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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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

Books to keep the little ones busy with, this July!

What’s the best way to keep your child entertained and busy this July? Summer plans might have got cancelled, but you can still send your child on an adventure! Choose from this list of books from authors like Sudha Murty, Ruskin Bond, Ira Trivedi and many more.

Stay safe, healthy and inspired with this list.

How the Onion Got Its Layers

How the Onion Got its Layers || Sudha Murty

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.

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My Genius Lunch Box

My Genius Lunchbox || Uma Raghuraman

Written by Uma Raghuraman-a masterchef of a mom, a super popular food blogger and Instagrammer-My Genius Lunch Box is every parent’s go-to book for fifty fun, nutritious and simple vegetarian recipes that can be made on a school day.

Featuring stunning photographs styled and shot by the author herself, this book is divided into six sections: one for each weekday and a bonus section that includes recipes for bite-sized snacks!

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The Piano

The Piano||Nandita Basu

This is the story of a friendship between a young girl and her piano. The piano was made many decades before the girl was born. And it travelled from leipzig, Germany, through war-torn France and England come to Calcutta during the independence struggle. Finally the girl and the piano found one another, until circumstances separated them… This is a story of love and loss, of unexpected bonds and loneliness, and above all, it is a celebration of the power of music.

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Skill Builder Phonics Level 1-4

These books contain simple and easy-to-do activities, crosswords and puzzles to help young learners hone their reading, writing, vocabulary and spelling skills through play. By engaging in fun and challenging tasks, your child will learn and master language concepts that are also applicable in a wide range of everyday contexts. The series is suitable for children
aged 6+ (Level 1) to 9+ (Level 4).

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Song of India

Song of India|| Ruskin Bond

Sixteen-year-old Ruskin, after having finally finished his school, is living with his stepfather and mother at the Old Station Canteen in Dehradun. Struggling to begin his writing journey, he tries to make a passage to England to chase his true calling. But as he prepares for his long voyage, the prospect of saying goodbye to the warm, sunny shores of India looms large.

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Om the Yoga Dog

Om the Yoga Dog|| Ira Trivedi

It’s fun yoga time with Om the Yoga Dog, Prana the Frog and Moksha the Elephant! Learn and master essential asanas like Roaring Lion and Tummy Sandwich, pranayama techniques like Anulom Vilom and meditation exercises like Yoga Nidra.

Packed with easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, this calming book helps your child develop flexibility, strength, inner peace and mindfulness.

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Peppa Pig: Peppa Loves Yoga

Peppa Loves Yoga||Peppa Pig

It is a very busy day at Peppa and George’s playgroup, but they have a very special visitor coming in the afternoon. Miss rabbit is going to teach the children how to calm down and relax with yoga. The children love learning all the different positions… And the parents love picking up their calm children!

Meet the Deities from Hindu Mythology

The Hindu mythology comprises of many deities who are worshipped in many forms across India. We all have heard stories about them and have been fascinated about by them. Award-winning author Sudha Murthy in her new book, The Man from the Egg brings together fascinating tales of the most powerful gods from the ancient world.
Here are a few of those deities:





How many of these deities did you know about?

The Birth of Parvati, An Excerpt from The Man from The Egg

Sudha Murthy in ‘The Man from the Egg’ weaves enchanting tales about the holy trinity in Hindu mythology. Consisting of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the trinity is responsible for the survival of the human race and the world.
Here’s an excerpt chronicling the birth of goddess Parvati:
Taraka was a powerful and ambitious asura, and a devotee of Lord Brahma. One day he began a severe penance for Brahma, living on a mountain for a long period of time. pleased with Taraka’s devotion, the creator appeared before him.
‘O my lord!’ Taraka cried. ‘my life’s purpose has been fulfilled now that I have felt your presence.’
Brahma smiled. ‘tell me what your heart desires.’
‘I want to live forever,’ replied Taraka.
‘My dearest devotee, you know that such a boon is not possible. why don’t you ask me for something else?’
Taraka thought for some time. ‘I don’t want to die at the hands of just any man or god. if i must perish, I would rather it happened at the hands of the son of Shiva,’ he said, knowing full well that Shiva, grief-stricken by the loss of Dakshayani, was far from even the thought of marrying
again. So, the boon would actually make Taraka invincible and keep him safe from Yama, the god of death.
Brahma understood Taraka’s intention. nevertheless, he said, ‘So may it be.’
His penance now complete, Taraka descended from the mountain and returned to his abode. Over time, he created a powerful army headed by ten cruel generals. and then he went on a rampage, conquering kingdoms, abusing living beings on earth as well as the gods above. he terrorized them all so much that everyone began praying to Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu heard their pleas. ‘Shiva and parvati’s son will be the cause of taraka’s doom,’ he declared.
Himavat or Parvatraj, the king of the Himalayas, had a wife named Menaka. the queen really wanted a daughter who would grow up to become Shiva’s consort. when Menaka heard about Dakshayani, she instinctively knew that Shiva’s wife would be reborn as her daughter. She thus decided to go into deep meditation, convinced that destiny would soon take its course.
Menaka gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, whom she named Uma. as Uma was the daughter of Parvatraj, she was also known as Parvati, or Himani (from her father’s other name, Himavat), or Girija (meaning the daughter of the king of mountains), or Shailaja (meaning the daughter of the mountains).
Parvati was a charming child and unusually devoted to Shiva right from her birth. Even as an adult, she was always found either praying to Shiva or just talking about him. News of her beauty and intelligence spread far and wide. Though suitors came in hordes with the hope of winning her heart, Parvati could only think of Shiva and refused to entertain the
idea of marrying anyone else.
The devas were watching all this with great interest. they eagerly awaited the arrival of Parvati and Shiva’s son—the harbinger of Taraka’s death.
Shiva, on the other hand, deep in meditation atop the cold mount Kailash, remained unaware of what was going on. much to the concern of her parents, a determined Parvati made the arduous journey to Kailash and began serving Shiva. She took care of his surroundings, brought him fruits and made garlands for him every day. She wanted to be there the moment he opened his eyes so they could marry as soon as possible.
The gods sighed with relief and hoped that Shiva would soon awaken from his penance.
Days, months and years passed but Shiva showed no signs of emerging from his meditation. if he did not open his eyes, he would never see Parvati, which meant that he wouldn’t marry her or have a son. and if the current state of affairs continued, Taraka’s cruel reign would be the end of everybody.
Frustrated, the gods decided to take matters into their own hands. all the realms were in grave danger. they had to intervene and force Shiva to awaken, but who would take the risk? no one dared offer to be the one to disturb Shiva’s penance and become the target of his infamous temper.
Everyone knew that when he was extremely angry, his third eye would open and immediately spew a great fire that destroyed everything in its path. And yet the task needed to be done.
the gods decided to approach the diplomatic Lord Vishnu and beseech him to find a way to guarantee Shiva and Parvati’s marriage.
‘All right, let’s see how things turn out,’ Vishnu said with a mysterious smile.

The Interesting Story of the Pandavas’ Forefather: ‘The Serpent’s Revenge’ — An Excerpt

The great war of Kurukshetra is synonymous with the epic ‘Mahabharata’, a war fought between brothers and sons — stories that have lived on through generations. But have you ever wondered about where it all began for the Pandavas?
Sudha Murty’s ‘The Serpent’s Revenge: Unusual Tales From the Mahabharata’ brings to life hidden gems from the pages of the ‘Mahabharata’ that are sure to leave your little one enthralled and asking for more.
Here’s a snippet from the book.
The Man Who Became a Woman
According to the Mahabharata, the lunar dynasty (also called Chandravansha or Somavansha) is one of the most prominent warrior houses in India. As the name suggests, it is believed that this dynasty descended from the moon.
A long time ago, there lived a man named Vaivasvata Manu, considered to be the first man on Earth, and his wife, Shraddha. The couple didn’t have a child for many years, so they decided to perform a yagna in the hope of pleasing the gods. However, Shraddha secretly hoped for a daughter, while Manu wanted a son. In time, their prayers were answered and a son was born to them, whom they named Sudyumna.
Years passed and Sudyumna grew up to be a fine young man. One day, he went hunting with his friends to the beautiful forest of Sharavana (the forest of reeds). No sooner had the all-male troupe entered an enchanted portion of the forest than they were magically transformed into young women. None of them had any idea how it had happened or what they were to do.
As the troupe began wandering deeper into the forest as women, Sudyumna decided to reinvent himself according to the body he now had, and called himself Ila. When Ila and her friends became desperate to leave their beautiful surroundings and return to their homes, Goddess Parvati appeared in front of them. ‘You and your friends have entered my garden,’ she said. ‘Look around you—this is no ordinary place. In fact, no men are allowed to come here. If they do, they turn into women immediately and permanently.’
Seeing Ila’s dismayed face, Parvati smiled. ‘I know you came here by accident,’ she said gently. ‘So I will bless you, child. May you lead a happy life irrespective of your gender. From this day on, you will be able to choose what you want to be—male or female—whenever you want.’
To everyone’s surprise, beautiful Ila chose to remain a girl, and embraced her new identity with her heart and soul. Meanwhile, Budha, the god of the planet Mercury and the son of the moon-god, Chandra, noticed Ila’s exquisite beauty and fell hopelessly in love with her. Ila reciprocated his feelings and the two were wed. In due course, Ila gave birth to a son called Pururava.
Time passed and Ila chose to revert to her male form, Sudyumna. He returned to his kingdom and ruled it wisely. As was expected of a king, Sudyumna got married and had many children of his own. He continued taking care of his subjects until he was old, after which he handed over the kingdom to his first son, Pururava, and retired to the forest to live out the remainder of his days.
Pururava, the grandson of Chandra, thus introduced the lunar dynasty. He ruled from his kingdom’s capital, Pratishthana (today’s Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh).
The great Pandavas of the Mahabharata are a part of this dynasty. King Yayati, one of the ancestors of the Pandavas, was succeeded by his youngest son, Puru. His dynasty came to be known as the Puru dynasty.
Another one of Puru’s descendants was Emperor Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala. Bharata was such a great king that our country was named after him and called Bharat or Bharatvarsha.
King Kuru was born after twenty-five generations of the Puru dynasty, and gave rise to the Kuru dynasty. After fifteen more generations, the Pandavas and the Kauravas were born. In theory, both the Pandavas and the Kauravas are descendants of King Kuru, but the Pandavas, who were the sons of Pandu, chose to carry their father’s name and not the identity of the clan.
How fascinating is this story! Get a copy of this charming book for your little one and dive right into those corners of ‘Mahabharata’ you missed out on before!
And oh, while you’re at it, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of ‘The Man from the Egg: Unusual Tales about the Trinity’ by Sudha Murty. The second in this series of a Pandora’s box of stories is just about to open up!
 

 

Prince Amritsena Saves the Day!: ‘The Bird With Golden Wings’ — An Excerpt

Master storyteller, Sudha Murty, weaves magical tales of princesses and little girls, talking animals and an enchanting world of the good and the evil for children in her book, ‘The Bird With Golden Wings: Stories of Wit and Magic’.
In the short story, ‘Skills for a Prince’, Amritsena, a young and intelligent prince finds a unique way to test the honesty and integrity of a few of his subjects. How? Let’s find out!
Skills for a Prince
Amritsena, a young prince, was very popular with his subjects. Everyone praised his sense of fairness. He also loved to play pranks and made the courtiers laugh. He often disguised himself and roamed the streets of the capital city, listening to what the people were saying and learnt about the problems of the common man in this way.
During one such tour, he came across three young men in the outskirts of the city. From their attire they appeared to be strangers. They were huddled together, talking to each other.
Amritsena walked up to them and said, ‘You look new to this city. Can I help you?’
One of the men replied, ‘We are students of the sage Kashyapa and have recently finished our studies. We are looking for work, where we can put our special skills to use.’
At once, Amritsena’s ears pricked up. ‘And what are these special skills? I work in the king’s court and I may be able to help you find a job there.’
One young man said, ‘Just by tapping my feet, I can make out what is below the ground.’
The second one said, ‘I can always tell in which direction one may find hidden treasure.’
The third said, ‘Once I have seen a person, I can recognize him anywhere, even if he is in disguise.’
Amritsena heard them out, thought for a minute and said, ‘I am also a man with a special quality.’
‘What is that?’ they asked.
‘If anyone is in difficulty, I can always find a solution and rescue the person.’
‘From where did you get this gift? Who taught you?’
‘I have always had this gift, since I was a child,’ replied Amritsena with a smile. Then he said, ‘Why don’t you show me a sample of your special skills as we walk to the city? I can then tell the king about you.’
The four men began walking. After some time, one stopped and said, ‘Below us lies a tunnel.’
They started digging and, sure enough, they found a tunnel. They began to walk through the tunnel, which led them into the palace.
Now the second man stopped suddenly and said, ‘Just around the corner there is a secret treasury.’
Amritsena, who knew this to be true, was amazed. He smiled secretly to himself and said,
‘You three wait here. If the guards see you they will mistake you for thieves. Let me go and check.’ Then he walked quickly ahead, turned a corner where he stripped off his disguise, and presented himself before the guards.
‘There are three men in the tunnel plotting to loot the treasury,’ he told them. ‘Go and arrest them immediately. They should be produced in court first thing tomorrow morning.’ Saying this he walked away to his room and went to bed.
‘There are three men in the tunnel plotting to loot the treasury,’ he told them. ‘Go and arrest them immediately. They should be produced in court first thing tomorrow morning.’ Saying this he walked away to his room and went to bed.
The next morning, the three men were presented in the king’s court. Seeing Amritsena on the throne, the third man realized he was the same man who had got them arrested. He whispered this to his friends. Now they were scared that the prince would punish them for having entered the royal treasury just to show off.
‘How did you find the way into the secret tunnel?’ thundered the king, Amritsena’s father.
‘We…we j-just…’ stammered the men, shaking in fear.
Amritsena watched them, trying not to laugh. Then he stepped in and whispered in his father’s ear, ‘They are not thieves. I met them last night just outside the city. They are learned men with wonderful gifts. I only wanted to test them to see if they were telling the truth or not. We should keep them in our kingdom as their talents will help us in many ways.’
The king nodded, and said, ‘On the request of the prince I release you. You will work for me from now on, and use your gifts for the betterment of this kingdom.’
The three men sighed in relief. Amritsena had rescued them—just as he had said he could!
Dive into the world of fascinating tales in Sudha Murty’s ‘The Bird With Golden Wings: Stories of Wit and Magic’ and get to know some amazing stories of wit, humour and love!

Things You Did Not Know About Author and Philanthropist, Sudha Murty

With an ordinary upbringing like most of us, Sudha Murty’s life took extraordinary turns against all odds due to her courage and, determination and will to succeed in life.
Here are a few facts about Sudha Murty that you may have not known before.
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Sudha Murty leads with example and shows us that absolutely nothing in life is unachievable, as long as one has the heart to do it.
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