Travel with us on an exciting road trip through the Himalayan ranges .
The Mountains Call
Monuments, monks, monkeys and Moksha
If one were to make a mural of our recent trip to Punjab and Himachal what would stand out will be the beautiful and graceful monuments, some extant, some crumbling and some which have made a pact with time to allow them to survive the ravages of time and destiny.
While the golden temple at Amritsar shines bright , it’s glow and the clean marble exteriors and pathways beckoning the faithful and it’s hospitality to all envelopes them in a warm embrace . Food is served 24 X 7 to anyone who is hungry, simple but nutritious food, and if you want a roof over your head, yes , you can stay at the temple, no questions asked. And there is free transport available from the airport. So one was surprised at some healthy, good looking beggars who harassed us till I heard what she was saying , “ Ek suit dilwa do behen ji!” ( Please buy us an ensemble, sister !) WHAT THE BEESWAX !
However, this brings me to the second attraction of Amritsar , besides the robust Punjabi food and polite demeanor of the people , you can get an outfit bought, stitched and dropped to your hotel in under two hours.
As we entered the cooler climes of Himachal, glad to leave the sweltering heat of the plains , we came upon, quite by a lucky chance since our friend who ran a bed and breakfast was booked and away traveling, the TARAGARH PALACE at Palampur which also owes it fame now to the fallen soldier and martyr Vicky Batra whose life story in a recent Bollywood movie, SherShah, had captured the imagination of the whole of India.
But back to Taragarh palace, bought for the spouse of the Rajah of Kashmir , Hari Singh, by their grandson, Rajah and member of parliament and now member of the Rajya Sabhha for decades , Rajah Karan Singh ( now 91 ). Taragarh Palace was so named after Maharani Tara. The abolition of the privy purse in the seventy’s was a death knell to the luxurious lifestyle of the rajahs and rajkumars. If they were to survive, it was necessary to make peace with democracy and the democratic ways of the new age . So this graceful palace was turned into a hotel and ordinary people like us get to live the life of kings and queens for a day or two at very reasonable rates. There is an old world laid back charm of this heritage hotel/palace with the fragrance of raat ki rani , (night jasmine) wafting in the air , locks and fittings which reminded one of havelis and old clubs and army messes , paintings and photographs , sepia toned and Eastman, old time deferential waiters who had an old world and polite charm about them and delectable, aromatic food , elegantly served with crisp napkins and polished silverware. Taragarh was an unforgettable experience, laid out so gracefully in emerald green lawns, with mango trees laden with fruits and cuckoos calling to each other , fountains and pillars silently watching the new guests and wondering where the glittering royalty with their diamonds and chiffons have faded away , only to be replaced by a mixed bag of regular folks , some noisy, some quiet but all awestruck by the historical ambience of this graceful old world heritage palace , TARAGARH !
On our way to Taragarh the driver stopped at a gorgeous secluded monastery painted in happy bright yellow with bougainvillea and flowery creepers and a bunch of hairy mountain dogs who considered themselves the keepers of the place and set up a frenzy of raucous barking when they saw visitors , one going so far as to attack one of them and was beaten back with a bag . Who or what gave them this sense of entitlement, only Buddha knows !
But further up on a higher elevation of Dharamshala, Mcleodgunj and Dharamkot where the Dalai Lama descended with ten thousand of his followers and found his haven, after being driven out by the Chinese, the monasteries are more people friendly , situated in the very crowded marketplace bustling with tourists, monks , yoga enthusiasts with many fancy eateries run by ‘firangis” as the foreign white skinned immigrants are called ; shops selling Tibetan tankha paintings and, of course, the ubiquitous jewellery and bric a brac shops , all huddling cheek to jowl in small spaces and calling out hopefully to many who have only travelled so far to attain peace and nirvana, away from the material attractions of the mortal world ! What a conundrum!
Here, like every place we went to in the Himachal , monkeys were roaming everywhere with a strut of ownership . They roamed around in packs, snatching food from the unwary , even attacking when they could do so safely to snatch away a food packet . In the monastery , we chanced upon langurs which are special to India . Their grey fur and black faces stand out from the others but in habits they were no different from their cousins , their only demand and interest was food , wherever and however they could lay their hands on it .
The maroon chogas and shaven heads of the monks was a recurrent motif of these hilly townships and so was the monkey groups, many with babies perched on their mothers backs or suckling on the elongated, loosely hanging teats of their mothers. The tense and angry faces of the monkeys contrasted strangely with the serene faces with beatific faces of the monks , it was as if the monkeys did not appreciate this intrusion into their space, notwithstanding their fondness for human food , biscuits and pizzas ! Popcorns too !
Mother and child . Our driver informed us that the mother and child bond is so strong that even if the child will die the mother will not let go till the carcass crumbles to dust but isn’t that true of all mothers !
From Dalhousie, with its steep mountains and dangerous roads snakily meandering around its curves and cars teetering on the edges , holding on for dear life , we made a little trip to the Kangra fort . And it was a real eye opener.
“You must pass through the gate leg-first, never lead with your head because if there’s an enemy on the other side, you might lose your head.”
This advice sums up the history of the Kangra fort as generation after generation, groups of invaders have passed through the doors of these hopefully impregnable fortress and have lost, not only their heads but their arms and legs as well in the process !
The Katoch dynasty built the fort in 1500 B.C.but this dynasty traces its lineage back to 4300 BC. about the time the Egyptians were building their pyramids. Battles and wars was the lot of this hapless fort; they have battled Lord Rama in 3000 BC. , about the time the Mohenjo Dara and Harappa civilization was flourishing and bronze and hieroglyphs were invented. In 1500 B.C. Raja Raja Susarma Chandra fought against the Pandavas in the Great War of the Mahabharata and built the fort of Kangra, just about the time of the Shang dynasty of China and the earth quake of Konossas.
In 900 B.C. the Katoch kings fought the Persians and Assyrian attacks, just about when the alphabets were introduced and Rome was founded (753 B.C.)
In 500 B.C. onwards Rajanaka Parmananda Chandra fought Alexander the Great and then Ashoka, the great, just about the time the Mayan civilisations, Socrates and the Great Wall of China ruled the physical and mental world. Raja Parmanand was better known in folklore as Porus who when captured by Alexander and asked how should he be treated, famously replied, “As one king should treat another one !” and was subsequently released for his bravery and became a legend.
During the reign of Kanishka, just when Augustus became the emperor of Rome in 100 A..D. the kings of Kangra fought many wars. In 470 A.D. they are fighting the rajah of Kashmir; this was during the golden age of the Guptas and the time Christianity was spreading across the world.
In 643 A.D. , during the time of the Tang Dynasty of China, the great traveler Huien Tsang visited the kingdom of Kangra. Many battles were fought among the hill chieftains, there are accounts of attacks by Gurkhas.
The fabled treasures stocked in the 21 wells attracted the attention of marauders and the rise of Islam and incursion by Moslem invaders subjected this fort to multiple attacks and from 1009 A.D. following the attack by Mahmud Ghazni the fort was attacked ceaselessly ; in 1170 A.D. Mahmud Ghori invited by Raja Jai Chandra who became a byword for treachery and traitor-ship when he invited Ghori to invade Kannauj and attack the valiant ruler Prithviraj Chauhan who, in turn, is famous for romantically abducting the beautiful Samyukta from her forced swayamvara , a method of marriage where a princess could choose a groom from a group of suitors by garlanding him ; in 1341 A.D. Taimuralang and the Tughlakhs were attacking this fortress . This was about the time of Genghis Khan’s reign and the Aztec empire.
In 1556 , the Kangra fort was attacked 52 times by Akbar the great and occupied but the the Kangra ruler were reinstated and given the title of Maharajah .
In 1700 A.D. the Maharajah allies with the Sikh guru Gobind Singh to fight the despotic and religious zealot Aurangzeb and is bestowed the title of defender of the faith ( dharam rakshak ) by the guru ! But in 1750 , the Durranis bestow on the king the title of Rajput Nizam . But the Mughal rule is crumbling and the English are already in control and a new set of attacks are awaiting the fate of this hapless fort .
Notwithstanding the Golden age of the Kangras and the development of the miniature Kangra paintings , the British, Maratha , and Sikh powers were rising just as Napoleon was straddling Europe.
In 1820 the Kangra fort was occupied by the Sikhs , in 1846 the British attach Kangra from the Sikhs ; in 1905 the Kangra fort is ravaged , this time by nature , an earthquake, so in 1924 the British reinstated the Maharajah to his kingdom and even allowed a 11 gun salute !
In 1947, after the independence of India the last ruler of Kangra throws in his lot with the Indian union but this good fortune lasted till 1972 when the privy purse is abolished and titles taken away in the newly democratic country and so the fort once again languishes and falls into disarray !
There is a temple dedicated to, ironically, the Goddess of Power , Ambika Devi , who gave this temple to the Katoch dynasty as a reward in helping her fight the demon . Some brave souls who trek to this fort do come to pay obeisance to the Goddess .
Nature has now taken over and wild creatures , mostly monkeys, stalk the land which has faced the onslaughts of enemies from within and without and still stands tall as a testimony to the spirit of the words of a poet who said ,
The glories of our blood and fate
Are shadows , not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hands on kings;
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
James Shirley ( 1596 – 1666 )
‘ Death the leveller ‘
If the first leg of your journey begins with a visit to the temple and obeisance to God at the Golden Temple , it is only fitting that in the last one would attain Moksha ! ( The Hindi word for salvation ) And so Moksha riverside resort in the Kasol valley, next to the River Parvati gushing and tumbling through rocks and boulders , brought us the peace and calm and joy that comes to a human life engaged in hectic activity and struggle battling the vagaries of nature and life ; in our case it was overcrowding, traffic jams and once being cheated of our peace of mind by an errant still under construction hotel which falsely advertised it’s attractions ( Hotel Orchard Greens ) and then sold us short with an under construction lobby, laundry strewn in the passages and towels hanging on the exercise equipment and an old Nepali gentleman trying to lure us into the rickety spa room for a massage .
So Moksha riverside came up like a breath of fresh air ; gorgeous view, clean rooms with a thoughtful management taking care of all the nitty gritty stuff, delicious food , great entertainment. No wonder the Israelis have made these parts their home , what with weed being freely available , the usual foreign owned eateries which have upscale , interesting menus, and many trails for trekking for the health and fitness nuts . Kasol valley also has the famous Manikaran gurdwara and on the opposite bank the Shiva temple with its hot springs which is frequented by the ailing and the sick. One could see the smoke curling up to the sky from the springs but did not venture to this tourist destination because tourists nowadays only desecrate every spot they visit by their total lack of civic responsibility! As a result these towns are slowly turning into garbage dumps and Mother Nature is turning in her grave.
So Moksha was a haven and a little slice of heaven and a fortunate end to our little family trip. We could leave with good memories of our Himalayan odyssey.
Some more images from this very memorable trip .
Dalhousie Public school is massive and just one of the many schools that have made Dalhousie famous ; Lord Dalhousie is credited with setting up a great education system for India . On the way to a typical tourist spot called Khajjihar one comes across these fellows with rabbits in their basket and a “maskali “ on their heads so named after the song from Delhi 6 , one hell of a way to make a living . Khajjihar had zorbing and paragliding of some sort , unheard of in any part in the world , the paragliding consisting of attaching a child to a harness and running with it and then waiting to catch the child before he can fall to the ground .In many countries this may be illegal !
The horse riding too was quite uncomfortable and expensive , 500 rs for a small chukker but so desperate are the tourists for any entertainment after Covid that they were thronging these spots and spending money as if they grew on trees of this verdant spot !!! BTW the slopes here are almost vertical , so steep are they !
This story is about the angst of the tortoise after he won the race because no one paid any attention to him. The media frenzy was for the fair and funny bunny who was glamorous and lived in a mansion. The boring, brown turtle was quite ignored. We are all about looks nowadays, aren’t we ?
Once upon a time there was a tortoise. His name was Me-Too-Slow because, you guessed it, he walked very slowly, so slowly that the other animals left him far behind. They always laughed behind his back which is, of course,not a very nice thing to do. In fact, it is quite rude.
Me-Too-Slow knew about this and he was very hurt. He went to Banana-Drama, his friend and told him his problem. Banana-Drama said, “Dude, what’s the problem? I’ll just get you roller skates, four of them and you are going to leave everyone far behind!”
So they both went to MallWart and tried on some roller skates for Me-Too-Slow who tied them to his tiny feet and walked daintily forward. But when he tried to go faster all his four legs flew out from under him and he fell flat on his stomach which really hurt. “Ow! Ow!Ow! “ he yelled and tried to get up but his roller skates would not let him so Banana-Drama went to his help.
He tried to lift him but Me-Too-Slow’s shell was really heavy so Banana-Drama took out the skates, put a plank under him and jumped on the other side, just like a see-saw and Me-Too-Slow shot up to the roof with great force. Luckily he fell down on some cushions which were on sale, $2 for 4 which saved his shell from breaking into little bits. Banana-Drama put his hands on his hips and heaved a sigh of relief, “Dude,” he said, “that was a lucky escape or you would have been in a soup, turtle soup !”
Me-Too-Slow shuddered in fear and said, “Banana-Drama you have a good heart but you are not very good at solving problems. You just tend to go too fast.”
“But that’s what you wanted to do, dude, go fast so I was just trying to help you !” Banana-Drama said, annoyed at being scolded by Me-Too-Slow who none of the animals took very seriously.
“At least I tried to help unlike the others who only make fun of him, especially that Hare, what was her name? Oh yes ! Happy Hare.” Banana-Drama thought to himself, “ Ever since Me-Too-Slow won the race from Happy Hare because she had gone to sleep Me-Too-Slow is obsessed with speed because in the next race she may not go to sleep and he”ll lose the race.
To be continued
THE TURTLE WHO WANTED TO RACE THE BUNNY
EXCERPT TWO ( from a different book of the same series ) The turtle who wanted to race the bunny
Once upon a time Me-Too-Slow, the turtle and Boo-Tee-Ful Bun-Nee met in the woods. Boo-Tee-Ful Bun–Nee looked at Me-Too-Slow Turtle walking slowly towards his friend, Peek-a-Boo’s house and started laughing. He yelled at Me-Too-Slow, “Hey slow coach, by the time you reach Peek-a-Boo’s place he’ll be dead and gone. Maybe you can tell some stories to his grand children. Ha ! Ha! Ha !”
Banana-Drama who was swinging on a nearby tree heard him and got annoyed because he liked Me-Too-Slow . He said, “Cool it Booty ! That’s not funny, bunny.
Me-Too-Slow said, “It’s not her fault, she’s always been too fast for her own good, talks too fast, mostly without thinking, walks too fast, mostly without looking, eats too fast, mostly without tasting and one day she’ll trip and I hope she’ll not eat her medicines too fast because then she’ll choke and then the doctors will have to thump her on her back and she’ll…”
The turtle would have gone forever but Banana-Drama who had fallen asleep listening to his talk fell on the ground on his head with a big thump. “Ow ! Ow ! Ow !” he said, “What happened ?”
Boo-Tee-Ful Bun-Nee started giggling, “ Oh ! you had gone to sleep listening to Me-Too-Slow talking. Not only does he walk slowly but he also talks slowly and by the time he’s finished we’ll all be dead and gone and, maybe, he can tell his boring stories to our grand children.”
Me-Too-Slow frowned and said, “ I don’t have to listen to this brash, boring bunny. I’m going on my way, Peek-a-Boo is waiting for me and we are going to discuss many matters over a cup of tea. Besides I don’t have time to listen to the silly talk of a silly bunny who thinks she is funny but actually she’s not, she’s just very empty and full of herself….”
“Whoa ! Whoa ! Whoa ! Stop, stop dude ! What are you saying ? Is she empty or is she full, make up your mind. This is getting very confusing.” said Banana-Drama
Boo-Tee-Ful Bun-Nee giggled, “Oo la la, as the French say, Mr. Me-Too-Slow is very confusing, he’s always going around in circles and on and on and on and that’s why he never gets anywhere.”
Me-Too-Slow closed his eyes and opened them slowly. Banana-Drama was aghast to see that he had tears in them. He jumped down from the tree and patted Me-Too-Slow on his shell, “Dude chill,” he said, “Don’t get hurt by the talks of a certain foolish, furry bunny. You know she’s no match to you.” Me-Too-Slow shook his head sadly, “I know, I know but it still hurts.”
Banana-Drama looked angrily at Boo-Tee-Ful Bun-Nee, “Look what you have gone and done, you furry fashionista ! You have hurt the old one’s feelings.” Boo-Tee-Ful Bun-Nee tossed her head and hopped away. As she hopped she turned around and said, “ I don’t care. He’s just a boring old fossil and his time is up. There is no place for him in our brave, new world.
To be continued
Once upon a time a squirrel decided that she no longer wanted to eat nuts . She felt it was too much of a chore to gather nuts , hoard them , crack them and then eat them . She also felt that nuts were just nuts , they were not as flavorful as other tasty things like ice cream , chocolates, pudding and pie . As you can see she had a very sweet tooth . She only wanted a lot of sugar . And who doesn’t , we all do . But mom won’t let us eat so much of it so there must be a very good reason for it , right ?
But anyway , this is story time , not lecture time so let’s get on with the story . So , all day long , the little squirrel hung around the branches of her tree cracking nuts with her strong teeth but secretly wishing she lived in an ice cream shop which was just across the road near her tree where she could see many children eating , slurping , licking and enjoying the colorful, cold , sweet ice creams . Some ice creams even had chocolate on them
and others had jelly beans and sprinkles. Oh how the little squirrel longed for them .
One day the squirrel was leaning so far to see a little boy eat his pink ice cream with white swirls on them that she lost her balance and fell straight into the ice cream ! Plop ! Now she was covered from head to toe in the pink ice cream . She smacked her lips and closed her eyes and thought ‘delicious’.
Now squirrels are supposed to run away from other creatures who are not squirrels but this squirrel was so enchanted with the taste of the pink ice cream that she just stayed rooted in the ice cream cone . So the little boy who was the ice cream owner’s son picked up the cone with the squirrel and took him to his father who was in the ice cream shop.
The boy’s father looked at the squirrel smacking her lips and had a good laugh . Then he picked up the squirrel , put her under a tap and washed her in the sink. Then he wrapped a piece of cloth around her to dry her and then put her in one of the ice cream cases which had holes on top of it so she could breathe .
Now all day long the ice cream shop owner would place different flavors of ice cream in the little squirrels 🐿 case . Sometimes it was mango ,sometimes peach , sometimes strawberry and sometimes he gave her a mix of many flavours, kiwi, banana, vanilla , raspberry . The little squirrel was very happy .
In the night the ice cream owner took out the squirrel and put her in a cage . In the morning he put her back in the case because a lot of children started to come to the shop to see the little squirrel enjoying the ice cream . She looked very sweet with ice cream dripping from her whiskers.
This went on for many days . Then weeks . Then months . The squirrel was getting tired of the sweet ice cream . She was also getting very fat because she was no longer running up and down the tree . Moreover, she started to feel sick . If you eat too much sugar you do get a sickness which is not nice at all . She started feeling homesick and longed for her tree and nuts . She wanted to run up and down the tree and crack the nuts . But how was she to do that ? She was no longer free but locked up in an ice cream shop.
One day the squirrel decided that she was going to escape . But how was she going to do that ? Can you guess ?
I will give you one day to go home and write in your own words what you think the squirrel would do to get back to her tree . And the best answer will get a special prize.
I will give you one day to go home and write in your own words what you think the squirrel would do to get back to her tree . And the best answer will get a special prize.
Now let me tell you what the squirrel did .
When the owner of the ice cream shop came in the morning to take out the squirrel from the cage and put her in the ice cream case he saw the squirrel lying very still with her eyes closed. She looked as if she had fainted. The ice cream owner put his finger near the squirrel’s nose to see if she was breathing and the squirrel held her breath .
The owner was very worried that the squirrel was dead. He quickly picked up the squirrel and laid her on the case while he went to call the vet who , we all know , is an animal doctor.
The squirrel knew this was her big chance to escape her prison of sweet things . She quickly jumped up and raced towards her tree. She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her and even though she had put on a lot of weight due to the ice cream she was eating every day for breakfast , lunch and dinner , she was still very swift. She quickly ran up the trunk of the tree and heaved a big sigh of relief when she reached her little nest tucked in the hollow of the tree .
The squirrel was very happy to be back on her tree . She wanted to crack her nuts and eat them as she knew that , not only were they healthy, but also made her teeth strong . No more ice cream for her which had not only made her put on weight but all that sugar had given her a nasty condition that made her feel very sick. And her teeth were not feeling so good and strong .
But never mind . She was lucky she was on that diet for a short while and did not suffer any permanent damage . She was grateful that she had a lucky escape and now , if she ever felt a craving for sugary stuff , she was going to remember the ice cream shop and the craving would go away in a trice .
Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence .
Winter in Texas
Shards of icy glass shroud the hardy tree
Who waves his distress silently glassy
Now I understand why these trees are
Natural to this land
They can bear the intemperate climate
And still not turn a hair
They can bruise in winter, batter the storms
Unfed,unwatered, untended , can still survive
To see another season, another year, another life .
The contest is over and Melody has won the contest but there are more twists to keep you engaged !
What will happen to Cuckoo Cool since she is no longer the court singer in King Tweety- Fruity’s kingdom?
What about Bat Van Fridays’s identity crisis ?
And Señor Julio’s sightless eyes?
Can Ollie undo these complications ?
After all, he is a wise old owl !
Don’t miss the final celebrations of the Jungle Land folks in this racy, pacy finale of “Melody”
Your New Year gift – your 9 minute giggle, chuckle
as you follow the hi-jinks of the characters of Jungle-Land and the Land of Birds
एक सेब का बाग़ था । उस में एक सेब का पेड़ हमेशा अपने लाल लाल सेबों से लदा रहता था । उस पर ढेर सारे सेब फलते थे । उस पर इतने ढेर सारे सेब फलते थे कि उसकी टहनियाँ उनके भार से झुक कर ज़मीन पर आ जातीं । बाग़ के सभी प्राणी बड़े चाव से उन सेबों का आनंद उठाते । गाय, बकरी, गिलहरी, यहाँ तक कि चिड़ियाँ और तितलियाँ भी उसके रसीले सेबों का आनंद उठाती। तितलियाँ और भँवरें एक सेब के पेड़ से उड़ कर दूसरे सेबों के पेड़ पर जा बैठते तो वह पेड़ भी फलने फूलने लगता । यही तो इन छोटे छोटे जीवों का चमत्कार है ।
एक दिन उस सेब के बाग़ में दो टाँगो वाले दो प्राणी आए, एक आदमी और एक औरत । दोनों सेब के पेड़ को देख कर मुग्ध हो गए । उन्होंने सेबों को खूब छक कर खाया । अब उनके मन में लालच आ गयी । उन्होंने सोचा कि अगर हम इन सेबों को शहर के बाज़ारों में बेचेंगे तो हमारी खूब आमदनी होगी ।बस फिर क्या था ! दोनों सेबों को तोड़ तोड़ कर लकड़ी के बक्से में भरने लगे और उनको शहर पहुँचने लगे ।
थोड़े दिन बाद वे और लोगों को लाए जो उनकी मदद करते । थोड़े ही दिनों में सेब के पेड़ सेबों से ख़ाली हो गए ।
बाग़ में एक भी सेब नहीं बचा । बाग़ में रहने वाले सभी प्राणी भूखे रह गए । उन्होंने बाग़ को छोड़ देने का निश्चय किया । सभी प्राणी , गाय, भैंस , बकरी , यहाँ तक कि तितली , भँवरें भी सपरिवार बाग़ को छोड़ कर जाने लगे । थोड़े ही दिनों में सेब का बाग़ ख़ाली हो गया ।
सेब का पेड़ अपने मित्रों के जाने से बात दुखी हो गया । उस पर सेब फलने भी बंद हो गए । बाक़ी पेड़ भी सेबों से ख़ाली हो गए ।बाग़ बिलकुल सुनसान हो गया ।
दोनो मनुष्य भी दुखी हो गए । अब उनकी आमदनी भी जो बंद हो गयी थी । वे दोनों सोच में डूब गए । अचानक उनको सूझा कि क्यूँ ना हम किसी पेड़-पौधों के डॉक्टर के पास जाते हैं । शायद वह हमें रास्ता बताए कि कैसे सेब के पेड़ पर पुनः सेब फलने लगे । फिर क्या था । उन्होंने आव देखा ना ताव , चल पड़े पेड़-पौधों के डॉक्टर से मिलने जिसे अंग्रेज़ी में होर्टिकलचरिस्ट कहते हैं । हैं ना टेढ़ा सा नाम !
वह डॉक्टर भी उतना ही टेढ़ा था । वह समझ गया कि इन मनुष्यों के लालच ने पूरे बाग़ को तबाह कर दिया । इस बाग़ को इनसे बचाना बहुत ज़रूरी है । उसने उन दोनो को सलाह दी कि तुम लोग कोई दूसरे पेड़ उगाओ जिससे तुम्हें इससे भी ज़्यादा आमदनी होगी । उसने उनको एक बरगद के पेड़ का बीज दिया और कहा इसे बो दो और इंतेज़ार करो । यह बरगद का एक पेड़ पूरा बाग़ बन जाएगा । तब तक तुम लोग सेब के बाग़ में मत जाना ।
दोनो मनुष्य उस बरगद के बीज को के कर ख़ुशी ख़ुशी घर आ गए । अब बरगद का पेड़ वहाँ तो उगता नहीं जहां सेब के फल होते हैं ।चुनांचे इन दोनों को सेब के बाग़ से बहुत दूर जाना पड़ा । वहाँ जा कर उन्होंने बरगद के बीज को बो दिया ।
और करने लगे इंतजार उसके बाग़ बनने का । बरगद के पेड़ को बड़े होने में बहुत समय लगता है और बाग़ बनने में और भी समय लगता है । उसके जड़ टहनियों से नीचे आते हैं, ज़मीन को पकड़ते हैं और इस तरह फैलते हैं ।
कई साल बीत गए । दोनों मनुष्य इंतज़ार करने लगे कि कब बरगद का बाग़ बनेगा, इस में फल लगेंगे और हम फिर अमीर हो जाएँगे । इंतज़ार करते करते दोनो बूढ़े हो गए । और तब उन्हें मालूम पड़ा कि कि बरगद के पेड़ पर कोई फल ही नहीं होता । उल्टा, वह इतना सघन और भयानक होता है कि वहाँ बहुत सारे जंगली जानवर बसते हैं । उस पेड़- पौधों के डॉक्टर ने उन्हें खूब छकाया !
यहाँ सेब का पेड़ फिर से फलने फूलने लगा ।उसे आराम जो मिल गया था । उसके बाक़ी दोस्त भी फलने लगे । उन रसीले सेबों को देख कर सारे प्राणी वापस आने लगे ; भेड़, बकरी, गाय, भँवरे, तितलियाँ । सब मज़े से बाग़ में रहने लगे ।उनकी वजह से सेब के पेड़ फलों से लदने लगे । पूरा बाग़ ख़ुशी से झूम उठा ।
उधर दोनों मनुष्य हाथ मलते रह गए । अब उन में इतनी ताक़त नहीं बची थी की वह इतना लम्बा सफ़र तय कर के फिर से सेब के बाग़ जाएँ और अपना काम- धंधा शुरू करें । यहाँ घने से बरगद के नीचे उन्होंने अपनी कुटिया बना ली और उन्हीं जंगली जानवरों के बीच रहने लगे । जो थोड़ा बहुत काम कर के उन्हें मिलता उसी से पेट भरते थे । इसीलिए कहा जाता है की “ लालच बुरी बला है ।”
The English avatar of this story .
इस कहानी का अंग्रेज़ी अवतार
एक आम का बाग़ था। उस में बहुत सारे आम के पेड़ लगे थे । अब आम के पेड़ ही होंगे चीकू के तो नहीं होंगे।पर उस आम के बाग में गलती से एक चीकू का पेड़ भी लग गया था । वह दिन भर अकेला कोने में खड़ा रहता था, उसका कोई दोस्त नहीं था । सब आम एक दूसरे से बात करते, उस से कोई बात नहीं करता । इस से उसे बहुत बुरा लगता । वो सोचता, ये आम के पेड़ अपने आप को इतना ख़ास क्यूँ समझते हैं, हैं तो आम के पेड़ ही । हम सब पेड़ हैं तो हम सब को मिल जुल कर रहना चाहिए ।
चीकू ने अपने बग़ल में खड़े आम के पेड़से पूछा, “ भैया, तुम लोग मुझ से बात क्यूँ नहीं करते ? मैं भी तो फल का पेड़ हूँ और मेरे फल भी बहुत मीठे हैं ।
आम के पेड़ ने अकड़ कर कहा, “ आम तो फलों का राजा होता है, चीकू से उसकी क्या बराबरी ?
चीकू ने कहा, “ अरे मेरे फल भी तो मीठे होते हैं और सेहत के लिए अच्छे, तो फिर ये भेद भाव क्यों ? “
आम के पेड़ ने कहा, “ अरे क्या बात करते हो ? आम के फल का रंग रूप देखो । हम पीले और लाल और कितने सुंदर हैं और हमारा गूदा भी कितना रसीला और मीठा होता है । तुम अपना रंग देखो , भूरे और छोटे से हो , बिलकुल बेकार लगते हो । हमारी और तुम्हारी दोस्ती नहीं हो सकती । जाओ, भाग जाओ । “
अब पेड़ तो भाग सकते नहीं तो चीकू का पेड़ अपना सा मुँह ले कर वहीं खड़ा रहा ।
एक दिन आम के बाग में कुछ लोग पिकनिक मनाने आए। उन्होंने बहुत सारे आम खाए । थोड़ी देर बाद उनका चाय पीने का मन हुआ तो उन्होंने आम की लकड़ी इकट्ठी की और उस में आग लगा कर उस पर चाय बनायी । चाय पी कर वह लोग वहाँ से चले गए पर उन्होंने आग पूरी तरह से नहीं बुझायी । बस फिर क्या था । एक हवा का झोंका आया और आग की एक चिंगारी को उड़ा कर ले गया ! वह चिंगारी कुछ सूखे घास के पत्तों पर पड़ी और उस में आग लग गयी । आग अब बढ़ने लगी और आम के पेड़ों को घेरने लगी । सभी आम के पेड़ चिल्लाने लगे, “ बचाओ बचाओ !”
उनकी पुकार सुन कर चीकू का पेड़ घबरा गया । उसकी समझ में नहीं आ रहा था कि वह क्या करे । उसने सोचा, भले ही आम के पेड़ मुझसे दोस्ती नहीं करते पर वो भी तो मेरी तरह पेड़ हैं , उन्हें बचाना मेरा फ़र्ज़ है । पर वो करे तो क्या करे ? वह भी तो पेड़ था, दौड़ तो सकता नहीं । फिर वह आम के पेड़ों को कैसे बचाए ? चीकू के पेड़ ने आव देखा न ताव, अपने सारे चीकू के फलों को नीचे गिराने लगा । अभी चीकू के फल पके नहीं थे इस लिए वह पत्थर की तरह कड़े थे । तड़ तड़ तड़ ! वह ज़मीन पर गिरने लगे ।
उनके गिरने से इतना शोर हुआ कि सारे पक्षी काँ का का और चीं चीं चीं कर के आकाश में उड़े । उन चिड़ियों की आवाज़ सुन कर पास खड़े हुए जानवर भी शोर मचाने लगे । कुत्ते भोंकने लगे, भौ, भौ, भौ ; बिल्लियाँ भी म्याऊँ म्याऊँ करने लगीं ; गधे रेंकने लगे, ढेंचू ढेंचू ढेंचू ; गायें रंभाने लगीं, माँआऽऽऽ।
उनकी आवाज़ें सुन कर कुछ आदमी लोगों की नज़र बाग़ की तरफ़ गयी । उन्होंने देखा बाग़ से धुआँ उठ रहा था । बाग़ से उठता धुआँ आसमान में छा रहा था । बस फिर क्या था । वो लोग भी चिल्लाने लगे ।इतना शोर सुन कर बाग़बान यानी बगीचे का रखवाला उठ गया । वह दौड़ा दौड़ा आया । अपने साथ वो और लोगों को भी लाया । सब ने मिल कर आग बुझा दी ।
जब सब लोग चले गए तो थोड़ी देर तक सब आम के पेड़ चुप रहे । फिर एक आम का पेड़ चीकू के पेड़ से बोला, “चीकू भैया, तुमने तो आज कमाल कर दिया । हमारी जान बचाने का शुक्रिया । तुम देखने में छोटे और भूरे हो पर तुम हो बड़े होशियार । हमसे दोस्ती करोगे ?” चीकू बहुत खुश हुआ । उसने तुरंत हाँ कर दिया ।
अब आम के पेड़ और चीकू का पेड़ ख़ुशी ख़ुशी बाग़ में रहने लगे । सब आम के पेड़ मज़ाक़ करते और चीकू के पेड़ से कहते, “ हम तो आम ही है , तुम तो हो बड़े ख़ास !”
इस कहानी की प्रेरणा स्त्रोत कर्नल भगवान चंद्रा शुक्ल हैं जिन्होंने “आमों” के हित में अपने कर्म के सारे फल दान कर दिए ।
१. अभ्यास में जहाँ जहाँ आ है उस के नीचे लाल रंग से लकीर बनाओ । फिर अभ्यास एक में जा कर आ को हरे रंग से लकीर बनाओ ।
२. अ और आ में क्या फ़र्क़ है ? (उस चिन्ह को मात्रा कहते हैं । )
३ आ से अन्य शब्द बताओ
आदमी, आसमान , आकाश , आदमी , आठ , आलू ,आलू बुखारा
४ विपरीतार्थक शब्द
५. पर्यायवाची शब्द
६ इस अभ्यास में आम शब्द के दो अर्थ है
एक आम होता है फल और एक का मतलब होता है मामूली । इन दोनो से एक एक वाक्य बनाओ जिस से इनका अलग अलग अर्थ समझ आए ।
७. मुँह ज़ुबानी
कुत्ता कैसे भोंकता है ?
बिल्ली कैसे बोलती है
गधा कैसे रेंकता है ?
गाय कैसे रंभाती है ?
आम का फल कैसा होता है ? वर्णन करो और इसका चित्र बनाओ ।
चीकू का फल कैसा होता है ? वर्णन करो और चित्र बनाओ ।
८. अपना सा मुंह ले कर रह जाना । इसको वाक्य बनाओ ।
इस कहानी की प्रेरणा स्त्रोत कर्नल भगवान चंद्रा शुक्ल हैं जिन्होंने “आमों” के हित में अपने कर्म के सारे फल दान कर दिए ।
Here is the ENGLISH AVATAR of the story along with the link to the story on my website
THE MANGO ORCHARD AND THE CHIKOO TREE
Once upon a time there was a huge mango orchard with many, many trees in it. There were many kinds of mangoes in it; mangoes of many shapes, sizes and color but they were all very beautiful. And juicy. In the same orchard it so happened there was also a little chickoo tree standing in one corner. Have you seen a chickoo fruit ? It’s round and small and brown and not very pretty. When it is young it’s fruits are very hard. Yes, it’s not a very good looking fruit even though it is very sweet when it is ripe.
Anyway, let’s go on with the story. The poor chickoo tree was very lonely. None of the mango trees would talk to him. The mango trees were friends with each other but whenever the chickoo tree tried to talk to them they would tell him to go away. They would laugh and say, ” Look at you ! So small and round and brown. And look at us. We are golden in color and so shapely. You don’t fit in our crowd. Don’t you try to come near us. Just run away. ” Well, you know very well trees can’t run so the chickoo tree would just stand in his corner with a long face and feel very sorry for himself. How he wished he had a few friends. He was very, very lonely.
One day, a party of humans came in to the orchard for a picnic. They sat down under the shade of the mango trees and eat and drank. Then, they decided to have some tea. So, they collected some dry sticks, added some dry grass and lit a fire. They made tea and everyone, except the children who had some hot milky cocoa, had tea. Then, they put out the fire and went away. But, the fire was not quite out even though they had stamped on it. Just a little spark was hidden under the twigs and that was enough to light the fire again. Very soon, the fire started spreading . It started burning the grass and the dry leaves on the ground. Very soon it would reach the mango trees which , when dry, can burn down very fast.
The mango trees saw the fire and were frightened. They didn’t know what to do. If even one mango tree caught fire the whole orchard would burn down. The mango trees started shouting, ” Help ! help! Save us ! ” but there was no one around to hear them. The watchman of the orchard had gone home for lunch. By the time he would come back the orchard would be on fire. What a disaster. And anyway who can hear the sound of trees calling for help except other trees. No one can understand them.
And so it happened the little chickoo heard the mango trees shouting for help. He saw the fire too and understood the great danger . He thought to himself, “It’s true that the mango trees do not want to be my friends. They are also very rude to me. But, we are all trees. So, I must do something to save them.” Can you guess what the chickoo tree did to save the mango trees? You know trees can’t run or shout for help because they are rooted to the ground and no one can understand them. Then, how was the chickoo tree going to save the mango trees ?
Did I not tell you that the chickoos’ fruit are very hard when they are young.
So what the chickoo did was to drop all his fruits to the ground at one go. Their was a shower of chickoo fruits hitting the ground. When the fruits hit the ground they made such a racket ! I cannot even describe the sound of hundreds of chickoo fruits hitting the ground at one time, just like a hail storm. It was so sudden and noisy that all the birds flew up in shock and started to squawk ! The crows went, ‘caw, caw’, the birds went, ‘cheep, cheep’ and the squirrels started chattering. Even the few goats who were roaming around started bleating . Hearing them , the cows started lowing, “moo, moo” the stray dogs started to bark and the cats started mewing and hissing . It was a very noisy event.
A few passerbys heard the sound of the animals and looked towards the orchard. They saw the plume of smoke above the trees and knew, at once, that the orchard was in great danger. They started shouting. Some of them ran to get the watchman. Some ran to get buckets of water. And some called the fire station. Everyone got together and put out the fire. And then went away.
After the people left there was a long silence in the orchard. All the mango trees were thinking about the sacrifice the chickoo tree had made to save the mango trees by throwing all his fruits to the ground. He had nothing left.
The mango trees waved their branches and saluted the chickoo tree. Then they said , ” You are very special chickoo tree , we are just ordinary in front of you. Will you be our friend ? ” The chickoo tree was very happy to hear this. He said, ” I will be honored to be your friend.” Now, the chickoo tree was never lonely. He had many, many friends who loved and honored him for his good qualities and did not care how he looked.
Yes, it is what you do for others that is important, not how you look.
( This is a short version of the story for when you are too sleepy to hear long stories and your parents are too tired. But there is a very long, long story for the weekends which I will be writing very soon for you !)
Collected Tails of Jungle Land
The inspiration for this story is Col. Bhagwan Shukla who, like the chickoo tree, gave up all the fruits of his action in order to save the ‘mangoes’