Greetings fromBorderless Journalfor all Asian New Years!Click here to read our message along with the video and a translation of a Tagore song written to greet the new year, with lyrics that not only inspire but ask the fledgling to heal mankind from deadly diseases.
Ratnottama Sengupta, a well-known senior journalist and film critic lives through her past to make an interesting discovery at the end of recapping about the silk route. Click here to read and find out more.
Over 150 Authors and Artists from five continents have written on mental illness in an anthology called Through the Looking Glass. Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist and writer and editor, tells us why this is important for healing. Click here to read.
April is a time when summer or spring comes knocking at your door in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern, winter starts to peep with autumn doing a somersault. In India, we welcome our traditional new years along with many other countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. New Years have so many names just like a frog has varied names in different languages: qingwa in Mandarin, kb in Thai, bang in Bengali, mendak in Hindi and we could go on and on. The reason we talk of frogs is because some even observe April as the National Frog Month. You can read all about it by clicking here.
But frog stories aside, we would like to wish you all a fabulous new year this April, a traditional new year. Here we always celebrate with the glamorous Ms Sara. So, Ms Sara what do we have this time?
We have a fabulous collection of poetry, stories and essays about so many things that happened between March and April!
In keeping with the theme of frogs and variety is a rainbow. And here is a young man who talks of tasting one! Seven-year-old Savvya Gupta talks of the flavours.
Taste The Colours Of The RainbowBy Savvya Gupta
I tasted the colours of the rainbow.
Red told me to be slow,
Blue gave me a taste of the sky,
Indigo was very shy.
Yellow was very dear,
Green colour did not fear,
Orange told me to be sweet.
But Violet didn’t want me to eat!
Thirteen-year-old Nazera Sheikh from Dahod, Gujarat misses the rains and the hot snacks that are perfect for the weather and she has put it all in a poem!
Missing The Rains And The Hot SnacksBy Nazera Sheikh
Raindrops falling down
From high up in the sky
Touching the ground and saying bye.
Missing the rains and the hot snacks,
There is water everywhere
Some say it isn’t fair.
Children come out with their boats
And wear their raincoats,
Throw water on each other
Whether they are friends or neighbours.
Missing the rains and the hot snacks.
Mothers trying new cooking hacks,
We all love eating hot snacks!
Rain rain come again!
How nice! Eleven-year-old Dhriti Keni from Chennai dreams big and wants to follow it to the end.
Following My Big DreamsBy Dhriti Keni
You are the driver of your destiny
Dreams are held deep inside us
Better to fail by faith
Then not do anything by fear
You are a shining star
High in the sky
Glowing like a legend
Following My Big Dreams
Wishes come true
If you work hard
And believe in yourself
Following My Big Dreams
Try and Try
Until your dreams come true
You may fall down
But you have to get up
Show courage and faith
Aha! Now we start with stories. Nine-year-old Ishani Ghosh, a Bookosmian from Kolkata writes a heartwarming tale of two girls who meet a homeless girl and help her find what she was looking for.
Making An Unexpected New Friend
By Ishani Ghosh
It was new year’s day of 2019.
I woke up, brushed my teeth and went downstairs for breakfast. My parents then surprised me by telling me that my best friend was coming over to celebrate the New Year’s day with us.
When she came over, we had lunch and then after some time, we went to the park. We went on the swings and then to the sandpit.
My parents then took us for a ride on a beautiful white horse called Milky. I went first and had just got off the horse when I noticed a little girl standing near the horse.
She was wearing ragged, torn clothes and was very skinny. My friend got off too. I showed her the girl. She told me that it looked like the girl wanted to ride the horse too but had no money to do so. We both told my parents about the girl.
We asked the people giving rides on the horse and found out that she was poor, homeless and had no parents. We were terribly sorry for her when I got an idea. I told my friend first and then my parents. I suggested that we talk to my aunt Nora and arrange for the girl to move to her house. My aunt was very lonely. She lived all alone in her house and came to visit us often.
My parents thought it was a great idea and talked to my aunt about it. She was delighted and so was the little girl when we asked her.
We found out that her name was Judy and she immediately said that she would love to live with my aunt.
Now she is living happily with my aunt and is also one of my close friends.
Twelve-year-old P.N. Hitaesh from Chennai imagines a scenario where naughty little dragons play near a volcano.
Adventures Of The Dragon Family
By P.N. Hitaesh
Once there lived a family of dragons named Draco, Mushu and Drogan. Draco was the father, Mushu was the mother and Drogan was their son.
One day, Drogan went to play in the forest with his friends. All dragons were warned not to play near the dangerous volcano but Drogan and his friends were curious so they went there.
As they went there, the volcano erupted! The dragons ran to safety but Drogan, unfortunately, got stuck in a place where his father’s enemy lived.
When Drogan was not home, Mushu and Draco searched but he was not to be seen anywhere. Then Draco’s enemy came and said “Your son is with me. You need to fight with me and my group if you want him back.”
The fight started in the evening and it was a hard fought one. Finally, Draco and Mushu won the fight and Drogan came home.
Ten-year-old Annaya Aggarwal from Delhi tells us a lovely story of three sisters and how the shy sister, Star, finally learnt to express and communicate better.
The Day Star Overcame Her Shyness
By Annaya Aggarwal
Once there were three sisters – Sun, Moon and Star.
Sun and moon were snobbish but popular in their kingdom. Star was shy but kind-hearted and a lovely girl but she wasn’t popular among her people as she hardly spoke.
One day, they got an invite for high tea from their aunt and uncle (Lightning and Thunder). They had never met them and were very excited.
So, when the day came, they got dressed and went in a beautiful carriage to the party. At the party, they were having so much fun that they lost track of time and were late for their dinner with their mother.
At home, their mother Galaxy was getting worried. Soon, she heard the sound of the carriage outside the palace and heaved a sigh of relief.
Mother galaxy thought that her kids would be as hungry as her. So, she asked them to set the dining table but Sun and Moon didn’t care much about their mother’s feelings. They went to sleep but Star saw tears in her mother’s eyes.
She joined her mother at the dinner table and told her all about the party. Her mother was very happy. Star realised that talking about what you feel is not so hard after all!
After that day, Star gained confidence and started helping her mother with work. She made an effort to speak to everyone and soon, she became the town’s favorite princess.
Time to think of travel? Well, once the world is rid of the pandemic, maybe we can visit this safari park called Kabini.
Let us for the time being find out about what eleven-year-old Yohaan Marda from Kohlapur, saw during his safari.
Meeting A Tiger And Sloth Bear At Kabini Safari
By Yohaan Marda
I was six when we saw this magnificent sloth bear with her cubs. We actually had stopped to see a Brahminy kite. But the sloth bear turned up out of nowhere!
It was an amazing moment and the first time ever that I had seen a sloth bear. Seeing the sloth bear with her cubs was very rare because sloth bears are shy animals and tend not to bring their cubs out so much. As we were seeing the sloth bear, the guide yelled “Tiger! Tiger!”
We all looked around and there she was! We were all very excited. Then as soon as the tiger saw the sloth bear she went charging towards the sloth bear.
This trip to Kabini was a family trip and about 55 of us went. Kabini is a wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, about 200 kms from Bangalore. It is an amazing place for nature lovers with activities like safari, trekking, boating and plenty of animals and birds to see. We did not expect much when we booked the safari but we were lucky to see these majestic animals. At the time I thought seeing a sloth bear is not a big deal. I thought it was a common animal but how wrong was I!
And now let us move on to the festivals we celebrated in March and early April. First let’s talk of Holi… which was a bit muted for nine-year-old Aarshiya Agarwal from Kolkata because of the pandemic.
An Organic Holi With My Loved Ones
By Aarshiya Agarwal
Holi is a festival of colours.Holi is celebrated because of the death of Holika, Hiranyakashyapu’s evil sister.
She was killed by her nephew, Bhakt Prahlad. Every year according to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated but on different dates. It is usually celebrated in March in the spring season. One day before the festival, there is a puja or prayer held called Holika Dahan.
On the day of Holi, we play with water and colours. We throw water balloons and put colour on each other. We also play with water guns. After playing, when we go for our bath instead of using soap on our body, we apply a body scrub to get rid of all the colors.
We eat sweets with our friends and family. This year it is going to be my 2nd holi with my little brother. Nowadays, some people make colours which have bad chemicals. These ruin our skin and cause infections and irritations. So that’s why people have started using natural and organic colours.
I celebrated Holi with my parents, little sibling, grand and great grandparents and cousins. This year because of the coronavirus, we were not celebrate fully. I reused my old water guns because it is not safe to buy new ones from outside. I hope you all had a very happy and safe holi!
And the other festival in the time period some countries celebrate frog month, is Easter. Eight-year-old Riddhima Mishra from Kalyan, Maharashtra, tells us more about the festival with rabbits (not frogs) and chocolate eggs!
Why We Celebrate Easter
By Riddhima Mishra
Easter is a festival that is celebrated by Christians all over the world. This festival is always celebrated on Sundays between March 22 and April 25 every year. The festival is also known as Easter Sunday; or resurrection Sunday.
The word, Easter, was derived from the word “Eastra” which means goddess of springs. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ which occurred on the third day after he was crucified on the cross.
Forty days prior to Easter, Christians follow lent, which is supposed to be a period of prayer, penance and fasting. The week before Easter is known as the holy week.
Jewish Christians were the first who celebrated Easter around the middle of the second century in Jerusalem. Churches are specially decorated on Easter day. On this day, prayers are done for the welfare of the whole world in the church. Along with this, candles are lit in the church and at the same time candles are lit in homes.
Chocolate-filled eggs or brightly painted eggs with sweets inside (Easter eggs) are common gifts exchanged on Easter. Churches and homes are decorated with white lilies also known as Easter lilies.
The symbol of Easter is ‘the Easter bunny’ depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. The day also witnesses lavish feasts and a variety of traditional dishes being cooked and served.
Hope all of you had a happy Easter!
And with that we come to the end of the Bookosmian adventures. Hope you all have a fantastic month. Here is wishing all of you a wonderful start to all your new years in April!
Mad as a March hare… everytime March springs into action, flowers turn the season into a rainbow of wonderful colours. And I start to think of imagine a little white rabbit running with a clock for a tea party in Mughal Gardens (next to the Indian President’s home) or in the sprawling lawns of the White House, where lives the American President. Where do you think the white rabbit came from? All the way from Lewis Caroll’s creation, Alice’s wonderland. If you have not read the book, do so now — it is a lot of fun! The idiom was popularised by the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. Incase, you want to check out a free copy of the book, click here to read.
But, that is enough about March hare madness. We cannot keep Ms Sara waiting any more. With a hop, skip and jump, we hand the stage over to Ms Sara… Thank you for your patience Ms Sara — we are now ready to visit your wonderland.
No issues. I have been munching on this packet of popcorns… from the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Now, did they have popcorn on the menu? Maybe, I will click on the link and check out. It is always nice to re-read a classic like Alice in Wonderland. But, let us start on our adventure in the Bookosmian wonderland with poetry.
Eight-year-old Saanvi Baheti from Bangalore brings to us a delightful S poem on the inviting salty waters of the sea.
The Salty Sea
by Saanvi Baheti
The salty sea slaps the shore,
I can see the seagulls soar.
I can see, sand slipping through my hand,
The sun was shining for a short span.
I went swaying slowly in the sea
Splishing, splashing, Silly me!
The sun was shining stupendously,
Oh! How I love the salty sea.
Nine-year-old Shifa Zahra Touseef from Lucknow imagines what would happen if a book could talk…
The Book On The Hook
by Shifa Zahra Touseef
I am a book
Clinging on a long hook.
I can talk.
I can say Quack, Quack.
Happily, I fly over a shack.
Now, I am starting to think
That work was done in a wink,
Was great and fast,
When humans disappeared at last.
I did, I combed furry whiskers of the blue ant
And styled the long, pink hair of an elephant.
I scrubbed the dirt off the feet
Of a grumpy lump of concrete,
While no one fed the old tiny whale
Her favorite piece of yummy little kail.
The squeamish whining of the snail
Attracted a noisy yet
Beamish chorus of dinosaur-whales.
Those frowning faces of whales
Couldn’t stop drooling on the shale.
A foosh-foot named Brango
Missed his beloved yellow flamingo.
The yellow one chorped-chirped
Until sad Brango burped.
The burp was loved by Mr. Moon
The parrot, the talking riddle, and the raccoon.
Now, the foosh-footed one fled
In the forest covered with green bread.
This is lovely, said the ‘Quack Quack’ book
Now, resting under the sun with a coloured look.
Seven-year-old Navitha S from Mysore pens a lovely little poem about her favourite place at home, her garden.
My Precious Garden
by Navitha S
My favourite place is my garden,
Where there are flowers and plants and breeze.
I feel very happy when I go there,
The wind gives me joy and peace.
Wherever I sit in the garden, I feel the breeze.
The garden is the most beautiful thing in my house.
I feel that my garden is precious
It is a colourful thing which I like the most.
I sit and have my meal in the garden
It is very cool.
Let us move on to Essays. And here we have one on returning to school after the lockdown.
Sandya B Rajan, a 14-year-old Bookosmian from Chennai went back to school after 11 months and shares what that was like.
Back To School during Coronavirus
by Sandya P Rajan
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools were closed but learning continued with classes conducted online.
After nearly eleven months, the school reopened for classes (grades) 9,10,11, and 12. After hearing the news I was very excited but sad too.
Reopening of school meant waking up early in the morning and missing the comfort of home. But I was so excited to be in school with all of my friends. No more comfortable clothes, gadgets, and online quizzes. But we could interact with the teacher and get our doubts clarified in person.
The day before school, I packed my bag, bought sanitizer and an extra mask, and got ready for school. I went to bed very early that day. I woke up and got ready for school. My parents dropped me at school. I usually go by van to school, but due to the pandemic, my parents are dropping me to school.
The temperature was checked at the school gate. Only twenty students were allowed to sit in a classroom. So the class was split into two. We had classes. We got our doubts clarified. There were a lot of safety precautions followed in my school which made me feel safe and secure inside the campus.
After coming to school, I had to sanitize my bag and other belongings, which was an extra task I would have to do regularly. Even though it wasn’t a normal school day, it was a new experience for me. Let us hope for the best in the upcoming days.
Konark is a town in Odisha where there is a famed temple of the Sun and a dance festival takes place there every year. Ten-year-old Divyanshi Das from Bangalore takes us to Konark.
Odisha : A Mix Of Heritage And Natural Beauty
by Divyanshi Das
Odisha is a truly impressive and spectacular place, famous for its heritage sites, unpolluted beaches, pilgrimage and more.
Odisha provides a lot of sightseeing opportunities which attracts many tourists every year. So, let me introduce you to two astounding festivals from the state.The first is the sand art festival of Konark usually held from 1st to 5th December at Chandrabhaga beach, Konark, Puri.
Sand art is the art of making sculptures using sand. The artists who participate are expected to follow certain rules. They can only use the beach sand, water and hand tools. No machinery tools are allowed.
Artist are supposed to start their work on the first day (morning) and they need to be ready with their sculptures by the evening when the festival is inaugurated and opened. The festival lasts five days so the artists have to make a new sculpture every day. Artists have to keep in mind that their sculpture should not hurt the religious sentiment of the people in any way.
The second festival I want to tell you about is the Konark Dance festival . Have you heard of the Sun Temple at Konark? It is a world heritage site and the site for the dance festivals. Some of the best dancers of the country come to perform here. The aim of the festival is to promote Indian classical dances.
Hope you liked reading about the festivals. Do visit the wonderful state of Odisha!
Wow! Two essays that show that this year might be better than last year. In any case, the future is always better than the past. Isn’t it? Here is Jessica Rachel who dreams of one and it is a story by her.
Nine-year-old Jessica Rachel from Chennai had a vivid dream about a happier and better world and has an important message of how we can make our dreams come true.
I Dream Of A Better Tomorrow
by Jessica Rachel
Every day was the same. I went to school, I studied and came home and slept and the pattern repeated. Wherever I went, there was hardly any greenery and a lot of pollution. I saw people were homeless and their kids had a lack of education.
Then one day, Covid-19 came along and affected the whole world. Those who were poor had no money to even get basic necessities for themselves.
We were instructed to sit at home and many people lost their jobs. The government tried to help those people. Some children could afford to attend online classes but not everyone was privileged.
One day I was thinking about this as I was falling asleep.
I had a lucid dream and found out that I could change the world however I want.
So, I first planted lots of trees. I planted seeds in every garden and empty spaces. I planted about 10,000 trillion seedlings around the world. Then I tackled the pollution from factories by enhancing the flora around them.
Then I channelled the lakes and rivers around the world and connected them to every home in this world. Now everyone could have fresh water to drink every day.
Then I went to the lands that were barren and built a playground using soil and water. I dug a deep hole and made a slide and filled the bottom with fresh water]. I kept some floats nearby. Next, I went to another barren land and filled it with snow. I created a snow playground.
I woke up and realised that this was all a dream. But I knew that it is not impossible to make this dream a reality.
We can make this come true by working together towards a beautiful environment. Until and unless we work together, we can never make our dreams come true.
Now, nine-year-old Nandini Maheshwari from Delhi brings us a story about a monkey that learnt to conquer its fear thanks to a wise old Orangutan.
The Day Muchilal The Monkey Learnt To Jump
By Nandini Maheshwari
Muchilal was a very handsome monkey. He had a big moustache. He wore a colorful turban. He was very polite and friendly. But he had a problem. He was afraid to jump. He used to think he would fall down if he tried to jump. Many mean monkeys in the tribe teased Muchilal a lot for being afraid.
He decided to go to the old wise orangutan to learn how to jump. The orangutan told him to fast for one day and Muchilal did so. He didn’t eat anything, not even his favorite bananas. He was starving badly.
Then the old wise orangutan hung some bananas on a very high branch of a tree. As soon as the fast got over, Muchilal was eager to munch something to satisfy his hunger.
The orangutan told Muchilal that now that his fast has got over, he can eat his favourite food – bananas. But to eat them he has to jump over the highest branch.
Initially, Muchilal was nervous but he was so hungry that he jumped to the highest branch with a big leap. Muchilal gulped the bananas and he also realized that he could finally jump.
This is how he overcame his fear.
What happens if you have to walk up dark stairs at midnight after watching a horror movie? Another story about conquering fears by twelve-year-old Nethrra S from Salem.
A spooky walk up the stairs
By Nethrra S
It was 11 pm on a rainy night. I was about to go to bed after watching a horror movie when my mother told me to go and close the terrace door. I was shocked!
In my house, to reach the terrace we have to climb two floors. I didn’t want to be alone since the horror movie was still in my head but I said ‘okay’ to my mother. I switched on the light to the stairs but unfortunately, the power failed.
I got a torch but there was no battery in it. I thought of taking a mobile phone but my mother was on call, my father was busy doing something with his phone.
I felt scared despite having agreed. I silently went to the stairs and stepped on it frightened.
I started to climb when I suddenly heard thunder as it was raining. I stepped on to climb to the second floor when I heard someone shouting my name loudly. This frightened me more. I started to chant religious mantras as they say ghosts are scared of Gods.
Suddenly, I heard my favourite song and wondered who was playing that when there was no power?
Finally, I reached upstairs and closed the terrace door. I took a deep breath and ran downstairs fast.
As I reached down, my mother said that she was calling me aloud and it was my sister who played my favourite song on her phone. My father asked me how I had climbed up in the pitch dark. I didn’t respond but I was glad there were no ghosts up the stairs!
A little girl gets lost in a cave. How does she manage to get out? Read this story of kindness and courage by seven-year-old Iksha Kalwal from Pune.
Finding A Treasure At The End Of The Rainbow
By Iksha Kalwal
One beautiful morning, Olivia went out for a walk. While keenly observing a stick insect, she fell into a cave. She was trying to walk slowly to find a way out. She was scared in that dark cave, anxious not knowing how she was going to get back home. Olivia remembered that her parents always said to be calm in this kind of situation and look for something to help her find a way out.
She saw a thin ray of light reflecting on her. Olivia ran towards it and bumped into a pot. She saw a small plant with a face asking for water. She quickly took out her water bottle and watered the plant. It smiled at her like a flower in the spring.
The plant asked her, “Will you please take me out of this filthy cave?” Olivia replied, “I will.” Olivia took the plant with her and found an exit to the cave.
After walking for a while, she saw a beautiful palace. A lonely bird was sitting at the window and humming a song. That hummingbird happily flew and sat on Olivia’s shoulder. Now Olivia had two friends as she continued walking to find a way home.
They saw footprints and followed them. “That might be the way!” said the plant. As they walked following the footprints, the bird sat on an arrow sign.
“Great, my friend!” exclaimed Olivia. They followed the arrow sign and reached a hut. Curious, they went inside the hut and found a puppy with an injured leg. The three friends quickly agreed to take care of him. Olivia took out her water bottle and gave water to the puppy.
Olivia, the plant, the bird, and the puppy, set back out to find home and finally reached a riverside. Olivia could see her village far away across the river! They saw a man sailing a boat, and he offered to help them cross the river.
As they crossed the river, Olivia reflected upon her journey, grateful for the friends she made along the way and was delighted that she found the treasure – her village – at the end of the rainbow!
I hope you enjoyed the visit to Bookosmian wonderland because I am off to read now … and figure out if they had popcorn at the tea party in Alice’s adventures! See you in Borderless again next month.Bye!
And spring is not far. There is so much hope, so much to look forward to that I am sure, Ms Sara will be bringing us a lovely collection this month too. I wish you all a colourful spring and a fabulous journey into Ms Sara’s world… (pssst… if you get the time, do look up the poem I have quoted by Hopkins). Now over to Ms Sara…
Thank you. Yes, it is a colourful spring that we look forward to. Let us begin with some writing on nature…
While we wait for spring, twelve-year-old Anoushka Chopra from Kolkata writes a small personification of the wind… which reminds of the beginning of Shakespeare’s Blow, Blow thou winter wind
‘A Strong, Loud Wind’
By Anoushka Chopra
The wind leaped across the sky, howling in anger. It lifted its powerful arms and destroyed everything that came in its path. The grey swirling wind gave a malevolent grin. It blew with great force and speed, like an angry person craving for revenge and smashed the glass windows and rattled the doors.
Then, gradually it slowed down, its speed dropped, its force seemed to vanish and within a few minutes the strong, damaging wind turned into a small breeze, smiling innocently as if it had done nothing more than blow gently around.
Thirteen-year-old Aanya Surana from Kolkata uses a letter writing (or epistolary) technique to write about the scarlet ibis, a bird that is as vibrant as spring in it’s colours.
The Scarlet Ibis
By Aanya Surana
42 Ribbon Street Kolkata-700023 26th November, 2020
Dear Riya, Its been a while since we have caught up with each other, I hope you’re doing well. I know we’ve lost touch ever since I moved to Brazil for my further studies, but I really miss you and would do anything to stay as attached and close as we were before.
The weather here is so beautiful as the autumn season is passing and the winter is setting in. During this time of year, we generally have expeditions. As a part of the science class activity, we went to a bird sanctuary. It was so beautiful.
I was in charge of a group of children from class six and we were led by an ornithologist. He was so experienced that he could identify the only check with their chirping noise. We saw a number of birds but across the lake there was a beautiful flock of vibrant, colourful, scarlet coloured birds which was were rare species known as scarlet ibis.
I was so mesmerized seeing the beautiful red bird that I could sit there forever and enjoy the calmness around her. Our ornithologist told a lot about that bird and I found it very interesting . He told us that the scarlet ibis is a sociable and gregarious bird, and very communally-minded regarding the search for food and the protection of the young. I thought that it would be a fun activity to feed the bird so the students and I asked our guide what it ate. He said that it had a varied diet and that it and it ate stuff like crabs frogs worms and insects. Hearing this, the students stepped back from feeding it because they were terribly scared of worms and insects themselves!
We went further inside the sanctuary and saw numerous and rare species of the bird. It was a trip to remember.
Give my greetings to uncle and aunt and I hope you like the pictures I have sent because I know you love nature and everything about it.
Hope to see you soon. Your loving friend, Radhika
Next, we move away from nature for a bit. Eight-year-old Nirav tells us what he thinks school uniforms are necessary — he believes it strongly!
All Students Should Wear School Uniforms
Uniforms are an excellent idea that can help school students be more disciplined. It is my belief that uniforms are a great way to maintain a level of social equality. Dress code eliminates competition and creates an equal environment.
If there is no uniform, children, who are rich, will wear branded clothes and children who are poor will wear regular and simple clothes. The poor children will feel left out because they will be different.
Without school uniform, students will spend more time on picking out clothes rather than doing work. School uniforms, thus, help maintain a school’s academic standards.
I belong to an Institution which is almost two hundred years old and I take great pride in wearing my uniform and it identifies me to an educational institute which is the finest in the country.
My winter uniform is the best as it makes me looks good and everybody calls me handsome.
We start with a poem to Earth.
Six-year-old Mayuri Sriram speaks from her heart in this poem to save the Earth. May we all feel as passionate about saving nature.
Dear Mother Earth
By Mayuri Sriram
Dear mother Earth,
You are our saviour,
You are our best thing,
We show respect to you.
You are the planet with blue and green
You are our mother Earth!
I wish people would stop polluting you,
What a graceful presence you are.
I will save you!
Earth is really the best home we can imagine, isn’t it? We can breathe easily in its atmosphere. There is water to drink and so much of greenery and food. And we have developed so many lovely things … like music and the piano.
Twelve-year-old Asmita Ramalingam from Houston, Texas, has penned a beautiful poem expressing her gratitude to her piano.
I Am Grateful For My Piano
By Asmita Ramalingam
I am grateful for my piano --
The black and white checkered across,
The cool, hard touch,
The crisp sound.
Music in my head is never lost.
Sharing the delightful melody,
With my teacher,
And the list does not soon end.
My fingers move like a waterfall.
As I flip the pages of my book,
The tune draws me in,
As if it’s a hook.
“Music takes you to a magical place I say,”
And I am grateful for my piano,
Today and everyday.
We have another poem on what we all have been doing the past year — online learning. Eight-year-old Jhanvi Shah from Mumbai pens this relatable and funny poem about the perils of online learning.
By Jhanvi Shah
The teacher gets disconnected,
From the meeting.
The host does not let her in.
The teacher says, “Hey… that’s cheating”!
She gets disconnected,
Again and again.
Everyone is happy.
Even bored little Ben.
She has got bad network.
“What’s the problem with that anyways?
I’ll fix it all up,”
The teacher says.
So the next day she comes,
With a computer brand new.
She tells the students,
“I’ve got to talk to you.”
“Listen, listen students all,
Corona will end anyways..."
But there she gets disconnected,
“Not again!”, the teacher says.
And what an interesting ouvre we have this month. We start by stepping out of this planet — towards a large, large universe…
Eleven-year-old Adwaith Menon from Chennai brings us a story with friendly aliens.
A Day With The Aliens
By Adwaith Menon
Hey guys! My name is Ray Jones and I am about to tell you a strange incident that happened to me.
Two years ago, I was sitting in my room studying for my exams. I was so preoccupied, I even refused my dinner.
After preparing for my exams, I went out to get some fresh air. I looked up at the dark night and said, “How beautiful!” I saw a streak of light in the sky and followed it. Suddenly, I felt myself beamed up into the sky. I fainted.
I woke up to the sound of a person yelling, “Species number 661 captain — they are called humans.”
When I opened my eyes, I saw that the speaker was an alien. Another alien being, with big bulging eyes, said: “Thank you Commander.”
He paused to look at me. “So, human…”
I interrupted him, “How do you know my language?” I asked.
“Who are you and where am I?” I screamed.
“Calm down my friend. My name is Twackey. We have a machine on board called the Languaphone which allows us to understand and speak other languages and are plugged in inside our ears. You are on board the Starlight V-7,” he said. Then he helped me stand up.
“Brrrrr”, my stomach started to growl. I hadn’t had my dinner and was hungry.
“Hungry, are you? Well, me too,” Twackey said with a smile.
He led me into a huge room and offered me food. I was happy and shocked at the same time to see that it wasn’t some alien food but something that I was used to eating.
“Our chef, Mr Rabuto, knows how to prepare all kinds of food that different species eat,” Twackey explained to me seeing my reaction.
After eating, he took me on a tour of the spaceship. He showed me a 5-D simulator, a theater for space shows, an in-built amusement park and a library. Seeing all the books in the library made me think of my home and I started feeling home-sick. Sensing me, Twackey said to me, “ Feeling homesick huh?”
“I am sorry but I have to go home now,” I said. He smiled at me affectionately. “I understand. Bye Ray!”, he said.
I bid him goodbye too.
Then, in a flash, I appeared on my bed. But…but…I thought. I didn’t go to bed, or did I? I looked up hoping it had all been real.
If you were a pet dog what would your life be like? Eight-year-old Mahit Verma from Kolkata believes he would be a loyal and courageous dog with a thirst for adventure.
My Life As A Pet Dog
By Mahit Verma
Hi everyone! I am a brown bulldog born in the woods and as soon as I turned a month old, I was transferred to a pet shop.
As luck would have it, I was bought by a small boy called Ronan. On his birthday, he bought me as a present for himself. Since I was a present, I was decorated with a stylish bow dog collar. Ronan picked me up and I licked him all over, being the affectionate dog that I am!
Ronan believed I was his best gift and I felt very proud about that. But I think he gave me the best gift – himself and my name ‘Bringo’.
Everyone loved me in the family, especially Ronan, who treated me like his own brother.
Sundays were much awaited as I went for longer walks near the river and got more dog treats and scrumptious food. The other days I used to get a drive in the car( but I like open air more and running in the garden )as I went to drop him to school.
Let me tell you all humans are not the same. Some boys used to come kick me and pull my tail at school. I too have my friends at the dog shelter where I am taken weekly and, boy, do we have a gala time!
All in all life was fantastic. But as they say with the good comes the evil. The date 25th September will be etched in my heart forever.
On that frightful dreaded night, the sky was overcast with dark and misty clouds. The wind was blowing hard. Nature was at its darkest best. We had stepped out for our evening walk along the river but my fright got the better of me and I jumped onto Ronan’s lap. And Ronan skid over the muddy surface. The next moment my Ronan was gone. The strong river current had sucked him in.
I yelped for help but not a single soul was around. I ran along the river bank but there was no sight of Ronan. The very thought I could lose him forever made me muster courage and, splash, I was in the middle of the river!
Fighting the current, swimming for miles and miles, braving the storm, I felt I had donned the Iron Man’s suit. At last my prayers was were answered when I saw Ronan holding onto a bushy shrub. I grabbed him by his leg and swam ashore.
Finally we were home. Everyone shrieked with relief and shed happy tears on seeing us. I was gifted a gold made collar for my bravery by the Rescue Academy.
Five years have passed since that day and we have opened a dog training institute where I flash my gold collar as a chief instructor.
And let us stay with our animal friends…Six-year-old Shanaya Singh from Kolkata saw something amazing while she was out playing in the garden. Do read to know what she saw!
A Happy Squirrel Family
By Shanya Singh
One fine morning, while I was playing in my garden, the weather was so good. The wind was blowing on the branches of the trees. I could hear birds jumping around me. Suddenly, I heard a husky barking around the tree branch.
On hearing the sound, one squirrel came and sat next to her father on the branch. Next, I heard both of them squeaking and calling ‘Kiki’. Then another squirrel came out of the hole. I heard similar chirping and I saw one more squirrel joining them on the branch. All of them squeaked and barked together.
Kati, a tiny squirrel came running and sat next to them. They all started to swing in the air and play happily. How loving and caring they were! I also named the father squirrel Kally.
It was a pleasure to see the beauty of nature. Did you know that animals and birds communicate with each other?
What a lovely drawing of the squirrel and her family. Thank you Shanya and all our good friends from Bookosmia. We look forward to the madness of March — let us dream of a colourful spring and a lovely year ahead. This is Ms Sara wishing you all adieu!
A very Happy New Year to all of you, and especially to Ms Sara. We always hope for a better future — let it be filled with magic, stars and rainbows! And may we all be able to interact with all our families and friends… This time Ms Sara has a cheerful collection giving hope in the New Year — 2021! Presenting Ms Sara in 2021–
Thank you! Ms Sara is back again. Hey there everyone, wish you a fabulous New Year on this page, both on behalf of Bookosmia and Borderless.
We start with poetry welcoming the New Year. Here is a jolly poem talking of a jolly time, by 9 year old Noah Batolar from Gurgaon.
A Jolly Time of the Year
By Noah Batolar
Christmas is a jolly time of the year
Where everyone opens up to good times and cheer.
Nothing can stop this holiday
Almost everyone celebrates this day.
All negative thoughts are thrown into a pit —
Christmassssssssssssss, what a jolly time.
Put up the decorations,
Light up the fireplace,
Sing the carols and
All of that is just the beginning for a cheerful new year!
7 year old Anvi Sankhyan from Gurgaon now gives us a fun poem about Aliens!
My mother Earth full of trees, life which makes it green
Which you haven’t seen.
The water makes it blue.
Now you got the clue!!
Next, we have a little mischievous take by 10 year old Shreyash Bajaj from Singapore. Warning: Please do not try it out!
How To Bunk School– A Poetic Recipe
By Shreyash Bajaj
A cup of sleeping A jar of excuses A tablespoon of lateness A teaspoon of secrecy A bowl of willingness 2 cups of plans A pinch of cleverness A spoon of hiding.
Directions: Wake up late, You’re doing great!
Go over the plan again, How and when.
Don’t brush your teeth Don’t make your bed. Go over the excuses in your head.
Go and make a fuss. Try to miss the bus.
When you arrive at school, Keep your cool.
Find a place, To hide your face.
And lastly, Have secrecy.
So now don’t be a fool, Start bunking school!
We move on to stories now. Here is 9 year old Prakalya Krishnamurthi from Erode, Tamil Nadu taking us on an exciting marine adventure.
Julia and Dolphi
By Prakalya Krishnamurti
One pleasant day, I, Dolphi , the dolphin and my friend, Walrus were playing at the seashore. We met a girl, her name was Sarah. She used to come walking with her dad. Sarah loved to play with me and Walrus so we became best-friends and buddies. A week later, Sarah came walking, her face down and smile missing. Walrus and I asked her, “Why are you sad? Come let’s play.”
Sarah said, “Hmmm….There’s a pet contest at my school, Oakland Elementary and I have no pets at home. I don’t know what I’m going to do on that day in school.”
We got an idea!
“Aren’t we your lovable pets and your best-friends and buddies too?”
Sarah was so happy and said, “You guys are so kind! Ok, now let’s get on with the contest. The contest is in a couple of months. So you both prepare the tricks. I will prepare the props and costumes, sounds good?”
“Yay! Wonderful, I am so happy to be with you Sarah,” I said.
We practiced for the contest everyday at the sea shore.
“Ok, you both are performing very well and I am sure we’ll win the prize tomorrow,” said Sarah. “I will come tomorrow at 8 o’clock to pick you up for the contest.”
“Ok, Sarah, we will wait by the sea shore,” I said.
We were playing happily at the shore without knowing that we were about to be captured. Suddenly, two hunters saw us playing. They came quietly and captured us and sold us to a ‘Sea School’.
The next morning, Sarah went to pick us up but we were not there. She searched the whole seashore. Sarah started to worry and went to the contest alone. The contest started at the open auditorium, which had a big pool in the center. Everybody performed. At last Sarah’s name was called out. She went next to the pool with a sad face. Suddenly, she heard voices calling her, “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah! ”
It was us! She was astonished to see us but without another word we started our performance. We gave a mind blowing performance and won the first prize. Sarah was really happy but she wanted to know what had happened. We understood her and answered her question, “Ok, we will tell you,” I said. “That day, when were practicing the tricks, suddenly we were captured in a net by hunters. They left us at a Sea School. There, two caretakers came to see if we were valuable animals for the school. Luckily, they were very kind. After we told them our story, they immediately said we will help you get to your contest.”
Sarah hugged us tightly and said, “You both are the best friends in the world!” Suddenly a big wave of snow fell over us.
I opened my eyes and was looked around. I realized that it was only my dream and I was a dolphin in the dream. Slowly, I, Julia realized that after I went to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago with my family to see a dolphin show, I hadn’t stopped thinking about it. In my dreams, I had imagined my adventure as a Dolphin.
My whole family laughed and my little brother rolled on the floor when he heard my story.
Here is an adventurous story by 8 year old Kiyan Jal Bulsara from Kolkata that will spur you into action. Aliens, monsters and a young hero….get ready!
Run for your life
By Kiyan Jal Bulsara
One day Mike got up and quickly readied himself for school because he was late. When he reached school, it started to rain very heavily. It just wasn’t his day. Somehow he was able to dash into school in the nick of time.
Mike saw something form in the sky, he was curious. It was a massive portal. After five minutes, thousands of monsters started to fall out of the portal and everyone started to panic except for Mike.
He went out of school and asked one of the monsters why they had come to planet Earth? The monster, whose name was Gigi, told Mike that the most powerful villain Choba had escaped and was on a killing spree. Choba had killed the king of all monsters, Nachi, so he could take over the throne and be the next king.
Therefore, they had come to ask for help. Mike called the Monster Busters and told them what had happened. They formed teams and were ready for the battle. The Monster Busters used special weapons like a lightsaber to battle Choba. The battle started the next day and finished after ten days and the humans won but thousands of innocent busters died.
The monsters went back to their planet and promised to live in peace and harmony.
Watch out! 7 year old Aadya G from Chennai has her own Frozen sequel written out and this one is in India!
Anna and Elsa’s Visit to Taj Mahal
By Aadya G
Once upon a time there lived two sisters Anna and Elsa. They lived in Arendale. Christoph, Olaf and Sven were their friends.
One day they were gazing at Arendale’s palace and wondering if there could be a more amazing building. They wondered if there were more such beautiful monuments across the world.
Christoph said, “I know a beautiful palace in India called Taj Mahal. It is located in Agra and is one of the seven wonders of the world.”
Everyone got excited and said they wanted to visit the Taj Mahal. They started their trip to Taj Mahal by flying to India.They looked for a taxi ride and finally got one to drive to Taj Mahal. On their way, they saw a big giant monster. Anna quickly put a fireball on the monster.
The monster ran away. Finally, they reached Taj Mahal. They were surprised to see the Taj Mahal. They saw that it was very large and made of white marble. They were excited to see the beautiful carvings on Taj Mahal. They sang and danced and had lots of fun at the Taj Mahal.
If you were a bird in a zoo, how would you feel? Would you love it? Or, would you rather be free?
9 year old Atreyo Bhattacharyya from Kolkata shares his perspective, in this epistolary (letter writing) piece.
By Atreyo Bhattacharya
Dear Grandpa, I am very sad as I have been locked up in this cage. I am in an enclosure named ‘The Egrets’. But people still admire me for my beautiful snow white plumage.
We have cages that restrain a bird from flying away. I was brought to this zoo by a man named Kalan. He first dug a big hole and then covered it with leaves. Without seeing properly, I stepped on that and fell into it. I miss my freedom and how I used to roam around and jump from one tree to the other.
But the advantages of this zoo are that I regularly get good food to eat and big bowls of water everyday. My life in this zoo is comfortable because the people give me food and water at the right time and take care of me properly.
But I feel lonely here because I can’t talk to my friends. Slowly, I am forgetting how to fly as this is a small cage, nor do they allow us to fly much. My flight feathers are becoming of no use. I miss my freedom and abhor this life of a prisoner.
Hope I could fly back to you whenever I wish as I used to do….
Miss you Grandpa Yours lovingly, Jack
This thoughtful essay by 9 year old Sia Patel from Ranchi is one that unites the whole Earth under a single rainbow.
The Seven Colours of the Rainbow
By Sia Patel
When I was small, my dad always told me how important it was to love and respect every individual, be it our own family members or strangers.
He always gave me the example of a rainbow.
How people looked forward to see the rainbow after the rains. The colours, when united look, so beautiful and have a unique identity, just like our country. Unity in diversity.
The seven colours of rainbow always lived happily together.
One day the colours started to fight among themselves on how important and powerful they are individually. They forgot how beautiful they looked united. Each colour wanted to show off their own importance. Because of their differences, they started living separately.
Children were disappointed as they could no longer spot the rainbow when the sun shone after it rained.
Rainbows were only in stories and pictures now. Soon people stopped looking for a rainbow in the sky. The colours were so busy fighting that they never realised that slowly they were losing their significance.
The colours, who had started living separately, felt sad and lonely.
They lost their charm.
One day a little girl heard stories about rainbow from her grandmother. She was upset to hear about their fights and decided to help the seven colours become friends again.
Slowly the colours realised how powerful and beautiful they looked when united. Together they brought smiles and happiness into so many people’s life. They never fought again and promised to stay together.
If every individual realises their role and importance in staying together, there will be no hatred in the world.
Hey friends, Sara here. 10-year-old Khushyati Sachwani from Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh shares her heartfelt experience on how her dad and her family faced the Corona virus.
My Father is a Corona Warrior
By Khushyati Sachwani
I was disturbed from the moment I heard that my father has tested positive for coronavirus. I immediately Googled and tried to find out the ways to help him get rid of it but it was not as easy.
For a few days, we had to separate from him. He had to be admitted to a hospital. Initially his condition was not too good. It was difficult to stay with other patients who were also suffering from the same but he did not lose courage. He was deprived of love, family and home food but he kept our spirits up by assuring us that this would last only a few days then he would meet us soon, hale and hearty.
His optimism felt heroic to me and I realised that my father is certainly a warrior who, with his positive bent of mind, defeated this disease and came back home safely.
Here is the last essay, hoping 2021 will a year full of hope, hope embodied by the young writers who write here. We hope for a future which can only get better. Sia Patel from Ranchi gives as another lovely piece — a wonderful welcome to the new year, even after a very tough 2020.
It’s Time to Leave 2020 Behind
By Sia Patel
2020 wasn’t as exciting as I thought. It was more like a prison but it was good spending quality time with my parents, my sister and my pet dog. In this pandemic I hardly bothered about day, date, and month because everyday seemed the same to me.
Soon online classes started. Initially, it was boring as no one understood the instructions given by the teachers. They did not mute themselves and time was wasted. We could not talk to our friends which was the worst part. If it would have been school I could have played with them at lunch break but there was no school so no playing and mostly no talking.
Soon we made a friends group on mobile and we started doing zoom meetings but that also did not happen often as our parents restricted our screen time. Because of this pandemic, I wasn’t able to meet my new class teacher or my new friends in the class.
I did get to learn many new things while staying at home like doodling from a book by Liz Pichon known as Tom Gates. I read lots of books, yes, a total of 31 books! Few things were really fun doing while staying at home.
What I missed most was celebrating festivals like we did earlier and vacations to a new place. Everything was restricted with a limited number of friends and relatives. I even lost my grandfather in September this year due to his illness. I miss him so much. He loved and pampered my sister and me a lot.
The only thing that was good this year was I got my first pet dog, Bingo. He is very cute and mostly a good friend of mine. I had so many plans for 2020 with my friends. We had already discussed our ideas for celebrating our birthday parties with different themes but nothing could be executed because of coronavirus. We did most of the celebrations virtually this year.
Now that it’s time for the year end of 2020 so let’s welcome 2021 and say goodbye to 2020. Let’s stay strong for facing all the problems in future and hope that 2021 brings lots of good time and positivity to everyone.
And now this is Sara wishing you hope for the new year and a fantastic future.
We are back this month with a collection of poems, stories and essays. Christmas, Hannukah, New Year and more… What will the festivites and the new year unfold? Here is writing with hope and happiness for a better future. It never ceases to amaze how wise and full of fun Bookosmians are! So, at end of the year, we handing over now to the glamorous Ms Sara, our favourite presenter.
Thank you for the compliment. And our festivities continue into December with more fun and dreams that draw us closer to your fantastic ideas. We start with poetry.
10 year old Dhriti Keni from Chennai speaks for so many of us, when she talks of the world books unravels for us.
What I find in books
Travelling throughout the world Meeting new people Living the life Being lost all alone In a completely new land.
Seeing the tall and high mountains The enormous sky The hot burning lava Visiting new lands.
Feeling the happiness Of reading books Meeting kings of the past Saying hello to the green goblins.
Dancing with princes and princesses Living at royal castles Solving new adventures Swimming through enchanted oceans.
Opening hidden past lives Discovering new doors Solving mysterious adventures.
Some say reading Maybe a hobby But for me it’s my life.
In unknown lands There are mysteries Awaiting to be solved.
Here is a wonderful nature poem on the ‘ Golden Crowned Crane’ by 8 year old Arkendu Banerjee from Kolkata.
Golden Crowned Crane
A bird from the family of crane,
With a grey coloured crown.
We will call it a grey crowned crane,
With a speciality itself in its name.
A bird with grey crown,
Not found in the Indian town.
It’s the national bird of Uganda,
Not less famous than Anaconda.
Displays its dance in the rains,
It is omnivorous and eats insects and grains.
And makes a honking sound,
When it moves around.
13 year old Riva Agarwal from Kolkata has something special to say to her dad. Read on.
A father’s love is underrated
We all have seen movies and read books, On how hard our mothers work and cook.
It is true, they work hard, but so do our fathers, Their love should be appreciated more often too.
I have always wanted to be like my father when I grow, He makes me see the world with a different view.
Whenever I have problems he is there to assist, The ways he has helped me, would make quite a list.
His wisdom and knowledge has shown me the way, And I am thankful for him everyday.
I might not tell him often enough, But he is the one I truly love.
And here are some interesting stories.
8 year old S.Sanjana from Chennai shares this powerful story to wake us up to the issues of deforestation.
An Old Neem Tree
“Wake up, you are getting late,” said my Mom.
I am a part of a Science Club in my school and my teachers were planning for a visit to the nearby local forest, to help us learn about plants and insects. All of us were excited!
We reached the forest. Our teacher asked us to pair up and we started walking into the woods. The sad part was that we were not able to see much of trees there. We saw some shrubs, bushes and some butterflies. Here and there, we saw some huge trees.
Suddenly, I heard some noise. When I turned back, I saw a tall old neem tree.I continued walking. Again, I heard the same noise.
With confusion and curiosity, I saw the neem tree weeping. I could not believe my eyes. I went near the tree and asked how could it talk, and what was the reason to cry?
The tree said that a gang of people used to come at night and cut down the trees. The people residing near by were not aware of it. If this continued, the forest will be destroyed. “Please help us!” said the neem tree.
After hearing this, I called my friends and told them what had happened, but no one believed me. So I went and informed some people residing there. I asked them to monitor the forest at night.
Next day the same people came to my house and said that they caught the gang and handed over to the forest department. The people appreciated and thanked me.
Next week I went to the same forest with my parents. The old neem tree was so happy and it shed its leaves and flowers on me.
The neem tree said, “Thank you so much, dear. You saved the forest.”
Even now I can’t believe it happened. Did we become so inattentive as humans, that a tree had to come alive and talk to us, to save our own forest?
A powerful story by 12-year-old Karthik S from Bangalore gives a perfect lesson as the COVID vaccine seems likely in the near future. Hoping the execution would be smooth and well thought of, leaving our past differences behind!
COVID Vaccine for Animals
Far, far away in the Gir forest in Gujarat, there lived animals and they all had a meeting for settling the issue of creatures panicking because of COVID-19 and the lockdown started by King Simba in the forest of Gir. So, some animals came and asked for the vaccine.
King Simba announced a forest meeting at his den near the big rock and asked the royal messenger, Mr. Ping to spread the message to the respective administrators– Mr. Sharko, administrator for the sea; Mr. Oogway, Minister of the sea; Mr. Toadhog, administrator for the amphibians; Ms. Bunny, Minister of rodents; Mr. Jerry, Administrator of the farms; Mr. Pete-Administrator of the sky and Ms. Buzz- Administrator of the insects.
At last he called his royal priest, Mr. Ellyvant and his royal minister for the meeting, Ms .Pam Pam. Mr. Goat, who had spoken against King Simba last time was not invited.
They all sat down comfortably near a tree and started discussing the issue.
Elephant: Where is King Simba? Panda: Yeah! Where is he? Shark: We are where he told us to come. Turtle: Let us wait. I think he is getting ready. Lion: ROAR!!!!! I am here. Parrot: At last he is here. Rabbit: King Simba, what were you doing all this time? Mouse: Everyone is getting scared of going out. Camel: No one is coming out for water because of the fear of this virus. We need water supply and the canal is a little far. Bee: None of the insects are coming out. Bees are not making honey as they cannot go out to collect nectar.
Lion: Yes, I understand all your concerns and that’s why I have brought Mr. Ellyvant the elephant. Mr. Ellyvant knows about Ayurveda and he has prepared a vaccine for us. Is it ready Mr. Ellyvant?
Elephant: Yes! Of course, I have prepared it so we can overcome this virus anytime but there is a problem. This medicine needs tulsi leaves and I do not have any. The animals were unsure of what to do. Some of them got scared.
Goat: Wait, there is a small tulsi plant near the farm.
Everyone looked at Mr. Goat in surprise. Wasn’t he banned from the meeting?
King Simba walked slowly towards the goat. The animals were sure the goat would be punished.
Lion: What are we waiting for then? Let us go.
The animals were relieved.
Some things are more important than small fights. They all sat in a nice car and went to the farm for the tulsi leaves. Soon the vaccine got invented and they happily lived ever after.
Here is yet another imaginative story by 8 year old Dia Nanavati from Ahmedabad.
A kingfisher named Lucy
Once upon a time in a forest called Congo, there was a Kingfisher named Lucy. She was the smartest kingfisher in the forest. Her friend was a hedgehog called Hosko. One day Lucy and Hosko went to play in the forest. While they were playing, it started getting dark and they got lost.
Hosko said, “We are lost and we don’t know where to go!” Lucy said, “Don’t worry, we will think of something.”
Suddenly they saw something sparkle like a star on the ground. Lucy picked it up to see what it was and realised it was a magic mirror. “Oh wow!” exclaimed Lucy. “Maybe we can use this magic mirror to home!”, said Lucy. But how?
Suddenly the mirror sparkled and a unicorn came out of it! The unicorn said it was sent by the magic mirror’s fairy God mother. Lucy and Hosko sat on the unicorn and reached home. They were tired so they went to sleep.
Another one of Lucy’s friends Sammy the parrot was passing by when he saw something strange on Lucy’s window. He peeked through Lucy’s window and saw a unicorn! He woke Lucy up excitedly and said, “Why is there a unicorn in your room?”.
Lucy said in a sleepy voice, “How will I know? Let’s ask the unicorn what she is doing here.”
The unicorn told Lucy, “My name is Holly and I’ve come to help you become the smartest kingfisher in the forest.” Lucy was thrilled until she realised, she already was the smartest kingfisher in the forest!
7 year old Ayaansh Patni from Kolkata is taking us off on a creative voyage, to Mars, no less. Vroooom!
A science competition, on MARS!
It was a science competition like no other. The location was Mars!
My friend and I went to Mars in a spaceship. When we landed, we wore a suit so that we would get oxygen and we would not fly away due to lack of gravity. The competition was happening in an alien school.
We showed off our invention- a dustbin that collected all the waste materials automatically. Then we all went to eat in the hostel and the aliens offered me to eat. I bit it and screamed as it hurt my tooth. It was a stone! What strange things aliens eat!
In their city, there were different types of animals that had big noses and ears. Even the sunset and sunrise were very different. Later we both saw something unusual. Plants were walking and talking!
On the trees there were many fruits , chocolates and candies. By just standing under the tree we got one chocolate in our mouth. Candies tasted like juicy fruit in our mouth. The red soil made all the plants, trees bright red. It looked beautiful.
The alien school taught us many different dances and instruments to play music. We were given a translation machine to understand them in a better way. We really enjoyed Mars. It was time for us to come back to Earth. The aliens gave us a lift. We thank our school for giving us this marvelous experience.
Now for some essays…
What do you want to be when you grow up? 13 year old Moksh Jain from Surat has a ready answer. Read on.
If I Were An Engineer
If I were an engineer, I would be wearing a long, white lab coat with M.E.O. written on it.
M.E.O is the full form of the company I am planning to create- Moksh’s Engineering Organisation. I would also be wearing those weird lightweight plastic glasses that people often wear in labs.
If I were an engineer, would work for the environment. I would make boats with magnets that would calibrate with the earth’s magnetic field and help them propel from one location to another. Think of how much the environment will benefit since no fossil fuels will be burnt!
Next, I would make a device that would absorb greenhouse gases and convert it into oxygen. This device can be used in hospitals for patients on ventilators who require oxygen to breathe.
I would also make a spaceship that would be protected against radiation as the biggest challenge in covering planetary distances is radiation. My idea is to put in a machine that vibrates in a loop and produces electricity which will give it enough power to travel in outer space.
So this in short, is what I would do, if I become an engineer.
13 year old Gofiaa from Chennai writes on Christmas. Gofiaa is a person who loves to explore new things. She always likes to be unique in whatever she does. Her hobby is learning new languages.
All about Christmas
Hurray! December has finally come, which means Christmas time!
This is a joyful time where we give, receive presents, have big feasts, decorate our home with lights and bells, having a wonderful time with our family and friends and of course receiving presents from Santa Claus and singing classic carols like jingle bells.
It reminds us of the importance of sharing, caring, living in peace and harmony with our loved ones. Now, let’s go back and see how it all started. During 6th century B.C in Bethlehem, a baby boy was born in a barn in humble conditions.
Guess who it was? Yes, it was Jesus Christ. So we celebrate Christmas on account of Lord Jesus’s birth. The celebration of Christmas started from Rome but it didn’t become a major Christian festival. Many Christmas traditions started spreading little by little until 9th century. After that it became a major Christian festival.
Now let’s talk about Santa Claus, every kid’s favourite person! It is believed that there lived a monk named St. Nicholas. He gave away all his inherited wealth and started helping the sick and the poor and buying gifts for children during Christmas. He became popular for his kindness. Many people got inspired by him and started helping poor and buying gifts for children. That is where the Santa Claus tradition began.
At first, when Christmas celebrations were started, it was only amongst Christians but now it is celebrated by everyone, no matter who they are or what religion they belong to. On Christmas Eve, preparations are made like Christmas dinner, decorations, buying gifts etc. It is the best time of the year for both kids and adults.
Christmas’s true message is to give up one’s very self, think of only of others, bringing the greatest happiness to others and to unite with every human being around the world. As the pandemic is here, let’s share our wishes and presents from safer distance.
Let us celebrate this Christmas safely and happily.
So, here is Sara wishing you all a fabulous Hannukah, Christmas & New Year! See you again in 2021
We waft across the seas singing a happy song with the breeze! What a lovely world it is full of colour and festivities! Festivals from all over the world hop into this page — festivals through October and November. The fabulous Ms Sara will flit around the world on a festive spree through Deepavali, Durga Puja and Halloween and stories and writing around them.
Thank you for the lovely introduction. Hey everyone, your best friend Sara here! What a time of the year, for celebrations ! We will start with the one closest. Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights.
Eight year old Nirav Prakash from Kolkata shares his excitement for this amazing festival, in both words and pictures.
Bright And Booming!
Oh this is a beautiful festival of lights, On this day, all friends and relatives unite. We eat chocolates and sweetmeats with delight, Decorate each corner with lamps and candle lights. And enjoy firework all through the night, I love Diwali, the festival of light.
I am a firecracker, I go “Boom,” After making a mess, mother needs to broom, My uncle loves me the most, who will soon be a groom. I burst high up in the sky with the sound kaboom, And my pet hides like a cartoon in my room, I am a firecracker, I love to “Boom!”
Ibrahim Abdulkader likes to play table tennis and loves playing with his NERF guns and doing nerfwar with friends.
Oh ! I Cannot Wait For Diwali
Diwali is the festival of lights No dark nights , everywhere it is bright Sparkles, crackers and fireworks at height Brightens our hearts and souls with delight.
Colourful new clothes we all wear Girls with pony tails and decorated hair Diyas I light, to decorate the windows and doors Mom makes a beautiful rangoli to adorn the floor.
No darkness and evil fills the night Happiness shines with all its might Think of those who know not what it is to enjoy Together we can fill their hearts with lots of joy.
Oh ! I cannot wait for Diwali Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali .
While Durga Pooja was celebrated last month, nine year old Sruthika Murali from Kerala shared this creative poem on what would happen if Durga were to come alive.
Sruthika is an ardent reader and quite imaginative. She jots down few lines once in a while in her diary. She likes to observe things around us.
When Durga Comes Alive…
When Durga comes alive,
She will kill the evil ones and give us peace.
When Durga comes alive,
The trees will shiver and the floor will shake.
When Durga comes alive,
She will be strong and very big,
But really she is calm and quiet.
When Durga comes alive,
We should join our hands and pray.
And now Halloween, which was different this year because of the lockdown. But we had friends who could spook us out with their stories and poems! Nine year old Arunava Sengupta from Delhi, is doing just that. All set?
Arunava Sengupta enjoys reading books, painting, singing, playing cricket, badminton, cycling and watching TV. He goes to Manava Bharati India International School, Delhi and is a student of Jabberwocky Speech and Drama
What A Spooky, Spooky Night!
On a dark and spooky night, This day, everyone gets a FRIGHT!! Your lights are blinking, is it a shock? Oh, what a spooky, spooky night.
A little rumble, a little creak Your muscles are missing! You are weak! A light is shining , it is so very bright Oh, what a spooky, spooky night!
Your door is banging! Somebody’s knocking! Your lock is stuck, preventing you from opening! A log was brought! The door was down! Why it was me, dressed as a hound!
“Mom!” I said. “I loved the outing!” “Now I’ll go to bed. Tomorrow is Halloween! I need some rest.”
So he slept. His mask was beside him. He’ll be bright the next day. Not dim.
And now we bring you stories around these festivals. Here is one by twelve year old Vania from Kolkata keeping our spirits high in the Durga Pooja festival, with her fantastic tale!
Vania is a student of Modern High School For Girls, Kolkata. She is an avid reader and loves writing. During this lockdown, she has also published two books on Amazon Kindle.
Warrior Durga AKA The Female Alpha
Adorned with gold accessories, I leaped down to earth on my beloved pet lion, ten weapons in my ten hands — each weapon symbolising a different trait — the sword for wisdom, trident for peace and so on.
But…. silence greeted me. No one was out! There was no hustle bustle of the early Puja crowd and not even the cawing of a crow.
Something had to be done, I decided. I called together a meeting.
“We need to do something about this virus,” said Lord Brahma.
“I will make the oceans churn and froth till then,” Lord Indra claimed.
“And I will make it rain,” said Lord Indra.
“No, no! That will ruin the humans’ life even more!” objected Parvati.
“What shall we do? Without making people miserable?” Lord Shiva added as an afterthought.
I fiddled with my arrow. It had been more than half a year since this coronavirus had entered the humans’ life, inflicting damage and misery all around.
And worse? Durga Puja, my festival was just around the corner! Durga Puja is supposed to be a time of strength, joy and unity. Not a time of sadness and torture!
And even worse? Brahma, Vishnu, Shakti, Shani, Indra — all had tried. But they failed.
“We’ve got to put an end to this,” I agreed.
“How Durga? You can’t kill a virus with your trishul!” Vishnu, my brother said.
It was true — but if Mahishasura could be killed, then why couldn’t this virus?
“What if we do it together? It might be possible then..,” I suggested.
“Yes… I agree. We should give it a try..” Saraswati said.
Slowly the Gods rose up from their thrones. I knew then that coronavirus would have to look out now.
Here is 12 year old Suhani Khemka taking us back to an exciting time, when she organised a Halloween party with friends.
How My Own Halloween Party Spooked Me!
We stood behind the wall waiting for her to come and hoping that our plan would work out flawlessly. My friend, Scarlett got so frightened on hearing the name of ghosts that her heart missed a beat. My friends and I knew how to take full advantage of this.
We had made an ingenious plan which we thought would succeed. We had completely used up our brains in preparing everything needed for our master plan to run smoothly. We stitched white cloth until it was perfect as costumes for ghosts.
The next thing we did, was call Scarlett, coaxing her to come over to my house for a Halloween party which was difficult due to her disrelish for the festival. With everything set, we were full of excitement and waited to get a nice chortle the next day.
On Halloween’s day, my friend and I stood behind the wall in our own stitched ghost costumes with the lights switched off. We lit candles and waited — waiting for Scarlett’s footsteps to approach. There was a sound. We played the spooky music and slowly shook from side to side, back to front, trying to whoosh the way we had practiced.
Not hearing any yell, we picked up a candle up to see who it was. On the sight of a black ghost, my friend and I squealed as a chill ran down our spine, until someone turned on the lights. From beneath the black costume, Scarlett and my mother revealed themselves.
A rib-tickling scene it was for my mother, who had heard our plan and played the prank back on us. Scarlett was on cloud nine laughing, whereas we with our heads down, went out of the room exasperated. The events of the day made us pledge not play such a prank again when adults are around.
Six year old Parva Patel from Ahmedabad has a wonderful story that underlines not every dracula is bad. Here is a interesting take on the classic tales.
Dracula Prince and Rapunzel
Somewhere in the middle of long long ago, there was a Dracula Kingdom and it was ruled by a very cruel king.
But there was a ray of hope in the kingdom when the Queen gave birth to a son. They called him Blade.
Years later, when Blade was trying to visit human land, the king tried to stop his son. He said, “Never go into the human world because they are clever and can betray you, like I was betrayed once.”
But instead of listening to his father Blade went into the human world because he was mischievous. He climbed up an old tree to see the view of the human land. And just while getting down, he fell down but his fangs got stuck in the branch of the tree. He was crying for help and just then a brave girl who was hunting in the forest, heard his voice. She was the brave princess of human land.
Her name was Rapunzel.
She was shocked to see a dracula. But she decided to help him. She immediately saved him and told him that his father was wrong. All humans are not bad just like all draculas are not bad.
So Blade went to his dad and told him about what had happened in the forest.
The king understood and said that he wanted to meet Rapunzel. When Rapunzel came to Dracula Kingdom, the king and queen thanked her for saving their son’s life. The king also said sorry for hurting humans and misunderstanding them.
Blade and Rapunzel became best friends and helped draculas and humans whenever they were in trouble.
Dusshera celebrates the victory of Ram over Ravan, symbolic of evil. Seven year old Darshali Agarwal from Bhilwara, Rajasthan remembers the excitement that entails Dusshera for many parts of the country- watching Ram Lila, burning of giant effigy of Ravana, enjoying the fare in massive grounds, and a very important lesson for us.
Darshali Agarwal is a 7 year old girl with an ever smiling face. She loves to read and listen to bedtime stories.
Why I Love Dusshera
I love Dusshera because it is a very exciting festival.On this day, I get to see a very big statue of Ravana in a big ground. He looks so beautiful decorated with colourful papers and glitters. Most amazing thing is his ten heads.
Wow, a man with ten heads!
On this day, I enjoy the fun fair with my family. And I really jump with joy when Ravana burns and the crackers pop out of it.
Sorry Ravana. We burn you. But my mom told me that one has to pay for their wrong deeds. It is not just you, but a message to burn all the bad thoughts inside us.Thank you dear King of Lanka, because of you, we enjoy a fun filled day called Dusshera. Also it makes us all think, even if for a day, about how we can let go of the bad in us.
6 year old Shreyansh Desai from Vadodara shares this sweet write up about what Diwali celebrations in his family are like. He is a student of Cygnus World School, Vadodara.
Oh, The Excitement Around Diwali Vacations!
Diwali is my favorite festival.
Somethings around us change around Diwali season like cold weather, clouds and not to forget the excitement around Diwali vacations.
Houses are decorated with colourful lights, candles and diya. We start shopping for new clothes and fire works. We go to Dahod, Gujarat to meet and celebrate Diwali with my grandparents.. My cousins and I enjoy together during Diwali break.
Delicious food, fire works and family fun are all about Diwali. How can I forget to mention Diwali homework?
This time is a bit different. We will not meet all relatives and go to the temple, due to corona but this time we spread love.
Happy Diwali and Thanksgiving from Sara and her friends! Enjoy the festivals in a new, different way this year… Adieu till next time.
Ms Sara this time has brought us an exciting range of reading — from butterflies, which I just love, to Gandhi, an amazing man! I must say her collection seems to get better and better each day. Thank you Ms Sara for giving our wonderful readers the time of their lives with your witty, interesting oeuvres. Now, over to Ms Sara —
Hello hello, Sara here! Thank you — glad to hear you like my choices. Let us start with poetry.
Today, I present to you a wonderful poem by Aashritha Surya Prakash on the charming butterflies. I hope you like it as much as me.
Aashritha is a grade 4 student. She loves reading writing, crafts and classical dancing.
Oh Nature’s enticing mysteries, Butterfly , oh butterfly ! Are you from another world ? Where flowers grow , In all their glow, Without withering at all ?
You fly so light In the sky , Without a single flaw , You drink nectar And survive, Without any food at all?
Butterfly , oh butterfly! Where do you get those patterns ? Do fairies paint you In the night, Or in the deep dark wood ? No, not at all But you thought so, of course you would.
The truth is The great god painted us Each of us differs In our own way!
Many of us are relishing the rains. Eight-year-old Meghashree Nambiar from Mumbai wonderfully articulates the excitement of watching the rains.
Monsoon is like a bath to mother nature
Bringing greenery to breathe fresh air in future.
Peacocks dancing amidst the wilderness
Spreading happiness all around,
Children making paper boats and cycling in the playground
Wet birds flapping their wings to glory
Cuddling up on a branch humming a beautiful story.
Frogs jumping out of big black wild mushrooms
Gulping in bees with joyful moves,
Silver raindrops singing as they fly
With a colourful rainbow smiling up on the sky.
Here is a girl who shares her name with me! Sara Gupta is a curious child with a vivid imagination. She loves to write, bake and paint. She loves the water and is a good swimmer.
Bees make their home On the trees, And they can Fly over the seas.
They suck on flower piles And have huge hives. Their skin colour is yellow and black And have wings that quickly flap.
Bees make honey And people buy it with money, Never ever let a bee sting Or you will jump like a spring!
Seven-year-old Aaryan Vittal from Bangalore has a wonderful fantasy tale of a wizard who discovered helping people also helped him.
The Wizard who Collected Blessings
Once upon a time there lived a wizard in a fancy house, in a lovely town.
One day while walking in the town, he saw a man who looked very sad.
The wizard wanted to cheer him up with some magic tricks. The man became happy after the wizard showed the magic tricks. It was the first time he saw someone feel so happy seeing his tricks.
Next day while the wizard was eating breakfast, suddenly an idea struck him.
He came home and made a lot of yummy food using his magic tricks and took it back to the town and started distributing food to people in need!
This made him so happy.
After some time he went to his bookshelf and took out his spell book. He started reading it and soon fell asleep. He dreamt of creating a magical house which could fly and land wherever he wished.
When he woke up, he wished his dream would come true someday.
He went ahead with his days, doing something good for people and making them happy. Sometimes he helped people with food, sometimes he cheered people with tricks, sometimes he rescued people in trouble, sometimes he wiped tears of people and made them smile.
And every time he did a good deed, he was blessed, “May all your wishes come true!”
He used to feel happy with such blessings, while thinking that his only wish was to build a magical house which could fly.
He kept doing good things everyday and sought blessings from many people in town and one fine day his wish came true.
He woke up in his magical house.
He realised he lived in a magical town where people’s blessings came true when he helped them the needy. Inspired by the wizard, all people tried to help each other and lived happily in the magical town!
Now, I share this imaginative piece by eleven-year-old R. S. Ananya from Chennai.
River, my friend
If rivers would talk to me, I would be the happiest child in the world. Rivers are most silent.
The sound of the river makes me happy. Whenever I am sad, I play the river sound on the phone. If it could talk to me, I would be there, listening, day and night.
Suddenly I feel like I have a friend who I can share my feelings with.
One day, I woke up in the morning and went for a walk at 5 am. It was a pleasant morning. I was walking by a river. Suddenly someone called my name. I looked around. Nobody was there! I was confused. I wondered for a second, “Would the river call my name?”
Yes! It was the river.
I was amazed.
I felt like screaming with joy.
Suddenly it grabbed me into the water. Oh my goodness. I could breathe underwater. It told me so many funny things.
I wondered if the river listened to the poem that I wrote yesterday and God gave it life. Fishes were running around my body tickling me.
It gave me a purple shell and said that if I had it, we could be friends forever. I kept that shell in my hands. My new nature friend and I swam all day.
It even bowed to me and I bowed back.
We did a lot of crazy things. We played, we danced, we sang with the fish. I was having a lot of fun. Suddenly I woke up. Was it all a dream?
Then I felt something was in my hand. There was a purple shell! I was so happy then. I have stored the shell in a beautiful sea box.
Many days later, when I was playing cricket with my friends, the ball went into the river. Since I did not catch the ball in the first place, I was asked to bring it back. I agreed and walked to the river. When I looked into the river, I was amazed and I jumped in. I swam for one hour and promised the river that I would come see it every day.
Twelve-year-old R.S.Anandita from Chennai writes this thorough essay on what peace feels like, how can it be achieved and why it is important.
All About Peace
What do we know about peace?
Well, peace is a state of mind where you are calm and there is absence of violence.
It feels so good when you are peaceful. A lot of us enjoy peace and quietness. As for me, I hate it when there is so much noise and violence. Nowadays the world has become so noisy. People have almost forgotten the word peace. They are just like busy bees. If our world is like this, where can we find peace?
There is only one place I can think of, which is peaceful — nature! I feel so peaceful while I am walking around my garden. How?
Because, there are lots of plants. The quiet rustling of the trees, the wind in my face, the pleasant fragrance of the flowers, the colourful butterflies flying around.
Ah! How peaceful! When I feel sad or overwhelmed I just go out and take a walk. Within minutes I cheer up! That is the power of nature and the peace it gives me. Nature is the best medicine.
Peace is the most essential thing that every human needs to thrive. We need inner peace as well. Inner Peace? What does that mean?
That is a beautiful feeling where your mind and soul remain calm and there is no stress. Inner peace is really important. Why is inner peace important? It is really beneficial to every mind and soul because it keeps a human very calm.
Peace is the ultimate solution to any type of conflict in this world.
What does God say about peace?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Therefore it has been also inferred that God wants us to be peaceful.
How can we achieve peace?
Focus your attention on those things you love, spend time around nature and stay in ‘non-doing’ anything for at least few minutes which will keep you free and you will discover peace. In our school we are told to practice ‘non-doing’ for 11 minutes which will help us to stay calm.
Peace and meditation – meditation is the best ever practice I can think of to stay peaceful. Meditation can create a state of relaxation. You forget all of your thoughts, be it good or bad and find peace within yourself. Now coming to the place where you can meditate. The best places are beside a quiet lake, in your garden, under a tree and so on. Avoid places that are too noisy which may distract you. Meditation even improves your concentration. Peace is a very important part of every beating heart, working body, the mind and the soul.
Peace is the solution for every problem. Together we can create a peaceful world!
October is Gandhi’s birth month. I am happy to share fourteen- year-old Anushka Pandit’s essay on the most powerful weapon that Gandhiji used and why it is relevant today. Anushka is from New Delhi, India.
Gandhiji’s Weapon: Non-violence
“Nonviolence is not to be used ever as the shield of the coward. It is the weapon of the brave.”- Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi, recognized as the Father of our Nation or Bapu played a crucial role in Indian history. He is recognized for his major contribution in the freedom struggle.
He fought against the British with his most powerful weapon. It was not a conventional military weapon at all. It was the weapon of non-violence. This weapon was considered so powerful that it spread like forest fire and countries like South Africa and people like Martin Luther King Jr. of USA were deeply influenced by it. This was the only weapon that was not injurious to people’s health but to Britisher’s wealth and compelled them to set Indians free from the chain of restrictions.
Gandhiji was the only man who adopted a peaceful method amidst the raging of fire of himsa (violence) all around him.
We bow with reverence to such a man. In today’s world we are free, due to the struggle by Mahatma Gandhi and many other unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives. I think that their sacrifice and bloodshed is immeasurable.
But Gandhiji who aimed so high for peace and non-violence may now think that his efforts went waste because today’s world is so inclined to violence.
Bapu took to the path of non-violence to make a productive and developed India. He always followed the thought, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
In the current scenario, I really wish to see that change in our country. I hope that if we all wish to see the same change as Bapu, we will be able to follow Gandhiji’s path of making a well-developed India.
Mahatma Gandhi faced many circumstances but still he fought with his most productive weapon which he knew is the weapon of strongest and bravest. He translated Ahimsa or non-violence as love. His patience and long walk to freedom on the path of non- violence, influenced many and forced the Britishers to leave the golden bird — India.
He gave us a message that love and compassion can also cut across, but without wounding. Violence never brings permanent peace, it never solves social problems.
Gandhiji emphasized the fact that non-violence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. So, we should unite and fight with the weapon of non- violence and let’s make Bapu’s mission of India being a great nation, a successful one.
“Believe in yourself,” Gandhiji had said. It is not an easy task and a child often turns to his/her parents to look for that belief. Nine-year-old Siddharth Mundra from Kolkata shares a beautiful write up on this theme.
Believe in yourself
Today, I share the story of a very close relative in my family.
He was a young baby boy, when he was born into a rich business family. He had all he needed. As he was growing up, his father suffered huge losses in his business. The family landed into a lot of hardships.
This young boy saw all this, and it was very difficult for him. He was a good student but he didn’t have the many pleasures which children of his age would, like the so-called cool video games, vacations during holidays or going out with his friends. His parents tried to deal with this situation in a very calm and positive way. They made all the necessities available to him. At the same time, they explained to him that he was a smart and intelligent boy and should not get discouraged by the situation and let it affect his performance at school.
A tough thing to do when everybody had started to look down upon him. His parents always taught him never to lose hope, work hard and be truthful. The mental strength and confidence which they instilled in him helped him achieve excellent results in his academics.
Over time, he succeeded and today he is the CEO of a prestigious financial institution, doing very well for himself and his family. All this happened only because he believed in his hard work and teachings of his parents and teachers.
My parents explained to me that life is full of ups and downs and if ever I am faced with any challenge, I must remember the story of this boy.
I am still young. I have a few goals at present.
First of all is I wish to be a black belt in taekwondo and the second one is to be an author. I am working hard for these. I am training hard as well as reading a lot. And I believe that one day I can get my act together and achieve those.
As I grow up I shall have different ambitions. But the mantra behind reaching one’s goals is to believe in oneself. That would provide us with the confidence, perseverance and support we need to work hard towards our goals.
And that is a farewell from Sara and her young friends till the next edition.
Nidhi Mishra takes us on a nostalgic journey through the syncretic elements of Lucknawi culture
“I know you are from Lucknow, but must our daughter lose marks in your mother tongue for some whimsical assertion of your Lucknawi roots?!” my (Kannadiga) husband asked incredulously. He was even more stunned to see the hesitation I had in giving the obvious answer categorically.
I had barred my daughter to use the (correct) word ‘main’ in Hindi, a perfect translation of ‘I’ in English and all its variations (mera, mujhe etc) and instead had raised my girl to refer to herself as ‘hum’ (literally translates to ‘we’ in English). Her Hindi teacher had rightfully pointed out that it was not the right usage. In my mind I agree, but in my Lucknawi heart I think, “Why not?”
My brother recently pointed out that it is not to do with the interweaving of Urdu, since Urdu ghazals liberally use the word ‘main’ and its variations. Like so many other things about the city, this is another ‘unreasonable’ characteristic of belonging to Lucknow.
It will be exactly two decades since I left Lucknow now, but the immense assimilation of cultures, language and location has not dulled the city’s flame in me. I recall these beautiful lines by the two-times Man Booker prize winner, Hilary Mantel: “We can’t excuse the past, just for being over and done. We can’t say, ‘all water under the bridge’…The past is always trickling under the soil, a slow leak you can’t trace.”
I find it hard to define Lucknow, as must be the case for any city, for that matter. Yes, you can always sum it up in its Ganga Jamunatehzeeb and lehza (syncretic culture), but sometimes it is hard to keep things brief. I depend heavily on people, incidents and anecdotes to illustrate the spirit of the city, as I had known it.
In Lucknow, boundaries were blurred.
I did all my schooling in Lucknow, at the famous now 148-year-old old Loreto Convent, fluent in every Christian hymn and lover of every Christmas carol. My brother, who went to St Francis, grew up in a similar ethos. My best friend in Junior School was Saba and my brother’s was Danish. We lived a stone’s throw away from the iconic Hazratganj area. But we were never raised to notice religion in our surroundings or friends. How I wish I could make my kids unaware of these distinctions as well.
My grandfather was a very respected person. Legend has it that the level of his anger could be measured by how deep his transition was from conversational Hindi to Urdu. So, when he opened the conversation with “Barkhurdaar, aap nihayti ahmek insaan hain (Sir, you are a scoundrel; spoken in Urdu),” it was a red alert for anyone planning an escape from a beautiful sounding reprimand.
When my father talks of poetry, there is a special flicker in his eyes. He is a prolific writer himself and listening to Begum Akhtar with him on his long-playing record player, has been one of the finest pleasures of my life. It is no wonder that my mother is a naturalised Lucknawi who joyfully watches Urdu poetry gatherings, mushairas, on You-tube. My father still displays extraordinary pride when he shares that the bungalow in which Begum Akhtar resided, was leased out by our family. I think he relishes the fact that in some distant, dreamy way, there is a piece of paper which houses both his and the Begum’s name.
In Lucknow, everyone had a poetic tongue.
“Muskuraiye, ki aap Lucknow mein hain (Smile, now that you are in Lucknow),” greets the billboard as you enter the city.
What happens when you end up brushing past another vehicle on the road? Freezing glares, verbal assault, even a fist fight? In the Lucknow of my time, you would hear the other person say, “Gareeb aadmi hain sahib, gaadi chadha deejiyega? (I am but a poor man sir, run me over?)” You would have no option but to hand over your melted heart to that person and drive away.
Cycle rickshaws were ubiquitous in my time. The rickshaw pullers, who would physically pull our weight (though with the help of wheels on the vehicle) and had to put in so much manual labour, would always cheerfully ask, “Bataiye janaab, aaj kahan le jaaenge? (Please tell Sir, where will you be taking me today?)”
The Nawaabs of Lucknow
We grew up with not just love for the good life, but also respect for it. ‘Shaukeen’ (aficionado) is a word which I find hard to translate but synonymous with Lucknow life.
My Dadi (grandmother) was the highlight of my growing up years and in my mind carried the charms of the city in her personality. Unlike most women from her time, she was extremely well-educated for her time (and even for today) with a master’s degree in literature and having joined my grandfather when he went for higher studies to England. It was not rare to hear her casually weave some Latin phrase, like Nil nisibonum* into a conversation. She was responsible for my (rather early) transition from Nancy Drew and the likes to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, opening up the gates of romantic literature.
Many years later, on my grandfather’s Shraadh (annual death ceremony), while conforming to the traditional brahmin rituals and serving of traditional food for the supposed appeasement of my grandfather’s soul, Dadi would also make sure that the holy cow was also served his favourite burger. She brushed aside stereotypes with little pomp, much panache and a lot of understated elegance. And in all of this, she personified the spirit of Lucknow to me.
Another differentiating trait was about taking life easy. While my kids are often told, “Early to bed, early to rise…,” I remember hearing the saying, ‘Aaram badi cheez hai, munh dhak ke soiye, kis kis ko yaad keejiye, kis kis ko roiye (Comfort is a big thing, relax and sleep peacefully. is there any sense in remembering and crying over people)’. I would love to trade a little bit of my ‘fast forward’ with a little bit of that pause.
This love for ‘the good things of life’ was not restricted to a certain class or community.
I remember hearing that the vegetable vendors would sell their goods with very unique descriptors- ‘Laila ki ungliyan, Majnu ki pasliyan (Laila’s fingers, Majnu’s cartilage)’ uniquely referred to ladies’ fingers and gourds. There was a love for culture that transcended classes and income levels. Another vegetable vendor was famous for his claim ‘Begum (Akhtar) ke bag ki sabziyan(vegetables from Begum Akhtar’s garden)’. No wonder literature and music were literally fed to us!
Culture was not something which was curated by and for the elite. It was on the road, it was in the offices– it was everywhere.
Well before I read about Keynesian theory in B-school, the tourist guides at the marvelous Bhool Bhulaiya (meaning labyrinth) had regaled some wonderful lessons around unemployment, wages and labour. It is said that around 1780, the region was badly affected by famine. The fourth Nawab of the Awadh Province, Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula Nawab thought of building this structure as a way to generate employment as well as provide food to people in return for their services. The people were too proud to receive compensation from the Nawab without earning it (equating it to alms). Hence a part of the monument would be constructed during the day by part of the labour, while the other part brought it down at night. This ensured that the Nawabi pride of the common man was intact, by earning his living. It took fourteen years for the monument to be completed.
Things change, places do too
I hear that now the rickshaw pullers of Lucknow (like in any other city), come straight to the point, “Itna paisa lagega. (It will cost you so much).” Not that there can be anything wrong with that statement — to the point, upfront and efficient. But poetry never cared about efficiency, nor did the Lucknawis of yore.
Migration, politics and so much more has changed the fabric of the city a lot. William Dalrymple devotes a full chapter to what ‘Lucknawi’ used to mean, in his book Age of Kali. Notice the past tense in this whole piece. Sometimes I wonder if we are just romanticizing the idea of Lucknow. Did it really exist or was it just a dream!
Khwab tha shayad!
Maybe it was a dream
Khwab hi hoga!
It must have been a dream
Sarhad par kal raat, suna hai, chali thi goli
Have heard that last night across the border, some shots were fired
Sarhad par kal raat, suna hai
Have heard that last night across the border
Kuchh khwaabon ka khoon hua hai
Some dreams have been murdered.
Disclaimer: I know no conversation on Lucknow is over without a special mention to its culinary delights. Unfortunately, I disappoint as a vegetarian there, with little meat to offer. Though I can swear, you would not get better kebabs in the world. Apologies for all the Hindustani in the piece for the English only readers. I found it difficult to talk of Lucknow without a splash of Hindi- Urdu.
* Latin for indicating that it is socially inappropriate to speak ill of the dead as they are unable to justify themselves.
Nidhi Mishra is the founder & CEO of Bookosmia (smell of books)-a global movement for kids to be heard! An ex-banker, she pivoted from a 10 year banking career to her passion for reading and luring others to read to start Bookosmia. Nidhi is from Lucknow and we challenge you to have any conversation with her where she doesn’t bring it up. She went to Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University to pick up an Honours in Mathematics and a feminist flair on the side. An MBA from IIM Lucknow took her to a decade-long career in the financial sector, finally quitting as VP, HSBC as she suffers from a (misplaced) sense of satisfaction and a drive to do something meaningful with her time. Outside of Bookosmia, Nidhi spends much of her time complaining there is not enough time, overindulging her two beautiful daughters, organizing dastangoi/ghazals at her place and asking (unsuspecting) people to gift her all kinds of books-from Faiz to Kahneman to Tina Fey. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bookosmia.com to know more.
PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.
We are on our fourth edition of Sara’s Selections. Ms Sara has again brought us a wealth of young writers, writing from all over the world on multiple issues. Sometimes it is amazing to see how they think… and also give us a fresh perspective… And now let me hand over the collection to Ms Sara.
Hi there friends, Sara here. Fifteen year old Varisha Rehman from Delhi, giving us the just the right dose of it in this message to a girl.
This is for the girl
This is for the girl Who only wanted to be loved, Shone like a pearl And moved like a dove.
This is for the girl Who was like a queen, She ruled her world with everything.
This is for the girl Who wrote words no one heard, A pen was her sword A paper was her shield.
Here is a message to this girl Life has a funny way to teach us, Live your life without a grudge Live the life, you love. Just be yourself. Because… Life is too short to be someone else.
Nine-year-old Diya Sheth from Ahmedabad brings us some furry love in this adorable poem.
One day I thought how pets love us a lot, So I told my parents to bring me a dog.
Father said we can bring two birds, Mommy said we can bring a turtle.
But still I argued for a dog, My parents refused so I cried a lot.
On my 10th birthday my parents told me, This time you will get a gift, You wanted from the age of three.
I wondered what it will be. I was so excited for it, My father gave a bow, My mother brought a puppy.
I thanked my mother and father, The dog’s name was Jimmy.
Now I play with him every day, He protects me in every way. We go on walk everyday, I still thank my parents for my 10th birthday.
Nine-year-old Rohan Santhosh from Bangalore shares this adorable poem for his best friend.
My Best Friend
You are smart and kind
You can almost read my mind
You’re the first to notice when I’m blue
You have a 6th sense, it’s true.
You’re so intelligent and strong
You always tell me when I’m wrong.
Always alert and aware
When I need you, you are there.
I still remember the day at school,
So scared of the teachers looks,
I almost dropped all my books.
You noticed the slightest frown
You picked me up when I was down.
When I’m confused you help me decide,
Thanks for being by my side.
I always wished I had a brother,
But now I see, you are one…
Just from another mother!
Eight-year-old Navoneer Bhattacharyya from Kolkata writes of the most amazing conversation with Lord Ganesha.
When Lord Ganesha cancelled his birthday party…
And we were off to bed. But neither I nor my elder brother could sleep as we were a bit upset. Next day was Ganesh Chaturthi, the celebration of the elephant headed god’s rebirth, but due to COVID we could not go for pandal ( temporary structures set up to jubilate the festive occasion) hopping.
Nearly half-an-hour had passed when we heard a mouse squeak. We looked out and to our greatest surprise, what did we see there?
Lord Ganesha on his mouse was standing right outside our house!
“Lord Ganesha,” squeaked the mouse, “You said some kids are sad in this house so we have come here!”
“Yes you are right, we have come to meet them.”
My elder brother suggested that we should invite them to come in. So I opened the door and said humbly, “Oh Lord Ganesha, we would be honoured if you could step in our house and spend some time with us.”
He agreed and came in. We offered them some of his favourite sweets, modak and laddu. After having that he asked us, “Now tell me why all of you are so sad?”
I said,”Lord Ganesha, the Coronavirus is like the demon, Mahishashura. It is spreading death and sadness all over the world.”
“See here in Mumbai too, we cannot go for pandal hopping on our favourite festival, Ganesh Chaturthi.” said my elder brother.
Again I said, “Dear Lord, we all are terrified. Our life has come to standstill, we cannot have guests in our house. We cannot go anywhere; we cannot play with our friends; we cannot even go to school.”
Lord Ganesha listened to us very attentively and then he nodded his head and said, “My dear friends, I can understand your pain. But tell me one thing — is there no light of hope? I know doctors, scientists and lot of others are working day and night to protect the human race from this killer. But to defeat this deadly virus is not so easy. We Gods are also supporting these great warriors and patiently waiting for something positive to come out.”
He paused, took a deep breath and then again he said, “Us Gods are cancelling the celebration of our birthdays on earth just to protect mankind. Please, try to understand. If you want to overcome this hardship and again happily want to celebrate my birthday in future, then this year you need to sacrifice your festival enjoyment and be a little patient till my next birthday comes.”
I said, “Lord Ganesha, I know how it feels when birthday celebrations are cancelled as mine got cancelled this year too. But yes, you are right. We should be patient.”
Lord Ganesha smiled and said, “Hope you understood that it is time for Gods and humans to team up against the deadly virus and throw it out. Now all of you give me a big smile and a big hug.”
Then he left with his carrier and we bid them goodbye.
We all found that suddenly our sadness had gone and our minds had become light.
We looked into the sky and said, “Thank you Lord Ganesha. We love you a lot. Happy Birthday.”
This haunting piece by Aashvi Rajani from Ahmedabad is a beautiful example of what thirteen-year-olds can do. While most of us are fussing over missing our birthdayday parties and gifts, here is a story to showcase reality of a different kind.
An Unforgettable Birthday
Raheema’s typical day would begin with mopping their home in Kabul and end with her burying herself under heaps of assignments. But today was not a regular day, Raheema Jan would be thirteen today. It was a significant day. Under no circumstances could her parents afford an enormous celebration, but Raheema didn’t mind this, as long as Baba would be with her. Baba would be her shadow, against all odds.
“Are you ready Raheema Jan?” Baba questioned in a silvery tone, standing beside the flimsy door.
“In a minute!” She replied as she sprinted to pick up her book.
Raheema had picked up the skill of reading since she was five, yet hearing her father narrate a story was one of the most congenial things to her. He cleared his throat dramatically, and began, “I became…”
Baba’s eloquent storytelling came to a halt when Raheema spotted a figure hurtling towards them.
“What happened?” Baba’s hazel eyes narrowed as he saw Khalil gasping for breath.
“They are looking for you Agha, it’s urgent.”
His eyes laid on Raheema, she flashed a priceless smile that made him feel sorry for her. He crouched down and asked in a whisper, “Shall I go?”
She reluctantly nodded.
When Baba departed, Raheema locked herself in the washroom and unwillingly broke into sobs. Soon she was shuddering. Mâmâm interrupted her by banging the door. “Come out, Mariam is here to wish you!”
Carefully, she wiped her tears and prepared to be just the buoyant girl she was expected to be. “Happy Birthday!” Mariam beamed. Enthusiastically, she dragged Raheema out and began babbling. Baba kept crawling back to Raheema’s mind, despite her attempts to pay attention. Were they harassing him?
Mâmâm barged in to inform Raheema that she had to pay a visit to Akmal Agha’s mansion, and Raheema should return home. Obediently, the girl nodded.
“What’s going on Raheema? Is everything okay?” Mariam questioned. Initially, Raheema decided against revealing anything, but it was too much for her. And so, she confessed it all. She narrated how Baba was responsible for Akmal Agha’s residence, how the gangsters had an eye on it, how Baba had refused to sacrifice his integrity for them, how they had been receiving appalling threats.
Mariam gently embraced Raheema, who was now weeping. “Don’t—”
The air shattered and they heard a roaring crack, then, absolute stillness. Raheema darted to the street like a whirlwind, oblivion to all the eyes gaping at her. She was terrified to the thought of what happened. No, Baba wouldn’t leave her. She was his Shāhdaught, his princess.
What she saw at the end of the street was something she will never forget. Baba on his knees, soil smeared on his kameez. Alive. His hands were folded, tears rolling down his cheeks. A man in front flashed a lopsided grin and said, “You are fortunate because I will let you go this time.” His hoarse voice sounded like a melody to Raheema at the time. To her surprise, she was weeping as Baba dashed towards her.
Never did Baba’s embrace console her more. That was when she found herself detached from everyone but her Pādīshāh, Baba.
How can you play a good host to wild animals in your house? What a scenario to think of! Here is a very unique and empathetic story by nine-year-old Eric Johan from Chennai. Welcome to his world of creativity!
My Wild Home
One fine morning, I woke up and saw my bedroom full of wild animals.
I was surprised on seeing all the animals talking. A lion stood before me and said, “Do you have any animals to eat?”
I replied, “I don’t have any.” I saw the lion roared in great hunger and went away.
Then a big crocodile of twenty feet length came near me and asked, “Do you have any meat to eat?” I replied saying, “No.” Then the big crocodile went away.
Next a tall giraffe looked at me and asked, “Do you have any grass to eat?”
I answered, “Yes, you can find grass behind my house, in the garden.” The giraffe and his friends went joyfully to have the grass in my garden, but the lion and his friends were sad.
Suddenly my dad rushed into the room with some delicious breakfast. It had my favourite roasted chicken. The lion and his friends saw it and asked me, “How many plates of meat do you have?”
I said, “ We have twelve plates”.
The lion asked, “Can I have nine of them?” I said, “Yes, of course, you can.”
Finally, the lion and his friends enjoyed the meat and went away happily. It was the most amazing morning ever.
Ten year old Shashwathi V from Bangalore would like us to think beyond one day and beyond a few popular names to understand better the meaning of independence.
Here is a much needed write up on the courageous queen and freedom fighter from Karnataka, Kittur Rani Chennamma.
Shashwathi V is a student of CMS NPR, Bangalore.
Kittur Rani Chennamma: Remembering one of the first female freedom fighters
On 15th August, our 74th Independence Day, my school asked us students to dress up as freedom fighters. I dressed up like “Kittur Rani Chennamma” for my class celebration online.
She is one of our greatest freedom fighters but to my surprise some of my friends did not know about her. So I thought I should write about her for my friends who do not know about her.
Kittur Rani Chennamma was born on 23 October 1778, in Kakati, a small village in the present Belagavi District of Karnataka, India. She learnt to ride horses, sword fighting and archery in her childhood. At the age of fourteen, she got married to Raja Mallasarja. She became the queen of Kittur. After her husband and only son died, she took over the kingdom and adopted a son but the British refused to accept her son.
The British tried to take over her kingdom thinking she would easily give up but she fought them in a war in which she won. The British, angered by the defeat, fought more wars in which despite her bravery she lost and was put in jail where she died.
Like Jhansi Rani, who came several years later, she made a mark on the country for her courage.
She was one of the first female freedom fighters to resist British colonization. She is a national heroine, well known in Karnataka and a symbol of the independence movement in India.
Here is one of the inspiring lines she said in response to the British demanding high-taxes, that people remember her best by:
“Why should I pay you tax (Nimageke kodabeku kappa)? Are you my brother, sister, relative or a friend?”
This moving piece by eleven-year-old Mehr Kapoor from Kolkata is for everyone who ever left behind their house, and a piece of their life in it. How there is an urge to capture every little moment spent there!
Walk down the memory lane
We walked through the garden one last time, knowing we’d never return to this house again. My family and I were moving to a better house this very day and while we took a stroll for the last time in this beautiful garden it brought up a lot of emotions.
I thought about the day I was running around the garden playing games with my friends, knowing I would never be able to do that again. I think the most difficult part of moving is giving up the garden because almost everything in a house could be packed up however a garden is the one thing that one cannot take with them. I looked at the cherry plant which I had grown on my own. I remember I was very proud that day because it was the first time I had ever planted something on my own. As I walked away, I thought about whether the next family that would stay here would even want a garden? Maybe they will build something in place of that, the thought disheartened me. I moved away from the garden and went inside the house.
I went inside and to my room for the very last time. I tried to absorb everything around me because I knew I would never see it again.
I went around every room in the house this way, for the last time.
Whatever the new family would change about this house, I shall never forget it and the eleven special years I spent in this house will be memories that I will cherish forever.
We live in a world flooded with endless images, spending so much time and effort spent in clicking, editing and publishing them. But is this how it always was and is this how it should be? Ten year old Hridi Talati from Vadodara raises and answers some of these important questions in her wonderful essay.
Photographs are Memories on Paper
And click! 5 years ago your mother just clicked a memorable photo of you in the summer. Now you are skimming across your mother’s pictures when a bright picture catches your eye, you click on it and go down a little trip in your memory lane and flashback to what happened 5 summers ago…
Clicking a photograph means that you want to preserve a moment till the end of time, and when you look at that old photograph again you feel exactly the way you did that day.
Each picture holds a powerful feeling, whether it is sadness or happiness, anger or relaxation, nostalgia or forgetfulness. A picture doesn’t have to be perfect to be memorable, it just has to be heart-felt.
I am personally not a fan of editing a picture to make it look like it is done by a professional. Why would you want to spoil a perfectly good and truephotograph by adding false make- overs to it? It makes the photograph look a little too overdone, unless, of course, it needs the editing to make it look better.
A good memory is the most popular kind of picture because seeing it makes you feel pleased and happy. And so ,“When you think good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”- Roald Dahl.
PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.