Posts Tagged ‘Indian novel’


“So children, listen to me carefully,” started Saloni, taking a deep breath.
“This is the story of the two sparrows. Long ago, there was an island in an ocean, with no sight of any land within miles. On it flourished the most beautiful forest with a canopy of trees that seemed to touch the skies. It was always spring in this island. The part where the island met the ocean had given birth to a beach, with sand so golden that it seemed to outshine the sun. On this very island dwelled the most exquisite of birds.”
“And were there tigers and lions too in this island?” interrupted Babua, his curiosity growing with every word that Saloni spoke.
“Were there elephants and deers also, Didi?” asked Sallo.
“There must be foxes and jackals in the forest,” added Kancha.
“No dear, there were no such animals on this island. There only lived birds, and in large variety.”
“Were there parrots, peacocks and mynahs, Didi?” asked Chandani.
“Yes, there were all these and many more, Chandani,” answered Saloni.
“These birds lived on this island happily. The fame of this island was spread over the whole planet and all the birds knew about it. On this island lived a very special pair of birds. They were a couple of sparrows.”
“Sparrows? Wow!” exclaimed Keshav, as if he knew all about the species.
“There are a lot of sparrows around my hut. Some have even built nests on the tree beside my hut. They play all day, and some even enter our hut and pick up grains of wheat from the floor. But my father doesn’t like them at all. They make too much noise and are very disturbing,” he went on.
Saloni took a sigh to stop Keshav, but he started again. “One day my dad got very angry because of these notorious birds. He was eating his lunch after coming back from the farm. He heard someone calling him from outside. He got up to attend but found nobody there. As he returned to his plate, to his surprise he found two sparrows nibbling on the piece of chapatti on his plate. Seeing this he got very angry and went after the birds with a piece of cloth — chasing them out of the house.”
Hearing this, Kancha started laughing, unable to control himself. Seeing him laugh, Chandani and Sallo also broke out in a riot of laughter. Babua controlled himself on seeing that Keshav was not at all amused.
Salloni was getting agitated at the behaviour of the kids and asked them to stop at once. She was not amused by the deviation that Keshav had caused.
“You all are too annoying for me to continue with my story,” Saloni said, with anger now showing on her face.
“If you are not interested then I will leave and never ever tell you any stories,” she added.
There was silence and the kids realized their mistake.
“It is all Keshav’s fault, he…” Kancha shouted.
“Shut up,” Saloni said, cutting him off. “I don’t want any complains here, listen to me now.”
Saloni continued with her story.
*
“These two sparrows were the only ones of their species living on the island. They were considered lucky by the whole bird kingdom. They loved each other very much and remained in the comforts of the island. In the evening they used to stroll together on the cool beaches — talking to each other of love and life. The old vulture, who was believed to have been dwelling on the island for over two hundred years, said that the two birds were brought to the island by the strong sea current. They were in the form of two eggs at that time. The vulture had seen the eggs from the top of the hill and had brought them to his nest on the tree top. Last year they had vacated his nest and were building their own. Taking it as God’s will, he did not try to bring back the two.
“One fine afternoon, by God’s grace the female sparrow laid two eggs on the beach. She covered them with sand to protect them from other birds. The male sparrow was delighted and congratulated her for giving him their next generation. The whole of the bird kingdom on the island had come together that night to give blessings to the couple. The old vulture was also present there to give his blessings. On the occasion, he forewarned the couple that the eggs were a good omen for them and that for these eggs they will be remembered for centuries to come. The couple took the advice of the vulture seriously and promised to take good care of the eggs until they hatch.
“That night the two birds sat by the shore, hand in hand, and promised that they would never part from each other, whatever may come upon them. Days passed by and everything went as usual until one day their destiny revealed itself. The male sparrow had gone to fetch food for the female sparrow and on his return he found her crying as if her soul had been taken away. And so it was.
“The male sparrow dropped the grains that he was carrying from his mouth and rushed to calm her. Stroking her head gently with his wings, he asked her in shock and surprise, ‘What happened sweetheart, what makes you cry so much? Is everything all right?’ The female sparrow blurted out, ‘The…the eggs, they are gone.’
‘What are you saying, my dear?’ the male sparrow asked, not being able to believe what she was saying. ‘They are safe, in the place where you kept them, come let us see.’ The male sparrow took her by her arm, but she did not move. Seeing her cry, he couldn’t wait anymore and rushed to the spot where the eggs were kept. The place was empty, ocean water had filled the spot and nothing lay inside the pit. He searched madly, splashing at the water and removing the sand from his legs. He could not believe his fate. The eggs were gone and she was indeed right. He made a mad dash for her and asked her with tears in his eyes, ‘Tell me, who has taken the eggs?’ He shook her with his hands. ‘I will do whatever it takes to bring them back to you, tell me.’ The female sparrow was unable to control her agony and pointed her finger towards the ocean. Looking to where her finger was pointing, the male sparrow shook his head in surprise and yelled, ‘What? Have you gone mad my dear? How can the ocean swallow our eggs? It is too kind and calm. It cannot do this. Tell me the truth.’
“‘This is the truth, honey,’ she said. ‘He has swallowed our eggs and I could do nothing but watch them go away. I am sorry. I could not keep our promise, I am sorry…’ she wept. ‘Don’t cry, they were as dear to me as they were to you.’ He turned towards the ocean, picked up a pebble and threw it with all his might into the water, as if declaring war. His eyes red with anger, he shouted to the ocean, ‘Give back our eggs or I will take away the water that fills you.’ Seeing her husband lose calm, the female sparrow tried to console him. ‘Forget it dear, you cannot fight the ocean. It is too big an opponent. I cannot afford to lose you as well. Let us go. What is done is done, it is God’s wish and we must obey.’
“‘No,’ he shouted back at her. ‘Those were our eggs and the ocean did not have any right to take them away. I will get them back for you, even if I have to challenge the ocean. You stand here. I will empty the ocean and get back the eggs.’ The female sparrow could not believe her ears. What was he saying? How could anybody empty the ocean? This is impossible, she thought. He has gone mad. She sighed. But a force inside her heart stopped her from holding back her lover. A force so intense that it causes one to believe that nothing is impossible. That even mountains can be moved and cyclones can be created. That rain can be made to fall on the most barren lands. That death can be conquered and time can be changed. No one has been able to define this force but swear of its existence. It makes a woman believe in the powers of her lover and that he can conquer the whole world at the blink of his eyelid. It is this that makes love so supreme and separation impossible. It ties into its knot two delicate souls, who melt into one with passion and commitment. She sat back and watched as the male sparrow picked up an empty shell with his beak. He flew to the ocean and dipped the shell into the water. Filling it up, he flew to the other side of the island and emptied it. Not even thinking for once that what he was doing was foolish, and he would only take out a bucket full of water in a lifetime. But what was backing the sparrow was immense faith and courage. What the female sparrow was thinking as a Herculean task was only a matter of time to her lover. And time he took. One after the other he had now completed hundred rounds of filling up and emptying the shell. The sun was about to set over the horizon and all the birds of the island were returning home. At that time a seagull which was flying overhead spotted the female sparrow sitting on the beach with tears in her eyes. It descended and came to her and asked, ‘What happened sister? You look so grieved and in pain. Can I help you in any way?’
“‘I wish you could,’ the female sparrow replied. ‘I have lost my eggs to the ocean this morning and my husband is trying to get them back for me.’ She pointed at her husband who was in between his rounds of filling up the shell. ‘What…what is he trying to do?’ the seagull asked in a shock. ‘Oh…nothing, he is just emptying the ocean, to get back the eggs.’ The seagull could not believe her ears. Is this some kind of dream, she asked herself. How can anybody empty the ocean? She started laughing, thinking that the couple had gone mad. ‘I should tell this to everyone,’ she said to herself and flew into the island. In no time the story of the two sparrows reached the ears of the bird kingdom. Soon they started flocking to the beach to show grief and sympathy to the female sparrow. They all expressed shock at the state of her husband, who was on his never-ending rounds of emptying the ocean. He did not pay attention to some birds who were trying to mock him and were calling him mad. With sheer focus and perseverance he carried on towards his goal.
“By this time the news had reached the old vulture. He was watching everything that was going on from his nest — the sorrow of the female sparrow, the efforts of her husband and the flocking of the bird community. The time has come, he said to himself, and quickly uttering a prayer to the sky he flew towards the beach. He landed near the female sparrow and kept his hand over her head. ‘Don’t worry, we will do something,’ he said in a relaxed voice. Turning his head, he saw that the entire bird kingdom had assembled on the beach. Above him he could see the male sparrow’s endless expedition. He went towards the birds that had flocked nearby and announced, ‘As we see here, we have a problem. The ocean has taken away the eggs of this couple without any reason. This is an act of injustice. We must summon the ocean lord to give back the eggs.’ There was silence all around. Nobody in the bird kingdom could speak against the vulture. His wisdom was unquestionable. All the birds responded to the request of the vulture in unison. ‘We will all summon the ocean lord to give back the eggs’, they said. Impressed by the unity of the birds, the old vulture closed his eyes and began uttering the holy prayer to summon the ocean lord. All the birds followed the vulture and repeated the prayer in full faith. The female sparrow also closed her eyes and started praying. Faith is believed to have the power to perform miracles. Even God can be forced to appear. The prayer started to sound more and more intense and the breeze over the ocean began to flow rapidly. The waves started getting bigger and bigger and began hitting the beach with more force. The vulture’s senses were aroused and he looked at the ocean with shining eyes. With a huge splash of water hitting the rocks, the ocean lord appeared in all his magnificence. The prayer stopped and everybody looked at the graceful figure in awe. Seeing the ocean lord, the old vulture moved a step forward and knelt before him. The whole of the bird kingdom flocked behind him. Looking up with both hands folded, the old vulture said, ‘Oh lord, it seems that the ocean has mistakenly taken away the eggs of this couple. They are now in great distress and shock. The husband of this poor girl is madly in pursuit to empty your ocean, to get back his eggs. How could you be so unkind to him? We request you to give back the eggs and end their sorrow.’
“‘I truly empathize with you,’ said the ocean lord. ‘This really is a matter of concern, but unfortunately it is out of my hands to help these poor birds. I am myself a servant of the supreme lord. And his orders I follow. My duty is to fill the earth with water. This I do with utter faith and devotion. Beyond this, nothing is in my control. I wish I could have helped you, but…’ The ocean lord stopped and stood silently before the bird fraternity, showing his helplessness.
“Living beings have limitations. Even Gods have their own limitations, the vulture thought. He flapped his wings in an abstract manner, as if trying to conjure a magic spell. ‘But there must be a way,” the vulture came back at the ocean lord. ‘Only the supreme lord can help you. If he wants he can pull back the ocean water so that you can find your eggs. I can only serve if he gives me orders,’ the ocean lord suggested. ‘You will have to take up the matter with him and ask him to show mercy. I am sure he will help,’ the ocean lord added. ‘But who will take this matter to him? No bird has the power in its wings to fly to the gates of the supreme lord. And we don’t have much time either. This crazy sparrow will go mad if we don’t stop him. Look at him, he is going on and on and on,’ the vulture said.
“‘Perhaps you should take the help of Gaduda, the God of all birds. Only he can take up this matter to the supreme lord,’ the ocean lord suggested. ‘Yes,’ the vulture’s eyes shone with a ray of hope. ‘Very well then,’ said the vulture. ‘I will go to Gaduda at once. I am sure he will help us. At least he is of our community.’
“‘I will leave then,’ said the ocean lord. ‘I am sure the lord is testing the sparrows. He will give in, don’t worry,’ saying this, he vanished into the ocean.
“The vulture turned to the birds and said, ‘We will have to ask lord Gaduda to take our matter to the supreme lord. He is tactful and I am sure he will help us. Otherwise there is no option left.’ The bird fraternity nodded its head in agreement. ‘I am going to him now with a few companions. In the mean time, take care of the sparrows. I shall return as fast as I can,’ the vulture said and flew away with a few other vultures to Lord Gaduda. It was a tedious journey and the vultures flew nonstop. Reaching Gaduda’s place, the vultures met him with folded hands. Gaduda was lying in his nest with his eyes closed, as if immersed in some dream. The vultures waited a while for Gaduda to open his eyes. Soon he lifted his eyelids. The eyes had great depth in them, as if the whole world was held within. The vulture said, ‘Oh lord, help us. Help your children. There’s a great adversity unfolding in the island. The two sparrows are in trouble. They have been robbed of their eggs. Poor things don’t know what to do. Only you can help us now.’
“Gaduda looked into the vultures’ eyes, as if reading them. ‘So you all want me to go to the supreme lord and request him to return back the eggs which the ocean has swallowed?’ Gaduda asked. ‘Yes lord, you know it all. This is injustice. We will have to fight,’ the vulture said in reply. ‘Fine, I will go to the supreme lord and narrate to him the whole situation,’ Gaduda told the vulture with confidence beaming in his eyes. ‘We have faith in you, my lord,’ the vulture answered in a relaxed tone. ‘You all can go now and leave the rest to me. There’s a great distance to travel,’ Gaduda ordered the vultures.
“By the time the vultures came back to the island, Lord Gaduda had done his task. He convinced the supreme lord to return back the eggs to the sparrows. The supreme lord gave orders to the ocean lord to recede its waters so that the sparrows could get their eggs back. The ocean lord obeyed and the eggs were returned. Thus the sorrow of the sparrows ended, with both of them hugging each other in joy. The female sparrow apologized to her husband for having doubted him for a moment. The male sparrow put the two eggs in front of her and with his exhausted wings caressed the head of his darling. ‘I have done my task, dear,’ he said with tears flowing from his eyes.”
With these words Saloni concluded her story of the two sparrows. An hour had passed since she started. She was amazed at the sheer patience the kids showed in listening to her story.
“So children, this was the story of the two sparrows. Did you all like it?” she asked, expecting questions from the kids.
There was a pause. “As you all know, this story had a purpose,” Saloni added, seeing the blank expressions on the children’s faces.
“There’s a moral in the story that will help you in times to come. So tell me what you all learned from it.”
The kids started looking at each other with eyes wide open, expecting someone else to start first. Keshav was in deep thought, as if trying to dig out the hidden meaning. But his imagination could not take him beyond the sparrow and the vulture. Maybe he was not exposed to the more mature things in life. Perhaps he was not trained to reason things around him. Or he was too young for all this. Maybe his family did not want him to find a reason in everything. That is how it is in the villages. You grow up and die in the same hut, with the same people around you all the time. There is the same piece of land to plough and the same pair of oxen. Days pass by in the hope of rains and then in the hope of food and money. It is in a hundred years that somebody takes on the challenge to sow the seeds of aspiration into the young souls, to cultivate them into healthy crops who would change the view of the village. But droughts and floods are always round the corner. Everybody in the village knows this truth. Everybody swears not to sow a healthy seed.
Saloni realized all of a sudden that she was expecting too much from the kids. Their barren faces had a frightening expression.
Having realized this, she softly said to the kids, “The message behind this story is to start! Yes, you should all start at once the task you want to complete. Remember, at the time you start towards a goal, you may not have all the things necessary to reach the goal, but you should go ahead with whatever little you have.”

“Start now, in time it will happen.”
“Remember these words forever and you shall one day succeed as the male sparrow did in the end,” Saloni added, as if telling a Gospel truth.
“You may be as small as the sparrow and the problem as large as the ocean, but this should not discourage you from facing the challenge. Take whatever step is within your reach and capability. It is when you start taking these small steps, which may seem meaningless in the beginning, that bigger and superior forces will start acting in your favour,” Saloni concluded.
Babua was sitting quiet all this while. A million thoughts were running in his mind. His young brain was trying to find the connection between the story and his life. A series of events flashed across his mind like a tornado. He saw himself in the sparrow and then again in the vulture. He was one in the crowd of birds who was watching everything from a distance. He became the ocean lord
and then the supreme lord. He was amazed at this experience. How easily he associated with everything as if he was an actor playing many roles.

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me

me

Siddharth Choudhary, born in 1983 in Calcutta, is a poet, writer, painter and a trained martial artiste. He has a master’s degree in advertising and communications. He presently lives in Mumbai, where he works as an advertising professional.

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Dust, Dusk and Sesame Seeds - The Novel

Quote from the book

“Through love arises a sense of respect. And respect gives way to fear. But this fear is different from the fear we normally experience. Fear arising out of love is fear in its most divine form. If love brings people together, it’s fear that keeps them from falling apart. It is what makes them responsible to each other. In this sense, love and fear are but the same thing.”

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Title: – dust, dusk & sesame seeds: Fiction

Author: – Siddhartha Choudhary

Format: -Paperback

ISBN: – 9789380154398

Publisher: – Leadstart Publishing

No. of Pages: 132 Pages

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About the Author

Blurb

Basera is a small village situated on the foothills of the Sahyadri ranges, and like any other village in India is awaiting transformation. Here you find interesting characters.

Babua is puzzled by the constant reverie he is into. He learns life’s lessons by arriving at his own conclusions. Kancha, his school friend, disapproves of the life in the village and finds happiness in a newfound path.

Saloni is determined to set the pace of Basera’s development. With this hope she tells a miraculous story to the children. A story that is designed to change lives forever.

Siddhartha Choudhary paints a pretty picture of life in Indian villages and addresses different social issues, namely how the evil of illiteracy haunts the rural society.

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