as ‘Old Teacher, New Lessons’.