Friday, December 27, 2013



I walk into the local public library in my town, and I see a big red concrete chair, and in front of it these words of Richard Scarry, "The more you read, the more you'll know; the more you learn, the more places you'll go."

Once someone asked me from where do I get the ideas for my stories? I divulged my secret: If it's written, I read. I read story books, I read newspapers and magazines, I read scraps of paper and the words behind the receipts I get from stores. I may not remember all that I read, but I keep in mind the words and stories I like.

The concept for this story came from one of the random readings I did in a magazine.



Seven-year-old twins wandered into their brother, Sagar's room. 

Suchi said, "Bhaiya, we want to ask you something."

Sagar looked up from the mystery book he was reading, "Okay, ask."

Soori said, "What are M&M's?" 

Sagar frowned, he realized the girls weren't looking for the answer---chocolate covered candy. He put his fingers on the temples, "I am thinking, I am thinking."

The girls smiled at each other.

Sagar said, "I got it, M&M's is Mars & Murie's, the last names of the candy's co-owners."

Soori said, "I bet you don't know what CVS is."

"Hmm..CVS...CVS...I know, it is Consumer Value Store."

Suchi looked at Soori, "I guess he knows what is WD-40."

Sagar smiled, "I sure do. It stands for Water Displacement-40th formula."

Soori said, "How do you know all the answers, Bhaiya?"

Sagar nodded, "That's because I am smart, girls."

Soori said, "I guess, you are."

From behind a door to Sagar's room, Sapna joined them, "Suchi-Soori, Bhaiya reads whatever written things fall in front of his eyes---books, scraps of paper, newspapers, magazines and even the Internet." 

Sagar made a face, "Aw---Sapna, you gave away my secret."

They all burst into laughter.

A very Happy 2014 to everyone.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays

Wishing Everyone Happy Holidays  ...............................


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Growing up by Yourself


Often we, the humans, feel that we created the social order, after all, we are the the most intelligent beings in the animal kingdom. I say, Ha, to that.

One wonders who taught ants to walk in line? Who taught honey bees to make a perfect honey comb? Who taught birds to migrate? It is the older generation- the parents, the grandparents, the elders and the adults who teach the younger ones. Children will copy what they see. 

Recently, I read about a herd of young elephants that lost all its elders a couple of decades ago due to culling. Their decision making ability remains impaired due to the disruption in their social order. The social abilities of the young elephants is severely compromised, they fail to differentiate between a friend and a foe.

Human order is no different. We observe disruption in the lives of children either raised by one parent or worse, after the loss of both the parents.


Growing up by Yourself

Bhaiya = brother
ears perked up = listened more

Six-year-old Suchi and Soori played with their dolls.

Suchi said, "Let's make this doll an orphan."

Soori asked, "Why?"

"So she can do what she wants, eat what she wants and go to sleep when she wants."

Soori smiled, "Yeah, she is free to do whatever she likes."

Their older sibling, ten-year-old, Sapna's ears perked up when she heard the conversation. She ran to their big brother, fourteen-year-old, Sagar. "Bhaiya, the twins are talking about making one of their dolls an orphan. I don't like it."

The brother-sister came to the room where the twins were playing.

Sagar asked, "Hey, daring-duo, what's up?"

Suchi said, "Nothing Bhaiya, we are playing dolls."

Sagar picked up a doll that was sitting by herself in a corner, "And why is this doll sitting in time-out?"

"She is not. She is just thinking how to mess up the other dolls' play."

"Why does she want to mess up someone's game?"

"Because she is an orphan and gets to do her own thing."

Sapna said, "That does not sound very nice, maybe she too wants to play."

"Maybe, but she does not behave and---"

The second twin finished the first one's sentence, "And she always interrupts and messes up. That's how an orphan is."

Sagar said, "And girls, what is an orphan?"

The twins said, "A kid who does his own thing."

Sapna asked, "Have you ever seen an orphan?"

"Yeah, this new boy in our class is an orphan and he's always interrupting the teacher and messes up our work."

Sagar asked, "And do you like that?"


Sapna asked, "What if everyone was an orphan in the class?"

The twins smiled at each other, "Our teacher would run away."

The other twin added, "And that would be so much fun."

Sapna asked, "Think again, you two, who'll teach you in the class without a teacher?"

The twins exchanged glances and shrugged.

Sagar asked, "How does that idea sound to you?"

The twins said together, "Not good at all."

Sagar said, "Yeah, not good at all. An orphan is a child who does not have any parent."

Suchi said, "Why would they leave him?"

"I do not know what happened to the little boy's parents."

Soori said, "Didn't they love him?"

Sagar asked the twins, "I don't know. But think, if no one told you bed-time stories or took you to a zoo or played with you, how happy would you feel?"

"We'd be miserable."

Sapna said, "Girls, do you disrupt your class?"

"No--- because we know better."

Sagar continued, "That's exactly the point. The orphan boy doesn't know any better, doesn't know how to behave and so he messes up other children's play."

"No one told him how to behave."

Suchi said, "Soori, let's get this orphan doll back in the play, the other dolls can teach her how to be nice."

Soori brought the doll from time-out back into the play and they played with all the dolls until their parents came home.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What's in a Name


The other day I had gone to a library and saw a little girl with a teddy bear. The librarian said hello to the little girl and asked her what was the teddy bear's name. The little girl did not answer. A boy who waited behind her in the line said that his dog's name was Scoobi.

I told the boy that Scoobi was a lovely name. The boy smiled and told me that his name was Victor. I said his name was lovely too. Victor liked to talk and told me that his name meant that he is a winner. I smiled and told him that he looks like a winner and I moved on.

This story comes from names.


What's in a Name

Five-year-old, Sapna came home from a birthday party one day and plunked down on a sofa in their living room. She opened the goody bag she had received at the party and then tossed it at the other end of the sofa.

Her nine-year-old brother, Sagar said, "Hey, sis, how was the party? Did you bring me some goodies too?"

Sapna picked up the bag, held it closer to her heart and said, "You weren't invited, it was for my friend's birthday." 

"That's cool, that's cool. May I have at least one candy from your bag?"

Sapna tossed the whole bag at Sagar, "Here, I don't really want any candy from the bag."

Sagar picked out a chocolate from the bag and peeled its wrapper. He popped the chocolate in his mouth and murmured, "Hmm...tasty. Why don't you want any candy?"

A tear rolled down Sapna's cheek, "They told me that my name was pretty and asked me what it meant?"

"So? What's there to be so grumpy about that?"

Sapna shed a couple of more tears. She picked up a tissue from the side table, " I don't know what it means."

Sagar said, "Big deal, at least you know how to spell it."

"Everyone can spell their name in my class. That's not a big deal. Nisha said he name meant 'night' and Faith said her name meant 'belief' and then they asked me, and I didn't know."

"Your name means a 'dream'."

"And yours?"

"It means an 'ocean'."  

"Everyone's name has a meaning?"

Sagar shrugged, "I don't know. Sometimes people make up names. I remember one day Dr. Melwani had come to our house and she said that one of her patients named her daughter, "Melwana'!

Sapna laughed, "So it's okay if your name has no meaning?"

"Well, it still is your name and what it means is---you. I guess Melwana means delivered by Melwani!"

"That's not the same as a real meaning."

"True. That's how new words are added to the dictionary. Besides, you don't name yourself, your parents do. Sometimes your friends can change your name if you are too tall or short, or smart or silly. You might hate it, and then the friends will use it even more, to make you mad."

"Bhaiya, I like my name, Sapna,  and I also like its meaning, a dream."

Sagar said, "I remember a story from Mom's class. She always called boys with a mister in front of it and girls with a miss. I would be Mister Sagar and you would be Miss Sapna."

"That's the story?"

"Sapna, learn to wait, be patient. Back to mom's class, once on the first day in her class, she welcomed a boy by saying, 'Good morning, Mister Michael.' The boy said, 'My name is Michael, not Mister Michael'. Mom smiled and said, 'I like your name, Michael, but in the class I'll have to call you Mr. Michael so that I remember it's you and no one else.' The boy nodded and went on to sit with the other children."

"That is a funny story. I know I am Miss Sapna."

"That's cool, that's cool. If you are from the south, the girls have two names, you would be Sapna Sargam (sargam = sir-gum, symphony). They have Lisa Marie, Dolores Rose or something like that and then people would call you by saying both your names together."

"Hey, Bhaiya, I'd like to be called Sapna Sargam."

"Okay, you can do that when you are eighteen, and that's the law. Just now you are Miss Sapna."

"Hmm...and I'll stay Sapna, I like it because it's my name."

Sagar gave a high five to Sapna.