In today's post, the four siblings have a conversation about various news items that Sapna has worked on at school.

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

An eighth-grade student, Sapna was looking at the newspaper that she brought home from her school.

Eight year old, Suchi asked, "Didi, Mom said that you write this newspaper, do you?"

"No, silly, I am just an editor."

Suchi's twin, Soori said, "She gets to read it before anyone else in the whole school, right?"

"Yes, in a way you are right. I am the editor. I decide on the stories that go in here."

Suchi said, "What is the best story today?"

Sagar did not wish to be left out of the conversation, "It's a monthly newspaper, it gets printed once every month."

Soori said, "Alright then, what did you print this month? Tell us about something interesting, okay?"

"Well, we wrote about how India sent a Mars probe into the orbit." Sapna put the newspaper aside.

"What is special about that?"

"It's a cheaper than the Gravity movie Hollywood made."


"It went into an orbit at the first try without a hitch and it costs less for it to travel per kilometer in space than a rickshaw in an Indian town takes to travel on road."

Soori said, "You write only Indian stories?"

Sapna patted her head, "No, there are other stories too."

Suchi said, "Fair is fair, we don't want to know only the Indian stories, we are Americans."

Sagar said, "You bet we are, even though I like saag paneer (spinach and cheese cooked in spices) and parotha (layered whole wheat flat bread)."

Sapna said, "Once in a while we print a kid-friendly recipe also."

Soori said, "That's good, but this month's stories?" 

"One story was about ants; we wrote that even though there are one million ants per every human on this earth, the total weight of all the ants is the same as the weight of the entire human population, and an ant weighs one millionth as a human."

Suchi asked, "Did you count the red ants and the big ants and the carpenter ants and... "

"All the ants from everywhere, in our homes and in the Amazon jungle, ten thousand types of them. Also, the next time you fight, remember that the ants have lived for many-many-many years and they are good at sharing. "

Suchi asked, "Yeah, sure, we share. What other interesting story did you write?"

"We wrote about the Ebola virus that is affecting West Africa and how dangerous it is."

Such and Soori held each other's hand, "Like a cold virus that mom talks about? Will it make us sick too?"

"No, my dear sisters, it spreads through body fluids."

"Body fluids?"

"You know, spit, vomit, blood..." 


Suchi said, "How will this bad sickness get here?"

Sapna looked at the newspaper, "A traveler might bring it along, but the CDC doctors will know about it; they will keep the infected person in isolation."

Sagar said, "Girls, you are safe here. Tell them some other story, Sapna,"

Sapna said, "Here is one that I like, in Afghanistan, an army dog named Lucca saved 14 men from stepping on a hidden bomb." 

Soori said, "That's a nice dog, but who hid the bomb? Who were these men?"

"Some bad people hid the bombs to hurt the American soldiers fighting a war there."

Suchi said, "They should not take a dog to a war place." 

Sagar said, "These are special dogs, trained to sniff out hidden bombs in a war zone. If a soldier steps on it, he's blown up."

"That's a dangerous job for a dog."

"Wasn't this dog afraid?"

"Nope. We wrote in the newspaper how this German shepherd was brave, unafraid and loyal to her handler. When she smelled a bomb, she tried to warn the soldiers, but I am sure, by mistake, she stepped on the hidden bomb herself ." 

"Did she die?"

"No, she was injured and they amputated, cut off her one front leg. But you  know guys, now she's back to her normal jumping and playing on three legs instead of four. She retrained herself. This happened in 2012."

"That's a smart dog, two thousand twelve makes it an old story, why did you print it now?"

The other twin asked, "I want to know did a soldier cut off her leg?" 

"No, just like doctors, veterinarians also go with the soldiers, they helped the dog. We printed Lucca's story just now because recently a book, Top Dog was published, a student read it and sent the story to us."

"What else is in your newspaper?"

"Well, when Bhaiya was an editor three years ago, he started a story about how the students need to study as well as exercise. We have continued with that, this month we printed some stretching exercises to do in ten minutes. And girls, we also reminded students about eating less sugar." 

Soori asked, "What else?"

Sapna said, "Suchi-Soori, you know how to read, now you find out about it yourself, here is the newspaper, don't tear it. Mom's back and Bhaiya is going for his soccer, I am going for a jog."

The older siblings took off while the twins spread out the newspaper, looked at the pictures and tried the stretches.

p.s. On a sad note, Ebola has come to the US and everything is being done to keep it contained. 

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah