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Meet the king and queen of Ullas!

Have you wondered how the onion got so many layers? The story begins with the king and queen of the kingdom of Ullas, who really wanted a child.

Have a peek below!




The kingdom of Ullas was very prosperous. The subjects were happy, the farmers had grown a bumper crop and the kingdom was surrounded by friendly allies. But the king and queen of Ullas were very sad. Their sadness seemed to envelop them wherever they went. This was because they really longed for a child and did not have one.



One day, they learnt of a place in the forests in the kingdom where, if you prayed hard and well, you were granted your wish.

They went there and for many days, prayed to the goddess of the forest for a long time. Finally, their prayers were heard and the goddess appeared before them in a flash of green light.



‘What do you wish for, my dear children?’ she asked.

The king and queen, overjoyed, bowed low and said, ‘We wish to have a child.’

‘So be it, you will soon have a little girl,’ said the goddess, shimmering in the greenery. ‘But remember, though she will be a loving child, she will have one flaw: She will love new clothes too much and it will make life difficult for you. Do you still want such a child?’


How the Onion Got its Layers || Sudha Murty



The king and queen looked at each other with their eyes full of hope and love. ‘Yes, we do,’ they said to the goddess. ‘We can’t think of anything else we want more in this world.’

The goddess smiled and vanished back among the trees.







What will happen now? Will the king and queen be happy? And how will this lead to the onion’s many layers?

Your favourite storyteller, Sudha Murty, is back to tell you all this and more!

Story of a friendship

Nandita Basu’s evocative graphic novel traces the unlikely journey of a piano across the tumultuous twentieth journey from pre-war Leipzig, across the destruction of the First World War, to 1930s Chandernagore and Indian Independence. The Piano: Story Of A Friendship tells the story of a rare and indefinable friendship—one between a young musician and the medium of her creativity—of unexpected affinities, of bonds lost and regained. Read on to learn more about the actual friendship that inspired this delightful tale.



‘Meet the real Marcus Aurelius Fact and fiction always merge at a certain point, and then you begin to wonder what is real and which one is the story. Many years ago, I came across a rundown brown piano lying under a staircase in Vasant Kunj, Delhi. It was for sale. It stood with another old broken piano, which was black in colour, but my eye was caught by the more rickety one, I am not quite sure why. There was a large price tag even though the piano was quite broken. Yes, in India people sell even broken pianos for a lot of money.


The Piano || Nandita Basu

My negotiating skills are very poor, so I ended up emptying my bank account. I was eighteen then and the money I shelled out was everything I had earned from kind relatives who would give me money on my birthday or other occasions. Eighteen years’ worth of birthday− and gift−money, and some other money I had earned from odd jobs, went into buying this brown piano. I had no clue where I would get the money to repair it. I named my piano Marcus Aurelius. The reason was simple: I was influenced by the emperor Marcus Aurelius at the time. I would carry his book with me. So the choice of name was obvious. This brown broody piano seemed to have so many things to say, if only one knew how to speak to it. Right from the start, I felt that piano had a soul, just like you and I do. Sometimes, it seemed a bit dark but that’s probably because it had seen way too much. And that made me curious. I wanted to trace its history. The piano was made by a well−known German company called Julius Feurich (founded in 1851 in Leipzig, Germany). Pianos usually have a number embossed on the inside. Piano−makers put it in there to track down manufacturing details, especially the age of the piano. It wasn’t easy to find an address for the makers of Marcus because Leipzig had been behind the Iron Curtain for decades after World War II. In 2012, it had been sold to an Austrian piano manufacturer. Also, artisanal piano-making is rare these days, and almost all pianos are now made in factories. So to trace the Feurich-makers was a bit of work. But I finally did. I sent them an email with the embossed number and asked them if they had more details about this piano. I received a reply a few days later. I was told that the number indicated that Marcus was made around 1914. Unfortunately, there was no other information because the workshop had been bombed during World War II. They ended the mail by saying they were really happy I owned such a classic piano that still played, because it had a really fine sound. As bizarre as it may sound, musical instruments also need to be broken in, much like riding a horse. You might think playing a piano is just pressing notes so that you hear the sounds. It’s not exactly like that. For a pianist to get the right sound, there is a transfer of energy that happens between the player and the piano. It’s hard to explain unless you play yourself. But a lot happens between the instrument and the player. Marcus was unlike any other piano I had played. With Marcus, I was faced with rejection and disappointment. It was like Marcus didn’t want me to play it. Or maybe Marcus didn’t want to sing anymore. Whatever it was, for the first few years—yes, years!—I could never create the right sound on that piano. It was as if the more I tried to talk to Marcus, the more Marcus rejected me. And then one day, I am not sure why, I was playing a sonata by Mozart and like magic, the sound I had been struggling to find just burst out. Marcus had finally spoken. That was Marcus’s first hello to me, the start of our friendship. I still have Marcus, and Marcus needs another round of repairs soon, which is going to blow a hole in my pocket. But I would have it no other way. It’s like we were meant for each other.’


Writing a book and where to start!

After every good book she reads, ten-year-old Wisha Wozzariter gets sad. She wished she had written that book instead! She wishes, more than anything else in the world, that she were a writer! One day, she meets a Bookworm, and takes many a wild ride on the Thought Express!

Here is an excerpt from that incident from Payal Kadadia’s book, Wisha Wozzariter!

Wisha Wozzariter loved reading. She read before school and after school. She read before lunch and after lunch. She read before dinner and after dinner. She would have read all day and all night if she could.

Wisha hated bad books, but she hated one thing even more: good ones. Good books always left her feeling she could do better if she were to write a book of her own. She’d put down a good book, sighing, ‘Now that’s a book I could have written.’

On her tenth birthday, Wisha read Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She hated it more than anything. There was no reason something this good should not have been written by her. She got to the last word on the last page, then sighed, ‘Now that’s a book I could have written!’

Wisha Wozzariter||Payal Kapadia

‘Why don’t you?’ said a green little worm, popping his head out of page no. 64.

‘Who are you?’ asked Wisha, startled.

‘Why, a Bookworm, who else?’ said the worm, sounding surprised. ‘I’ve heard you say the same thing after every good book. So why don’t you?’

‘Why don’t I—what?’ said Wisha.

‘Write a book, write a book,’ said the Bookworm in a sing-song voice, wriggling his way out on to the cover.

‘I wish I was a writer,’ sighed Wisha.

‘Well, you are Wisha Wozzariter,’ said the Bookworm.

‘So I am! But I don’t quite know where to begin.’

‘At the beginning, of course,’ said the Bookworm, rolling his eyes. ‘Got some time?’

‘Yee-es. Why, what do you suggest?’ asked Wisha.

‘A trip to the Marketplace of Ideas,’ said the Bookworm. ‘My treat.’

Wisha jumped up. ‘Sounds more exciting than wishing all day! How do we get there?’

‘Close your eyes and hold my hand tight,’ said the Bookworm. ‘We’re catching the Thought Express.’

‘When does it come in?’ asked Wisha.
‘Don’t know. Are your thoughts always on time?’ ‘Not really.’
‘Well, then, we might have a little wait ahead of

us,’ said the Bookworm. ‘It would help if you were to say your name to yourself a few times.’

So Wisha closed her eyes and said, ‘Wisha Wozzariter, Wisha Wozzariter, Wisha Wozzariter.’

The Thought Express was a little slow and a little late, but it came in, sure enough. And when it left for the Marketplace of Ideas, Wisha and the Bookworm were on it.

How do the two get along, and what adventures do they find themselves on? Read more about the book here to find out!

Meet Prem, an eleven-year old Torchbearer with an imagination!

Like any bored eleven-year-old with an imagination, Prem makes fantastic wishes. So when his father drags him to a monsoon-lashed Mumbai, Prem know it’s futile to dream of home. Instead, he wishes for a genie, a dragon and some superpowers. What he certainly doesn’t wish for is a quest to save some gods who are at the brink of extinction.

He finds that the gods’ last hope lies in the hands of those who channel the mysterious power of the Vedas. Caught in a cosmic crossfire, with a talking fish, some inventive monkeys and a few unexpected allies, Prem learns of his true identity-as a Torchbearer.

Here is an excerpt from this lovely book by A.B. Majmudar that talks about how Prem finds himself in Mumbai and all the wishes he makes.

Like any eleven-year old with an imagination, Prem Tripathi made fantastic wishes, especially when he was bored. And he had been bored a lot lately. His father, a professor of ancient Indian mythology, had decided to leave his university job in America to go work at an old research institute in Mumbai. After some sightseeing and a few nights spent at a nice hotel, they had come to a dilapidated old building where Professor Tripathi could bury himself in old Sanskrit manuscripts.

The research institute must have been abandoned for years. Prem and his father had gotten into a fight as soon as they had arrived at the institute. Prem didn’t understand why he had to be there instead of enjoying a typical summer vacation under the blue skies of Midwestern United States: riding bikes, whizzing down waterpark slides, going on roller coasters and playing football with his friends in thebackyard. Instead, his father had dragged him all the way to India, and not the exotic India of The Jungle Book.

The Torchbearers||A.B. Majmudar

‘I can’t believe I’m here, about to be devoured by cockroaches,’ Prem had grumbled to himself. ‘Or geckos.’

Professor Tripathi had smiled, ignoring Prem’s frustration. ‘You know, when you were a baby, you used to coo at the geckos. Kept you entertained for hours.’ Although Prem had been born in India, his father had left with him for America after Prem’s mother had passed away. They hadn’t been back since then.

Now, a few weeks since they landed in Mumbai, Prem had finished reading all the books he had brought with him. So he spent the morning avoiding his dad, who was probably involved in either dusting or research, and soon found himself bored, leaning against the chalky gray wall surrounding the institute, watching the monsoon clouds roll in. Seeing the blue sky suddenly covered in storm clouds made him scowl. ‘Just like my life,’ he mumbled.

Prem glowered up at the sky. The air seemed to hold its breath, and even the stray dogs stopped barking for a moment. Then, with a faint flash of lightning and a distant rumble of thunder, the first raindrop fell. Big, warm drops of water splattered into the dirt, disappearing instantly. Soon the drops darkened the ground, and puddles formed in the dust on either side of the road.

‘So this is the monsoon,’ Prem said to himself as he raced to stand under a large tree. His black hair was slick in minutes despite taking cover, his shirt soaked through. With a shrug that seemed to say, ‘What’s the point?’ Prem stepped out from under the tree. He cupped his hands and let the rainwater fill his hands. He released the water with a satisfying splat onto the soaked ground. He did it again. With every handful of water, he made a wish. Wish, splash. Wish, splash. At first, he wished it would stop being so hot. But then, he figured, why not wish big?

So, Prem wished for a letter by owl post, ideally from Hogwarts, but any decent wizarding school would do. Wish, splash. He wished for a tollbooth to take him to lands beyond. Wish, splash. Rabbit hole, splash. Genie, splash. Dragon, splash. Hot-air balloon, splash. Superpowers, splash. Anything that would break the string of boring days, splash. Anything that would lead to adventure, splash. The one thing that Prem was sure he hadn’t wished for was a tiny talking fish. But, of course, that’s exactly what he got.

He had just collected yet another handful of water when a tiny fish dropped into his hands. Wish, splash, fish.

It called out to Prem in a tiny voice, ‘Don’t drop me!’

Prem looked closely at his hands, stilled in a cup. He saw a golden fish, smaller than his fingernail, floating in his hand. He peered at the fish. It was shimmering, despite the cloudy skies, like a flame.

Who is this talking fish and what adventures will Prem find himself in after this moment? Get a copy of The Torchbearers to find out!

Veena’s disastrous ‘new ideas’ and why you must always refuse!

In Asha Nehamiah’s book, Trouble with Magic, Veena is full of bright ideas. She gets Aunt Malu to use her herbal magic to make something new and wonderful. But magic has its own rules, and soon Veena and her aunt are in big trouble!

Here is an excerpt that tells us why Aunt Malu is reluctant to try Veena’s new idea.

Aunt Malu should have refused to try out Veena’s new idea. Trying out her nine-year-old niece’s ideas always landed Aunt Malu in trouble.

Once, Veena suggested they get free season tickets to the circus. Aunt Malu agreed happily. When they
got there, Aunt Malu found that the free tickets were their payment for helping the lion tamer clean the lion cages.

With four lions inside them!

Another time, Veena had got her to try the Adopt-a-Pet plan. This was a wonderful plan that found homes for wounded animals. Aunt Malu couldn’t decide which of the pets she adopted gave her more trouble: the mynah with the broken wing, or the lame mongoose.

The mynah could copy the sounds of a telephone ringing, the doorbell buzzing and the pressure cooker whistling. So Aunt Malu kept rushing from kitchen to front door to telephone till she got so tired that she could barely stand.

And the mongoose wouldn’t stop stealing food from their neighbour’s kitchen.

The worst was the time Aunt Malu had agreed to make a pair of grass-cutting roller skates as a gift for Veena’s father, Mr Seshadri.

He was Aunt Malu’s older brother. He loved gardening and was very proud of his lawn. It was  the best lawn in the neighbourhood.

Veena had come up with the idea of fixing sharp blades on to a pair of skates. This meant that a person would be able to cut grass just by skating over it. It was an absolutely brilliant idea—if it worked.

There was great excitement when the gift was put together and wrapped. But the skates were a total failure!

To begin with, Mr Seshadri found it impossible to skate on the grass. He tripped and fell so many times that he was soon covered with cuts. He stopped trying to skate when he hit his forehead and was left with a bump which became the colour and size of one of his prize-winning brinjals!

When Veena tried them on, she found that she could manage to skate over the grass. But instead of cutting the grass, the skates pulled out huge bunches of it. This left big bald patches on Mr  Seshadri’s beautiful lawn. Mr Seshadri was not pleased.

That’s why Aunt Malu should have been more careful when Veena entered her workroom one morning and said, ‘I have an idea!’

Get a copy of Trouble with Magic to know if Aunt Malu made a mistake, and what Veena’s idea was!

We’ve been grounded for a peculiar crime

Sinister aliens are on the loose in Archit Taneja’s book, The Case of the Careless Aliens! Money is appearing mysteriously in unexpected places around the city. UFOs have been spotted in the sky. If aliens are trying to take over, they have been very careless indeed!

In this excerpt, we meet the SUPERLATIVE SUPERSLEUTHS, one of whom – unfortunately, at present, is grounded. But why?!

It’s been chilly and windy this weekend. That’s perfect weather to stay home, eat ice cream and popcorn, and laugh at crime shows on TV.

My plans went bust when Aarti called on Saturday afternoon. She said she’d been grounded and needed moral support. She pleaded on the phone for what seemed like a century in plead years.

‘You get grounded all the time! You’ve never whined about it before!’

‘I’ve been grounded for two weeks,’ she muttered in a cold voice.

Getting grounded for that long is unheard of. One would need to commit an unspeakable crime. It was especially hard to believe, since Aarti’s parents were super anti-punishment and all that sort of stuff.

‘What did you do, exactly?’

‘Er … I can’t tell you. It doesn’t matter, anyway,’ Aarti mumbled. She was barely audible now.

‘Are you really grounded? Friends aren’t allowed to visit when you’re grounded, right?’

She hung up.

That made me curious enough to want to go over. She was either making all this up to lure me to visit or she’d actually done something really crazy this time. Perhaps she was too embarrassed to talk about it. In either case, it sounded like fun!

I packed my bag with stuff for the weekend. I picked up a case file I had prepared a few months ago. It contained notes on the peculiarities of Aarti’s room. I slipped in a few empty sheets, just in case there was some sleuthing to do.

Aarti’s dad opened the door; he gave a half- hearted smile and asked me to come in. He returned to the dining table and sat opposite Aarti’s mum. They resumed what sounded like a serious conversation. I am used to getting a warm hug from both of them whenever I visit. The radio was playing old boring music instead of the regular upbeat stuff.

I wondered if something bad had happened. Maybe someone they knew got into an accident or something. But why would Aarti be grounded for that? I really doubt that she nicked the car and ran over someone; she’s never been fond of the idea of driving.

Aarti’s grandparents were over. They were there quite often since they lived in the apartment right across

from Aarti’s. Grandma was watching a documentary on TV. She hates those and shrugs whenever I am anywhere close to the TV remote because she knows I’m into anything that involves learning.

It all seemed very unusual.

Aarti’s mum asked me to make sure that she didn’t have too much fun and that I talk to her about being a good child. Grandma nodded in approval. Of all people, they chose me to put sense in her head. Aarti’s really done for this time. I’m so excited!

‘Your family is acting weird,’ I said.

Aarti sat calmly on her bed. Her room was scattered with newspapers. She separated the pages containing comics and puzzles from each day’s paper, and threw away the rest.

‘Tell me. Why are you grounded?’

Why do you think Aarti is grounded? Get a copy of The Case of the Careless Aliens to find out!

How is Magesh different from other children? Let’s find out!

Magesh is different from other children. He’s no good with words. And when he’s misunderstood he gets upset and his movements get jerky. But there are two things he loves: playing with his brother Vignesh, and his Vibhuti Cat. But what will happen when Magesh starts going to school? Will he take Vibhuti cat along?

Here is an excerpt from Vibhuti Cat, by Shikhandin where we get to know Magesh a little better!

Magesh ran to the washing machine and banged the lid. Paati, who was dozing on her armchair, woke up with a start. Magesh grinned. He banged the lid again.

‘Magu,’ said Paati, ‘draw something.’

Magesh cocked his head, eyes bright. He ran on tippy toes to get his colour pencils and drawing book. He flopped down on the floor to draw, but kept looking at the door. Anna would be home soon.

Anna was Vignesh. He was two years older, and studied in Class Four. Every day after school, he would first finish his homework and then do what Magesh waited all day for —play with him!

Magesh spoke very little—one or two words, never whole sentences. Appa, Amma, Paati and Vignesh understood him. But their friends and neighbours and relatives did not. Sometimes, they even got upset with Magesh.

When that happened, Mageshˇs hands and legs moved even more jerkily. At times, he banged things over and over again. Amma and Appa always picked him up to calm him. But Vignesh knew a word that could always make Magesh happy again: Cat!

Magesh loved cats. He could stay still for hours looking at cats, their pictures and videos. He loved to draw cats, all kinds of cats. He drew other things too—starry skies, birds, the sun and moon, grass, trees and rain. But he mostly drew cats. And his favourite was Vibhuti Cat.

To read the story, get your copy of the book here!

Karma Meets A Zombie

Karma Tandin is a Monster Hunter.

All his life, Karma has defended his village from monsters and creatures and forces of Darkness. He’s not the bravest or the smartest kid, but he always tries to do what’s right. When one of his classmates shows up to school as a Zombie, Karma knows that he must stop him. After all, no one else can. But is this Zombie really bad? Is he dangerous, or is he just under the thrall of some horrible spell? Karma and his friends must work together to solve this mystery, discover the magical secrets of their town, and hope they find the answers before they too become victims of the undead.


Read below an excerpt from the book:


Life is totally  normal now


Last month, I defeated a shark monster. The week after, I was attacked by possessed trees. The week after that, I may have gotten into a very short, very embarrassing fist-fight with a vampire potato (don’t ask).

I’m a twelve-year-old monster hunter. It sounds cool, but it’s a lot of work.

See, my whole life has been a never-ending series of monster attacks. I live in a tiny valley in Bhutan, so I really shouldn’t have a monster problem. I should just hang out, practise some archery with my friends, and maybe do some chores. You know, normal stuff.

Instead, I’m constantly looking for horrible creatures. For some reason, I’m like a monster magnet. They find me. I fight them. I usually win, but sometimes I get hurt. Well, usually I get hurt. My arm is still sore from that potato attack (again, don’t ask).

It’s not the perfect situation. My mom is always freaking out, and my grades aren’t great. But I kind of like it, too. I like saving people. If I’m the only person who can protect my classmates from vegetables with teeth, then why not? It’s my duty.

I just wish that I could have a more normal life, sometimes. I wish I could have a monster-free holiday somewhere nice and boring. Like the dentist’s office. Last month, I’d stopped a shark monster from eating my classmates. She was the school librarian. She even wore a fake human head on top of her shark head. I’d scared her off thanks to my bravery (and dumb luck), but not before she (I think) ate one of my classmates.

His name was Tenzin, and he was the school bully. I didn’t like him too much, but that didn’t mean he deserved to get eaten. It was awful. Now, things were finally getting back to normal. I felt good. Spring was coming fast, the weather was warming up, and I hadn’t seen any monsters in days. Everything felt nice and safe and dentist-office boring.

As always, I walked to school with my best friend Chimmi. Our school was on the side of a mountain, so we took the shortcut—the hidden trail along the edge of a stream. It had some nice views of Jakar Town below.

Of course, neither of us was enjoying the view. Chimmi was staring at me again, trying to figure out what I was thinking about. And I was squeezing my face really tight, trying to hide the fact that I was thinking about Dawa again.

‘You’re thinking about Dawa again,’ he said.

I guess I didn’t squeeze my face tight enough.

‘No,’ I lied. ‘I was thinking about . . . mummies.’ Out of all the monsters I’ve had to fight, I’d never encountered any mummies.

Give it time, though.

‘How is she?’ he asked.

‘Dawa? What do you mean? Is she okay? I haven’t seen her?’ I said in one breath. For a moment, I was worried that she’d been captured by a troll and no one had bothered to tell me.

‘Um, I’m just asking,’ Chimmi said.

‘Oh. Yeah. She’s good.’

Dawa was my other best friend. She was the coolest kid in school, and I really, really liked her. She didn’t like it when I fought monsters, because she didn’t want to see me get hurt. During times like these—normal, boring times—she was always really happy.

I thought about Dawa a lot. Chimmi elbowed me in the side. ‘Stop thinking about her,’ he said. ‘I’m not!’ I said. ‘You’re dumb,’ he said. This was a typical Chimmi/ Karma conversation. I couldn’t help but smile, not because my friend called me dumb (I’m not), but because I wasn’t worried about anything. After all the craziness of the last month, I wasn’t thinking about shark monsters or vampires or any of that. I was thinking about school, and friends, and maybe-kinda-sorta having a crush.

It was all so normal. And I needed that. I needed normal. Of course, that happy-normal feeling lasted for about ten seconds before I saw a green-skinned zombie limping toward us.

Well, crap.


Get your copy of Karma Meets A Zombie here

How the Onion Got Its Layers – An Excerpt

Have you noticed how the onion has so many layers? And have you seen your mother’s eyes water when she cuts an onion? Here is a remarkable story to tell you why. India’s favourite storyteller brings alive this timeless tale with her inimitable wit and simplicity. Dotted with charming illustrations, this gorgeous chapter book is the ideal introduction for beginners to the world of Sudha Murty.


Read below an excerpt from the book:


The kingdom of Ullas was very prosperous. The subjects were happy, the farmers had grown a bumper crop and the kingdom was surrounded by friendly allies. But the king and queen of Ullas were very sad. Their sadness seemed to envelop them wherever they went. This was because they really longed for a child and did not have one.



One day, they learnt of a place in the forests in the kingdom where, if you prayed hard and well, you were granted your wish.
They went there and for many days, prayed to the goddess of the forest for a long time. Finally, their prayers were heard and the goddess appeared before them in a flash of green light.
‘What do you wish for, my dear children?’ she asked.
The king and queen, overjoyed, bowed low and said, ‘We wish to have a child.’
‘So be it, you will soon have a little girl,’ said the goddess, shimmering in the greenery. ‘But remember, though she will be a loving child, she will have one flaw: She will love new clothes too much and it will make life difficult for you. Do you still want such a child?’
The king and queen looked at each other with their eyes full of hope and love. ‘Yes, we do,’ they said to the goddess. ‘We can’t think of anything else we want more in this world.’
The goddess smiled and vanished back among the trees.

Get your e-copy of How the Onion Got its Layers here 🙂

Love is Friendship – An Excerpt from ‘Timeless Tales from Marwar’

Indian folklore is a special gem in the crown of India’s history. Storytelling is an age old tradition, and Indian authors from all over the country have contributed heavily to their cultures through the writing and narrating of stories.

Known as the ‘Shakespeare of Rajasthan’, Vijayan Detha is one of India’s most renowned storytellers. In Timeless Tales from Marwar, Vishes Kothari translates his works for the wider enjoyment of Detha’s magical narrative style.

Read an excerpt of one of his stories titled ‘The Leaf and the Pebble’ below:

‘Because I was so completely unsuccessful with love, I

became very talented at writing love stories. Perhaps,

had I been successful, I would not have been so.’



Below a tree lay a pebble. All alone. Whom to talk to? Who to speak to? Lying there alone, he got suffocated. As fate would have it, one day, a leaf came there, flying from a distance. All of a sudden, the pebble found a chance to talk to someone. He was delighted. He accorded great honour and respect to the leaf who had come to his home.

One day, the pebble told the leaf, ‘My dear friend, please don’t go anywhere and leave me alone. I cannot even live a second without you now.’

‘Leave a friend like you and go?’ replied the leaf. ‘I’m not that big a fool! But if strong winds blow, how will I stay in one place? I will have to fly with the winds.’

The pebble thought hard and finally came up with a solution. ‘Don’t you worry about this! I won’t let you fly away even if the father of all storms passes through here. As soon as the winds blow, I will sit on you. Even if gusts of winds blow, I won’t let you be blown away with it. But friend,’ continued the pebble, ‘in front of the rain I am powerless . . . If it pours, I’ll melt.’

It was the leaf now who thought of a solution. ‘Don’t you worry about this! As soon as it rains, I will cover you. Even the father of rains won’t be able to melt you.’ And so, both friends thought of schemes to save each other. Many a storm blew, but the pebble did not let the leaf get blown away.

Many a time it rained, but the leaf did not let the stone melt.

But as fate would have it, one day, the storm and the rain came together. All the schemes that the two friends had devised to save each other proved futile. The pebble said, ‘I’ll save you.’ And the leaf said, ‘I’ll save you.’

Finally, the pebble spoke up again. ‘Silly, how can you save me? You’ll be blown away with the first gust of wind! And I’ll melt anyway. Now, let’s not bother with senseless quarrel. Let me sit on you.’

And so, the leaf had to let the pebble sit on it despite its wish. The pebble positioned itself properly on the leaf. The clouds began to thunder. Lightning began to flash. Large drops of rain began to fall. Gusts of wind began to blow. The pebble began to melt. Went on melting. Till he melted completely, he continued to protect his friend. As soon as the pebble melted completely, a gust of wind came and blew the leaf away.

Tears streaming from his eyes, the leaf bid farewell to his friend with a heavy heart.

Vijayan Detha’s stories are full of heart, soul and magic. They explore some of the most popular fables from one of India’s richest cultures. You can read more stories in his inimitable narrative style in Timeless Tales from Marwar.