Stories for and about
Crowning The little
Glory 1 mud pot 6
The Mean The Duddu
Bear 10 15
Behave 28 Chocolate
Prince Aditya looked around in dismay. His courtiers, who always
took more care than necessary about their appearance, were
disfigured and wailing.
They had brought it upon themselves.
Prince Aditya had tried in vain to tell them how appearance was
not as important as having a good heart. People remembered kind
acts, far more than a fair face. But being a handsome prince himself,
people tended not to listen. ‘It’s easy to say, when you are so good
looking. For the rest of us, it matters’, they would mutter. For Prince
Aditya was indeed a very handsome prince. He had laughing brown
eyes and lovely chubby
cheeks. But his crowning glory
were his long, curly locks that
framed his face. Every person
who saw them wished they
had hair like his.
His people tried in vain to emulate his good looks, instead of his
good deeds. They tried to surround themselves with beautiful people
and objects, and shunned those who looked different. Never matter
that those beautiful people were selfish and self-centred.
One beautiful summer morning, the town’s people were strolling
through the palace gardens. Prince Aditya had decreed that the
palace gates be open, so that his people could enjoy the gardens, that
were looking particularly lovely that day. The flowers were in bloom
and the trees had spread their branches to provide shade to the
But instead of taking enjoyment in nature around them, the
people were taking enjoyment in discussing one another.
“My, how fine that gown looks on Lady BelleFille”
“Did you see what Lord Panse was wearing!”
“The butcher really should trim his nails!”
“Did he have to wear his old coat today!?”
And so, they went on, passing snide remarks about everyone
The people were gathering for tea around the well-trimmed
lawns, when they first saw her. She was
grotesque! With a hunchback and long
nose, with a wart at the end of it, she
looked like the Wicked Witch of the West.
She shuffled towards the table, leaning
heavily on her stick. People automatically
moved away, not wanting to be associated
She neared the lemon juice stand, and asked one of the finely
dressed gentlemen there, if she could have a glass as well. “Take it
yourself, old woman!”, he said, while handing a glass to one of the
prettily dressed ladies beside him.
“How do you dare show yourself in public, looking like that!”, said
one of the ladies rudely, walking away.
The old woman walked towards the baker and his wife, hoping
she would find more sympathetic company with them. But again, she
was rebuffed. “I do not want to be associated with you! These people
might not buy my bread, if they thought
I serve the likes of you!”
Everywhere she looked, people
were turning their backs on her.
“Is appearance more important
than kindness to you people!”,
demanded the old woman.
“Without good looks, you are no one!” was the consensus she
Angered by this treatment, the old woman cast a curse on them.
“Very well! If appearance is all you are, then let your appearance
reflect your true heart!” So saying, she disappeared into the trees.
The guests looked around doubtfully, but soon forgot the old
woman and continued with their party.
The curse took effect next morning. All the people who had
shunned the old woman were transformed! The
ugliness in their hearts was now on their faces, for all
to see. Those who would pass spiteful comments,
suddenly found themselves with forked tongues.
Those who commented on people’s looks, suddenly found their own
In horror, they all ran to the palace, looking to their prince to save
them. Prince Aditya pushed a lock of hair away from his usually
laughing eyes, that now seriously scanned the distressed crowd
“Let us seek out this old woman, and request her to lift the curse”,
Prince Aditya declared.
The people set off in search for the old woman. They did not have
far to go. She was sitting by the tea table, waiting for them.
“We do not look so different now, do we?”, she asked them.
The people wailed, begging her to lift the curse.
“Please, old woman”, said Prince Aditya, pushing his way to the
front of the crowd. “Help us lift the curse.” “Your people are selfish,
Prince Aditya.”, replied the old woman. “Why should I show them any
kindness, when they have shown me none.”
“My people have learnt their lesson”, stated Prince Aditya. “They
will now think twice, before judging anyone on their looks alone.”
“Why do you help them?”, enquired the old woman.
“Because it is the right thing to do”, was his simple answer.
“I wonder if you would be so generous, if you were in my
position”, asked the old woman.
“I would like to believe I would be”, said Prince Aditya.
“We will see”, replied the old woman ominously. “Your hair is
talked about far and wide. If you were to shave all the hair on your
head and go completely bald, the curse
will be lifted. Would you sacrifice your
looks, for your people?”
Prince Aditya thought for a minute.
He knew how loved his hair was by all
the kingdom. But he had no doubt
about what he had to do. “Yes, I will
shave my head”, he said.
“Then when the first rays of the sun fall on your bald head, the
curse will stand lifted”, decreed the old woman, before vanishing.
The curse was lifted the next day. It was a small price to pay, for
the happiness of his people. The people never forgot the sacrifice
Prince Aditya made for them, and strived hard to be worthy of his
“Oh my God!”
Aditya was still too much of a baby to exclaim “Oh, my God!”
after seeing his shaven head. But that’s what he’d say today,
and then follow it up with “Aiyyo Ramachandra!”.
THE LITTLE MUD POT
The Little Mud Pot was happy. It was planting day! He and his
brothers and sisters had finally left the nursery and were off to their
new home. He couldn’t wait to start
sprouting green leaves and beautiful
flowers. Then everyone would stop and
The Little Mud Pot looked around
gleefully, at his new home. The garden
was large and lovely and overflowing with
all kinds of plants and shrubs. He had been
given a place close to the garden door. He
could easily peek in and see his new family swapping stories around
the dining table. The gardener had already visited to settle them all
in. Now, all the Little Mud Pot had to do was wait patiently till his
leaves and flowers sprouted.
The Little Mud Pot was worried. All his brothers and sisters had
started showing off their new leaves and flower buds. It wouldn’t be
long now, till their flowers bloomed. But the Little Mud Pot still had
nothing to show. The gardener had been to visit several times, but
each time he just shook his head sadly, and left. The Little Mud Pot
decided to work extra hard to catch up with his siblings. He too
wanted to bring smiles to people's faces, as they walked past his
The Little Mud Pot was sad. It had been several months now and
he had failed to sprout even the smallest leaf. His siblings and friends
were in full bloom and happily graced the garden path. But the poor
Little Mud Pot was shunned to the side. He thought he had failed.
Every day he would watch people walk past him, without even giving
him a glance. Slowly he withdrew into himself and stopped talking to
The Little Mud Pot was minding his own
business when, one day, he felt a little tug on
his rim. Looking up in surprise, he found a
little boy examining him. Suddenly, the little
boy dragged him to the middle of the garden
path. “Lal-lal”, called out Aditya, “I’ve found
the perfect pot.”
“Where?”, asked Ini. “Show me.” A little
girl came toddling towards them, and also started examining the
Little Mud Pot. “It’s perfect!”, she exclaimed, and promptly plopped
down next to it.
The Little Mud Pot was lost and watched as the two toddlers,
settled down next to him. What were they doing? When he saw them
remove spoons, he started panicking. “They’re going to eat me!”, he
cried, and started hopping away as fast he could.
“Come back!”, said Aditya. He ran, at full speed, caught the Little
Mud Pot and dragged the Little Mud Pot back.
The Little Mud Pot started to struggle. “I will not go down
without a fight, you little Hannibal Lecters”, he cried, and started
flinging mud at them. To his amazement, they laughed in delight and
promptly joined him. Mud was flying everywhere and before you
knew it, they were all covered in mud and laughing uproariously.
Finally, when they sat down exhausted, the little toddlers picked
up their spoons again. But instead of feasting on the Little Mud Pot,
they scooped up his mud. Ini would take out his mud, while Aditya
would put it back. They spent a very happy
hour, playing with the Little Mud Pot before
the two had to go back in.
The Little Mud Pot was sorry to see
them go. He had never had this much fun in
his life. He was thrilled when Aditya and Ini
came to play with him again the next day…
and the next. Sometimes they would bring
their friends Sara Tai and Ira Tai to play as well and sometimes the
whole family would sit around and watch as they played.
The Little Mud Pot could not have been happier. He had thought
that, only if he had plants and flowers, people would love and admire
him. But he realized that he had brought, and received, more
happiness by simply being a little mud pot.
Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi
Aditya clearly has a devotional streak, which he has not inherited from his
parents. He once demanded I sing ‘Sai Baba’ songs for him. I sang the only one I
knew - ‘Shirdi Wale, Sai Baba’ from Amar, Akbar, Anthony!
In the hope of avoiding displaying my ignorance to him again, I introduced
him to ‘Chal Chal Chal Mere Hathi’, from Haathi Mere Saathi, thinking the
elephants in the song may capture his attention.
I succeeded beyond my wildest imagination! We have now heard that song
at least 2000 times.
THE MEAN DRUMMER BEAR
An emergency meeting had been called. All the older toys
gathered around Gerry the Giraffe, as he debriefed them from his
mission to the PlayPen.
“It is getting worse by the day”, Gerry said, sadly shaking his
head. “The Drummer Bear is taking advantage of our absence and
bullying all the younger toys!”
“That Mean Drummer Bear has them all dancing to his tune!”,
said Lambu the Lamb.
“And if they don’t listen, he bops them on the head with his drum
stick”, piped in Pillu, the
“We must do something!”,
growled Mr. Polar Bear. “One of
us older toys should have offered
to stay in the PlayPen. Ever since
we moved into the Downstairs
Bedroom, the young-uns have been suffering.”
“We will just have to hope one of them works up the courage to
stand up to him”, said Sven, the Reindeer, as the older toys sadly
looked over to the PlayPen, in the distance.
A hushed meeting was being held in the PlayPen, as well.
“What do we do?”, asked Christiano, the Red-Eyed Tree Frog. His
older brother, Ronaldo, was on the lookout for the Mean Drummer
Bear, while the others
held a hasty
conference. The Mean
bullying was becoming
intolerable. Why, just
yesterday, he had thrown Flash, the Sloth, over the PlayPen! When
Nico had tried to stand up to him, the Mean Drummer Bear had
promptly knocked him over with his drum. Poor Nico had to lie on the
cold floor, till Aai had picked him up.
“Maybe we can complain to Aditya?” suggested the Rattle Bears
“We’ll have to wait to tell him”, squeaked Tooki, the Toucan.
“He’s too distracted to play with us today. Baba is coming from
Just then the doorbell rang, with a loud taaa-toooo.
“It’s Baba!”, the toys exclaimed.
“Baba”, shouted Aditya, and he toddled as quickly as he could
towards the front door, with Aai running behind him.
“Welcome home, Baba!”
Baba came in, smiling and sunburnt, and immediately lifted
Aditya high in the air. He was thrilled to be back home with Aditya,
and had really missed him.
“Come, Baba come,” demanded Aditya. He wanted to hear all
about Baba’s trip. Baba had gone to meet his tiger friends and always
had wonderful stories to tell about his time there.
“Wait Aditya. I have someone who wants to meet you”, said
From behind Baba came a lovely orange and black striped tiger
cub. “This is Tiggu. He met Sandeep Kaka and Kuku and has heard all
about your adventures from them. He has been wishing he could
come stay with you, so we brought him home with us.”
Aditya promptly gave Tiggu a big hug. He was so soft! “Here
Tiggu. Why don’t you say hello to your new friends, while I talk to
Baba”, Aditya said and placed Tiggu in the PlayPen.
The other toys watched the magnificent cat stretch and survey
“He looks scary”, whispered Flash.
“But he has kind eyes”, whispered back Tooki.
“Maybe, he can help us!”, hoped Ronaldo.
From his corner the Mean Drummer Bear surveyed his new play
mate. “Hmph!”, he thought. “He’s just a tiger cub and no match for
my strength! I’ll whip him into shape, in no time.”
As night descended, all the toys cautiously gathered around
Tiggu to introduce themselves. Tiggu wondered why the toys had
waited for the cover of darkness to come up and introduce
themselves. Before the toys could properly greet him, they heard a
distant sound of drumbeats. All the other toys immediately ran to
hide. What sort of hunter was this, that inspired such fear? Never
having been prey, Tiggu did not know what it felt like to be hunted,
and looked out boldly to see who was challenging him. He saw a tiny
bear, walking towards him, beating his drum as if he was marching in
a band. This was the person everyone was so scared off?
The Mean Drummer Bear beat his own drum, as he walked
purposefully towards Tiggu. The Mean Drummer Bear had been
feeding off the fear of his fellow toys and thought he was ten feet tall.
The fear in their eyes, had given him the misconception of being
invincible. He didn’t realize that to Tiggu he simply appeared to be a
small, pompous, bully.
He walked up to Tiggu and said in a loud, bellowing, voice, “Kneel
down before me Tiger and pay homage to your new master. Here in
the PlayPen, I am the king and everyone does what I say.”
“Well I don’t!”, said Tiggu loudly. “I refuse to cower before a bully!
If you were a true king you would be looking after your subjects, and
not threatening them! I will not allow you to trouble my new friends.”
The Mean Drummer Bear was enraged. “How dare you defy me!”
He raised his drum stick to beat the little tiger. But the Mean
Drummer Bear had forgotten that, while he may have been stronger,
tigers were much faster.
In the blink of an eye, Tiggu jumped on the Mean Drummer Bear’s
arm and ripped away his drumstick!
The Mean Drummer Bear was dumbstruck! Without his
drumsticks he had no weapon. He was a coward at heart and only
engaged in a fight if he knew he had the upper hand. Seeing Tiggu
charging towards him, with his sharp teeth, the Mean Drummer Bear
gave a cry of fright and ran
away. He ran so fast, he
almost tripped over his
As he ran, he could
hear the other toys
cheering. Hurrah for Tiggu,
“Eh Eh Mamama, coffee?”
Aditya knows that his great grandmother loves a cup of coffee after her
afternoon nap. So, he’s waiting to serve! As soon as she opens her eyes, he politely
asks her. When she says yes, he holds his Bapiyam’s finger, says “Come!”, and
leads him to the kitchen. The coffee must be correctly brewed and suitably “aagu”.
THE DUDDU MONSTER
The Duddu Monster had struck
again! Aditya rubbed the sleep out of his
eyes, while trying to figure out how He
had managed it. Every night the Duddu
Monster would sneak in, finish all the
milk in the house and then leave the
empty milk bottles by Aditya’s bedside,
so that he would see them first thing
when he woke up.
“I must stop Him!”, thought Aditya angrily. Baba had warned him
that if the Duddu Monster continued this way, all the cows would run
away. Then there would be no milk for Aditya! That wouldn’t do!
“I will devise a scheme to capture it”, decided Aditya. He spent all
day trying to think of ways to trap it, but couldn’t think of anything.
“If only I knew who it was! Then I could come up with a plan”.
Aditya decided to call LalLal and ask her for some ideas.
“Hello”, said Aditya.
“Hiiiii!”, said Ini, waving at Aditya enthusiastically with both
“LalLal”, said Aditya. “Can you
think of some way I can trap the Duddu
“Why would you want to do that?”,
asked Ini. “Personally, I’ll be very happy
if he finishes all the milk in our place.”
“No!”, said Aditya. “I like milk.”
“I don’t!”, said Ini decisively.
“At least do it for the cows!”,
“Fine!”, said Ini, with a huff. “Who is the Duddu Monster?”
“I don’t know”, said Aditya, unhappily. “He sneaks in every night,
when I am sleeping.”
“Well, why don’t you stay awake tonight and catch him then?”,
suggested Ini. “That’s what I would do.”
“Good idea!”, said Aditya. “I’ll stay
awake all night, till I catch him!”
Aai and Baba did not think that
was a good idea. After failing to get
Aditya to sleep for several hours, Aai
and Baba finally pulled out their secret
weapon. They took Aditya for a long
car ride. Forty-four minutes later,
Aditya was fast asleep.
Next morning, Aditya rolled over and saw two empty milk bottles
staring at him from the headboard. “Oh no!”, cried Aditya. “He did it
again!” Hearing Aditya’s cries, Aai came running in. “What’s wrong
Papu?”, she asked.
“The Duddu Monster stole all my milk and now the cows will run
away”, wailed Aditya.
“What?”, said Aai, looking confused.
Aditya explained how Baba had told him that there was a Duddu
Monster in the house, who finishes all the milk. Aditya was
determined to see who it was, but he had fallen asleep. Again.
“Well”, said Aai, her lips twitching, “there is an easy way to find
out who the Duddu Monster is.”
“There is?”, asked Aditya
“Yes”, said Aai. “Because the Duddu Monster drinks the milk in
the dark, he doesn’t realize that when he finishes, he has a milk
moustache. Just find the person with the milk mouchi, and you would
have found the Duddu Monster.”
“Really?”, said Aditya excitedly. “I’ll go look for him, right now!”
Aditya examined the faces of everyone in the house. Who was
the Duddu Monster? It wasn’t Baba, or Jiji, or Sandeep Kaka or Kuku.
It wasn’t even Thatha, though Aditya pulled his white moustache, just
to make sure.
“I bet it is Baika!”, thought Aditya. He was running to the kitchen
to check, when he happened to glance at the hallway mirror, and
and walked closer
to the mirror to
found the Duddu Monster.
Aditya, at KSCA
As a third generation Huilgol boy in KSCA, Aditya
already walks around like he owns the place. He calls
the waiters by name and has a Sunday special of corn
and watermelon juice that is delivered to his table,
without him having to ask!
Sunday evening was the best part of the week. While the rest of
the world started feeling the effects of the Monday Blues, Aditya
would start feeling excited. Sunday evening was family walk time.
Every Sunday evening, Baba, Aai and Aditya would go for a long
walk together in Cubbon Park. They had the same ritual they followed
every week, and they all loved and looked forward to it.
After parking their car in KSCA, the three of them would walk
down to Cubbon Park and enter the park
through the ‘Thatha corn’ gate. Sometimes they
would buy a big helium ‘Du Mama’ balloon. Then they would race
down the road, till they heard the sound of
the train. Aditya and Aai would often wave
goodbye to the passengers on the toy train.
Some even waved back! Soon after, they
would say hello to Aai-Ane and
Papu-Ane. After playing in the
mud by the circle for a while, Baba would buy a Mango
Duet ice cream from the Joy cart and the three of them
would happily share the ice cream, while sitting on a park
bench. Aditya always enjoyed taking big
bites from the ice cream! Once the ice
cream was over, they would go visit Baba
court and the lions guarding the gate. The
lions liked Aditya, and had never once
growled at him. Then came Aditya’s
favourite part of the walk! Just before going
back to KSCA for dinner, Aai, Baba and
Aditya would go visit Aditya close friend,
Donno, near Baba’s High Court.
Donno couldn’t wait for it to be Sunday!
While he enjoyed watching all the children
play, Aditya was his favourite. In fact, Aditya
was the reason he enjoyed himself these
days! He could still remember those dismal
days, before Aditya…
Donno stood sadly by a tree, his face turned away from everyone.
Around him children ran around, with their
parents running to keep up. People played
cricket and badminton. Some sat together on
benches and discussed world events. But
nobody talked or played with Donno. Whenever
a child ran up to him, his parents would quickly
usher him away. Donno could overhear them say “Don’t go there, it’s
so dirty”, and Donno would turn away in shame.
It was one such day, when Donno was sadly contemplating his
feet, that he heard a little voice say “Hello”. The voice was close by.
Donno looked up to see who the voice was speaking to and saw a little
boy, holding a big, red, helium aeroplane balloon looking expectedly
at him. ‘Is this boy talking to me?’, thought Donno. “Hi”, said the little
boy, again. “My name is Didde Lollol. What’s yours?”
Donno was amazed that someone was actually talking to him. “I
donno”, he said, almost stuttering over the words. It had been so long
since he spoke. “Hi Donno!”, said little Didde Lollol, “How are you?”.
“Why are you talking to me?”, asked Donno, still reeling in shock.
“You look nice.”, said Aditya with a sweet smile.
“But, I’m so dirty!”, wailed Donno. “Everyone throws thrash at
me! No one actually bothers to feed it to me.”
“I’ll feed you!”, immediately offered Aditya, and ran to pick up
some leaves. “Would you like this?”
He was running back to feed Donno the leaves, when Aai and
Baba finally caught up with him. “What are you doing, Aditya?”
“I’m feeding Donno.”
“Who is Donno?”, Baba asked.
“He is”, said Aditya, pointing to the penguin shaped dustbin by
the tree in the High Court parking lot.
“I see”, said Aai. “But you are too short to reach Donno’s mouth.
Here let me help you.”
Donno watched on, in amazement, while Aditya, Aai and Baba
fed Donno mud and leaves. Aditya was having a ball of a time, running
around trying to find food to feed Donno. But soon it started getting
“Time to leave, Aditya”, called out Baba. “I’m sure Donno has to
do thatchi now.”
Aditya ran up to Donno to say goodbye to him. “Why are you
looking so sad, Donno?”
How could Donno tell him that this had been the best day of his
life, and he was sad that he would never see Aditya again?
But Aai guessed that Donno would miss Aditya and suggested
that Aditya leave his Du Mama balloon, to keep Donno company till
he returns next Sunday.
“What a good idea!”, said Aditya. “Here Donno. Look after my Du
Mama balloon for me. I’ll come back next Sunday to feed you again.
Donno was overjoyed and waited in
anticipation for next week, while tightly
holding on to the red balloon.
Several weeks had passed since then, and Aditya had come to
visit Donno every Sunday. He would tell Donno stories about what he
had done the previous week and how he had met Donno’s cousins at
‘big fountain music’. Donno no longer turned his face away, but
instead looked eagerly outwards.
In the distance, Donno could see Aditya running towards him. It
was Sunday again.
Who spilled the beans?
Like his uncles, Aditya is turning out to be quite the
Master Chef! Even before he was one year old, he
had learnt the art of making dosas. Then, after
keenly observing Vani Kaka, he started making
pitatis (chappatis), liberally dusted with atta
'powder'. His latest speciality is 'Binyani Kebabs',
made especially for his Baba and Aai.
He was going to surprise his Aai with 'Binyani Soup' today, but
somebody spilt the beans...
BIG FOUNTAIN MUSIC
Ini was very excited! She
was finally going to visit ‘Big
Fountain Music’, with Aditya.
Aditya skipped ahead,
familiar with the route. He and
Baba visited the garden most
evenings, on their daily evening
walk. He had told Ini all about his special spots and was looking
forward to showing them to her.
“Come Ini, come”, Aditya called out, racing into the garden. The
whole family had come for the outing, and watched the kids
indulgently as they raced down the path.
First, they visited the playground, where
Aditya introduced Ini to the Playground
Donnos. There were four of them, guarding
the playground. After saying their hellos, the
two of them happily rolled around in the sand
and raced each other to the slide.
Then, they went to visit Train Donno and see the old train he was
guarding. Baba made sure to keep his distance! He knew very well
who the new passengers on that train were, and he was not very fond
of those rats, who kept darting out to trip him on his morning jog.
After that they visited Big Fan and played running and catching
on the lovely grassy area. They were quite out of breath by the end of
And finally, they reached the steps from where they would watch
the musical fountains. Aditya had only been allowed to stay out late
twice, to watch the musical fountains. He had been mesmerized by
how the water, lit up by the colourful lights, danced and swayed to
The family settled down, picking
the steps right in front, so that they
would have a good view. Aditya and
Ini were bouncing with excitement!
They couldn’t wait for the show to
start. As it got darker, more people took their seats. It wouldn’t be
Finally, the background music stopped and everybody sat up in
their seats. The first lights turned on then ….. a muffled boom was
heard and everyone was shrouded in darkness again.
“What’s happening?” “Where are the lights?”, the audience
An elderly man, with a head full of grey hair, walked out in front.
The audience listened, dismayed, as he informed them that due to a
power cut, the musical fountains would not be running today.
“Waaaa!”, cried Ini. “I braved Hebbal flyover traffic, because I
wanted to see the fountains.”
“Don’t cry, Ini”, Aditya said, patting her on the back. “If we can’t
watch a show, let us put up one, instead!”
“What do you mean?”, asked Ini.
“I have an idea. We are going to have our own light and music
show!”, declared Aditya.
“How are we going to do that”, wondered Ini.
“Well, we can sing and Bapiyum and DuMama have mastered the
art of synchronized videos, so they can project the light.”, said Aditya.
“But what about a performance? Who is going to dance?”, asked
Ini doubtfully, looking around while everyone avoided eye contact.
“I’ll round up the troops”, said Aditya. “Don’t worry”, he told the
adults who had been surreptitiously sliding away, “It’s not you.” They
all heaved a sigh of relief.
“You just set up everything”, Aditya called over his shoulder,
while he ran away. “I’ll take care of the rest.”
The audience watched curiously, trying to figure out what was
“Ladies and Gentlemen”, said Thatha. “As we are unable to enjoy
the musical fountains today due to the unfortunate power cut, my
grandchildren Aditya and Inika would like to entertain you with their
special music and light show, prepared just for you. So, sit back and
enjoy the show!”
On cue, the audience heard a voice to the far-right shouting
“Company Sound Off”. They watched in astonishment as a line of
penguins waddled behind a little boy singing “Hup, Two, Three, Four.
Keep it up, Two, Three, Four.”
The troops reached centre stage and Aditya shouted out
“To your positions”,
There were over
twelve Donnos, from all
over the park, who had come to Aditya’s aid. They waddled towards
the fountain and skilfully dived in. Normally clumsy on land, the
Donnos were the epitome of grace in water. The Donnos positioned
themselves on either side of the fountain.
“Lights”, shouted Aditya. Bapiyum and DuMama turned on their
laptop lights and each Donno was bathed in a different colour.
“And Action!”, directed Aditya, as he and Ini started singing.
The audience cheered as the Donnos dived and danced to the
tune of Chal Chal Chal Mere Hathi and Baby Shark.
Baika’s pitiful howls could be heard echoing through the house.
He had been exiled to the kitchen for bad behaviour and was not
happy about it! All he had done was eat Ini’s boiled vegetables. It
wasn’t his fault! The vegetables were just lying there, feeling lonely.
Somebody had to eat them. It also wasn’t his fault that he had wet
the floor, while eating the veggies. A puppy can only control one thing
at a time! But no one had listened to his
explanation and now he was stuck with Joba Didi
and Nu-Nu Kaka, while the others played outside.
“We must do something?”, cried Ini. “Poor
Baika is so sad. I really didn’t mind him eating my
“Punishing someone for not going in the bathroom is not fair!”,
declared Aditya. He needed to set that straight immediately, before
a similar punishment was doled out to him!
“I, for one, am not complaining”, said Robin. “Now, I can lie down
“How can you say that Bopin!?”, exclaimed Ini.
“You mean you are going to thatchi
and not play with us now?”, demanded
Aditya, before immediately jumping all
“Boys, focus!”, Ini said exasperated.
“How are we going to help Baika?”
“Why don’t we just let him out?”, asked Aditya. “The adults have
gone out for a walk anyway. We can put him back in the kitchen,
before they return.”
“You will get into trouble!”, warned Robin.
“Let’s do it!”, said Ini.
The munchkins quietly sneaked into the kitchen. Robin had flatly
refused to participate in these shenanigans. “Kids!”, he thought
disgustedly. “I miss the time I was the baby of the house! I’m sure I
was never as bad as them!”
Noticing that Joba Didi, Nu-Nu Kaka and RenuAkka were busy
on their phones, the kids quietly undid Baika’s chain. Sensing a rescue
in sight, Baika was unusually quiet the whole time.
But the minute he pulled free from his chain, he set off like a
rocket, giving a wuff of glee. Chaos ensued.
“Come back!”, shrieked Ini, running after him.
“Bagheera!” yelled Aditya, doing his best Balu the Bear
impression and joining in the chase.
Aditya was so fast, he almost
caught him, until he accidently tripped
over Robin. Robin jumped up, in
surprise. “What a fun game!”, thought
Baika and jumped on Robin as well.
Robin decided to run away to the
garden, but the hooligans followed him.
Somewhere along the way, it had become a game and the four of
them were having a ball of a time. After running around in circles for
the longest time, they finally trooped indoors and collapsed on the
living room floor, panting.
“That was so much fun!”, said Ini.
“Yeah!”, cried Aditya.
“Wuff!”, said Baika and promptly wet the floor.
“Baika!”, the others exclaimed in
“Quick, let’s clean it up. I’ll get the
papers!”, Ini said, running towards the kitchen
and returning with a handful of newspapers.
Robin watched on, as the two munchkins
covered the puddle on the floor in newspapers.
“Whew!” said Aditya, once they had finally managed it.
“Where is that naughty Baika?”, Ini asked.
The three looked around warily.
“Oh no!” they cried in tandem. “Baika, what have you done?”
Baika who was happily nibbling at a corner of the side table,
looked up to see what the fuss was all about.
“They’ll notice it immediately”, moaned Robin. “You’ll never be
able to hide that. We are going to be in so much trouble!”
“Maybe we could make it look
like part of the design?”, asked Aditya
“We can’t let Baika take the fall
for it!”, said Ini.
“Well do you have any better ideas?”, asked Aditya.
The adults trooped in from their walk, and stopped short at the
sight before them.
Four little troublemakers were studiously gnawing at the four
corners of the living room table.
“Round and round”
The ‘R’ in ‘round’ is still not sufficiently guttural, but the idea is clear: you’ve
got to go round and round, preferably with an elder following you and
hailing your triumphant circular march. One day Aditya will go straight
along the diameter, and discover the value of pi, but for now he does it like the
elephants do in that chal chal song.
THE CHOCOLATE HEIST
Aisle 3 in the supermarket looked like it had been hit by a
hurricane. There were more products on the floor, than on the
shelves. The shop attenders were standing around, stunned by the
destruction around them and contemplating, with growing despair,
the time it would take to restock the aisle.
In the far corner by
the steps, hidden by
shelves that miraculously
still had some biscuits on
them, sat Hurricane
Aditya and Hurricane Ini
happily munching on
their chocolates, quite
oblivious to the chaos they had caused.
Jiji, Lingana, Aai, Baba, Aditya and Ini had come to Big Market to
do the grocery shopping for the week. Aditya and Ini loved Big
Market! It was like one big adventure, obstacle course for them to
As soon as they arrived, they decided to have cart races, with
Baba and Aditya on one team and Ini and Aai on the next. Baba and
Aditya would have probably won, if Aditya hadn’t wanted to stop
every second minute to ask, ‘Baba, what that?’.
Ini and Aai, victorious, went to deposit the cart back in its place,
where Ini collected her prize. A feather, dusting brush, accidently left
behind by one of the harried shop attenders. Ini happily went about
dusting all the shelves, while the poor attender searched high and low
for her feather brush.
“Aha!”, said the attender when she
finally spotted it in Ini’s hand. Ini turned on
the full power of her baby eyes, and the
attender melted. “Awww”, she can play
with it, if she likes. That was not the response Aai was hoping to hear.
She had been trying, unsuccessfully, for ten minutes to rid the brush
After Ini dusted all the fruits, Aai finally managed to distract her
with some bindis. The brush was whisked away and handed over to
the closest surprised shop attender, while Ini admired herself in the
reflection of the freezer door. On the other side of that door, Baba
was sneakily trying to wash Aditya’s greasy hands with the
“How did they get greasy?”, Aai wondered. Baba just shrugged
helplessly, as he ran after Aditya. “What that?”
Ini, in the meantime, was trying to climb one of the aisles. She
had spotted a dusting cloth hiding behind a packet of cranberries. Aai
took immediate, evasive action. She grabbed Ini and ran for it,
inadvertently inventing a new game in the process, the Dodging
Shopping Carts Run.
Aai and Baba regrouped by the chicki stand, trying to catch their
breath. A hasty glance confirmed that Jiji and Lingana were still
debating the rising onion prices and were nowhere near packing up
for the day.
“Hey Ini”, whispered Aditya. “Do you want some chocolates?”
“Shhhh! Not so
loudly”, said Aditya,
hastily looking up to
see if Aai and Baba had
“There is a full row
of chocolates by the toothpaste”, said Aditya. “Baba read some of the
names out to me. They sounded yum!”
“How do we get them?”, asked Ini.
“Do you still have your feather duster?”, Aditya enquired.
“I saw them try and hide it behind the bread. I can retrieve it easily
enough”, answered Ini.
“Great!”, said Aditya. “I’ll distract Aai and Baba. You get the
feather duster. If you stand on the cart with it, you should be above to
reach the chocolates.”
“But the cart is not near the chocolate aisle”, pointed out Ini.
Thinking quickly, Aditya said “I’ll push you, once you climb on.
But we’ll have to be quick, otherwise Aai and Baba will notice what
we are up to.”
“I’m ready!”, said Ini, kicking off her squeaky shoes.
“What’s that?”, Aditya asked Aai and Baba, pointing to a
misshapen vegetable by the far stand.
Aai and Baba were stumped.
“Do you know Baba?”, Aai whispered.
“Do you think we can Google it?”, Baba replied back softly.
As the two tried to come up with a plausible answer, they heard
a tremendous crash behind them and turned to find complete chaos.
Aai and Baba heaved a sigh of relief when they saw the two
munchkins run out from behind the biscuit stand.
“Quick”, said Baba, grabbing
Aditya and Ini. “Let’s get out of here
before they realize whose kids are
responsible for this mess.”
Aai grabbed Ini’s shoes and got
into another round of Dodging
Shopping Carts Run. They were in the
advanced level now.
“How did they know it was us?”, asked Ini, her sticky hands still
clutching the chocolate wrapper.
“I have no idea”, asked a bewildered chocolate stained Aditya.
The Wildlife enthusiast
Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, Aditya is turning out to be
quite the wildlife enthusiast. He can identify most animals and their sounds, and
enjoys listening to them on Google Mini or watching them on AmaliMumMum
(Animal Planet). Lately, he
has started to learn which
birds can fly and which are
ground bound. He knows that
an ostrich and a penguin 'no fly', while a toucan, flamingo and peacock 'yes fly'.
When Du Mama's future father-in-law came home to visit for the first time, after
checking if everyone wanted coffee, Aditya very seriously went up to him and
asked 'Uncle can fly?
13 14 15 24
17 18 19
21 22 23
What a difference a year makes!
Aditya went from a babbling, crawling baby to a toddler who
speaks full sentences and does not believe in walking, when one
He is so much fun! He plays games with us, repeats everything
we say (the little parrot!) and enjoys pulling our leg, with his
mischievous smile firmly in place.
Vikram and I look forward to our time with Aditya, more than