Tenali Raman Shines Again – A Folk Tale For Kids

Once, Tenali Raman was permitted by his king Krishna Deva Raya ruling the renowned Vijayanagar Empire (VE) to visit the kingdom of Gajapati’s of Odisha at the request of the latter. On his way back, he broke his journey at Rampur, a small state with friendly relations with the VE.

After reaching the palace, he realized his visit was a little mistimed on learning about the recen happenings in the state.

*

The chieftain of the state was, for a month now, unfortunately down with an ailment – a painful stomach ache – that proved incurable till date. The prime minister of the state had organized experts in various different systems of medicine from all over the state and outside to come down and treat his master. With all efforts to no avail he was at his wit’s end on the next steps. It was then he heard about the arrival of a yogi from deep south on his way to Kashi. The yogi was reputed to have performed some incredible feats through his yogic powers. Where formal medicines have failed, maybe he could help. So the minister with the consent of his chief went ahead and made arrangements for the yogi to visit the palace and examine the patient.

The yogi on arrival was received with due honour and taken to the living quarters of the chieftain.  In the presence of the prime minister, the royal priest and the royal vaidya (doctor) he thoroughly examined the patient. When he was done, he turned to the vaidya and asked for some common herbs to be brought. Mixing honey, he pestled the ingredients into a gooey paste. Gesturing the two to silence, he sat down and for some good ten minutes chanted some esoteric mantra’s invoking Agni, the god of fire, keeping the paste in a shallow dish in front. Done, he handed over the dish to the vaidya for use.

And taking the prime minister aside he asked in a low voice:

‘Sir, speak truthfully, just between us when did you utter a lie, a lie of any kind, last?’

The minister was taken aback at the question so suddenly sprung on him. Recovering his poise, he said a little abashedly, ‘Yesterday, night, to my lady…before we went to sleep.’

The yogi wanted him to continue.

‘My wife has been pestering me for quite some time to get her a necklace like the one worn by our queen during last Dussehra (festival). I bought peace with a promise I’ll get one before the next Dussehra though I’ve no idea or the means on how to; and yesterday night I had to repeat myself when she brought it up.’

The yogi smiled.

Moving on to the vaidya he asked the same question. The vaidya too unprepared. He collected himself and confessed many a time he had given placebos to patients in the name of medicines though it did prove beneficial in number of cases. Would that be considered as lying?

The priest admitted to not being truthful when in his zeal he blessed devotees with aayush (longevity of life), arogyam (health) and aishwaryam (wealth) though it was in no way within his means to deliver or ensure the same, instead of praying for the same to the almighty on their behalf. Misrepresentation, right, was he lying?

Addressing them, he said: ‘this medicine is now invested with the power of agni to burn his ailment; giving three spoonful’s at one shot would cure him of the illness. Next morning he should up and about. But for now let it stand under the hot sun for a couple of hours before using it.’

In just three spoonful’s the stubborn ache gone? So potent? Incredible! They were visibly overjoyed.

The yogi continued: ‘Not so soon…there’s a condition, not easy to satisfy. It must be given to the chieftain only by someone who doesn’t speak a lie at all for any reason, good or bad. Anyone who does not qualify and yet tries to administer the medicine, would face intense heat of agni first and if he persists he would be burnt alive. So be very careful who you chose. Also remember the medicine would lose its potency in about three days from today- ah, wear this kappu (amulet) around your wrist and you’ll not come to any harm handling the medicine. Of course it won’t still let you…’

Nothing more to do, the Yogi took leave to continue his journey.

*

The inner council got down to the job immediately – they knew it was not going to be easy to find such a soul if there was one at all in mere three days. They brainstormed on how to go about. All kinds of ideas were thrown up, nothing appeared promising. Drawing a blank, they finally decided to broadcast a message right away covering all parts of the state inviting anyone who thought he qualified with a promise of a rich reward for the right man.  

So criers were dispatched expeditiously in all directions with the message however without disclosing the details of the sickness their chieftain was suffering from for the fear of demoralizing the entire populace.

In the following two days about fifty people, young and old, men and women turned up. There was no way the officials could check on their claims except lead them directly to handle the medicine set on a table a few feet away from the patient’s bed. No surprise not one of them could go near the table without getting badly singed.

Third day morning, the priest, the prime minister and the vaidya got together to contemplate their next move; and there was no next move they could think of. End of road. It was precisely at this moment of utter despondency, Raman landed at the palace.

*

Raman heard intently as they narrated to him all about the stricken chieftain, their efforts and finally the yogi’s prescription and the impossible challenge for them.

They were disappointed when all Raman said was he wanted to rest for a while and come back to join them.  His reputation had led them to expect much more.

Anyway, they sent an attendant to take Raman to his quarters, make him comfortable and stay with him to attend to his needs.

It was after lunch. They had resigned to the inevitable. The attendant came running.

‘Why, what happened?’ the minister inquired listlessly.

‘Sirs, an hour ago, sahib came out and spent time talking to the palace guards – about six or seven – one at a time in the gardens. He finally settled on our Ratna, the tall guy with a handlebar moustache, you know. When he finally parted, I overheard him tell Ratna to go home and get his son within the next hour without fail. When the latter hesitated about leaving his post without permission, sahib assured him it was alright, it was for the good of his master and the state and he would personally vouch for him. Don’t know what had transpired between them. Couldn’t talk to Ratna either as he had left for home to fetch his son.’

‘Intriguing! He has asked for Ratna’s son, and he assured him it is for the good of his master…at this time, I’m sure he’s as serious and concerned as we are and not engaged in any frivolous caper, so what’s going on here?’ the minister thought loudly.

‘I agree,’ the vaidya chimed in.

‘I think I got it,’ suddenly the priest jumped in excitement and ran to the gardens at the back.  In a few minutes he returned.

‘I have spoken to Ananta, the short stocky guy, and asked him to get his son here right away. He’ll be here anytime now.’

‘Care to tell us what’s happening? A children’s party for god sake?’ the tired minister shook his head.

Arre ram, don’t you see, we were stupid to go through all that…’

The other two were not amused by that bit of inclusive self-deprecation.

‘You know, Ananta’s son is about four years old. Would he know what lying is?’

The ‘penny’ dropped.

‘Great, simply brilliant,’ exclaimed the minister. ‘We’ve cracked it.’

The priest let go – this wasn’t the time to contest the collective ownership and credit for the solution.

Shortly Ananta came in with Veeru, his son. The child looked a little scared at all the attention he was getting suddenly.

The priest explained to the father what needed to be done and the father made it easy for the child. All the child had to do is to take the dish on the table, walk up to the bed and feed the willing man a spoonful of the paste. Just like his mom fed him over dinner. Likewise two more spoonful’s. As simple as that. Ananta made it a fun thing for the child – imagine a child feeding a grownup. Yes, it would be fun – Veeru perked up.

No sooner the child neared the patient with the dish carefully held in his hands, he shrieked and stepped back in horror. What had happened? It was like getting too close to fire, intolerably uncomfortable.

With great difficulty they coaxed the child to try once again. The second round was even shorter.

The four of them could not figure out what was happening. There was no question of a third round.

*

Just then Raman walked in with Ratna and his kid Sambu. One look at them, the unhappy Veeru almost in tears and his own crest-fallen attendant told him everything. Disregarding it for the present, he explained to Sambu what needed to be done.

With no fuss, the child did just as instructed within a couple of minutes! The chieftain took the spoonful’s and almost immediately fell into deep sleep, his snoring could be heard from where they stood.

They were nonplussed except for Raman.

The children were sent away with their father packets of candies for their efforts.

The looked at Raman.

Raman explained: ‘So this guy,’ pointing to the attendant, ‘was snooping on me, eh? Anyway, don’t you worry, no harm done. Well, it is right no child at that age knows what is truth and what is not. Whatever he sees or hears is the truth, the reality for him. There is a ‘but’ to it. If the child comes from an unhappy home, suffering at the hands of parents who are strict, impatient or even given to violence, the child begins to speak lies simply to escape from punishment. You should have checked like I did before bringing the child in.’

Next morning, Raman was seen off with generous gifts by a grateful and fit chieftain though a little sad his guest did not extend his stay despite his request.

End

Image from goodreads.com

Mumbai’s Homeless (For Kids)

In Mumbai, when it rains it usually pours.

This time it is happening metaphorically too.

Just when we are coping up with this Covid-19 lock-down seriously impacting everyone’s personal, professional and social lives, there were these reports coming in of imminent invasion of the city by some zillion locusts, advising us to hermetically secure our residences and stay indoors until it passes away. Fortunately it did not happen as feared – the pests seemed to have lost their way or perished in their march.

Barely a few days later, now the Met Department suddenly came up with the announcement of a cyclonic storm deciding to visit Mumbai proper in the next couple of days. Heavy rains, yes, cyclones, never in this city for as long as I could remember.  High wind-speeds and heavy rains were predicted. We were advised to stay indoors which we were anyways doing with the lock-down in force; and, alerted to the possibility of disruptions in power, water, essential supplies and what else – we didn’t know.  

When it came, the cyclone had mercifully changed its mind choosing a course to the south of the city. Did cause loss of lives and damage to property in its wake though not as badly as feared, quickly dissipating itself over the land. In the city, if the clips are to be believed, rains had lashed certain parts turning some streets into mini rivers, utensils and clothes sent flying in some high-rise buildings…On our street the tall coconut trees swayed crazily. In our own complex, three or four Ashoka trees, young, tall and slender, no longer able to keep their heads high, bowed down touching the walls on the inside. Surprisingly the neem tree, also young and slender, stood up well.

All in all, no serious damage done, no disruptions of utilities, we, lodged safely in our houses – except for a vague and a nagging thought not asserting itself strongly enough yet to cause loss of sleep.

**

So here I was on the following day into my midday nap. A blissful escape – for, a man at my age can only take so much of not-so-amusing series of nature’s capers.

And then just when god and everything else seemed to be in their place and peace reigned, well, it was not to be.    

A persistent…rrrr…rrrr….rrrr…that refused to go away, loud and strident sure to wake up a hibernating animal in mid polar winter.

 Man had taken the baton over from nature, it looked.  

I woke me up with a humour not unlike of a man tapping on the back of a mama bear in the forest and asking it to shush its bawling cub.

It must be from the accursed neighbour’s flat across the street, I suspected. For some 6 to 8 weeks, they – mason, carpenter, painter, plumber…were making such a racket every day from morning to until late evening. Appeared to be doing some major make-over. And then the lock-down came about restoring the tranquil. So it was mercifully for several weeks until partial lifting of the lock-down was announced and today they must have returned to continue with their mayhem and murder. Don’t know how it is elsewhere, but here in our country the building and repairs industry is one of the worst offenders guilty of high-decibel noise pollution and quite unconcerned about the same.

Got up to find out what was happening…and a target for my ire.

It was the municipal staff, arranged by the quick-thinking secretary of the complex, sawing off the precariously bent-down sections of the Ashoka trees. Like decapitation on execution blocks in medieval times.

Uncovered by the branches lopped away, a crow’s nest showed up on the neem tree, now open to the elements.

Suddenly the nagging thought surfaced and struck me.

It’ll be several months before the trees grow again from the stumps they’re cut to now. Sawed off it had to be, only I wish it was done a little higher up on the trunk leaving some foliage as leafy cover for the birds. May be it was considered and found not feasible.

With their homes gone here and now, where would the sparrows rest, sleep and breed?

The only comforting thought is: it had happened before and they survived. Fervently hoping they tide over it once again. Though didn’t hear them chirp two mornings last:-(

End

Image: Jayashree Kulkarni,‎ House Sparrow Waraje, Pune Dec – 19

Getting Others To Do For You

The man counted the currency note bundle given by the cashier. He felt it was short by a note.

‘M’m, could you kindly load it in the counting machine and check it out for me?’

The cashier sounded impatient, her manner less than friendly‘Why, is it less…..look I’m busy, don’t have the time. Why don’t you count it yourself carefully once, twice, eh?

‘No, M’m, I think there’s a note or two in excess.’

The bundle was hastily snatched from his hands, counted on the machine multiple times and given back.

**

It works when a service-delivery-chain is drawn into the transaction with stakes enlarged beyond the transaction!

End

It’s Their Day!

End

Source: internet

Two Crows On A Forage – A (Real) Story

Charcoal drawing from Etsy

**

Two kinds of people, in a day,

‘often come your way.  

Lo and behold, I saw them both today,

‘eyeing at where the eats lay.

Away and towards, slanting their heads,

‘rolling their dark suspicious eyes.

‘who here? friends or foes?

Thoughts racing in their minds…

Cookies crumbled for easy eat

‘proved far too much to resist.

Their escape could always be swift.

‘any time they saw a threat.

So they gingerly stepped up to it.

To human presence, ever alert.

The nervous one quickly stole one treat,

‘and made away without a regret.

The other took one and then one…

‘until there remained none,

‘not dropping his guard until done.

And, no looking back… was gone!

Two kinds of people, in a day,

‘often come your way.  

For always, right or wrong, who is to say

‘but this: while the sun shines, make hay?

**

End

The Chat Continues…More Friends In Chembur

‘Modesty aside for a moment, aren’t we so pretty?

And yet, would you believe, they have just one of us here:-(

‘We know we got you hooked…But do look around, there’re more of us back there, you’ll like them too.’

One glance, you’ll know we’re not Parijat, Bonsai Lotus or Jasmine!

‘Small, but no less beautiful! That purple at the center breaking up the white is our beauty spot. You agree?’

Would you believe if we tell you we’re actually a Periwinkle? Of course, the leaves give it away if you noticed. See down there the purple duo, our kin?’

‘Don’t we know you can never get enough of us, Gulmohars!’

‘Figure out we’re green turning yellow or yellow into green?’

‘Or red into green or green to red?

Very small, may be (less than a cm across), but sticking together in a bunch we’ll stop you in your tracks! Admit our striking yellow amidst the green is something.

The chat to be continued!

Some Amazing Ghazals!

Couldn’t figure out who these amazing kids are.

But before that, here’s a quick chat-pat ‘Wedding Bells’ by Rajesh Vaidhya, originally composed by the maestro Chitti Babu. If it doesn’t appear here you’ll find it here.

**

Now for the kids:

A melodious song Dil de diya hai from the movie Masti cover by Rahul Jain with some nice Hindi lyrics. If the clip doesn’t appear, go here:

.

Tumhe Dil lagi Bhool… a ghazal song written by lyricist Purnam Allahabadi and composed by prominent Sufi singer of Pakistan Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. You’ll also find it here:

Update from here:

…It was almost a year ago that 18-year-old Maithili Thakur, along with her younger brothers Rishav (15) and Ayachi (12), decided to archive the songs they’d heard from their grandmothers on both sides, and their father, a music teacher. Some of these songs were learned in Dharbanga and Uren, both in Bihar. “We wanted people to listen to the beautiful world of Bhojpuri folk, that’s melodious and has wonderful lyrics…” With no special recording equipment, microphones, auto tuners or studio, the three Thakur children sit on their bed in Dwarka, Delhi, with a high-pitched baaja and tabla and sing with gusto… ”

End

Words Adding Enchantment To Thoughts…

Sanmargam

And what are words?

Pankaj Thakkar‎ Best English Quotes & Sayings

Varun Kumar‎ Best English Quotes & Sayings

End

View original post

Life Cycle Of A Scam

…The fiction above is but a microcosm of the play in real world where the curtains stay permanently raised up for a non-stop run of scams and the public looking away helplessly in disgust, disbelief and disinterest.

The wise rishi’s up there in the high mountains meditating on and seeking ‘Truth’ are not back yet. It is quite likely they’re successful in their quest before long while we putter around in the plains?…

Fictional, for a good part, read it here.

End

What No City But Mumbai Teaches …

3, 4 and 5 are my favorites!

End

Source: The Nationalist Mind