There once was a hungry jackal named Gomaya who had not eaten for many days. As he wandered the forest in search of food, he came upon an old battlefield. Suddenly, Gomaya started to hear the scariest of sounds. “Whirrrr!’ “Whoooosh!” “Booooooof!”
Gomaya decided to run away before he got attacked and took off, the scary sounds chasing after him!
As Gomaya ran, he thought to himself, “Why am I running? What if it’s nothing?” So he crept back, trying to be brave.
To his astonishment, the terrible sounds were coming from a harmless, old war drum. The low branches of a nearby tree were swishing against it, making the racket. Near the drum was plenty of food lying around as well. Gomaya thanked his lucky stars that he didn’t let the old war drum scare him off!
“What a fool I’d have been if I’d let a silly old war drum cheat me out of all this delicious food!”
So you see, fear of the unknown brings no gain!
Read more stories like this in Amar Chitra Katha’s ‘The Jackal and the Wardrum’, available on the Amar Chitra Katha app as well as Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers.
One day, in the royal court of Akbar, there came a merchant who proffered a beautiful vase to the emperor. “This beautiful vase has come straight from the Orient, your highness. It will be a wonderful addition to your palace.” Emperor Akbar was not impressed. “I can see it’s a little chipped. Let this be a warning. Never show me anything that is broken.”
His wise minister, Birbal, who was watching the proceedings, was amused by the emperor’s order and questioned him. “But why, Jahanpanah?” Akbar replied, “Surely, Birbal, you will agree that anything that is broken, crushed or rotten, is of no use to anyone.”
Birbal did not agree. “Sometimes, maybe, but that is not always true!” The emperor challenged him to prove it. Birbal explained his stand.
“The juice we get from sugarcane by breaking and crushing, gives us sugar, jaggery, and delicious sweets. These make for diving offerings!”
“The cotton pod bursts forth to yield the cotton string. Clothes made from its spinning and weaving are fit, even for a king! The rotten decaying rags, old jute and other such waste yields paper, paper on which the sacred Quran and purananas are all written on.”
Akbar conceded defeat. “Indeed! I take back what I said, Birbal. Everything has its use, even the broken, crushed and rotten stuff.”
An author who has written more than 120 books over six decades of his career and has several laureates to his name, including Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, needs no introduction. The iconic Ruskin Bond is undoubtedly a muse to millions. The beauty of his books is that they teleport you to a simple world where big life lessons await. Here’s some of our favourite Ruskin Bond books of all time.
The Room on the Roof
At the age of seventeen in 1951, Ruskin Bond published his first novel ever called ‘The Room on the Roof’. This semi-autobiographical story takes you on a journey to the countryside through the eyes of an orphaned boy, Rusty. Rusty is an Anglo-Indian boy who lives with his guardians in Dehra, Uttarakhand. His guardian, Mr John Harrison, desires to raise Rusty like an Englishman because he assumes the Indian lifestyle to be beneath them. Frustrated by John’s control and abuse, Rusty runs away from the house, eventually crossing paths with a woman called Meena. In exchange for tutoring Meena’s son, Rusty has his meals taken care of and a tiny room on the roof. This story set the tone for multiple Rusty stories that Mr. Bond wrote over the years.
Unlike most ghost stories, this one is neither bone-chilling nor horrifying. This ghost by Ruskin Bond is mischievous and relatable. The basic plot of the story revolves around Pret, a ghost who lives on the peepal tree in the compound beside the road. Pret enjoys playing pranks on passers-by. One day, the Public Works Department demands Grandfather to cut down the peepal tree. Unfortunately, Pret loses his home and seeks refuge in the house. Interestingly, he develops a bond with the little boy of the house who is able to sense him. The story manages to expand the horizons of readers while keeping them entertained throughout. It also drives home the importance of the alarming consequences of human actions on nature.
The Cherry Tree
Little boy, Rakesh, plants a cherry seed in his garden. He nurtures the seedling every day. As the seedling grows into a plant and finally into a huge tree, it survives all adversities, which Rakesh notices. Finally, on his ninth birthday, Rakesh receives a precious gift. The cherry tree blossoms for the first time. This story beautifully encapsulates the importance of resilience and perseverance.
Dust on the Mountain
This story, like most of Ruskin stories, is set in the hills of India. Bisnu lives with his family in the lap of nature. He works hard on the farm with this parents. A certain year, lack of rains forces him to move to a city and take up a job. He takes up various odd jobs which he fulfils with dignity and honesty. While switching jobs, he once comes across a limestone quarry. He is heartbroken to see the mining industry destroy the lovely mountains. He is left with two choices – leave back home and toil hard or settle in the city.
The Blue Umbrella
Ruskin Bond wrote The Blue Umbrella in 1980. Since then, it has been adapted into a Bollywood movie, illustration books, and even an Amar Chitra Katha comic book. The story is set in a small village of Garhwal. Little girl Binya get allured by a blue umbrella possessed by some tourists. She trades her leopard claw pendant for the blue umbrella and flaunts it. Ram Bharosa, the village shopkeeper, sells cold drinks and sweets in exchange for used items. He sets his eyes on Binya’s blue umbrella. Does he convince her with a barter? Read the book to find out.
Amar Chitra Katha’s The Blue Umbrella is available on the Amar Chitra Katha app as well as Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers.
Here is another quote from the Bhagavad Gita which reminds us of the importance of controlling our mind. It also implies the essence of meditation, which helps us control our thoughts and focus on the task at hand.
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay occupies an unchallenged position as one of India’s foremost literary figures. He was the first author to write a Bengali novel and a novel in English. His works include Devi Choudhurani, Durgeshnandini, Mrinalini, Anandamath, Raj Singh and Kapala Kundala.
Bankim Chandra’s characters are diverse and his plots complex. Two or three story arcs run simultaneously in his novels. Bankim Chandra was able to infuse into his work not only the patriotic or the romantic aspect of his characters but also the historical and social conditions of the time. As such, his canvas was large and his strokes bold. Bankim Chandra’s stories deserve mention and praise because of the chord they struck within each reader.
Anandamath, which was published in 1882, was banned by the British government because it became synonymous with the Indian struggle for independence. Vande Mataram, a clarion call for generations of Indian freedom fighters, was first featured in the novel and later made the National Song of India.