Winter in Texas

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 .

Winter in Texas

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 .

A for Apple, Acorn, Aardvark Story and Movie! Lucky you !

A for Apple

Once upon a time there was a tree which was laden with fruits, all hanging low that they were easily eaten by all the animals who sauntered and grazed in the orchard in which it was planted.

Many birds too sat in its branches and pecked at its fruits and enjoyed its delicious fruits.

And the bees and the butterflies enjoyed the juice of the broken fruit when they alighted on it.

But the more the birds and the bees and the butterflies hovered around the tree the more fruits it bore. It never ran out of fruits.

Every season it became more and more plentiful. Soon other trees like him also became laden with fruits and the whole orchard smelt heavenly.

One day two people came walking into the orchard. They were a man and a woman. They saw the fruit trees and were delighted.

They eat the fruits and decided they were going to pluck them all and sell them and go into the business of fruit selling . So that is what they did . They plucked each and every fruit from each and every tree, packed them in boxes and sent them to the city to be enjoyed by them.

Apple picking

Now there were no fruits left for the animals, the birds, the butterflies and the bees.

Since they had nothing to eat they decided to leave and find another place where they did not have to be hungry. So they left the orchard.

As soon as they left the apple trees stopped bearing fruits. They were so lonely without their friends who enjoyed their fruits but did not finish all of them at one go.

When the trees stopped bearing fruit the man and woman wondered what to do .

They went to a village to consult a horticulturist who is a person who knows all about planting trees. They told him what had happened and asked him what to do.

The horticulturalist told them, “Ah, you have been very greedy.”

Then he took out a seed from his shed and told them, “Go and plant this acorn and wait for it to grow. Only when it is fully grown will your problems be over. Till then do not go near the apples trees”

The man and woman did what the horticulturist had told them to do. They planted the acorn and waited for it to grow into a tree.

Now the acorn takes a long time to grow and to be fully grown it takes many years. Many years passed while the tree from the acorn was growing slowly.



The apple trees, meanwhile had got some rest. Slowly they started flowering and then fruits began to appear. The animals, birds, bees, butterflies came back to enjoy the fruits and the flowers. When they came back the fruits also started multiplying. Soon the apple orchard was as before, plentiful.

The apple tree flowered again

But the acorn was taking so long to become an oak tree that the man and woman were too old to work, plucking fruits, packaging them and sending them to the city to be sold. They had become like aardvarks, slow, ungainly and sleepy.


So they decided that they were no longer going to be in the fruit business but will manage with whatever they could get to eat and spend the rest of their days meditating about the nature of trees.

Soon they were going to find out that you cannot mess with nature or a horticulturist will come and fix the problem and,maybe, turn them into aardvarks.




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.


Pomegranate fruits – Good for your health !


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 . ”


Here is a poem written for him ( on the left and a poem by him , ‘MARTYRDOM’ ( on the right )


The mango orchard and the chickoo 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’ fruitimage are very hard when they are young. So what the chickoo did was to drop all his fruits to the ground at one go. There 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.

The End

( 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 !)


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’


Shipra Shukla Collected Tails of Jungle Land