Ranchen and Stone lion

Buying A Song

- June 18, 2021

By Komal Narwani

In a tranquil village in Madhya Pradesh, on a quaint morning, Vidyawati made her way to the village well where all her friends also came to fetch water.

“La La Lalalala La Lalala Ley”

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“Hello, Vidyawati. Why are you so late today?” said one of her friends.
“I stopped by to admire a beautiful singing bird on my way,” said Vidyavati. “And now I see you all humming a wonderful melody too!”

Illustration: Abhijeet Kini | Script: Aditi Pasumarthy

They all giggled and continued singing but Vidyawati did not sing. One of her friends asked her, “Why don’t you sing with us?”
With a sad look on her face, Vidyawati said, “I would love to but I do not know any songs. You all sing so well. Where did you all learn so many songs?”

One of the women said, “Oh! Don’t you know? You can buy them at the market.” When she winked, the others understood that it was a prank and decided to play along. “Is that so? I had no idea it was that simple!” said clueless Vidyawati.

On her way home, she started daydreaming of the morning she would sing with her friends. As soon as she reached home, she called out to her husband, Kantilal, “Dear husband, please get me a song from the market.”

Kantilal was confused; he had never seen any songs being sold in the market! However, Vidyawati insisted. “My friends told me. Please, could you just get me one song from the market? I would love to sing with them.”

Kantilal was a loving husband. He saw how excited his wife was and decided to give it a try, “Okay. I will go and look for a song.”

Illustration: Abhijeet Kini | Script: Aditi Pasumarthy

At the market, he went from shop to shop to find out where the songs were being sold. The innocent couple were pranked by many. When Kantilal asked one of the shopkeepers, he said, “Ah! Songs. Yes, we do keep songs but right now we are sold out. The silk shop at the far end might have some.”

“Thank you!” said Kantilal.

As soon as he left, the shopkeeper giggled, “Haha… That should be fun!” At the silk shop when Kantilal asked for a song, the shopkeeper said, “I have the finest of silks, not songs.” Although tired, Kantilal kept searching for songs but obviously, with no luck.

Disappointed, he decided to head home. As he ambled away, he wondered if there was any way to get a song for his wife. Suddenly, it occurred to him!

“Ah! If I can’t buy a song, maybe I can make a song myself,” he thought aloud. “Hmmm… What shall I sing about?” he continued thinking. A rat ran across his path, almost answering his question.

“Why not sing about the rat digging a hole in the ground?
Khode Kharar Kharar
Hmm, yes, that sounds good!”

Pleased with his newly crafted one-line song, Kantilal marched home humming it.
“Khode Kharar Kharar… Hmmm hmmm hmm hmm hmm hm.”

On his way, “Khode khaaaaa… a snake!” he panicked as a snake crossed his path but the snake slid away without noticing him. As he got some relief, “Phew! The snake is just slithering away. Sarke Sarar Sarar. I could add this to my song!”

As he kept humming the song and walking, he noticed a fluffy white hare, behind the bushes, looking at him with sparkling eyes. “Such a cute bunny looking at me. Dekhe Tagar Magar. Oh! Another line!”

Illustration: Abhijeet Kini | Script: Aditi Pasumarthy

When Kantilal had almost reached his house, he saw a deer merrily jumping along. “I think I have got the perfect ending to my song. Koode Alaang Phalaang.”

“Khode Kharar Kahar
Sarke Sarar Sarar
Dekhe Tagar Magar
Koode Alaang Phalaang”

“Vidyawati will be so happy,” he said to himself as he knocked on the door. Vidyawati was too anxious. As soon as she opened the door, she asked, “Did you find a song, husband?”
With a sparkle in his eyes and a wide smile on his lips, Kantilal proudly replied, “Yes, my dear, I bought the most expensive song I could find!”
Vidyawati was overjoyed to hear that. She could not contain her excitement and sat to learn the song at once.

“Khode Kharar Kahar
Sarke Sarar Sarar
Dekhe Tagar Magar
Koode Alaang Phalaang”

The couple sang the song many times. Vidyawati did not seem to get tired of practising. At night, Vidyawati went to bed but kept tossing and turning. She was too excited to sleep! She wanted to practice the song again to make sure she remembered it. Swiftly, she got out of bed, went into the kitchen and started practising the song. She realised that there was some corn left to be ground. Making the most of her time, she started grinding corn and practising the song.

“Khode Kharar Kahar…”

“No, no. Is this how my husband sang? Let me sing that line again. I want to practice the song perfectly. I am so excited to sing it with my friends tomorrow morning,” she thought to herself.

In the village, there lived a thief named Dhanga, a man with wide eyes and a pointy-long nose. Every night, he would prowl through the village. That night, Dhanga decided to sneak into the house of Vidyawati and Kantilal.

Digging a hole in the wall, Dhanga thought “That last house was useless. All I got was a few coins and a bag of clothes. This house looks full. I hope I get a little gold in this one.”

Illustration: Abhijeet Kini | Script: Aditi Pasumarthy

Just then, he heard Vidyawati sing, “Khode Kharar Kahar…”

“Oh no! Did somebody see me digging? Let me quickly hide behind the bushes to make sure,” he feared.

Few minutes passed but nothing happened. Dhanga thought it was safe to resume. He crept inside the house through the hole.

Vidyawati continued, “Sarke Sarar Sarar…”

He was startled to hear that but he observed Vidyawati and realized she was busy grinding corn. Assuming she didn’t see him, he decided to make the next move. But –

“Dekhe Tagar Magar…”


He panicked and hurt himself as he struggled to get out through the tiny hole. “She saw me…She definitely saw me otherwise she wouldn’t have said that. What’s more, it’s as if she can read my mind! I need to get out of here now!” he thought.

Meanwhile, unaware of Dhanga’s presence, Vidyawati merrily sang, “Koode Alaang Phalaang.”

“Aaghh! How is she still watching me? I shall never come to this house again.” Saying so, Dhanga ran for his life.

The next morning, Kantilal was stunned to see a hole in the wall. He thought that they had been robbed but to his amazement, he found the valuables untouched. Nothing was stolen from the house. He called out to Vidyawati, “Vidyawati, did you notice there is a hole in the wall? I think somebody broke into the house but surprisingly nothing was stolen. What were you doing last night? Didn’t you stay awake for a while?”

“I was practising the nice expensive song you bought me,” said Vidyawati.

Kantilal laughed, “Haha! I think it must be a very good song. After all, it has scared a thief away from our home.”

Illustration: Abhijeet Kini | Script: Aditi Pasumarthy

Later that day when Vidyawati met her friends, she happily flaunted the song to her friends. “My husband bought me a nice expensive song from the market, just like you said! It even scared away a thief from my house. Oh, it’s a beautiful song!”

Leaving her friends flabbergasted, she merrily continued,

“Khode Kharar Kahar
Sarke Sarar Sarar
Dekhe Tagar Magar
Koode Alaang Phalaang!”

Read folktales from around India in our title Ranchen the Stone Lion and Other Stories. It is now available on the ACK Comics App, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart and other major e-tailers. 

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