Tag Archives: tree

SHORT STORY: LESSON FROM THE OAK TREE

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    Chinese sage Chaung Tsu narrates the story of a huge old oak tree that was declared worthless by a carpenter because its timber was of bad quality and anything made from it would break, rot or wither away. Subsequently, in the story, the tree told the carpenter that it had turned useless on purpose because it wished to live a natural and happy life. Had its timber been useful it would have been cut into pieces, made into something else and would have been dead long ago. The sage enlightens us further by saying that in trying to be valued, desirable and significant in the eyes of the world, we usually end up relinquishing our deeper essence and we start living artificially. Despite assuming a grandiose form, our life is then fraught with meaninglessness and misery.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: SAPIENS–A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and a professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today, there is one. That is us. Homo-sapiens. How did our species succeed in this battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights? Was it to trust money, books and laws, and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our model be like in the millennia to come?

    In the book “Sapiens—A Brief history of Humankind”—Dr Yuval Noah Harari, spans the gamut of human history, from the very first humans who walked the earth to the radical—and sometimes devastating—breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing, on insights from biology, anthropology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities.

    But have we become happier, with the history unfolding? Can we ever, set ourselves free from the heritage of our ancestors? And can we do something to influence the course of the centuries to come?

    Bold, out-of-the-box and provocative, the book challenges everything we thought we knew about being human beings.

    What is the meaning of Species? Animals belong to the same species, if they tend to mate and give birth to fertile off-springs. What is the meaning of Genus? Species that have evolved from the common ancestor. They usually won’t mate but can be induced to do so. Eg. Mule a cross between (Horse and donkey), and the Liger a cross between (Lion and Tiger).

    Now that we know the terms Species and Genus, we can understand the meaning of Homo-Sapiens—‘Homo’ is the genus and ‘Sapiens’ (intelligent) the species. Some other members of our genus are, now extinct, Homo Erectus and Homo Neanderthalensis. Homo Sapiens closest living species is Chimpanzees.

THE COGNITIVE REVOLUTION—THE RISE OF HOMO-SAPIENS

    Homo genus has, unusually big brains that drains a lot of energy. A Homo Sapien brain consumes 25% of energy at rest, 8% is the norm for other apes. The big brain, is an even bigger cause of human infants which are born relatively premature (in terms of physical strength) compared to other species. The long gestation period and the raising of the child implied that the evolution favoured strong social ties in humans. Regular use of fire started about 300,000 years ago.

    The carefully managed fire was not only used to clear forests but was also used for cooking food as it was faster to digest. Long intestines and large brains both use a lot of energy, it is hard to have both. Since cooked food led to shortening of intestines it resulted in our brains to grow bigger. As Homo-Sapiens, spread from East Africa to Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and Asia, they drove other Homo species like the Neanderthals to extinction. Some interbreeding did happen but it was mostly the Sapien’s superior social skills that allowed them to make communities and drove other Homo species into extinction.

THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE

    About 100,000 years ago, Homo-Sapiens migrated out of Africa, but returned, after losing to Neanderthals. About, 70,000 years ago, they tried again, and this time they succeeded, due to, the invention of language which allowed them to invent, tons of things like boats, lamps, needles. This cognitive revolution allowed Homo-Sapiens to dominate earth. Anthropologists (people who study human societies and cultures and their development) believe that our complex language was used more for gossip than to discuss where to hunt. And from there evolved the ability to create and believe in myths. The myths allowed us to collaborate and cooperate in large numbers in the form of tribes and now, in the form of the nation.

    The author goes on to say that nations are a myth and so are religions, and all are creations of our imagination. Unlike animals, trees, fish, rivers, the above myths have no association with the real physical entity. These myths, surprisingly, allow believers to work together and collectively. Homo-Sapiens ability to believe in myths allow us to form big groups of millions of individuals who have never met each other. Thus the author takes you through a high illusionary trajectory.

    In animals these groups are limited to the size of 25-30, who know each other. These animals cannot form large groups. The other big advantage of passing myths via language, is that, that it doesn’t require any DNA mutations. Buddhist monks pass on the celibacy, not via genes but by imparting their religion (again a myth) to the followers, some of who, convert. And that’s probably how Homo-Sapiens defeated Neanderthals. While Sapiens would have lost one-on-one combat, they had the wisdom to form large groups which Neanderthals couldn’t.

THE HUNTER GATHERER SOCIETY

    Barring the past 10,000 years, Sapiens have evolved in pre-agricultural hunter societies. They shaped our psychological and social characteristics. These ancient hunters knew a lot more about their own surroundings than us. While we, collectively, as a human society knew a lot more, the individuals of today knew a lot less. Hunters societies tended to eat wide and varied diet and hence, had a lower chance of malnutrition than the farmers who ate just a few staple crops. Hunter’s working hours were much less (30-35 hours per week) and since they neither engaged in the domestication of animals nor stayed in dense settlements, the epidemics were rare.

AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION—HISTORY’S BIGGEST FRAUD

    Agriculture started in about 9000 BC and domestication of crops was over by about 3500 BC. Today, we eat the same crops—Wheat, Maize, Rice, Potato, Millet, and Barley. Where, only a few species could be domesticated, they were in the Middle East, China, and Central America but not in Australia or Africa. And that’s where, independent domestication of crops started.

    Wheat went from an unknown crop, to a crop that has spread across the planet. Human bodies were not designed for agriculture and farming. Wheat demands protection from pests, animals and even other human beings. The only advantage farming has is, that it leads to more food per unit area and allowed humans to multiply exponentially. Overall, the agriculture revolution in the short run made the life of human beings miserable, so then, why did it happen?

    Agricultural revolution led to permanent settlements that encouraged women to have more kids. Over time, as farmers multiplied, they cleared even more lands reducing the scope for hunters even further. Just like the modern day luxury treadmill, agriculture soon became a necessity to support the ever-increasing population. And there was no going back then. Similarly, domestication of animals proceeded with slaughtering the most aggressive, weak, and economically unworthy animals first.

    Over a period of time, domesticated animals, evolved, to become economically more worthy and even more submissive. Just like wheat, animals such as chicken, sheep, pig, and cow spread all over the world, but then they were treated brutally. From repeated impregnation (i.e. making female animals pregnant) to castration (i.e. removal of testicles of a male animals), their life became miserable compared to the life in the wild. Who else, but Homo-Sapiens were the culprits.

BUILDING PYRAMIDS

    The food surplus exploded the population from 8 million in 10,000 BC to 250 million in about 100 AD. The food surplus eventually led to the emergence of bigger political and social orders like cities and nations. Rather than being based on some ingrained human characteristics, these were imagined human orders based on shared beliefs and myths. “All humans beings are created equal” is completely incorrect from a biological standpoint. Human beings are all different from each other. Animistic beliefs (meaning a belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence) are a myth, so are human rights. There is nothing biological about them. They only exist in our shared imaginations.

    Natural order is indeed the stable order. Even if people don’t believe in gravity, apples would still continue to fall. But if people don’t believe in human rights, society will collapse. While some aggression is a must in terms of police and army to enforce an order, but then the elites or the rulers themselves have to believe is such orders. Christianity, capitalism, democracy, all are imagined orders with a large number of believers.

    The two of the biggest imagined orders of the modern world are romanticism and consumerism. Romanticism teaches us that we must have as many experiences as possible to fulfil our expectations. Consumerism teaches us that we must consume as many goods as possible. The imagined order is inter-subjective. Radioactivity is objective, it happens whether you believe in it or not. An imaginary friend is subjective since it exists only as long as you believe in it. The preciousness of gold is inter-subjective since it exists not only in your imagination (belief system) but also in the belief system of millions of others.

    For changing an inter-subjective belief system, one has to convince everyone else, and to convince everyone else, they have to believe in an even bigger imaginary order.    Trust has replaced priceless things like honour, loyalty, morality, and love.

THE EVOLUTION OF MONEY

    A barter system does not measure accurately. If there are 100 types of goods then the two parties who are exchanging the goods have to know 4950 combinations of exchange rates every day. Money ends up being a central mechanism to linearize the problem since every seller has to know the price of their good in a single currency. Of course, just like religion, money is an inter-subjective reality which only exists in our imaginations. And it does not have to be coins or notes. In Nazi concentration camps, cigarettes were a currency.

    The only requirement is that it should be easy to transport, store, and has a wide enough acceptance. Money is the most useful and efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.

    The original form of money like Barley had an intrinsic biological value as compared to marked gold and silver coins, where, no weighing was required to find the value. Then came sanctioned currency which had no intrinsic value, and then to electronic currency which had no physical existence. When we use money as a medium of exchange, we don’t trust each other; we trust money. When someone runs out of money, we run out of trust in them. Money as a source of universal convertibility and trust has replaced priceless things like honour, loyalty, morality, and love.

IMPERIAL VISIONS

    An empire is characterised by cultural diversity and territorial flexibility. All empires have engaged in the brutal slaughter and assimilation of people outside its borders to extend its territory. Slowly, the newly acquired population forgets what they stood for. For example, in 7th century AD, Arab empire crushed Egyptians with an iron fist, today Egyptians think of themselves as Arabs.

    One major change that happened over a period of time in the imperial vision was that empires changed their imagined reality from ‘we are conquering you for our benefit’ to more of humanistic stance. Persian king changed his philosophy from ‘Persian King’ to ‘everyone’s king.’ This was the first time in history, Sapiens were (pretending) to get rid of “us” vs “them” feeling.

    However, this macho approach of the conqueror continued to assume the inferiority of those who were conquered. That’s why M.K. Gandhi, a London-educated, qualified barrister was thrown out of a train meant only for whites.

    Almost, all imperial empires follow a similar paradigm. First, they conquer territories, then those territories adopt the new culture. This is when the people of these territories demand equal stature. This leads to friction.

    The next stage of human history will not involve biological and technological changes alone, but also changes in human consciousness and identity.    Many people think the question we should ask to guide our scientific pursuit is, ‘What do we want to become?’ As we seem to be on the path of genetic engineering and programming,

    In the past 1000 years, human beings have evolved to take over the world and are acting and behaving like gods. Yet, we still seem to be unhappy in many ways and we are unsure of what we want. How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without some good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving for it.

    You can never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in heaven. One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and spawns new obligations.

    Anthropologist Christopher Robert Hallpike reviewed the book but did not find any “serious contribution to knowledge.”

    First published in Hebrew in 2011 and then in English in 2014, the book was translated into 45 languages (as of June 2017). It also made it to The New York Times best-seller list, and won the National Library of China’s Wenjin Book Award for the best book published in 2014. The Guardian listed the book as among the ten “best brainy books of the decade”. Bill Gates ranked Sapiens among his ten favorite books. I would give it eight out of ten, but it’s for a class of readers.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT TREES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Over the course of its life, an average tree can absorb a ton of carbon dioxide. Only about one in a million acorns makes it all the way to becoming a mature oak tree.

    Trees form by far the bulk of Earth’s biomass. In life and in death trees contribute to the biosphere by making oxygen, moving water, storing carbon dioxide, enriching soil with dead  and decaying parts, and recycling the nutrients that life on Earth depends on.

    Trees are vascular plants that develop a single woody stem known as a trunk. Generally, trees grow to 15 feet or taller. Trees differ from shrubs, which are shorter and usually have multiple stems. Trees span the three botanical groups that represent vascular plants—pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.

    Gymnosperms and angiosperms propagate by seeds. In the former type, seeds are exposed, or naked, on a structure such as a cone; on the latter, they are within the ovary of a flower. Pteridophytes, on the other hand, are seedless vascular plants such as the tree fern.

    Not all parts of a tree are alive at one time, especially, in mature trees. Keeping so much mass alive all the time would require more energy than a tree’s system could handle. The inner core of the trunk, called the heartwood, is composed of out-of-commission xylem that no longer transports water throughout the tree. Similarly, the oldest layers of phloem, which transports the food manufactured through photosynthesis, form the outer, dead bark of the tree’s surface.

    In between the heartwood and bark lies the tree’s sapwood, its living energy-storage tissue.

WHY DO LEAVES CHANGE COLOUR?

    As days grow shorter and temperatures cooler, deciduous trees prepare for winter dormancy. Lacking sufficient light and water, photosynthesis shuts down, and trees must live off food stored during the growing season.

    In spring, leaves lay the groundwork for their demise. A special layer of cells forms at the base of each leaf, called the abscission or separation layer. Its work is to transport water to the leaf and take food, created by photosynthesis, back to the tree.

    In autumn, the cells of this layer begin to swell and the bottom of this layer forms a corklike substance that eventually cuts off all transfer between leaf and tree. Meanwhile, the top of the layer begins to disintegrate, making it easy for the leaf to detach.

    As photosynthesis ceases, the leaves lose their chlorophyll, which gives them their green colour. Without chlorophyll, other colours emerge. Yellow and orange, for example, are normally present in the leaves but are overshadowed by the chlorophyll. Maple-leaf red occurs because glucose remains when photosynthesis shuts down. Drab oak-leaf brown represents wastes left in the leaves.

A TREE FROM AGES PAST

    The long-needled Wollemi pine is a survivor from the age of dinosaurs. While fossil records made the 200-million-year-old species known to us, it was believed to be extinct. Then, in 1994, an Australian parks officer found a single tree in the Blue Mountains in Wollemi National Park. Subsequently, a hundred adult trees were counted there. Conservation efforts funded in part from the sale of saplings go to save and strengthen the species.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: TOPAZ BY RUSKIN BOND

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Ruskin Bond as we all know, is an Indian author of British descent. He has made exemplary contribution in the field of children’s books and even ghost stories. Topaz is one such story that I’ve picked up for you. The story is set up in the backdrop of Himalayas. It is written in first person. Where, at a point the narrator or the protagonist confirms he is a writer, and that, in a way also confirms that it is the author himself narrating the story.

    The story opens in the pine-clad slopes of the Himalayas. The protagonist, is, in his room, listening to some music that reminds him of the strains of “The Blue Danube” and concurrently the wonderful sight of Pine-clad slopes of Himalayas. He has a new record player with old records that he has picked up from the junk-shop behind the Mall.

    Below the pines there are oaks. Surprisingly, one oak-tree in particular catches his eye. It is the biggest of the lot and stands by itself on a little hillock below his cottage. There is breeze but not strong enough to sway its heavy branches. There is also something moving, swinging gently from the tree, keeping pace with the music of the waltz, dancing ….

    It appears as if someone is hanging from the tree.

    A rope oscillates in the breeze, when a dead body turns slowly, turns this way and that way, is when he sees the face of a girl, her hair hanging loose, her eyes sightless, hands and feet limp; just turning, turning, while the waltz plays on.

    He turns off the player and runs downstairs.

    Down the path through the trees, and on to the grassy hillock where the big oak stood.

    A long-tailed magpie takes fright and flies out from the branches, swooping low across the ravine. In the tree there is no one. A great branch extends half-way across the hillock, and it is possible for him to reach up and touch it. But a girl could not have reached it without climbing the tree. He thinks.

    As he stands there, gazing at the branches, someone speaks to him from behind.

    ‘What are you looking at?’

    He swings around. Only to see a girl standing around in the clearing, facing him. A girl of seventeen or eighteen; alive, healthy, with bright eyes and a tantalizing smile. She is indeed lovely to look at. He hadn’t seen such a pretty girl in years.

    ‘You startled me,’ he says. ‘You came up so unexpectedly.’ he added.

    ‘Did you see anything—in the tree?’ she asked.

    ‘I thought I saw someone from my window. That’s why I came down. Did you see anything?’ said the writer.

    ‘Oh no!’ She exclaimed and shook her head, the smile escaping her face for a moment. ‘I don’t see anything. But other people do—sometimes.’

    ‘What do they see?’ asked the writer.   

    ‘My sister?’ she replied.

    ‘Your sister?’ rebounded the writer.

    ‘Yes she hanged herself from this tree. It was many years ago. So, sometimes you can see her hanging there.’ She answered in a mechanical fashion.

    She spoke matter-of-factly: whatever had happened seemed very remote to her.

    After which they moved some distance away from the tree. Above the hillock, on a disused private tennis-court (a relic from the hill station’s colonial past) was a small stone bench. She sat on it: and, after a moment’s hesitation, the writer too sat down beside her.

    ‘Do you live close by?’ he asked.

    ‘Further up the hill. My father has a small bakery.’

    She then discloses her name as Hameeda. She also says she has two younger brothers.

    ‘You must have been quite small when your sister died.’ says the writer.

    ‘Yes. But I remember her. She was pretty.’

    ‘Like you.’ interjects the writer.

     She laughs in disbelief. ‘Oh, I am nothing to her. You should have seen my sister.’

    ‘Why did she kill herself?’

    ‘Because she did not want to live. She was to have been married but she loved someone else, someone who was not of our own community. It’s an old story and the end is always sad, isn’t it?’

    ‘Not always. But what happened to the boy—the one she loved? Did he kill himself too?’ asked the writer.

    ‘No, he took up a job in some other place. Jobs are not easy to get, are they?’

    ‘I don’t know. I’ve never tried for one.’

    ‘Then what do you do?’

    ‘I write stories.’ said the writer.

    ‘Do people buy stories?’

    ‘Why not? If your father can sell bread, I can sell stories.’

    ‘People have to have bread. But they can live without stories.’

    ‘No, Hameeda, you’re wrong. People can’t live without stories.’

        By now infatuation had made way in the writer’s heart for Hameeda. He couldn’t help loving her. Although, no fierce desire or passion had taken hold of him. He was happy by just looking at her, watch her while she sat on the grass outside his cottage, her lips stained with the juice of wild bilberries. She chatted away—about her friends, her clothes, her favourite things.

    ‘Won’t your parents mind if you come here every day?’ the writer asked.

    ‘I have told them you are teaching me.’

    ‘Teaching you what?’ he asked.

    ‘They did not ask. So, you can tell me stories.’

    As a result the writer told her some stories.

    It was midsummer.

    The sun glinted on the ring she wore on her third finger: a translucent golden topaz, set in silver.

    ‘That’s a pretty ring,’ remarked the writer.

    ‘You wear it,’ she said, impulsively removing it from her hand. ‘It will give you good thoughts. It will help you to write better stories.’

    She slipped it on to the writer’s little finger.

    ‘I’ll wear it for a few days,’ he said. ‘Then you must let me give it back to you.’ he added.

    On a day that promised rain the writer took the path down to the stream at the bottom of the hill. There he found Hameeda gathering ferns from the shady places along the rocky ledges above the water.

    ‘What will you do with them?’ he asked.

    ‘This is a special kind of fern. You can cook it as a vegetable.’

    ‘Is it tasty?’ he asked.

    ‘No, but it is good for rheumatism.’

    ‘Do you suffer from rheumatism?’

    ‘Of course not. They are for my grandmother, she is very old.’ she said.

    ‘There are more ferns further upstream,’ he said. ‘But we’ll have to get into the water.’

    They remove their shoes and start paddling, up stream. The ravine becomes shadier and narrower, until the sun is completely shut out. The ferns have grown right down up to the water’s edge. They bend to pick them up but instead find themselves in each other’s arms; and sink slowly, as if in a dream, into the soft bed of ferns, while overhearing a whistling thrush burst out in dark sweet song.

    ‘It isn’t time that’s passing by,’ it seemed to say. ‘It is you and I. It is you and I …’

    Post that the writer waits for her the following day, but she doesn’t come.

    Several days pass without, he being able to see her.

    Is she sick? Has she been kept at home? Has she been sent away? He doesn’t even know where she lives, so he cannot ask. And, if at all, he is able to ask, what would he ask?

     Then one day he sees a boy delivering bread and pastries at the little tea-shop about a mile down the road. From the upward slant of his eyes, there is a slight resemblance with Hameeda. As he leaves the shop, the writer follows him up the hill. And, when he comes abreast of him, he asks: ‘Do you have your own bakery?’

    He nods cheerfully, ‘Yes. Do you want anything—bread, biscuits, cakes? I can bring them all to your house.’

    ‘Oh of course. But don’t you have a sister? A girl called Hameeda?’

    His expression changes suddenly. He is no longer friendly. He looks puzzled and slightly apprehensive.

    ‘Why do you want to know?’

    ‘Because, I haven’t seen her for some time now?’ replies the writer

    ‘We have not seen her either.’

    ‘Do you mean she has gone away?’

    ‘Didn’t you know? You must have been away a long time. It is many years since she died. She killed herself. You did not hear about it?’ said the boy.

    ‘But wasn’t that her sister—your other sister?’ asked the writer.

    ‘I had only one sister—Hameeda—and she died, when I was very young. It’s an old story, ask someone else about it.’

    With that he turned away and quickened his pace, and the writer was left standing in the middle of the road, with his head full of questions that couldn’t be answered.

    That night there was a thunderstorm. Writer’s bedroom window kept banging in the wind. He got up to close it and, as he looked out, there was a flash of lightning and he saw that frail body again, swinging from the oak tree.

    He tried a make out the features, but the head hung down and the hair was blowing in the wind.

    Was it all a dream? He thought.

    It was impossible to say. But the topaz ring on him glowed softly in the darkness. And a whisper from the forest seemed to say, ‘It isn’t time that’s passing by, my friend. It is you and I … ‘

    So that’s all for today. It’s a neat little story with a tinge of enigma for you to discover. I would give the story seven out of ten.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

SHORT STORY: BEWARE OF TOO MANY CHOICES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Once a jackal and a cat met in the middle of a forest. The jackal asked the cat how he would get away from a tiger. The cat said: ‘I know only one way and that is to climb the tree as fast as possible.’  Then the cat asked the jackal what would you do in case you come across a tiger? The jackal replied: ‘Brother,  I know 101 ways of getting away. For example, I can go into the bush. I can climb up the rocks and can even hide behind the tree, or can even go into a hole.’

    Just then all of a sudden a tiger appeared. The cat immediately climbed the tree while the jackal pondered—which solution should he adopt? In the meanwhile the tiger pounced on the jackal and killed it.

    Moral of the story: Too many choices at times create conflicts and problems, and leads to unhappiness. In fact too many choices can paralyse anyone.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHORT STORY: The Monkey and the Crocodile

Copyright@shravancharitymission@gmail.com

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

The Monkey and The Crocodile

By Vishnu Sharma

    Once upon a time, in a forest, there lived a monkey who resided on a jamoon (berry) tree, which was on the banks of a river. In the same forest, there lived a crocodile and his wife. One day the crocodile came to the banks of the river and rested under the tree. The kind-hearted monkey offered him some fruits. The crocodile came back the next day for more fruits as he loved them. As days passed by, the crocodile and the monkey became good friends.

    One day the monkey sent some fruits for the crocodile’s wife. She ate the fruits and liked them. But became jealous as she didn’t like her husband spending time with the monkey. She told her husband, “If the fruits are so juicy, I wonder how sweet the monkey’s heart would be. Get me the heart of the monkey.” The crocodile was not willing to kill his friend but had no choice.

    He invited the monkey to his house for dinner and said that his wife would like to meet him. The monkey was happy but couldn’t swim, so the crocodile took him on his back. The crocodile was happy that he had tricked the monkey, however, while talking he blurted out the real reason for taking the monkey home. The clever monkey said, “You should have told me earlier, I left my heart on the tree. We must go back and get it.” The crocodile believed and took him back to the tree. The clever monkey saved his life.

Moral of The Story: Choose your company wisely and always have a presence of mind.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. We maintain this blog for the pleasure of our readers. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

SHORT STORY– UBUNTU–I am because we are

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    The culture of ‘UBUNTU’ comes from Africa—I AM BECAUSE WE ARE

    I bring to you a very nice short story from Africa based on the motivational culture of ‘Ubuntu.’

    Once, an anthropologist, proposed a game to the tribal children of Africa. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand some 100 metres away. He then announced that whosoever reaches first would get all the sweets in the basket. When, he said ‘ready steady go!’

    Do you know what these children did? 

    They all held each others’ hands and ran together towards the tree. Divided the sweets in the basket equally among themselves and ate it and enjoyed it. 

    When the anthropologist   asked the why they did so, they answered,

‘Ubuntu.’

    Which meant

    How can one be happy when others are sad?

    Ubuntu in their language means …

    ‘I am because we are.’

    A strong message for all generations.

    Let us always have this attitude and spread happiness wherever we go.

    ‘Let ‘s have a ‘Ubuntu life.

    ‘I AM BECAUSE WE ARE’

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Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****