I’ll Be Happy To Know You Didn’t Get It Either!!

No great shakes?


There are ten people in a house. Everybody wants to make a hand shake with only people shorter than themselves. Assume everybody is different in height.

How many hand shakes are made?

I’ve already given it away!! Go to ‘Comments’ if you still wish to know.




From: braingle.com (beijing200820) and clipartix.com

A Tale From A Mango Tree (Children’s Story)

owl-tree-pic-500x500 wallstickers.co za

‘You, know, I’m the one taking all the risks, sneaking into houses. You stand at a safe distance ready to run away at the first sign of trouble.’

‘And don’t forget you’ve no act unless I pick you up and drop you over the fence, keep watch and get you back same way.’

The two men, one short and the other tall, were arguing under the Mango Tree over their fair share of the loot taken from an unwilling wayfarer whose misfortune it was to cross their path early in the evening, .

As always their wrangle was inconclusive and it was agreed to maintain the status quo at 50-50. .

The short man now emptied the contents of the wayfarer’s bag into a pile on the ground – it was all silver coins. Didn’t amount to much belying the heft. Cursing their luck over the insubstantial returns for their efforts, he dutifully did the ‘one for you, one for me, watched over by a pair of wary eyes,’

The meager split finished, ‘Okay…means we’re not done for the night.’

‘You’re right. You have anything in mind?’

‘I have heard there’s an widow living all by herself in the village. Old money. I suggest we pay her a visit tonight. A real cinch – we should be done and gone before the clock moves.’

It wasn’t dark yet and a little shut-eye was in order before attending to their business usually conducted after mid-night. The coins were secured in  waist belts covered by the dhoti folds, the turbans straightened and laid out on the ground and in a few turns they were lost to the waking world.

The entire proceedings were watched with dismay by Kaaga, the crow. The hapless wayfarer had rested under the Tree and even shared his food before running into these men. And now they plan to rob the poor lady.

He turned sad:

‘The kind lady…never missed setting aside every morning some cooked rice for us. But how do I alert her to their nefarious plans? We don’t speak their language.’

Awash with despair, ‘A shame that I know what’s going to happen and still helpless to do anything about it.’

‘May be we could do something,’ said the Mango Tree, a mute witness to the happenings till now.

‘How do you mean?’

‘It might just work…go and get Mooshika (the mouse) here – we need him.’

Soon enough an excited Mooshika scampered to the base of the Tree – for, it was quite unusual to be called at this hour.

‘You’ve told me some time ago you hoard things people leave behind or lose at the village tank and it’s getting so full up that you find it difficult to move around in your own home?’

‘That’s right. Badly needs cleaning up – since she’s isn’t around I don’t mind saying this.’

‘Anything in silver? Not coins.’

‘Oh, plentiful – chains, rings, tiny bells fallen off anklets, small diya’s (wick-lamps)…you know we have no use for these.’

Thereupon Mooshika heard from the Mango Tree what was to be done, which it accomplished silently in the next few minutes, helped by a few friends.

Just when the tall man got the spell right to open up the treasure chest inside the cave, he was rudely woken up by faint sounds near his ears of bells tingling.

A light sleeper he was as suited for his trade, he was immediately alert. Unable to discern any immediate threat he calmed down. Nevertheless it was safer for them to be ready for any danger lurking close by; so he woke up his accomplice.

As the short man got up, a rain of silver trinkets fell on the ground from his garment.

The tall man’s countenance hardened.

He fixed the other man with a malevolent glare: ’So you hid these from me…you cheat’.

‘Don’t know what you’re talking about.’

The tall man silently pointed to the silver on the ground.

‘Oh…no idea, really, how they got to me…believe me you’

Trading mutual allegations, the feud heated up.

It was too late…the rising decibels had brought a crowd of unwelcome villagers to the spot.

Without a thought, they took off to keep the hide on their back…as fast as their legs could carry, stumbling and pulling themselves up and helping each other in their flight.

Never mind it was late, Kaaga cawed gustily, Mooshika and his pals danced unabashedly and the Tree sighed in relief.


An Unequal Contest In A Forest (For Children)


Shasha was a young rabbit, grey in color, adopted by other animals when she was a baby.

She was frisky, friendly and intelligent too, liked by everyone but two – the two that made fun of her. One was Mahisha, the bull, strong in body with long horns and a bit boorish. You too would be if all you ha was a tail to whack off the pesky flies buzzing around his unreachable back. And Durchara, the sad and sleepy looking crocodile that animals were wary of. Of course he was neither sad nor sleepy. While meanie Mahisha would say: ‘How I love to play ball with you – you’ll make a nice furry one to kick around,’  Durchara would come up with: ‘One of these days I would like to take you around to interesting places you must never miss – most of all, inside my tummy.’ One had to be careful with him especially when he was not in good humor or he was hungry.

Impetuous young Shasha was not one to take things lying down – whenever she saw, she would tease them, of course, from a safe distance. Finally she would always dart off into the bushes saying with mock solemnity: ‘Just wait for the day you’re going to see how strong Shasha is!’ She was quite blithe about it with no idea what she would do and how she would make it happen.

The old Ulooka, the wise owl, and Kaaga, the crow, took up on themselves to be Shasha’s guardians keeping a close watch over her day and night. They knew about the pests that Mahisha and Durchara were and were thinking about fixing these two for good. At last they knew how. They were sure Gaja, the elephant would oblige them with what they needed.

On their next meeting, Shasha invited Mahisha for a trial of strength: ‘If you wish to see Shasha in true colors, come here to this place near the mango tree this Sunday morning.’

So an intrigued Mahisha presented himself at the appointed place and time

He saw before him a thick rope, retrieved by Gaja from an abandoned lumber-shed, lying on the ground running from where he stood to somewhere out of sight beyond the thick growth of bushes.

‘Mahisha, you hold this end of the rope in your mouth and I’ll be tugging at the other end out there. Let’s see who is stronger. Are you game?’

‘You kidding? One jerk – I’ll have you where I want…at my feet. Try something different. I want it to be fair.’

He relented finally when Shasha assured him of her seriousness.

Kaaga as the referee started the count-down at the top of his voice as Shasha wished Mahisha luck and dashed off to her position beyond the bushes.

On zero, the rope went taut grabbed at both ends.

Mahisha, going about it like a walk down the garden, even before he could register it in his head, saw his body dragged several feet forward.  What was happening? This wasn’t going the way it should. Was Shasha being aided by some spirit getting into her body? In any case he quickly recovered from the initial surprise and stood his ground. With a grunt that made all the animals in the forest stop in their tracks for a moment, Mahisha, now all ready for this strange trial of strength – he would figure it out later, slowly regained his position and was even gaining on Shasha.

Well, it wasn’t for too long before the tide turned again and Mahisha began yielding ground. He was all sweat and snort.

This push-pull went on for a while until the rope, frayed by constant rubbing against thorny bushes, snapped. An exhausted Mahisha, frothing at the mouth, was shot backwards like a shooting star in the skies to be finally stopped by a tree trunk. He lay helplessly spreadeagled, holding fast in his mouth one end of a long piece of rope.

Shasha was declared as the winner.

Strangely Durchara also conceded defeat at the same time in an identical contest with Shasha unknown to Mahisha. He was found in a helplessly grotesque pose on a sand bank by the riverside, holding fast in his mouth one end of a long piece of rope.

From that day Mahisha and Durchara looked at Shasha with new found respect.

Till this date they could not could put the two pieces of rope together to guess what had happened on either side of the bush on that day.  Could you?


Source: Adapted from tamilsirukathaigal.com

That’s What The Law Says – Any Problems?



Go Slow…If You Wish To Arrive Early

Drawing-of-Working-Donkey-Carrying-Heavy-Load animalsclipart com.jpg

One morning a trader obtained asubstantial order for coconuts from a temple in a nearby village. They had to be delivered well in time for the pooja on the following morning.  It was a snappy call to action. There was no time to look for help. He climbed up the trees at the back and knocked off the coconuts onto the ground below. These were collected and loaded onto his donkey with some effort and more ropes. Once done, he was happy with himself for managing it all with just one beast – two of them would have made it easier to pack but trickier to manage on the road single-handedly.

Not losing time he made inquiries about the route and headed for the village with his donkey to deliver the coconuts personally – the business was too important to leave it with hired hands.

Though the sun was not high up yet, a couple of hours on the road had tired him out and his animal. He took a break under the shade of a banyan tree.

Just then a shepherd passed by driving his flock ahead of him.

The trader hailed him: ‘Hey, here, how long does it to take to reach the temple?’

When he looked at him from close he regretted ever asking the shepherd who was plain-as-nose dim-witted.

The shepherd gazed at the trader and his donkey now ready to resume the journey, his gaze going back and forth a couple of times over the duo.

His eyes crinkled at the effort of producing a response: ‘Babuji, at a swift pace you’ll reach the temple from here by sun-set.’

‘Oh, my…!’

The shepherd moved on to keep up with his flock, not before offering his counsel: ‘On the other hand, go slow and you’ll be there in a couple of hours, I guess – well before noon.’

The fellow quite patently didn’t have his marbles in place – the trader cursed himself for his own stupidity.

Refreshed from the break, he set out at a brisk pace.

To cut the long story short, they finished their journey together – the trader and the donkey on the road and the sun above.

A much relieved priest collected his consignment of coconuts from the trader still stricken with severe back-pain – an unfortunate outcome, not entirely unexpected, from bending down so often to pick up the scattered coconuts that fell off the donkey’s back every time it was goaded to speed – a mishap never later than ten minutes in recurrence.


Source: Inspired by a tale from Philippines found at pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts2.html and image from animalsclipart.com

The Raja And The Swamiji (A Children’s Story)

This is a story from the hoary past about a Raja from the north.

Maharaja_Malhar_Rao_Holkar commons.wikimedia.org

His valour was legendary as a soldier keeping his kingdom safe from neighboring invaders. A benign ruler, he was liked by his subjects.

One fine day things changed suddenly. The Raja began sighting ill omens: the lamp in the palace shrine fell off its pedestal and broke; the hoot of an owl was heard in the morning; his favorite age-old mango tree in the courtyard withered away for no reason…That wasn’t all. He had recurring nightmarish dreams in the night – ghouls chasing nim, raging fires engulfing the palace…All these induced a nameless discomfort in the Raja.

The Raj-Guru (the preceptor to the royalty) made polite inquiries with the distraught Raja.  He could not dismiss the Raja’s state of mind lightly and promised to find a way out at the earliest.

A couple of days later, he returned with: ‘My lord, I learnt there is a recluse swamiji living in his ashram deep inside the forest in the east. He is most likely to be of help. Perhaps we should seek his counsel, though he does not grant audience to anyone at all for more than a few minutes.’

So it was decided the Raja would go to meet the swamiji accompanied by his mukhya-mantri (prime-minister). Wanting to keep his visit under the cover, he sternly declined to take with him his personal guards or anyone else on this mission but for a guide to get them through the dense bandits-infested forest to the ashram. .

On the following day, before the crack of dawn, the Raja and his mantri slipped out of the palace under the cover of darkness. After a long ride, they reached the outskirts of the forest where the guide joined them as arranged by the Raj-Guru.

The guide had known about the swamiji and the ashram. With practiced ease he led the way for his wards – they knew within minutes they would be badly lost in the dense outgrowth without him.

On their way, at many places, the bandits hid themselves cleverly all ready to ambush the Raja.  Amazingly on a mere suggestion of a imperceptible rustle in the bushes, the Raja would in a blink of an eye deftly launch a few arrows with a ferocity that would send the lurking bandits run for their lives. The bandits never stood a chance to catch the Raja by surprise.   The mantri and the guide were speechless watching at first hand the Raja’s display of alacrity and skill in weilding his weapons.

Before long they sighted the ashram ahead of them. At a distance, they got off their mounts and left them in the care of the guide. The Raja made his way to the ashram with long strides at a brisk pace on the final short stretch of a stone-cobbled path.

At the last step, he failed to spot in time a protruding stone that tripped him to a nasty fall. The Raja saw a pair of hands shoot out like bolts of lightning firmly holding him back. As he looked up thankfully, he saw the swamiji – did he imagine the halo around his head? – clad in flowing ochre robes.

The swamiji took him and the mantri inside his ashram and pointed to some fruits and juices lying about should they wish to refresh themselves after their arduous passage.

The duties of the host done, the swamiji looked at them quizzically showing impatience at this unwanted intrusion.

Following a colorful description by the mantri of their encounter with the bandits on the way, curtly curtailed by the Raja, the latter quickly proceeded to appraise the swamiji of the ill omens and the nightmares he suffered. What to make of them? If all these portend some danger, from which quarters would it materialize?

A few moments of reflection and the swamiji smiled: ‘So, you were very good at sighting the bandits hiding behind the bushes, yet the stone right under your nose escaped your notice. Odd, isn’t it?’

His countenance turned grave as he continued: ‘Son, your pithru’s (ancestors) are obviously pleased with you. Hence the signals. Don’t ignore it.’

The swamiji got up from his seat and walked to the door: ‘I’ve addressed the purpose of your visit, I think. You must return now…please.’

On  their ride back, the Raja mulled on the few words swamiji’s spoke. Quite intriguing, he thought. Then, may be not so.

While, for all their labour, the mantri could not see much in swamiji’s sage advice beyond sounding a caution in general.

On his return, the Raja ordered in private a careful investigation to uncover any conspiracy against him and the kingdom of all those personages standing close to him . Especially the mukya-mantri.



Source: Image of  Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar from commons.wikimedia.org

A Fruitful Quest

vam.ac.uk  Sir Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar Bahadur of Mysore

Bhoopal, the Raja of Kumbh, was a benevolent ruler, at times given to whims.

One day, he called minister Buddhiwant to court.

‘Buddhiwant, I have a desire.’

‘What is it, my lord?’

‘I want to eat a fruit from our land that I have never tasted before.’

The minister was worried fearing what it could be. He was relieved now: ‘I should be able to arrange for it in short time, my lord. ‘

Buddhiwant made haste to announce the Raja’s desire all over the kingdom asking people to bring such fruits from their farms to his residence. He expected to wrap it up in a day or two.

He didn’t know how wrong he was!

Over the next couple of days fruits of all kinds were brought in baskets from far and near: different kinds of bananas, mangoes, pomegranates, guavas, berries, custard-apples, dates, palm-fruit, grapes, pineapples, tamarind, oranges, lemons, lime, musk-melons, water-melons, chikoos, papayas, jack fruits, etc.

Buddhiwant had to reject many of them as he personally knew Raja had consumed them at least once earlier. And the rest he sent up were all turned down by the Raja.

Very soon there was nothing new left to be offered to the Raja.

Days rolled by and the supplies dried up producing no new specimens.

The minister was sad he could not satisfy his Raja on what seemed to be a trivial wish. How could he face the Raja?

He appeared distraught during the days and lost his sleep in the nights. He stayed away from the court feigning sickness, knowing very well this couldn’t go on for long. Sooner than later he would have to face the music.

Buddhiwant’s daughter observed from close her father’s discomfort, gently made inquiries and skillfully drew out of him the cause for his woes.

‘Appa, take me with you to the court today. I think I’ll be able to meet the Raja’s expectations.’

‘Beti, this is not a matter for kids to get involved where with all the resources on hand I’ve not been able to provide a solution. Stay away from it. Our Raja could lose his cool at any kind of juvenile flippancy in his court. Anyways, what do you plan to come up with?’

‘Don’t ask, please and don’t worry, Appa. I say this with all the seriousness. Do take me with you. If the Raja is unhappy at the end of it, it won’t be with you.’

‘Ok, you may come along, he gave in quite reluctantly.’

With a lot of trepidation, he stood before the Raja: My lord, this is my daughter. She says she would be able to produce a fruit you have never tasted, if she has your permission.’

‘You may proceed, my dear,’ the Raja said to the girl.

The girl put her hands into a pouch hanging from her waist and pulled it out.

‘What is this, my dear girl?’

‘It is what you see, my lord.’

‘Well, I see you holding a bitter-gourd.’

‘Yes, my lord, I’m sure you must never have taken a ripe bitter-gourd.’

‘You’re both right and wrong, my girl. I’ve never eaten it – you’re right about it. I don’t like bitter-gourd at all. And eating a ripe one at that? No ways. But the point is it isn’t a fruit. There you’re wrong.’

‘My lord, when the bitter-gourd is a vegetable, it is raw, cooked and eaten. This one…is different. It is ripe. No one cooks and eats it. On both counts, it’s a fruit…a fruit, my lord, you have never tasted.’

The Raja thought for a moment before gracefully conceding the point.

The girl returned home with her proud father carrying the presents generously given away by the Raja.


Source: Adapted from Dina Thanthi, image of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar Bahadur of Mysore from vam.ac.uk.