Mrs Magpie and her family

Mrs Magpie and her brood of seven , Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday, all the way to Sunday !

What if she had an eighth child ? What do you think she will call her ?

Yes, the eighth child is called January Because you never know what the years will bring !







Its all about loving your children!

Directed by Nadira Zaheer Babbar

Written by Kshipra Shukla


JungleDhoom.com is performed by the children of Ekjute’s Young Talent Group

(aged 5 – 14 years) and enjoyed by children of all ages ! The play is situated in a jungle called Hariyali Forest where lives our main protagonist Sargam. Sargam’s mother Koyal abandons her in a crow’s nest for selfish motives. Kagi, the crow mother gracefully takes the abandoned Sargam under her wings. In another part of the forest, Baaz Bahadur, king of Kanha Forest, decides to hold a singing competition. Kagi encourages Sargam to participate in the singing competition and helps her fight against all odds and evil plots hatched against her. Sargam works hard and, with the support of her family and friends, emerges the winner AND proves that good always wins over evil.

The set of the jungle and the costumes in the play are right out of a fairy tale and the catchy songs and music make JungleDhoom.com a complete fun filled experience for children and their parents !!


Jungledhoom.com is a play that leaves the audience ,adults and children alike spell bound with it’s magic. This is Ekjute at it’s best.

– DNA (Mumbai)

Ekjute artists with 30 child actors ranging from 6 year olds to 14 year olds put up a true professional play. Kuddos to Nadira Babbar and the work she is doing with children through Ekjute’s Young Talent Group.

– Hindustan Times (Mumbai)

(Mithlesh Maihar had the children rolling in the aisles with his antics. The other actors of Ekjute, Vijay Singh,Deep,, Rajiv,Sangam and Ashwini gave stellar performances. The children from the Ekjute workshop were as good as the others. All said and done this play enchanted the children completely.)

– Navbharat Times (Mumbai)

One hour of pure entertainment for the kids. Go for it this holiday.

– Bombay Times (Mumbai)


(All material extracted from the Ekjute web-site)


The Bird’s Tale  is one of the parts of the series called Melody which is a part of The Collected Tails of Jungle Land . There are seven such series with fourteen books in each ( seven in English and seven in Hindi ) which make up the Collected Tails of Jungle Land

Critical appreciation by Mr. Vinod Tiwari.

(Well known journalist, writer and editor)

The world of children is wonderful; it is a world of imagination and color. We, as adults, may be forever curious about this world but we never invest it with serious thought. We assume that children will be children, what is the need to invest their world with depth? We forget the well known adage that, “The child is the father of man.”

Mrs. Shipra Shukla, through her play, “The Bird’s Tale”* reminds us that what, at the first glance, appears to be childlike, at least we adults should not be childish enough to assume that it is for children only! The characters she has created- Crow, Thrush, Frog, Crane, Rabbit, are all attractive to children. Their appearance and antics may be attractive enough to entertain the children but this is not the reason why these characters are in a league of their own. The main reason is the thought which flows below the surface. At times it makes the reader laugh and at times it tickles his funny bone with its sharp wit and along with this the writer’s control over her craft keeps our curiosity alive so that we read on and become cognizant of the social malaise she hints at. If we read this play from this point of view then we realize that this play is as much for children as it is for adults for the characters which please the children, simply and smoothly speak of those matters to adults which, very often, even the headlines in newspapers and experienced cartoonist are unable to express.

The plays that are written in Hindi are hardly any. The ones that are written are those that are inspired by alien cultures and as such are far removed from the Indian sensibility. Shipra has managed to bind together folks with varied sensibilities, from the dyed in the wool proponents of the western culture to the caring, nurturing Indian thought processes and produced a creation which should not only be welcomed in schools but every theatre lover should have a copy of it.

Congratulations to Shipra are in order on her maiden attempt. Her creations will continue to exhibit her novel and new shades of writing – that is my heartfelt good wish.

(Translated from Hindi by Shipra Shukla) 

*Kissa Koyal Ka


The Bird’s Tale”*- what a tale and the opportunity to read this tale was given to me by the writer Mrs. Shipra Shukla when she handed me the book and said, ‘please give your opinion.’ Now, I am not a playwright who would adeptly give her “critical appreciation.” I am definitely a reader and believe that every reader has his own take, his own sensibility, when he reads a story. When reading this story some may say it is inspired by political compulsions and others will say it is a story to entertain children and succeeds in keeping their interest alive – different strokes for different folks. Now, since I can humbly claim some understanding of literary matters and some skills in the screenplay writing department – moreover, I am a “mom” – so for me it was primarily the story of an ambitious mother, selfish actually – a phenomena which is the result of the fast changing social, economic and political environment of our times. This mom is a cuckoo who abandons her helpless baby in the mother crow’s nest and flies off to fulfill her various aspirations to become the court singer in the Kite- King’s court ; she does not want to know nor even cares what happens to the child she left behind.

As is de rigueur of writing of any genre the sensible writer who seeks to garner interest in his story will create ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ elements and, finally, the victory of good over evil – for even though one may cling to evil in multiple ways – there is a place in our heart which constantly beats with the feeling that , “ it may happen that good does not win, maybe those who fight for it go through much pain but even so, “good” is the ultimate “truth” and “truth” is “God”. In “The Bird’s Tale” the writer, too, subscribes to this thought.

The story of the protagonist Cuckoo wends its way through many interesting twists and turns to the point when her singing begins to lose its charm, her persona dwarfed and she is on the verge of total rejection when, at the opportune moment, arrives her youthful daughter Melody who is now capable of trouncing her own mother by her winning notes; who, then emerges victorious and by her talent occupies the space left by her defeated mother. She now becomes dear to her selfish mother who claims her as her own flesh and blood and herself as the ‘real’ mother but Melody vetoes the thought: for her it is the motherly crow who cared for her with selfless love,the ‘real’ mother. Furthermore, Melody rejects the ‘golden cage. She chooses to live with the mother crow and her jungle friends and breathe the free air which resonates with her melodious singing.

So this is the entertaining “tale” which Shipra Shukla has weaved so skillfully around the contemporary social and political environment and made it eminently ‘readable’. To tell her “tale’ she has created many black, white and grey characters; there is music, comic relief, political shenanigans; the language is simple and every day and the environment is jungle and yet modern. The political touches are those that are present in any family or society. There is a glimpse of the tried and tested formula of “divide and rule” – and by the time we reach the end the ogre of evil is vanquished and truth prevails.

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Bird’s tale”* read, so when are you going to read this “tale?”

( Original review translated from Hindi by Shipra Shukla)

*Kissa Koyal ka



My most favorite moment is when Poorvi is in town and my pampering increases exponentially. She has a real calling to be a dog masseuse ! Why do folks think that dogs don’t need to be rubbed down like our equinine friends . Dogs also need constant (or at least once a day if that is inconvenient for our lazy masters ) finger massage. It keeps the blood flowing to our temple and other body parts and keeps our hair/ fur springy and shiny !

Now that I am not as young as before ( pssst keep this to yourselves , we female dogs have the same pretensions as the females of your kind !) I really do have to work harder to keep up appearances of an erstwhile beauty contest runner up in the 50 lb category where I was first in a grand total of three contestants !

Whatever ! A winner is a winner and I am not going to be giving these details to all and sundry , only to you , my dear fans and readers . So again , keep a secret , if you will !

Of course , it’s not easy to get this kind of treatment and pampering since there are no luxury pet grooming centers or , maybe, my pack turns a Nelson’s eye to them even if they exist ; Flintstones, I say !

If you take a gander at the video you will see frequent nosing and holding hands is required by way of encouragement to which she is happily responsive . Yup, Poorvi is one of kind , a dear soul and I love her very, very much !

And I will even suffer her PDA’s ( Public Display of Affection, in case you are not acronym savvy ! ) just as long as she does not stop the champi ( Indian word for head massage from which the English word shampoo originated ! I am well versed in the nuances of the world languages even though my personal preference is the “ Woof “ language – article about it elsewhere on this blog )




Sometimes I wonder if my life has any purpose at all . I mean I know I am a dog and all that but what is a dogs’s purpose ?

I had a chat with some of my friends one day on this subject and this is what they had to say

Toby ( a labradoodle) : A dog’s purpose ? What do you mean ? We have a purpose ? I thought we were just meant to chase balls and then chase more balls and never stop chasing balls . We can even chase flat balls that go spinning in the air when my master throws it . ( Toby doesn’t know the difference between a frisbee and a ball , it’s all the same to him )

Bella ( a good looking female  golden retriever ): Master, what is a master ? Those folks who live with us . That is our pack. And we are the leader of the pack . Don’t we always walk in front and allow them to hold our leash so that they don’t get lost. And , when we do our business they have to pick it up and dispose it off . It’s sad but till they invent a better poop scooper they have to do it !

Trumpet : True , but as usual Toby has made us forget what we were talking about !

Archie ( who is English ): Bow wow Bow wow , lets go play !

Roscoe ( who has one blue eye and one brown and is a mutt ) : Archie is very young , he is not going to understand all this high falutin’ talk ! But I agree with Toby, running after balls is our purpose and it’s a pleasure to be sure .

Bella  : Mindlessly running after balls may be fun but does it serve any purpose ? And for who ?

Apollo: What about the purpose of a ball? Personally I think it is to get the ball, and keep it until you rip it apart! My master always yells at me for ruining it, isn’t that what the purpose of a ball is.

(This sentence was Ambika’s contribution- she has the makings of a writer! )

Roscoe : Bow wow , here’s another fella going off on a tangent again . Keep to the subject man. We are talking about a dog’s purpose not the ball’s purpose !

Bella : Yes, but he’s got something there ! If our purpose is to rip balls then is the balls purpose to be ripped ? So, if it is our purpose to lord over our masters ( I try to be polite and call them assistants to their face and in polite company ) then isn’t it the masters purpose to continue being slaves ?

Apollo : This is getting very confusing . Who is the master who is the slave !

Toby : That’s why I say let’s not muddle our heads with this master , slave , purpose nonsense and just go on chasing balls !

Archie : Arf, Arf , I agree let’s go play !

Roscoe : What’s this Arf business ? Can’t you bark like normal dogs ?!

Trumpet : He’s English. An English golden retriever , he speaks differently ! That’s why he is more white than golden !

Bella ( looking up ) : That’s interesting . I guess that’s why we are called a melting pot. If you mix white, yellow, brown and black you do get a golden colour !

Roscoe ( who has one blue eye and one brown ) : (chuckling ) Some call it khakhi ! Ha ha ha

Nitro arrives and hears the last bit .

Nitro : Yup ! Not white and pure as driven snow any longer ..,

Trumpet : Hey, hey fella , where have you come from , trying to make trouble ?

Apollo : He is fresh off the boat . Anyway Roscoe, you are a fine one to talk , you one eyed Jack !

Roscoe : Hey, hey why are you taking off on me dude. I am not the one making trouble , it’s the fella with a name who is as incendiary as his name .

Archie : Let’s go play ball , please, please , pretty please !

Bella : Nitro, you are in our zone . We are not going to let an outsider make trouble .

Nitro : ( sarcastically) Yeah, sure. You don’t NEED an outsider . You are capable of doing it yourselves !

Archie : Please let’s not fight . Let’s go play !

Roscoe : Keep quiet, you foolish little English mutt . Can’t you see we are discussing grown up stuff . Go and play by yourself .

Archie : All right then toodle doo to you . I am going to go .

Nitro : Yes exit . Since you are British do it the British way . Just Brexit.

Archie runs off his tail wagging playfully . He shouts over his shoulder

Archie : It’s better to be alone and play than to be with many and fight . Cheerio , pip pip and all that .

Nitro : Little does he know what’s waiting for him around the corner.

Bella : I think you are a trouble maker Nitro . What is waiting for him around the corner . How do you get this information ?

Roscoe : I hope he is not the source of it . Or his friends .

Nitro : Well, you mutts , it’s time for us pure ones to rule and we are going to take care of it .

Trumpet : And how are you going to do that , O pure one ?

Nitro : It’s a super secret plan. I am not so stupid as to reveal it . But, it’s going to take care of all of you mutts and put you in your place . Ha ha ha . Wait and watch

Trumpet to Roscoe  : Doggone it, I have to get my K-9 unit in place then cause this fella sure looks like he is going to stir the pot a bit !

Bella: ( sighs ) Why can’t we stick to the subject ? As usual our discussion is hijacked by unwanted elements . No wonder we can never get anywhere , just round and round , chasing our own tails ! Oh well , one day we will find out what is a dog’s purpose ? !