Munni’s Lesson

Munni! yelled Giovan as he entered their house . He fumed with anger. “Munni!” He cried as he looked in both the rooms of their small house, but his sis was nowhere inside the house.


He found his mom in the balcony watering plants. “Have you seen Munni, mom?” he growled.
“Why? What’s the matter? Now what trouble did she get you into?” asked his mom irritably. 
She was totally fed up with the bickering of the twins. How tiresome it was being a mother of the twins! Complaints from every corner filled her days ,  ever since they learned to walk and talk.


“Well she had pawned my bicycle to Hitesh in exchange of six packets of chips, six snickers and six cans of milkshake” he said sarcastically, pulling at his own hair.
His mom looked astonished and stared at his head transfixed. Giovan waved his hand in front of her eyes. Mom came back from her state of shock and gave a big sigh ,”Go find her, and bring her back to me.”


” When I find her I will make her pay for her pranks, ” Giovan glared fiercely.


” Why on the earth would anyone trade a bicycle for some food? I fail to understand.  I really wish God gave her some wisdom along with her audacity, “said Mom.

“She does all these things just to annoy me. There’s no other reason at all. You must tell her to stop this at once, mom. She’s become too much of a troubled maker,” Giovan yelled.

” Calm down and speak politely,” mom scolded Giovan. 

“Now, how shall I get back my bike, mom?” he asked.

” I shall speak to Hitesh’s mom, and request her to send ìt back. She’s a good lady and would make Hitesh understand. Now you run around and find your sis. Make sure she comes back with you. Don’t utter a word about the bicycle till you are inside the house. ” she advised.

Stomping out of the house,  Giovan muttered, “Today that spoilt brat is going to learn a lesson for life.”

He found Asit and Chirag sitting on the grass in the community playground chatting. “Hi! Did any of you happen to see Munni this afternoon? “he enquired.

” Well, Well! By your looks it seems she has played a new trick on you.  You have a gem of a sis, bro!”  Chirag winked at Asit. The siblings were a source of entertainment in the community. 

” Yes! you would say so, being  the sole child of your parents.  If you had to deal with the agony of being with a sis like Munni, you wouldn’thave pulled my leg at all times, ” Giovan grumbled. 

“Ah! She’s a dear. A bit impish, but everyone’s favourite.  This you must agree. ” said Asit. His sis Ira was a bookworm and a bore.

“You have not answered my question yet,” Giovan reminded.

“Nope, no sign of Munni the menace today.” Asit replied.

” That girl will turn me into a lunatic someday.” said Giovan.

” Aren’t you already one?” Chirag smirked.

Scowling at him Giovan said, ” You are most welcome to be her brother,  I  am quitting from the post. You would behave likewise when you find that your bicycle has been bartered for some snacks.”

 Both Asit and Chirag howled with laughter and thumped the grass beside  them.

“Finding it funny?  Eh?” said Giovan, raising an eyebrow.  “Gotcha, find her before she finishes off all the chips and chocolates she got in exchange for my bike.”

“Will be glad to help you if you share some of it with us,” said Asit eagerly. 
“I’m trying to get those back so that I can return them and get my bicycle back.  Not to eat them, got it?” said Giovan exasperated.

“O okay!  calm down, bro, we’ll help you to find her just to see how sparks  fly when you two meet,” Chirag joked.

“No need,” glared Giovan marching off to find Munni. It was a matter to be settled between themselves, not for entertaining outsiders.  Though Munni was silly, Giovan was protective of her.

He searched for her in all the likely places. Rang the doorbells of her close friends to find out whether they were having some silly parties, to her nook in the park, but she couldn’t be found anywhere.

He was about to give in, when he spotted Aisha.  Aisha and Munni were in the same standard and was on her long list of friends. 

“Hi! Aisha,”  he called out.
Aisha turned around and gave him a bored Hi! as was the norm for her gen.

“Have you seen Munni, today?” asked Giovan. 
“I think I did,” she replied casually. 
 Arrrrgh! thought Giovan.  Munni and her lot was too much to tolerant.  But he desperately needed to get the information. So maintaining his facade of politeness he asked, “Really? How nice, can you tell me where she could be at this moment? “

“She went down to the migrant labourer’s camp where the new blocks are being built.  I  think she’s on some mission. She was quite in a hurry and barely gave a hello.”

” Labourer’s camp! Goodness!  Silly girl, she’ll get into some kind of trouble if she makes friends there. ” Giovan panicked as he ran towards the site.

The make-shift tents came into view as soon as he turned the corner of the blocks under construction.  There was quite a lot of work going on at the site. 

Giovan made his way towards the tents. A lot of children were playing around,  while some older women were busy cooking outside their tents.
Giovan looked around for Munni, worried that she might get into trouble someday because of her recklessness.  He couldn’t see her anywhere.  Finally, he decided to ask for her whereabouts and approached a wrinkled old woman with white hair and a kind face.
” Hello! Have you seen a girl about ten with ponytails come here this morning? “
“Ahh! Yes, you must be talking about Munni.  You are her brother, right?  You two look so similar,” she grinned she came in half an hour ago. I asked her name as she was new here.

“Yes, yes, she’s my sister.  Where’s she?” he  said as his annoyance turning into concern.
“There ,” said the woman;  pointing to a blue tent right at the end of the row of colourful tents.
“Thanks!”Giovan rushed towards the tent, slowing down as he approached it.
Children’s laughter flowed from the tent among which one was of Munni’s. Giovan heaved a sigh of relief. 
He peeked inside to see Munni sitting cross-legged on a worn out rug along with three other small children of about three to six year old. 
“Yes, I  want to be a doctor, ” the six year old girl said to Munni, munching  chips from her packet of lays.
“I just want to be rich,” said the five year old boy beside her. Sipping his Amul cool.
“And what does Imli want to be?” asked Munni to the three year old stroking his head.
” Mummm mumm,” replied the youngest chewing his snickers. More interested in the chocolate than in the future.
They all laughed out aloud. Giovan cleared his throat, “Munni! ” he called. 
 Munni was startled , ” Oh! Giovan,” she said meekly.  “How did you find me?”
” You have crossed all limits , Munni” Giovan glared at her.
“Where’smy bicycle?  And why have you come here? This is not a safe place for you.  You could have been kidnapped. Don’t you have the slightest sense?” he rebuked.
Munni held her head down.  “I’ll get your bicycle tomorrow.  I am sorry, but I lent it to Hitesh for sometime till I pay back his money.”
“Why would you do so with my bicycle?  Why  didn’t you exchange some of your stuff for those miserable packets of  food?” Giovan countered her.

“Well it so happened that these little kids were roaming around our block crying.  You see, their mom and dad work in the construction site and their father has had an accident and a fracture.  All their savings have been spent on his treatment and as their mother is busy at the hospital; so they have nothing to eat.  The neighbours are helping them sometimes but they too are too poor and busy to  be able to look after them.”
“So you bartered my bicycle for a few packets of chips?  And that’s Ok? My bicycle is worth three packs of chips and a few snacks?” fumed Giovan. 


” Oh! no. I just lent it to him for a day or two, till I pay him back. It so happened; that I was enjoying your bike in your absence when I met these hungry kids. Right at that moment Hitesh was passing by with those food stuff that he bought for himself.  So, I offered him the bike for sometime in exchange for the snacks. You see these kids are so small and hungry. My heart went out for them. I thought it would be better to take them to their home to keep them safe. Don’t worry I’ll get back your bicycle by evening. ” she grinned.


“Is this your brother? ” asked the six year old.
” Yes, Shallu,  and I have to go back home now, ” said Munni getting up.
“Don’t roam around for food,” She said sternly, ” I and my friends will get you some from our homes till your mother can look after you.”
Giovan felt proud of his little sis. Although a prankster,  she had a heart of gold. He started to think what else he could do to help the kids as they waved goodbye.

He had forgotten all about teaching her a lesson for life.

Death of Dreams

Photo by Pixabay

Andriy looked at the numerous toys on display. He loved the sleek aeroplane with stickers of people sitting inside.  He too had boarded a similar plane with his mom, a month ago, to visit his aunt who lived in Stockholm.  His cousins were delighted to have him and they had a nice time together.

However,  his mom had become too silent and just the opposite of her usual jovial nature. Now-a-days, she worried too much. Whenever, Andriy asked her about going back home to dad. She simply hugged him tight and wept. Alex did not want his mom upset, so his hugged her back and kept quite. 

The toys on display made him homesick,  he had every kind of toy in his collection at home. He missed his home, his favourite corner, his very own comfy bed, dad’s warm comfort. Everything!
His mom, who owned a salon back home, had changed suddenly after they came to visit his aunt. Earlier, she was extremely busy with her salon and hardly had time to rest. But whenever they went to the shopping  malls, she would always buy him a toy when they went shopping. But now in Stockholm, all they did was window shop when they visited the malls if at all they went shopping. At other times his mom sat listlessly, by the window staring out at nothing in particular.

 All these changes  were too complex for him to understand as a six year old. 
Last week, mom got him enrolled at the school where his cousins went. She said it was temporary. His cousins welcomed him to their school, but Andriy desperately wanted to go back to his own school where his buddies were.
 His very best friend was Dymtrus. He was also his next door neighbour and they were inseparable.  Oh! how badly he missed him. They both wanted to study space when they grew up. Find new life in other planets.
Andriy  wondered what Dymtrus would be doing at school without him . Little did he know that his friend lay cold under the freezing soil in the makeshift grave at their backyard along with his parents. His dreams along with his parents, and that of numerous others had been slaughtered at the alter of a single man’s dreams.

Fanny’s Funny Dream

Little Fanny the fawn dreamt a dream that was too difficult for her to handel.  Now, you would ask me how could one handle a dream? Aha! I  quite agree that there isn’t anything about a dream that we can manage, so there is no question of handling or moulding it according to our wishes. 
But… if it is a day-dreammm…? Well, as we all know – day dreams are of our own making and we can manipulate it according to our wishes, isn’t  it?
So,  it happened… this young fawn was a li’ll day dreamer who dreamt of doing great things.


One fine morning, when the warm sunlight caressed the dew bathed grasses, sprinkled with white and yellow tiny flowers – just off the mysterious dense jungle.  This dreamy young fawn grazed lazily in the meadow with her herd.
 In her wild dream she saw herself as the strongest animal in the jungle chasing a group of lions. As the lions ran helter-skelter to save their lives,  she just managed to grab the biggest lion with her fierce teeth. 
The lion almost fainted with fear and lay motionless in her grasp. She felt victorious and on top of the world. 
But here came the difficult part. She couldn’t fathom what to do next with her prey.
The taste of fresh salty blood was repulsive and she would never ever eat a lion. Yuck! No, not even in her dream. So, off she went to her mom to ask what she should do with her prey.
Ah! yes,  of course she dragged her prey along with her as it was nothing more than a wisp of thought. 

When her mom heard about her dilemma. She laughed out loud – though she felt proud of her ambitious daughter. It was indeed difficult being a mom, for moms need to have answers for every problem on the planet.
So, she said that it would be wise of her to threaten the lions and banish them forever from the jungle. That way she wouldn’t need to hunt lions anymore in her dreams, and her problem would be solved. 
Young Fanny let off her prey – only after he promised that not a single lion would ever venture in her part of the jungle. 
Fanny the fawn was happy to have finished her day dreaming and went off to play with her friends.
Veeery cautiously… for in the jungle, there are always lions on the prowl.

Moral of the story – Day dreaming does not solve real life problems. 😄

Fugitive Fate

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“Come on…. it’s getting late,” yelled Swarna at the top of her voice.  The children scampered all around with excitement. It was natural.  Soham was six and Sona ten, yet they had been on only two vacations in their entire life. The reason was Swarna’s demanding job and never ending fund crisis. 
 Swarna worked in a small firm. The income was meagre and the job demanding.  All private firms were the same – profit oriented.  In spite of her frustrations, Swarna continued her tedious tasks day in and day out in hope of a better future.  This vacation was planned by her, and executed by her husband Joy. Actually his name was Vijay, but Swarna called him Joy which meant victory in Bangla. Joy too called her Soro; a shortened form of Swarna.  She did like the endearment till Sona pointed out that it sounded like sorrow. 
 But by the time Sona had pointed it out; the name itself was ten years old and had achieved a distinct identity.
“Soro!” Joy called out, “it’s time to leave…” “Coming…”  Swarna replied as she hurriedly opened the trunk in which she kept all her expensive saris. She wrapped the small steel box, containing her jewellery, in an old sari belonging to her late mother-in-law, and kept it among the saris inside. It was a small precaution that she always took while leaving the house, she never left it in the safe inside the cupboard. She knew that would be the first place the thieves would steal from in case of a break in.  “ We must buy a locker at a bank, it isn’t safe to keep so much jewellery in the house,” she thought.
Her years of hard work had been transformed into beautiful gold jewellery which she often flaunted at various family functions.  The envious looks of the relatives and friends, gave her the reason to buy more jewellery each year.  From just a pair of earnings and a gold chain that she had during the time of her marriage, she now possessed about twenty items of gold jewellery as well as a couple of expensive saris that she had bought after several severe altercations with Joy.
Satisfied with her work she locked the trunk, and covered it with cushions which turned it into a chair.
She snatched the lunch from the kitchen and headed for the door.
“We’ll miss the train because of you,” her husband grumbled.
Everything went well, and Swarna  posted as many pics and videos as possible. The children enjoyed the beach immensely. Her relatives, friends and colleagues showered them with likes and comments in all the social media accounts that she had.
Swarna was sure they were seething with jealousy inside.
As they arrived at their house, Swarna requested her husband to buy some lunch. She was too tired to move. Joy got down from the taxi at the crossing; and told them to move ahead.  It was only a minutes walk to their home.
Swarna found the key and opened the door.  “I shall sleep for a day before I do any work,” she said to Soham and Sona. “We too,” they replied in unison. 
A wave of shock passed through Swarna as she looked at her living room.  Everything was scattered on the floor. The sari with which she had wrapped the box of jewels, lay on the floor. The window to the living room had been cut open and the thieves had taken their time to remove everything that was worth stealing.
Swarna sank on the floor.  The children hurried to find their possessions. Somewhere through the daze, she heard a voice. “Soro!” .She felt water being sprinkled on her face, and light pats on her cheek from somewhere far beyond.

A Guest from the Unknown

Photo by Lennart Wittstock

  There was a chill in the air. The drizzle continued for a week, and temperatures dropped down rapidly. It was the All Hallow’s Eve.

Children had run around, and the doorbell rung ceaselessly through the evening. I sat alone at my desk, trying to complete the story that I had been struggling with, for about a month. As the clock in the parlour struck twelve, I stretched, and got up to make myself some coffee as the night became colder.

Coffee in hand, I moved towards the window, enjoying the solitude of the night. The trees in the park across the road always fascinated me during the night. The familiar surroundings appeared strange and eerie in the dark. I liked looking at the strange shapes that trees made in the various shades of the dark. As I watched the drizzle beneath the lamp across the street, I saw something move on the bench beneath. My eyes had not deceived me. It was indeed a person wrapped up in a shawl lying on the bench. “Oh God!’ I said to myself. It was chilling outside and the man would surely be soaked in that constant drizzle. He would certainly die that chilling night, if he stayed outside.

A wave of pity surged through me and I went over to the person across the street. ‘Hello!’ I said. A deep cough underneath the cover was all the answer that I got. The man’s boots peeped out of the shawl at his slight movement. ‘Hello, Sir! It is indeed freezing tonight. Why don’t you come over to my house for the night?’ I paused… ‘I’m sure you would find comfort inside.’

The man opened his cover which was as soaked as the rest of him.  He was rake thin and his sunken eyes could hardly be seen. ‘Please do follow me sir,” I requested as kindly as possible. “Thank ye fer yer kindness sire,” he replied, standing up inanimatedly and following me.

I heated up the soup, and buttered hot toasts to make him comfortable. I offered him dry clothes which he refused. “ I like bein’ in me own boots,” he mumbled. He sat in the darkness away from the light and kept his silence. “You must be very cold and totally drenched,” I tried to make him comfortable. He grunted something, refusing to take the conversation any further. I thought it better to show him his room and did so.

 It felt good helping someone in a chilly night. I carried the dry clothes with me and was about to switch on the light of the guest room, when he put up his hand covering his eyes, putting up his other hand as a sign to stop. He must be sleepy, I thought putting the clothes meant for him on the table. As he went in I bade him goodnight. “G’night,’ he grunted. I smiled and closed the door, shrugging my shoulders at his strange behaviour.

That entire night I had troubled sleep. I tossed and turned on my bed and dreamt of strange people moving around the house. At one point I got up and got myself a glass of water. The deafening silence added to the strangeness of the night. I checked the door of the guest room and went back to bed.

Next morning, the weather seemed to have cleared up nicely. As the bright beams escaped into the room through the folds of the curtains, I rubbed my eyes as I remembered my guest. I was late in getting up and wondered if my guest was already up. I felt grouchy sleeping late and having those strange dreams.

The living room was empty and so was the cooking area adjacent to it. “Good,” I thought, I would get time to prepare a nice breakfast. I made coffee, toast and omelettes and took them to the guest room for the guest. The blinds were still drawn and the bed empty.  I guessed he was in the washroom and putting the tray on the table, I withdrew the blinds. “Goodness! He has already made the bed.” I observed.

 “Er..Mr…” I realised that I did not know the name of my guest. “Ahem!” I cleared my throat near the washroom door. There wasn’t any sound coming out of the washroom. It surprised me to see that it was latched from outside.

“Goodness Gracious!” I rushed towards the main door repenting my decision to invite the stranger to my house. To my surprise the door was locked from inside. Thank God! The man had not escaped with anything valuable. I sighed in relief. A feeling of guilt lingered at the back of my mind; we are quick to suspect others at the smallest pretext, I thought.

I looked for my guest in the other bedroom, but found it empty. Has he by chance gone to my room, while I made breakfast? I checked my room but it was empty. The apartment had three bed rooms and the huge living room. I was utterly confused. Did my guest simply vanish into thin air?

“Hullo there!” I called out. There was no response. My heart beat faster. I went to the guest room and checked the clothes I had given him. They were as I had kept them. He must have slept in his drenched clothes. I checked the bed….. it was dry. My confusion increased. I checked under the bed and then in every nook and corner of the house.

He……wasn’t there.

I checked the main door again … it was locked.

I opened the door – a cold draught swept past me.

 It is believed that on Samhain, the walls between our world, and that of the spirits become thin enough… to allow the ghosts to pass through.

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