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Young Persons' Section

Sara’s Selections : May 2020

Everyone has a nose and an opinion on the new normal. It can get overwhelming sometimes. But there is one category whose views have been ignored and dismissed as ‘unimportant’ at a time when the world needs fresh voices and perspectives the most. 

That category is none other than children, the very same set who will inherit the world.

In a world obsessed with keeping children ‘engaged’, everyone is an expert on home-schooling and DIY ideas but no one pauses to ask children how they feel. 

How has life changed for the pre-teens and teenagers? What are family equations like? What do they miss? What are their aspirations? What moves them? What disappoints them? What surprises them? Who inspires them?

At Bookosmia, India’s premier writing platform for children, these are some of life’s intriguing answers the brightest young minds choose to share with Sara. 

Sara, the storyteller

Who is Sara? She is India’s first stereotype busting sports loving girl and storyteller. Sara is already a big hit amongst parents and kids alike. She was rightly and fondly called “our new best friend” by The Hindu and has since then been featured extensively for creating a repository of stories, poems and essays written by children, giving a unique insight into their minds. 

Sara wants every child to tell their story in their own words. 

And so, day after day, week after week, she is flooded by entries from bright 7-16 year olds in New Delhi, Gurugram, Bareilly, Vadodara, Mumbai, Chennai, Ranchi, Kolkata and even Switzerland exhibiting powerful emotions and viewpoints that are truly eye-opening.

Her latest writing prompt #GratitudeDuringCovid, an effort to encourage young voices during a difficult time was hailed by parents and children alike. 

While younger children wrote to her about being thankful for nature, getting to spend time with their parents and hearing the chirping of birds, the 12-year-olds and above shared pieces on becoming conscious of the privilege they have, of the freedom to “go inside themselves if not outside”, of empathy for their domestic staff and of exploring a new self. 

The series was a first of its’ kind insight into the minds of the children and was covered by national media like The Hindu and The New Indian Express. 

“While we see many memes on parents facing difficulties in handling their children during this long lockdown, we hardly bother to think about how these children might be feeling. But someone did think of them,” noted The New Indian Express while lauding Bookosmia’s writing platform for children. 

It is in this context that we are stoked to bring select essays, poems and stories from our young writers at Bookosmia’s ‘Sara’s Corner’ to Borderless, a truly revolutionary international journal that has made such a deep impact within a short period. We can think of no better place than Borderless to encourage these young writers to write down the emotions they bottle up for fear of judgement. 

Through this association with Borderless (see rules of submitting in Submissions), we are confident that young writers will come home to exactly what they were looking for — a warm, welcoming, and healthy space to express, learn, discuss and debate. 

Let’s put those webinars and Zoom classes on hold for a bit. It’s time to listen to what the wise young ones have to say.

—-Team Bookosmia

Essays

Its OK Not to be OK

Nivedita Chawda

By Nivedita Chawla, 17

Michael Jackson said “stop existing and start living.”
I feel this lock-down was about slowing down and changing our yardstick of measuring things. 

Personally, my yardstick of happiness, was being productive. 

I love getting things done and checking them off my to- do list, and then I love making more to do lists. I would see my friends doing 100 push-up challenges, doing various courses on Coursera, cycling every morning and naturally I’d compare their progress to mine, and felt like i was lagging behind. But I realized that this is pandemic, not a productivity contest. 

Some days if i manage to get out of bed after a sleepless night, shower and sit for my political science class, its enough. It’s okay to have a dauntingly long to- do list and not get anything done on it, its okay to not have a to do list at all. This pandemic has made me realize that its okay to not be okay. You can’t change this situation, all you can change is how you deal with it. 

Being privileged in your AC rooms doesn’t necessarily mean you HAVE to be in an emotionally better place. Grateful that you’re in a better place than struggling migrant workers and failing businessmen? Sure. But your 17 year old self doesnt have to take up the responsibility to heal the world. Today, if all you do is water the plants, watch the sunset and play cards with your family, its okay. Amidst all your luxuries and comforts you can still choose to feel discomfort. The world is healing in its own ways, you can heal in yours.

***

Children look forward to future pandemics?

Meghna Girishankar

By Meghna Girishankar, 16

Children look forward to future pandemics?

During a time when the world has been massively hit by the effects of COVID-19, with almost every individual facing its brunt, there might actually be a  certain set of them who are loving what the pandemic has to offer. And they are children.

Before we can even attempt to fathom the logic behind this, pessimistic  thoughts would have already started coalescing in our minds: How can one be  so self-centered? Aren’t such ill-fated thoughts purely selfish? But as the  saying goes, “Don’t judge one’s choices without understanding their reasons.” In order to truly comprehend this seemingly inexplicable desire of children for wanting future catastrophes akin to the prevalent one, we must analyse their  thought- process behind the same.

Children like to receive their parent’s undivided attention and to be loved, by engaging with their family. In the pre-corona world where both parents were  working, getting to play a game of chess or having a family movie date was almost unimaginable and tantamount to a privilege, for children. Working  parents would be consumed with their work lasting till the wee hours of the night. As a result, they barely, if at all, could make time for their children, who, all along, have become accustomed to this treatment.

Now, anything that reverses this trend, with children seeing more of their  parents around and getting to experience more quality time with them would definitely provoke feel-good vibes. And this is just what the pandemic has achieved. As parents are working from home, they have more time to bond with their kids over activities like cooking, gardening and dancing. Children are certainly liking this whole new experience of having their whims and fancies being addressed, and would want it to continue in the future as well.

However, they are anxious that this might only be a ‘limited period offer’. Post rehabilitation, once economic activity resumes, things would go back to being the way it used to be. Ingenuous as they are known to be, children hence feel that the outbreak of such pandemics is a good omen for them. We cannot entirely blame them for such thoughts, as they are young and oblivious to the fact that what they consider fair might not actually augur well with the rest of the society.

In fact, parents are partly to blame. If they had ensured to set aside time off  their other commitments to bond with their children on a regular basis, this notion wouldn’t have even crept into children’s minds.

It is a parent’s duty to reason with their kids that what they see as right, might  not necessarily be so, since it is quintessential to take cognizance of a broader viewpoint. This will only be instilled in children when parents are more involved in their child’s life. Parents should therefore make a conscious effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance so that children don’t feel left out.

After all, children do not remain juvenile forever, but while they do, better to cherish those priceless moments with them!

***

Unlocking feelings in the lock-down

Devbrat Hariyani

Devbrat Hariyani, 16

Empty. Vacant. Bare. Abandoned. Deserted. Void. Dark.

These are the appellations I gave to my feelings before this lockdown. I was constantly overlooking my blessings. I did not know what I loved nor the things that I owned. It is the last two months that have allowed me to reflect. They have given me credence about my thoughts because believe me, I was just a lonely, friendless child before this turn of event.

The two little words in LOCK-DOWN have actually played a contrasting role to my thoughts and feelings. I have “unlocked” them and obtained wisdom through stories. Stories of people who made their lives worth living on this planet and left it while inspiring others through their creations, experiences, and their service to this world. These stories have allowed me to have a sagacious vision of how people function to make their lives meaningful. It has made me structure my long term goals of becoming an entrepreneur and making a difference in this evanescent world that we live in. In fact, this lock-down has taken care of the seemingly little things in my life – my sleep schedule, fitness, my connection with novels, and it has even helped me to end my addictive relationship with Netflix.

This lone time led me to ponder upon the ideas I never thought I had, such as how each and everything has a philosophical side to it and how faith, imagination and intuition have influenced us to perceive things in our own way. I started to observe the smaller fragments of the approaches people take towards a situation. I watched how my mom and dad work with each other, how my younger brother imagines his day before starting it, and how my grandfather integrates his religious knowledge into his tasks.

This lockdown has practically defined the word “growth” for me. Not for a moment did I believe that my life was going to ameliorate this way, but this short period has unleashed my imagination to its endless possibilities, and it has helped me reconstruct my beliefs.

I have been integrating several views of people around me to find the true perspective of the world and myself. I did this while building solid relationships with a few friends that I know will last a lifetime. Because, after everything that I will have achieved in the future, the things that will matter the most are these friendships that I spend time on now.

So the words that I would attribute my thoughts to are-
Appreciative. Creative. Developmental. Conscious. Magnified and finally, Introspective.

***

Poems

There is no one to blame

Lavishka Bajoria

By Lavishka Bajoria, 7 

I am thankful that we have beds to sleep,

Poor people who don’t have it, they weep.

.

I am thankful that I can wake up late,

By staying at home I am also  safe. Late and safe don’t rhyme.

.

In this lock-down I am in a happy mood,

I am also thankful that I get food.

.

We are always playing a game,

There is no one to blame.

***

Grandma’s Tale

Ahaana Kandoi

By Ahaana Kandoi, 13

“And there was no sign of an individual on the streets
Not even one where there used to be a myriad.
All engrossed in the news
Hoping that some positive message comes along.

That was the situation of the virus outbreak,
a disturbed time for all beings” said grandma.
“Both you and me were held captive in our houses
The towns had ceased to function.

Death rates increasing with the blink of an eye
And the infected were the hostages
There was the lot of the careless few,
Who were determined to not care
There was the lot of the educated illiterate
Who always seemed to be heedless.

However changes began as true leaders came forward.
Many people set good examples and they were followed.
Soon people disappeared into solitude
They began to follow the rules.
They stopped complaining and took to action
They were ready to give up on social lives
“We can get through this, we can do it,”
Were the words on everyone’s lips.

Development of technology began
Even in these terrible times
People began working from home
And brought about a progress in their countries.

And oh! The world how beautifully it evolved
The earth was once again replenished.
Turtles, dolphins and other creatures seen rarely,
Were now a common sight.

And if we look at the bright side
No theft, rape, abuse, slaughter occurring
And all were once again enthusiastic
The happiness again restored.

The people were now jolly and jovial,
7.8 billion smiles had driven the virus away.
So children, the lesson we learn today is the greatest one of all,
United we stand, divided we fall.”

***

The world is better because of you!

By Vansh Garg, 17

Ode to Mother

Mother

A being like no other

One capable of exuding so much love

So much inspiration to fly above

One capable of becoming equally as harsh

.

When your diligence and manners run scarce

As I wake up every morning,

My mom holds me close

Oh, I could enjoy this forever,

Alas, if only this moment forever froze

She lies there, a being infinitely wise

This feeling of warmth, it moistens my eyes

.

Years pass by, oh, there my youth goes

I’d never give up this feeling, her holding me close

The creator has created 

The perfect master plan

To run this world, on its own

Clan after clan

.

I’m part of this creation

As real as can be

Made possible by my mom

Who gave birth to me.

.

To her, I’m foolish

I am naughty and naive

Nevertheless, a part of her

Blessed to be alive

I may be annoying and childish

But my smarts are what mom gave me

.

I strive to be as infinitely selfless

As my mom, its epitome

I want to meet the creator

For them to feel the magnitude

Of, at being my mother’s son, my

unending gratitude

.

To all mothers, a Happy Mothers’ day

Achieving what you have I’ll never be able to

We dedicate to you this day

The world is better because of you.

***

Stories

Pumpkin Girl

By Ira Shenoi,6

#Sara’s Activities: Tangram # 10- Pumpkin Girl


Once upon a time there was little girl called Iri in a village very close to deep dark forest. She was walking in
the forest and found a small pumpkin. It was a magic pumpkin and started to grow bigger and bigger. It grew
so big that the girl decided to make it as her home. Slowly day by day she carved a bedroom, living room and
balcony for her inside the pumpkin. It was the cutest house and everyone called her pumpkin girl because she
lived inside a pumpkin.During the day she would go around the forest picking berries, nuts and fruits to eat. All
the animals in the forest like rabbits, butterflies, squirrels and bears were her friends.

But, other side of the village lived a big monster called Big Tummy Monster. He was called so because, he had
a big stomach and a huge appetite. No matter how much food he ate, he used to be hungry all the time.
People from the village had to cook for him and take food many times in a day, otherwise he would scream
and threaten villagers saying, “I will eat you all up!” People in the village were very sad and crying!
The pumpkin girl saw people crying and asked them what the reason was. They told her that all the food they
had was given away to the Big Tummy Monster and now they would not get anything to eat, even for their kids. If
they don’t give food, the monster would eat the up.

The girl thought of a plan, she went to the monster and said, “Hey Big Tummy Monster, you are hungry , right?
All you need is food, right? if you are really strong come and eat my pumpkin house!”. The monster came over and started eating the pumpkin, the pumpkin was so big that the monster could not finish it up. But the monster didn’t want to give up, and kept on eating and the stomach blasted out open, the monster ran away into deep dark forest in pain and was never seen again.

The pumpkin girl had rescued the villagers from monster, but now she didn’t have a house to live it. The
villagers thanked her and offered to build her a home. But she was not interested, she went to forest and kept
looking for a pumpkin. She found a small cute pumpkin. When she touched the pumpkin, it turned into a huge
one. She could make it as her new home, the villagers helped her turn into a home, and she was happy as ever.
“Do good and be kind.”

***

“Holi is for everyone,” it is said. Even for colour black?

By Anoushka Poddar, 10 

Bookosmia Holi is for everyone childrens story

“What in the world were you thinking?” the boss cried.
“Who would want to buy a black colour for holi? I know you are new but that doesn’t explain why you made a black colour. Now pack all of it up and throw it in the bin outside.”
The worker meekly agreed and did as he was told and I was tossed outside.
I was feeling very cramped and stuffy inside that packet. I tried wiggling out but ended up spilling a bit of me instead. My eyes widened in alarm as I lay still like a brick.
This new worker at Colours Factory had accidentally made me, a batch of black organic colour. Nobody would have played with black colour so the boss told him to throw me away. As I lay on the trash, surrounded by fruit peels and plastic bags, little black rose heart filled with self-pity and remorse, I asked myself what had I done to deserve this? I had only been myself! I guess
there is punishment for that too.
Many days passed as I lay in the garbage bin and Holi was very near. On the eve of Holi, a little beggar girl came wandering by. She started searching in the bin, looking for something she could use or sell. When she saw me her eyes lit up and filled with tears. Laughing and crying at the same time, she picked me up and started twirling me around. I felt so happy and at ease.
Me, a packet of black colour was giving someone so much joy.
I was on cloud nine. The girl immediately took me home. All her family members were so elated that they almost jumped with joy. They stored me on a wooden shelf, hoping to play with me on Holi.
The next day I was taken out and opened. The family had a wonderful time playing with me as they could not afford colours and very rarely got them. I was soon finished but the family was not sad. In fact they were very happy that they at least got to play with me.

This was a very quick end to my short and dramatic life but I felt amazing that I was able to help somebody have a good Holi. I felt that this is the true spirit of Holi. When they say ‘Holi is for EVERYONE’, they are right!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin- a retelling!

By Riddhiman Gangopadhyay, 13

Bookosmia Pied Pipe fairytale rehash

The rat infested city of Hamlin was in distress when the mayor finally decided to take some action
against the vermins.
A few days later he brought a funny dressed person with a pipe to drag away the rats.
The person said that his name was the Pied Piper and that he was worthy of removing the rodents from the city of Hamelin. Both the mayor and the Pied Piper had agreed on the sum of 1000 guilders. About a week later, the Pied Piper was out on the streets with an army of rats which was getting bigger and bigger with every joining rat following him. They followed him to a cave on the outskirts of the forest where the rats disappeared.
He went back to the mayors office to get his payment and leave the city. But the mayor jumped up on his chair when he heard that the payment of thousand Gilders had to be made as if the deal had never been made in the first place.
Riddhiman, a little boy of Hamlin was hearing impaired and although the other children laughed at him, he could never hear the sounds of the laughter. When people cried, he could never hear the sounds of sorrow either. But he knew that what God had taken from him in hearing he had gifted to him in curiosity and alertness. On the other hand, the Pied Piper was planning something that would certainly spell do for most of the people of Hamlin.
Next day, the Pied Piper was executing his plans. Children, chanted by the sound of the Pied Piper‘s piping came flowing out of every street. The parents did not have a chance to stop the children for they were under the spell of the pipe too. They were made into temporary living statues.

Bookosmia Kolkata Pied Piper rehashed

The young Riddhiman, driven by curiosity followed the group of the enchanted children. As he was deaf he could not hear the music and therefore was not under the spell of the Pied Piper but he understood that the Piper was kidnapping the children to take revenge on the mayor.
Riddhiman followed the children into the cave where the Piper had taken the rats. He pretended to be under thr spell too. He waited for the Piper to sleep then he slowly came out of the cave and locked the cave entrance by pushing a rock.

He then went to the mayor to strike a deal with him in sign language. He said that he would take 3000 guilders to tell them where the children were and hand over the Pied Piper as well. The mayor agreed.
With the children back home safely and the Pied Piper sent off with a reprimand, Riddhiman bought a cruise ship and sailed away into the seas like he had always dreamt about.

***

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