Who is Melody? Melody is the heroine of my book; a little, black cuckoo who realizes one day that the purpose of her life was to sing. But how could she sing when Monsieur Tar-tar, the bull-frog who tutors her brothers, the four crows, Doray, MeFar, Sola and Tidoo thinks she has an awful voice. Even her single mom, Maggie Hatchery, pities Melody but she does want her to get her chance. And her chance comes when the falcon king, King Koo-tan – kha – Amen or King Koo-Toot, the King of Bird Land announces a world –wide singing contest in order to find a new court entertainer to replace the old one, Madame KuuKuuuu, who has being throwing too many tantrums. What no one knows, including the folks of Jungle-Land, is that Madame Kuukuuuu is Melody’s biological mother who had abandoned Melody in Maggie’s nest so that she could pursue her dreams of becoming a star. Melody, now trained by Senor Julio, the blind, reclusive thrush is a virtuoso songstress and trounces the competition in spite of the shenanigans of KuuKuuuu and replaces her as the new court entertainer. But can life in a golden age be happy? Melody now longs for the freedom of Jungle-land but she is under a contract. She becomes depressed and, one day, is truly cuckoo ! What happens next ? # books #writing # #humor # funny
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 !
NEWSPAPER HEADLINES & VIEWS & REVIEWS OF THE PUBLISHED AND STAGED PLAY WRITTEN BY SHIPRA AND DIRECTED BY NADIRA ZAHEER BABBAR
VIEWS AND REVIEWS
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
REVIEW BY DR. ACHALA NAGAR , EMINENT WRITER.
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
SHORT STORY FOR CHILDREN 4 to 7 years
This is the story of a python . The python was a very strange looking fellow. He loved to do strange things too . Every day he would swallow an animal and go to sleep. Now if you only eat and sleep 😴 and eat and sleep 😴 💤 you are going to fall sick. And that is why the python got very very sick 🤒. And his tummy hurt.
So his wife, Mrs Python said, ” Why don’t you go to the doctor Mr. Python ?”
So Mr. Python set off to get himself treated by Doctor Cheetah.
Now we all know that pythons do not have feet so he started to crawl to Dr. Cheetah’s clinic. He crawled and he crawled. It was very hot so he got very tired and lay down under the shade of a tree which had many red fruits hanging on its branches . One of the fruits fell on the python’s head. The python, as was his habit, gulped down the fruit in a jiffy.
After some time Mr. Python felt that he was feeling well. He also had no stomach ache. But by now he had crawled to Dr. Cheetah’s clinic.
Dr. Cheetah, who was always very troubled about his work asked Mr. Python, “Mr. Python, what is your problem ? ”
The python said , “I had a stomach ache but now I am all right . I was feeling very sick but now I am fine.”
Dr. Cheetah said, ” How come you are feeling fine. I have not given you my medicine ? ”
Mr. Python said, “I don’t know. I crawled all the way here. On the way I slept under a tree and when a fruit from the tree fell on me I eat it up. ”
Dr. Cheetah said, “What did the fruit look like ? ”
The python said, ” It was round and red. Inside the fruit there were many tiny red seeds. It was very sweet but it’s skin was very thick .
Dr. Cheetah said, ” It seems to me you eat a pomegranate. The pomegranate fruit is very good for your health. Besides this you came crawling all the way here which is good exercise . Exercise is very good for health . Now bear in mind, eat some fruits and vegetables and also exercise. All right then, give me my fees now. ”
The python said, ” Fees ? Why should I give you fees. I got well on my own.”
Dr. Cheetah thought to himself that if the animals of the jungle start getting well on their own just like this python then what will happen to me, how will I put food on my table ? ”
Dr. Cheetah quickly opened Mr. Python’s mouth and popped in a burger. As soon as the burger went into the python’s stomach it started aching . He started crying loudly, ” Help me, save me ! It feels like a hundred rats are jumping inside and biting my stomach. He started to cry, “Ow !Ow !Ow !”
Then Dr. Cheetah said, “Should I give you some medicine ? ”
Mr. Python understood that Dr. Cheetah was being clever and only wanted to take his money.
Mr. Python said, ” No, I will crawl back home. On the way I will eat a pomegranate. I do not need your services. ”
The other animals who had come to get treated heard what Mr. Python said and were very happy. They thought to themselves , this is an excellent idea. If we can keep ourselves healthy then we don’t have to give Dr. Cheetah his very hefty fees. In a trice they got up and followed the python but kept their distance from him for they did not want to be swallowed by the python in case he got hungry.
When the animals reached the pomegranate tree they all started jumping up to pluck the pomegranate fruits and pop them in their mouths.
The pomegranate tree had no fruits left. He thought to himself , ” Goodness gracious , one fruit tree and a hundred impatients! Now what will happen to me if I fall ill ? Boo boo ! ”
A butterfly 🦋 who was flitting by saw the pomegranate tree crying and said, ” Brother Pomegranate tree, don’t worry. The few flowers which are left on you will soon become fruits. That is our job. We will fly from the flowers of one tree to the flowers of another one so that we can help them to become fruits. ”
The pomegranate tree was very happy. He thought to himself, ” It’s quite all right if the animals plucked all my fruits and eat them up. Now they will be cured soon. And, I, too will be well for the person who helps another person stays always well for God helps him. Yes, but God punishes those who rob from other people for no reason at all. Just like that cheetah who is called cheetah for a reason . Now he will always be worried that now that the animals have cured themselves who will come to me for treatment and how will I put food on my table ”
That is why it is said , ” ‘ Cheetahs’ never prosper . ”
THIS STORY IS INSPIRED BY MY FATHER, COL. B. C. SHUKLA WHO GAVE UP ALL HIS FRUITS TO HELP THE ANIMALS OF JUNGLE LAND .
Here is a poem written for him ( on the left and a poem by him , ‘MARTYRDOM’ ( on the right )
The wily Dr. Leopard and his three assistant hyenas try to cure the python of his stomach ache and also try to use his talents to save their business .
There was a python who just loved to eat and sleep. That is what he would do all day long. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Now, if you do this all day long and then day after day , then you are going to fall very, very sick. And that is what happened to the silly python . He became very, very sick. His tummy started hurting. Ow ! Ow ! Ow ! He howled. Now, if he had hands he would have clutched his stomach and howled just like you do. But pythons don’t have hands. Just a long body. So, he took his long body and stretched it and decided to crawl to the doctor. As the python was crawling to the doctors’ clinic he felt very hot and tired. So, he decided to rest under a tree. It was a tree with very red fruits hanging from it.
The python was very sleepy. He opened his mouth to yawn. Just then, PLOP, one of the red fruits fell into his mouth. The python gulped down the fruit as was his habit and fell off to sleep. When the python got up he was feeling much better but then, he thought to himself that since I have come so far I might as well see the doctor and find out why my stomach aches all the time. So, he crawled to Dr. Leopards’ clinic and lay down in the waiting room along with the other animals who also had some problem or the other .
Dr. Leopard asked the python to come into his examination room and asked him to lie down. The python said, “I am already lying down since I cannot sit.” Dr. Leopard made a face as he did not like anyone to correct him and said , “Yes, yes, I meant , lie down on the couch so I can examine you . Tell me, what is your problem?”
The python said, “I had a stomach ache but now I am fine. The stomach ache is gone.”
Dr. Leopard was surprised to hear that the python was feeling better without taking any of his medicines which were quite expensive. So he asked the python, ” Tell me Mr. Python, what did you do after you had the stomach ache ?
The python said, “Don’t you want to know how and when I got the stomach ache so you can cure me ?”
The leopard looked very silly in front of his helpers so he he smiled with his very sharp teeth and said,” Yes, yes! Please tell me what you eat and what you did ?”
The python said, “Well, in the morning I swallowed my breakfast in one gulp and went to sleep. Then, at lunch, I swallowed my meal in one big gulp and went to sleep and then, at dinner …….”
The leopard said, “Wait, I am a doctor, I know what you did. You gulped down your dinner and went to sleep!”
All the doctors’ helpers clapped at the doctors intelligence.
The python said, “I have been doing this for many,many days ! But then, yesterday, I had a BIG stomach ache, not the usual small ones. Maybe, it was because I went to a party and gulped down everything .”
“Hmmmmmmmmmm” said Dr. Leopard,” I see the problem now. You don’t chew your food. You must chew your food before you eat it .”
The python was very surprised that the doctor did not know that pythons don’t have teeth. He thought to himself, ” I better get out of here and find some doctor who knows his job. This doctor has a fancy coat but he does not know what he is doing.”
The python said, ” Now, that I am much better, I think I will go home.” He tried to crawl out of the room but Dr.Leopard blocked his way and said, “Wait, wait. You didn’t tell me what happened after the stomach ache. How did you get well? ”
The python was trapped in the room with the doctor and his assistants so he decided to clear the mystery of his wellness. He said, “well, I crawled all the way to your clinic which is quite a distance away. On the way, I was feeling sleepy so I slept under a tree. It was a tree with red fruits. When I yawned one of the fruits fell in my mouth and I gulped it down and then fell asleep. When, I got up I was feeling much, much better.”
Dr. Leopard said, ” It seems to me you slept under an apple tree and that is why you are fine now!”
The python said, ” I am sure it was not an apple tree!”
Dr. Leopard said, ” How can you be so sure that it was not an apple tree. You did say the fruits were red !”
The python said , ” I know it was not an apple tree because we all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away . But, as you can see, here I am with you and you are a doctor and you are not going away and you are not letting me go away too ! So, you see it was not an apple tree . ”
Dr. Leopard was stunned by this intelligent answer. He thought to himself, this python is very smart. Maybe, I can use him to get more patients.
TO BE CONTINUED ……….
ALL RIGHT, HERE’S THE NEXT PART OF THE STORY ….
The doctor looked at the python and bared his very sharp, pointy teeth and said, “Well, Mr. Python, you seem to be very smart. I see that you don’t have a job as you told me yourself. So, why don’t you come and work for me ? I will pay you very well. “
The python was very surprised that the leopard was offering a job to him because as far as he knew the animals were afraid of him especially when he was hungry.
He asked Dr. Leopard, “ How will you pay me ? And in return what do you want me to do ? “
Dr. Leopard knew that if he told the python that he was planning to use him to get rid of the animals who refused to get cured by swallowing them he may not agree to work for him. That was his plan to solve his own problem and that of the python.
So he told the python, “ Mr. Python, you don’t have to do much work. You have to be as you were before. Just eat and sleep . The only difference is that you will eat what or who I tell you to eat and you have to do this in my clinic.”
The python thought to himself, “ This leopard is very clever but also very wicked. It’s not good to be with wicked people. So let me try to find a way so that this leopard does not kill off his patients he cannot cure. And there are too many of them. Even I will not be able to swallow so many of them because I only swallow when I am hungry not just for fun ! “
The python looked at Dr. Leopard looking eagerly at him as a solution to his problem of not being able to cure his patients and said , “ Dr. Leopard, why don’t you try some other way to help your patients ?”
Dr. Leopard said, “ Mr. Python, I know there are many other ways but this one is quick and foolproof.”
Actually Dr. Leopard did not know of any other way but he did not want to admit this in front of his assistants who thought Dr. Leopard was the cat’s whiskers. Also his assistants were a couple of hyenas who lived off the leftovers which the doctor could not finish.
Mr. Python said, “ Maybe your way is the quickest and foolproof and with no danger of being sued because there is no one to sue you or no evidence but sooner or later the animals of the jungle will realize what is going on and will stop coming to you. Then what will happen to your practice ? “
The assistant hyenas gasped at this possibility because they lived on the slim pickings left by the leopard and they were already very thin. Dr. Leopard also did not want to lose his very lucrative business ( which means a kind of work in which you make a lot of money ) so he asked Mr. Python, “ All right, what is your idea so that I can cure the patients who come to me ? “
Mr. Python said, “ It’s very simple Mr. Leopard.”
ALL RIGHT , LET ME KNOW WHAT WAS MR. PYTHON’S SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM AND THE BEST ONE WILL GET TO GO ON A TRIP TO HAWAII PAID FOR BY THEMSELF. IF I HAD THE MONEY I WOULD HAVE GONE MYSELF NOT SIT HERE WRITING THESE STORIES IN “ DULLSVILLE.” I WOULD WRITE THEM IN HAWAII .
In a previous post I think I had explained that I am not the sweating it out and the gym type ( see ‘ Running with the hounds ‘ ) In fact, it gets wearisome , this expectation from humans that we as dogs constantly jump through hoops , mindlessly chasing balls to entertain humans who coolly stand on the sidelines watching and encouraging us. That is why when someone throws a ball at me I always run away with it and then it’s your turn to “fetch” it if you want to continue this mindless game, Tee hee .
Anyway, since we are on the subject of exercise I have discovered a cool new way to stretch my limbs without the sweat, particularly suitable for those who are more mature or have health problems like blood pressure, heart problems etc.
It’s called YOGA ( for humans ) and DOGA ( for dogs ) . I think you may be familiar with the ‘downward dog ‘ position. Yes, we have contributed to this great science of yoga too ( see pic. )
Then , there is my favorite position, the lying supine one ; also called ‘playing dead ‘ in dog language. I am in this position for the better part of the day and it suits me fine. If you are in this position you are totally healthy, no stress at all. I love it.
BELLA’S FAVORITE POSITION.
In fact, we dogs are very similar to the yogis ( or those who do yoga ) ; that’s why we are called doggys ( pronounced in a way to match ‘yogis’ ) You may well ask how ? Well, like yogis or ascetics we have no materialistic desires, we do not ask for a mansion, car, even a family. We live a simple life and even’beg’ for our food. Like yogis we wear no clothes ( at least they have a loin cloth ) and like yogis we will travel the world with not a care if you let us off the leash . Like yogis we love you for you are our God and we are loyal to you as one should be loyal to God. Maybe, that’s why, when language was first invented we were just GOD spelt backwards and we bow to the wow in you in a downward dog position !