The drifter’s game, By Kieran Patel (Grade 8) i was the girl on the softball field, who would draw patterns with cleats in the clay, and blow dandelions and pick grass in the soccer goal. (i think when i was younger, i was full of helium. because i always floated up, and needed someone to pull me back down.) i don’t think I would have minded, drifting up to the clouds. i never paid much attention to the game, and in basketball i didn’t mind, that the bench was more of a friend, than the players on my team. i think i’d rather enjoy the company of trees and wildflowers and myself. i don’t think i liked the rules set in stone, or the referees and coaches and didn’t care much for trophies, or after-game pizza. and i think during every match, every practice, championship and meet, i was off in my own little world, playing my own game.
A goat and a fox were walking together on a barren land. It was a very hot and sunny day. They became very thirsty and were looking for water. They saw an old well and looked inside. The water was about five feet below the ground level. They immediately jumped in the well and drank the water. Now the question was how to come out of the well? They tried to jump but could not reach the top. Finally the cunning fox said to the goat: “There is only one way to get out. If you stand on you hind legs and stand up against wall with your fore legs, I can climb up on your back and get out. Once I am out of the well, I will grab your horns and pull you out of the well in no time.” The goat believed the fox but did not think that the fox does not enough strength to pull him out. The goat stood against the wall as explained by the fox. The fox climbed up him and jumped out of the well. “Now you pull me out,” said the goat. The fox replied: “You fool, don’t you realize that you are heavier than me and I am not strong enough to grab you and pull you out? I am not stupid like you because I know that I can fall back in the well if I try to hold and pull you out. I cannot risk my life to save you. Now, if you at all come out live, just remember that you should think before you act.” The fox went away.
The goat was repenting. A cow sitting nearby heard everything and said: “Before people consider me as the cunning like a fox, it is better that they consider me as dumb and foolish like a goat.”
Question: What did the cow say? Why?
Moral: Think of the safety of everyone and yourself and try to help.
A group of monkeys were living in a jungle. They used to eat the fruits, jump and play around all day. Some of the infant monkeys were spending their days by playing, pulling tails of each other, hanging upside down on the tree with their tails, slapping one another, shouting and so on. Once it was a full moon night. There was a pond and the elder monkeys were asleep on the branches of a tree near that pond. One naughty kid was awake. He saw the reflection of full moon in the water of the pond. He woke other kids up. Every one saw the moon’s reflection and thought that it was a nice white fruit. They were thinking how to get that fruit out of water. One kid got an idea. He hung on the tree branch which was right above the moon’s image in the water. Other kid held his tail with both hands and hung down. So all other monkeys held the tail of the monkey above him until the last one almost reached near the water surface. As soon as the last one tried to grab the moon in the water, the first one holding the tree branch lost his grip and all the monkeys fell down in the water. All the monkeys were very unhappy.
Question: What went wrong?
Moral: Think of safety before you act.
The drifter’s game,
By Kieran Patel (Grade 8)
i was the girl on the softball field,
who would draw patterns with cleats in the clay,
and blow dandelions and pick grass
in the soccer goal.
(i think when i was younger,
i was full of helium.
because i always floated up,
and needed someone to pull me back down.)
i don’t think I would have minded,
drifting up to the clouds.
i never paid much attention to the game,
and in basketball i didn’t mind,
that the bench was more of a friend,
than the players on my team.
i think i’d rather enjoy the company
of trees and wildflowers and myself.
i don’t think i liked the rules set in stone,
or the referees and coaches and
didn’t care much for trophies,
or after-game pizza.
and i think during every match,
every practice, championship and meet,
i was off in my own little world,
playing my own game.
“Little Forest Girl”
By Ananya Mallavarapu
Wide doe-eyes peeked out from the tightly wrapped bundle in the bed. Vani was all snuggled up ready to go to bed and she was really excited today. Instead of the usual bedtime ritual, Vani was getting a treat today. Her grandfather, who had come to visit her for her upcoming birthday was going to tell her a bedtime story.
Vani didn’t know much about her grandfather but she just knew that he spoke kind of funny- her mother called it an accent but Vani just thought it sounded pretty and wished she could speak like that.
Her grandfather had all the best stories and she could not wait to see what the new stories he was going to tell her today. Or maybe he’d tell her, her favorite story- the one about Sylvie and Prince Cameron from the elves!
Her grandfather actually had other names for them but she couldn’t say them so she had been given alternate names to call them by.
“Vani dear, if you don’t calm down I can’t tell you the story lassie.” Vani made a face- she hated being called lassie but it was okay, she was going to get a good story anyway.
“Okay, can you tell the Sylvie story?” She knew she didn’t really have to but just in case her grandfather refused Vani pulled out the puppy eyes-, he never could resist those. Her grandfather laughed and she reveled in it. It sounded like Santa Claus’ laugh and it made her feel happy.
“I will now lass. You know what’s funny; you’re quite different from your mother. All she wanted to hear were stories from India.” Vani made a face and sighed- she was getting impatient. But it was interesting to note that she was different from her mommy.
“All right then, here we go.” Her grandfather began sensing her impatience. “A long time ago, when the land was dotted with small grasslands, flowering fields, and tiny villages there was an elven king. The king was a nice man; his kingdom respected him and he in turn treated them fairly. This king had a son named Daeron who like his father was all set to become a kind and just ruler.”
“It’s Cameron Grandpa!” The little girl huffed. Muffled laughter sounded after her statement and she turned curious eyes to her half-Scottish, half-Indian mother. Her mother just shook her head motioning with one hand for the story to continue.
“Well then lass- Prince Cameron it is. Good thing you picked a Scottish name, though I wonder if this Prince should have a crooked nose too.”*
Vani’s eyes opened comically clearly expressing her dislike of the subject. She really didn’t like the crooked nose story as she called it and her grandfather seeing her expression laughed before continuing.
“Well then, Prince Cameron was all set to rule the land but first he had to find a wife and marry her. So, one day, the Prince set off to find his future bride. He arrived in one of the neighboring villages near his father’s castle and tried to find a woman who he could fall in love with and who would make a good queen.
“After a week of searching the Prince was about to give up his quest when he saw a lovely maiden, with hair that shone like marigolds and a smile that showed all the kindness she had. Now this maiden was a farmer’s daughter by the name of Sylvia but we can call her Sylvie too.” Vani rolled her eyes when her grandfather wasn’t looking but a sharp reprimand from her mother had her apologizing as her grandfather continued the story.
“The Prince quickly fell in love with Sylvia and asked her to marry him. But she refused. The Prince asked her why and she told him: ‘I will not marry but the one who gives me the gift I have long awaited for my name.’ Now the Prince was confused but he had fallen in love with her and so he vowed to try to woo his fair maiden. Day and night, he worked to find the perfect gift. He gave her jewels and precious scrolls, but nothing seemed to sway Sylvia’s heart. Finally, the Prince left and went to the edge of the forest where a lone oak tree stood.”
“This tree was named Caledon and unlike ordinary oak trees- the tree had magic in it. It was where the kingdom’s rulers, villagers, and elderly went for advice much as Prince Cameron did. Prince Cameron upon arriving begged the wizened oak to help and the tree agreed for it could see that the Prince was really in love with Sylvia and he would do what he could to make him happy. Plus, he knew that the Prince would make a just ruler one day and would protect him like he needed. Caledon listened to the Prince’s story and then thought about it. Finally, Caledon solved the riddle the Princess had given him and told the Prince what he had found.”
A loud yawn suddenly sounded and Vani squirmed when she was caught. She was tired but this was her favorite story and so she asked her grandfather if he pretty please with a cherry on top wouldn’t mind finishing the story.
“All right. Now where was I again?”
“Caledon solved the riddle.” Vani piped up trying to fight her drowsiness.
“Ah yes that’s right. Caledon upon solving the riddle asked the Prince to think long and hard about his beloved’s name and see what the kingdom was missing. The Prince thought for a moment before he realized what Caledon meant. Sylvia was named for forests but in their kingdom, there was nary a forest in sight. And so the Prince despaired. How was he to get his beloved what she wanted? Dejected, the Prince was about to walk away in defeat when Caledon shook its leaves and let loose a torrent of acorns. Caledon told the Prince to plant the seeds around him so that he could use his own magic and help the young saplings grow. Thanking him, Prince Cameron set about doing what he was told working all through the night to finish his task.”
Another yawn escaped Vani and her eyes were becoming drowsier. Seeing this, her grandfather smiled and rushed to finish it before his granddaughter closed her eyes for the night.
“The next morning, as the villagers woke up they noticed that a forest had sprung up on its border’s overnight. As the villagers asked each other what was happening, Sylvia who finally saw the forest knew that the Prince had answered her riddle and given her the one and only gift she wanted. She walked to the forest, ignoring all the villagers’ protests and found the tired prince waiting for her. When she reached him, she thanked him for his gift and asked him how he ever made it happen. The Prince told Sylvia about how the old oak tree helped him and how he worked through the night to make her gift. Sylvia, feeling a little guilty told the Prince that she was immensely grateful and would give him a gift in return. Sylvia was really a Princess in hiding; she came from the isles and was the last of her people. She agreed to marry him and in turn gave him the isles to make as his and place it within his rule. The Prince was elated at the news and took her to his castle immediately. They were married a few days later and lived happily ever after.”
When there was no sound indicating his granddaughter’s happiness at the ending, he looked down at her girl. Vani’s eyes were now closed but she wasn’t breathing deeply yet and so her grandfather whispered the last part even if she might not hear or remember it in the morning.
“And Caledon watched them as the forest grew, he watched them grow old, he watched their children grow old, and now he watches their descendants. Good night dear child and may Sylvia always live within you.”
Leaning down he kissed his granddaughter on the forehead and stood up off the bed watching his daughter come into the room and repeat the same actions. They watched Vani until she was in a deep sleep and soon found themselves downstairs in the kitchen.
“When are you going to tell her that of all the legends you tell this is the only unreal one?”
“Why I remember a certain young girl prancing around wishing she was Sylvia.” Her father answered with a twinkle in his eye. His daughter laughed. She loved her father and the story that he had made a long time ago when she was Vani’s age. It had become the staple favorite story and she was quite engrossed in it.
“That young girl grew up to pass the story on daddy.” The daughter stated washing the glass of water that he gave her. “I’m glad you’re teaching Vani all of this. I don’t want her to forget that she’s Scottish.”
“I’m more than glad to teach her Sheena. You’re bonnie ole lass.” Sheena merely rolled her eyes in a near perfect imitation of her daughter as her husband walked back into the kitchen. He had cleaned up the dishes and had just come in from taking the trash out.
“Is Vani asleep?” He asked washing his hands.
“Considering the fact that my father told her the story of Sylvia again I would say yes.” He laughed and his wife hissed at him seeing him about to mock her.
“Anish!” She yelled out indignantly. He only smirked before turning to his father in law.
“I swear, sometimes I don’t even have to wonder where Vani gets it from.” The old man laughed and shook his head.
“They’re more alike than they’ll ever admit eh?” He asked slowly. Sheena just shook her head as she began ushering everyone out of the room.
“Come on, come on. I know it’s still early but Vani’s already asleep so we can’t wake her. Let’s all call it a night.” The men nodded and disappeared leaving her to check in on her daughter alone. Peering from the door Sheena was glad to see her daughter sleeping peacefully.
“Good night my little forest girl.”
*Reference to a Scottish legend about the origins of the name Cameron.
Dadaji’s story #20
A farmer had four sons. All were working hard in the farms and became strong. Sometimes they used to fight for small things. The farmer was getting old and worried for the boys. He wanted his sons to stay united together in the same house without fighting with one another. One day he called all his sons and told them to bring some long and thin sticks. He asked each of his sons to break one stick. Each one broke a stick very easily, because all were strong. Now, the farmer asked each one to hold a bunch of sticks together and break them. Each one tried to break the bunch of sticks. It was difficult to break all the sticks together. No one could break the bunch of sticks. The farmer advised his sons: “If you are alone, you can be defeated easily, like one stick, when you are attacked by someone. However, if all of you are united together, like the bunch of sticks together, no one can defeat you guys.” All four sons understood the advice. They thanked their father and decided to stay united.
Question: Why could they not break the bunch of sticks?
Moral: Unity is strength.
Dadaji’s story #19
There was a dense jungle. All the trees were straight and tall in that forest. Their trunks were big and rounded and nicely shaped. But there was one tree with a crooked trunk. The shapeless and crooked tree was always sad. This tree thought in his head: “I am very ugly. All other trees are straight and shapely. I alone have a crooked trunk.” One day a woodcutter came there. He looked around and said: “I will cut all these straight trees here, except that ugly looking tree. That tree is of no use to me.” He cut away all other trees. Now, the crooked was very happy for his crookedness.
Question: What makes the crooked tree sad?
Moral: Be happy with what you are.
Dadaji’s Story # 18
A carpenter was sawing a long wooden log along its length, to divide into two parts. He was sawing from morning to noon, but was able to cut only half-way. He was hungry. So he put a wedge into the split and went for lunch. A monkey was watching this from a tree top. He became curious of the wedge. He came down the tree and went to the log. He tried to pull the wedge out, but it did not yield. He sat on the log with legs on each side. His tail was dangling down thru the split. He kept on trying hard to pull the wedge out. All of a sudden, the wedge came out. The log stuck together with a snap and cut off his tail. The monkey screamed and jumped out and climbed up on the tree. He lost his tail.
Question: Why the monkey lost his tail?
Moral: If you are curious, look before you act.
Dadaji’s story # 17
A hungry dog was roaming around a town looking for food. He found a piece of bone. He picked it up and went to a lonely corner and chewed the bone. When he felt thirsty, he picked up the bone and went to a nearby river. When he was about to drink water, he saw his own reflection in the water. He thought that there was another dog with a bone in the water. He became greedy and wanted to get the bone from the dog in the water. He began to bark. The bone in his mouth fell into the river and drifted away. The dog lost his bone.
Question: Why did the dog lose his bone?
Moral: Most of the time, the greedy one is finally a loser.
Dadaji’s story #13 - The blue jackal
A cunning old jackal was living in a cave in a forest. As he could not get sufficient food in the forest, he would go to the city nearby at night, in search of food. One night, when the hungry jackal had just entered the city, a pack of dogs attacked him. Badly wounded he fled and stumbled into a tub which was full of a blue dye. He turned blue. After the howling dogs had disappeared, he crawled out of the tub and went back in the forest. Next day, when the other animals saw the blue colored jackal, they were filled with fear. When the jackal saw the fear in the animals and their attempt to escape, he was amused. He called out to them and said: “Hey all come back. I have been sent by the God to reign over you as a king. Now you can live here without fear because I will guard you by my strength and power.” All the animals came and bowed humbly before him, acknowledging him as a king. He gave various duties to all the animals; but he turned out of the forest all the jackals of his own race. Then he lived in pomp and splendor. The tigers guarded his door and other animals hunted for food and gave it to him. In this way, the blue jackal passed many happy days. Then suddenly, one day, he heard the howl of a pack of jackals. This long-forgotten sound filled him with the joy and excitement. Following his nature and forgetting his new position, he raised his voice and howled back in the manner of jackals. The wild beasts, guarding the new king, were shocked to find that their king was none other than an ordinary jackal. They felt humiliated and got angry. So, they attacked him. The blue jackal tried desperately to escape. But the wild animals killed him.
Question: Where did the blue jackal make a mistake?
Moral: One should not pretend and try to cheat others.
(Story from Panchatatra)
Dadaji’s Story #12
A bull was sound asleep under a shady tree on a hot summer day. He was snoring loudly. A small mouse was passing by and heard the snoring sound of the bull. The mouse became curious. The mouse slowly climbed up to the nose and bit the bull’s nose just for fun. The bull woke up and said: “Who bit me and woke me up?” The mouse came down and said: “I am sorry. I just bit you for fun. I did not want to wake you up.” The bull got angry and wild. The mouse got scared and started running away from bull, but bull chased the mouse. Finally, the mouse saw a hole in a big concrete wall and went into the hole. The bull dashed to the wall. He could not catch the mouse. He shouted: “You silly mouse, I will teach you a lesson.” He dashed against the wall again and again. The little mouse said to the bull: “Why are you breaking your head for a small mouse like me?” The mouse was unhurt and the bull finally left.
Question: who was smart: The bull or the mouse? Why did the bull chase the mouse? Was the bull right?
Moral: If you are strong, think before you act wild. Might is not always right.
What Taekwondo Really Does
By Jasleen Chaddha (Grade 7)
Taekwondo is a great experience for children of any age. No matter what their personality resembles, taekwondo disciplines them to cope with daily problems in healthy and mature way. It gives children different tastes of good characteristics like respect and integrity. It doesn’t only stress on physical training but also natural strength like social fundamentals that are extremely beneficial to learn at a tender age. Taekwondo also enhances and enriches other essential social skills. In addition to that, it gives healthy ways to relieve stress. Martial arts are a successful attempt to urge people to protect themselves. Taekwondo has affected my life greatly, it is a great workout, I can protect myself even the worst situations, I have the ability to talk with anyone because of the social abdicates I have learned and I know many things that can have a good influence on my future. I think adults should also take classes too!
• Scientists have come to discover that enrolling in Taekwondo can improve a child’s academic process and social abdicates.
• ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) can be prevented or even lessened with often taekwondo classes.
• Self-esteem can increase with the opportunities taekwondo offers.
Bibliography: Masters at the White Tiger Establishment, Legend of the White Tiger II, published in the U.S. 2004.
By Aneri Kothari (Grade 6)
There once was a town,
Where clouds were sweet,
Where little kids ate them,
As a treat!
They licked their fingers,
And ate some more,
Until one day,
There was a knock on the door.
They, opened the door,
Then the youngest one asked,
Who are you and what are you here for?
The man he simply,
Pointed to the sky
And said silently,
Fixing his tie,
The clouds are gone,
But please don’t cry,
There is a way to fix it,
If we all try.”
The clouds were more than food,
They were protection,
Made mysteriously, though with perfection.
“Tell your parents to stop pollution,
Tell them to start finding a solution.
That, yes we will,
We will go green.
That we will bring back,
The clouds we had once seen.
“And you, little kids,
Must help as well,
You must raise awareness,
Tell whoever you can tell!”
“And after that happens,
You all can eat,
From those candy clouds,
That delicious treat!”
By Amoli Kothari (Grade 6)
It sits alone, all by itself,
It is abandoned. It sits, and shivers, and whimpers, and cries,
But not even one, cares to reply.
A small furry creature all by itself,
Waits all through the night.... in a tiny space.
It waits under a mailbox,
With just one yelp or two,
Wondering what it should do...
Because it is abandoned.
It tries to find someone,
That will give it attention.
But, none comes for years and years,
‘til the baby animal moves.
Moves away, far, far away
Where it can have
Company, happiness, and fun
By Soham Vohra (Age 7)
Mark, the fun-loving preschooler, was a good kid. He loved to play and he loved to learn new things. However, there was only one little problem. Discipline. He loved circle time, but not waiting for his turn to speak. He loved the playground, but not waiting for his turn to bike. And he especially loved to read, but he loved talking at the same time, while other preschoolers took their naps. He was a great kid who didn’t have much focus on what he did.
Everyday before Mark left for school his mom reminded him to listen and do a good job at school. Sometime days were great, but there were still days when he would come back home with complaints and notes from his teachers.
As he turned four, Mark started learning a new skill. Taekwondo. That is where he started learning “mind focus, eye focus, body focus”, something that he had been missing all along! “Key-hahp!….” would bring his focus back to the class. By learning to focus in his doe-jang, the training area at Taekwondo, and applying it in his school, Mark made his way from Preschool to Kindergarten, and then to first grade. His parents and teachers saw a lot of improvement along the way.
Mark’s Tae Kwon Do school had a black belt life skill every week. When Mark was in 1st grade, “Concentration” was the life skill that caught his attention. He decided to master the skill and apply it in his life outside the doe-jang as well. From that point on, his grades went up, he was always focused and his teachers and parents were always proud of him. Thank you, Taekwondo, for helping Mark learn to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand!
Dadaji’s Story # 11
A working man in India owned a donkey. The donkey’s name was Gaddu and it worked hard throughout the whole day. At night his master left him free to roam and graze in the farms. Once Gaddu met a fox and made him a friend. Every night they used to eat whatever they liked. Once, in a moonlit night, Gaddu was impressed and wanted to sing. He said to the fox: “I wish to sing. Can you suggest a good song?” The fox cautioned him and said, “Do not think of singing because we are in a farm without the permission from the farmers. If you sing, we will be caught and it will mean big trouble for us. Moreover your voice is loud and not pleasant to hear.” But Gaddu was in a singing mood. He said to the fox, “I think you don’t like music. Hear me sing and you will love it.” “Just a moment”, said the fox, “Let me go away and hide in the bush. So, I can escape from there when the farmers come.” Gaddu lifted up his face and started braying very loudly. The farmers were sleeping in their nearby huts and they woke up because of the loud voice. They lost their sleep. They got mad, grabbed sticks and went to the place where Gaddu was braying. The farmers clubbed him and beat him with the sticks and put a heavy iron ring around his neck. The fox saw that and ran away. Next night when the fox saw Gaddu with a heavy iron ring around his neck, he said, “It seems you have been awarded a medal for singing. When I advised you not to sing, you refused to listen to me. So you got into trouble.”
Question: Why was Gaddu beaten up?
Moral: When your friend gives you right advice, listen to him. And think before you act anything stupid.
Dadaji’s Story # 10
There was a boy who was very fond of sweet food like candy, cookies, ice cream and so on. His mother usually gave him a few sweet things every day. The boy always wanted more. He always asked his mother: “Mummy, can I have some more?” But his mother always replied: “Eating too many sweet foods is not good, my son. If you eat too much at a time you will get cavities in your teeth and you may even lose your teeth. You may also get stomach pain. And remember, God is everywhere and sees everything you do even if you are home alone.” One day his mother had gone to buy groceries and no one was at home except the boy. He went to the kitchen pantry and took out the candy jar. He thought: “Well, God is watching if I eat candies, but He is not going to tell my mom!” So, he ate all the candies from the jar. Even after that, he got into a habit of eating sweet things when no one was home. After a few months, he got a stomach pain and a tooth ache. His mom took him to a dentist. The dentist examined his teeth and found that there were cavities and the cavities needed to be filled up or else the bad teeth may have to be pulled out. The treatment was expensive and painful. When his mother asked the boy, how this had happened, the boy told the truth. He also told her that he will never eat sweets again.
Question: Is it OK not to obey his mother? Why?
Moral: The parents and elders are our well wishers. Obey them.
Dadaji’s Story # 9
Ram and Shyam were friends. Once they went for a walk in the forest to enjoy the beauty of nature. The jungle was beautiful with the trees, creeks, flowers and birds chirping about. When they went a little deeper into the jungle, they saw a bear coming at them. Both were frightened. Ram knew how to climb the tree while Shyam did not know that. Ram ran to a tree and climbed up quickly. He did not think of Shyam. Since Shyam did not know how to climb a tree, he quickly thought for a moment as to what to do now. He remembered some old man had told that animals do not prefer dead bodies. So, he fell to the ground, held his breath and stayed still. He pretended to be dead. The bear came to him and started sniffing his face, ears and thought that the boy was dead. So, the bear went away without injuring him. Later, Ram came down the tree and asked Shyam: “What did the bear whisper in your ears?”
Shyam replied: “The bear told me to keep away from friends like you,” and the bear went on his way.
Question: Why did the bear tell him to stay away from a friend like Ram?
Moral: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
The Unlucky Sneetch on the Coastal Beach
By Kamalika Das (Age 9)
POP!! The star belly machine burst when I came out. I looked different from everyone in Coastal Beach. Immediately, everyone started to stare at me. I had black hair, an orange face and neck, blue and red body. Around my neck was a purple mark that looked somewhat like a scarf. Also I had green hands and multicolored feet-mainly pink, red, blue, green, yellow, and orange. I thought that I looked good because I was different from everyone. I was unique! Not everyone thought I looked good. Even though some sneetches called me names, I just ignored them.
While I was walking back home, I noticed many signs posted on trees and nearby street lights that said “throw rocks throw stones at this girl sneetch.” It had a picture of me to let the sneetches know how I look. I was so angry but I thought it was a joke. The next day I woke up and noticed that we didn’t have any cereal at home, so I had to go and get some. But when I went outside all the sneeches in the city surrounded my house. They were carrying big bags of rocks ready to throw at me. When everyone started throwing rocks I ran to the store as fast as I could. I told the manager “Can I have a box of Kiks?” He said “Definitely!” Three minutes later he gave me a huge and heavy box of Kiks. He peered out and said, “Have a stony day!” He had a funny smile at his face and that made me mad. I grabbed the box of cereal and ran away.
I saw Sofie, my friend, playing 4-square with other sneetches. I asked her “Can I play too?” Sofie said, “No, you are not a very unique sneetch. How can you play if you are not a star belly sneetch. They can only play but sometimes some plain belly sneetches can play but not you.” I ran away from her disappointed. I sat on the nearest beach I see, gasping for breath. My legs were tired. I was hungry too, so I open the box of Kiks. What I saw next shocked me! Instead of cereal there were stones in the huge and heavy box. I had to pay $9.99 for a box of stones!
I was done with it. I jogged to the mayor’s house and pleaded “Please tell the city (Coastal Beach) to stop being mean to me. Also ask them not to throw rocks or stones at me anymore.” He heard my entire story and said, “Sure any time.” I said “Don’t forget to ask them to play with me.” So, the mayor ordered everyone not to throw rocks or stones at me from that that day on. Late on that week the sneetches in the city threw a party to say sorry for what they had done to me. They realized that though I looked bad, I was very similar to them. After getting back all my friends I didn’t want to make any changes in my looks. I was happy with my appearance and made it clear that others would have to accept me as I was.
War is War
By Akshay Nanda (Grade 9)
War is War
War is such a devastating word
What miseries are behind that word
It tells of all the battles and noisy fighting
It tells of people getting slaughtered in service of the country
War isn’t necessary, but
War is War
Nothing is ever solved by war
Gaping wounds, injured limbs,
Cities messed up,
Dark revenge, awful massacres,
Missing families, and broken homes
War isn’t necessary, but
War is War
Nobody benefits from war,
Not even the victorious
For war is often more costly for the winners,
Than the defeated
Though all service- men seek fame, glory, and victory,
What is gained if this is accomplished
War isn’t necessary, but
War is War.
There are many other ways to resolve a conflict
But not war. No, Not war
War shouldn’t be…WAR
War can only be a little justifiable,
If fighting for the nation with a purpose
But what purpose is it, that gets you this
War is never good, but,
War is WAR.
Life and Death
By Simran Bhatia (Age 9)
Life is a choice
A choice is your destiny.
If you chose the wrong path,
It can change your destiny forever.
Life is a journey through the dessert,
When you do something good,
Someone gives you a drink of water.
If you do something bad you get hit by drought.
Death is an adventure through good and bad.
If you did something bad
When you lived, soul never comes to rest.
If you did something good you rest peacefully.
Life and Death are choices.
Live your life or kill your Soul.
Life is a Choice.
Black Belt Project
By Shriya Vohra (Age 12)
Key-hahp! A loud yell of power escapes my mouth as my foot slices through the intended target, a wooden board. The snap of the board is followed by cheers and applause from the audience, a group of parents watching our Board Breaking class at White Tiger Taekwondo. With a practice performance like this, I know that my Black Belt Test in May is going to be fine.
I am a Bodon Belt, training to be a Black Belt, at White Tiger. I have been going there for three years now, and I love it! Being a Bodon belt has many advantages. First of all, I am a high rank, and I know that lower ranks, such as white or yellow belts, look up to me, which gives me a sense of responsibility. Also, I am allowed to run on the track above the White Tiger facility (yes!), as long as I have my pass with me. I know all my forms and self-defenses by memory, and I have the confidence to show them to anybody! Since the day I began my training, the Martial Art of Taekwondo has made me a better person.
Focus. Think. Plan. Act. Every action or big step in life begins with focus, or the ability to concentrate. Taekwondo has helped me to build up my focus with the three basic rules: Body Focus, Eye Focus, and Mind Focus. Using those guidelines, I have been able to focus and concentrate not just in my Taekwondo classes, but also at home, when my parents talk to me, at school, when my teachers are teaching, and even with my friends, when they tell me about their day. Before I began taking Taekwondo, it was hard for me to concentrate during tests, and I would be distracted by the smallest things- the clock is ticking loudly, the girl in front of me is twirling her hair…and when I began Taekwondo- POOF! All the distractions seem to have disappeared, and my grades went up, too!
Confidence is another value Taekwondo has emphasized. The usual key-hahp you associate with Martial Arts is not just for fun. It shows the level of confidence you feel. For example, a soft key-hahp signifies less confidence and power, while a louder and bolder key-hahp shows strength and power, and is meant to startle your opponent. To me, confidence means going up on that stage and dancing the best, it means going into that room and taking that test with no worries, it means doing that perfect dive in the water and swimming like there’s no tomorrow. And I would say that Taekwondo deserves the credit for all this. With each key-hahp, whether it is a yell or a mental “I can do it!”, Taekwondo has built up my confidence.
Finally, Taekwondo has strengthened my goal-achieving skills. As a White Belt, my goal was to memorize and perfect my forms. Now, being a Black Belt candidate, I need to complete a total of 100 miles of running, 6000 push-ups, 9000 sit-ups, and at least 60 repetitions of each form I have learned—by May, which is when my testing is. However, no worries, with all the Focus and Confidence I’ve learned, I’m sure that I can accomplish anything, whether it is working for my Black Belt, or finishing a Language Arts project in time!
When can you eat soap?
When you change the “a” to “u”.
Which letter of the alphabet is wet and salty?
The letter C (sea).
Why does lightning shock people?
Because it doesn’t know how to conduct itself!
What’s the worst type of driving school?
The kind that offers “Crash courses.”
What’s black and white and goes round and round?
A zebra on a Merry Go Round.
What looks like half a tomato?
The other half.
What will always support you when everyone else lets you down?
Dadaji’s Story #5
It was a sunny and bright summer day. The food was plentiful everywhere. A grasshopper was singing and dancing, because he had everything to eat. An ant was working very hard carrying the food into the anthill dung under a shade tree. The grasshopper shouted and told the ant: “Oh, What a pity? You work very hard on a sunny day. You lose all the play.” The ant replied, “It is okay my friend. We are storing the food for the cold winter. You too can save.” But the grasshopper did not care and started playing and singing. The winter came and it was very cold everywhere. There was no food. The grasshopper began to starve. He went to the ant and asked for some food. The ant replied, “You lazy bone! You were dancing and playing all summer. You did not think about the future. Go away and dance now. I cannot help you.”
Question: What happened when the ant gave him some good advice? (He did not care.)
Moral: You should take care when someone gives you good advice. If you save today, it will help you tomorrow.
Dadaji’s Story #6
Once, a bee fell into a stream. He was struggling to get out of the water. His wings became wet so he could not fly. A dove was sitting on a nearby tree. He saw the struggling bee. He plucked a leaf. He held the leaf in his beak and flew to the bee. He scooped the bee with a leaf and dropped the bee out on the shore. After sometime the bee flew away. A few days later, the dove was sitting on the tree and was sleeping. A naughty boy was aiming a sling at him. The bee saw the boy. When the boy was about to shoot the bird, the bee stung the boy’s hand. The boy cried loudly with the pain. The dove woke up and flew away.
Question: Why should you help someone who is in trouble?
Moral: If you help someone in trouble, someone will help you when you need it. One good thing leads to another.
All I need is love… Love is all I need…
My experience with fostering puppies
By Mithi Shukla
Floppy ears, big shiny playful eyes, and that cuddly fur, what does that remind you of? She likes some attention, likes to be loved, and loves to play. That’s the picture I had in mind forever and ever. Every time I thought of this picture I felt like something was missing. Oh….. How I wish I could have a puppy!!!!!!!!!!
We had explored several options and then we finally found something. At the Humane Society of Charlotte we were looking for some way to work with puppies. They had just the right program that would be ideal for me. We could be foster families for puppies. We filled the online application and then waited for the mandatory orientation session. The orientation session was finally here and now there was another training session we needed to go to. This seemed like a long wait and felt like we would never be able to bring a puppy home at this rate. But, this would be a good and helpful training so we would know what to do and what not to do.
Foster puppies are normally around 5 to 6 weeks in age. They need to stay with their mom ideally for the first 4 to 5 weeks after which they can be more independent and stay away from the mother. Humane Society gets puppies and dogs from rescue efforts, sometimes they have been abandoned and also when people bring in the puppies from a mother dog that had a litter. When puppies come to the shelter they get their first round of shots and subsequent ones as they grow. At this age puppies cannot mix with other dogs because they are not fully vaccinated and can pick up infections from other dogs. Humane Society provides food, bedding, crates, toys, everything. These puppies don’t need to go for walks but they do love to play outside. After all the training I was anxiously waiting for my first puppy.
It was really cold outside and the forecast called for snow. I was sitting on the couch watching TV when my dad came in from the garage door and said my friend was outside and wanted me to come to her house. But when I opened the door I saw a crate with two small Rottweiler puppies just staring at me with the most adorable eyes. When I saw them I felt lightheaded and I felt like I was going to faint. Anytime I ever thought about puppies I only thought of golden retrievers and Labradors. But never in my life had I thought about getting a Rottweiler puppy! Everybody talks about Rottweilers being mean vicious dogs but they can only be mean if you train them like that. So I asked my dad what their names were, and he said the solid black one is Deci, and the black one with tan markings was Dyna. They were both 6 weeks old. I opened the crate and it took them a while to get out and get used to their surroundings so I waited for about two minutes and they started to come out very slowly. I sat on the ground with them and Deci crawled into my lap and snuggled up with me. Dyna went and snuggled in my mom’s lap. They were shivering very hard so we got out the blanket the Humane Society gave us and wrapped it around both of them. They loved to play tug of war. In a battle between D2 (Dyna and Deci) and me over my sock, D2 won. Their new acquisition, “the sock” became their new tug of war toy. Dyna was the one that would love to nibble on fingers and toes and Deci liked to lick. They were very playful and energetic and when they had to go back after being with us for two weeks, they left a big quietness and void in our home and us.
My birthday was coming up and I wanted to do a sleepover so I was planning all the activities when the phone rang. I went to go get it and on the caller id it said the Humane Society so my face lit up. I rushed to my mom to give the phone to her when the call was done I couldn’t stand still so I kept asking her what they said so it kind of sounded like this: “What did they say, what did they say, what did they say?” She said that they were getting a puppy in a few days but I wanted a puppy today, right now! My brother was sitting at the kitchen table on his laptop and he asked my mom when my dad was coming home and he had that smirk on his face that says he’s hiding something. I looked up at my mom and she was smiling too, so I had the feeling there was something going on. I called my dad to see where he was and in the background I heard a faint whimpering. I was so happy that I could explode!!!!!!!!!!!
When he came through the garage I was smiling so much my cheeks hurt he said there was someone outside to see me and when I went out I saw two more of the most adorable puppies in a crate. We brought them inside and I asked my dad what kind they were and he said they were Labrador pit bull mix. There was a boy and a girl, both 5 weeks old and the boy’s name was Spot and the girl’s name was Sabrina. Spot had a big spot on his eye and Sabrina had little spots on her ears. They were both white. The day of my birthday party I was so excited because all of my friends were coming and then we could play with the puppies all day. S2 (Spot and Sabrina) had a great time getting all the attention. Spot was like Deci, he was so calm and he loved to cuddle up with people. Sabrina was like Dyna, always ready to play. I was outside helping my mom plant some flowers and S2 were outside too playing with each other when I got tired of planting flowers I sat on the patio and S2 came running towards me. They jumped into my lap and fell asleep. They were exhausted from playing for three hours straight! This was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. When my mom was done she came over to the patio and saw that S2 were sleeping in my lap. She pulled out a folding cot and said to lie down on it with them. They looked so peaceful just lying there. When they were about to leave to go back, after two weeks, I took one last look at them and they looked at me with those eyes just like when they first came into our house. It was hard to let them go but I knew the deal and that this day will come.
It was a typical day where you wash your car and clean the house and that was exactly what we did. I wanted to foster that day since I hadn’t fostered for three months. I asked my mom if I could check the mail account to see if there were any foster mails and there was one. I opened it and it said they needed a foster home for two weeks. The puppy was a brindle boxer mix. I showed my mom the email and she said that we could pick it up today. So my mom called the Humane Society and they said that we could come at 2:00. So I was desperately waiting for 2:00 and when it finally came around we left. I went to pick up my friend so she could come with me. We were both jumping with joy and every five minutes I asked my mom if we were there yet.
When we were there my friend and I jumped out of the car and raced to the door. When we opened the door we went to the front desk and said we were picking up a foster puppy, so the lady went in the back door and came out holding the cutest puppy ever!!!!!!! It was smaller than any of the puppies I ever had. We asked the lady what the puppy’s name was and she said her name was Savoy. Savoy was a girl and was 4 weeks old. I asked if I could pick Savoy up and when I picked her up she was the lightest thing ever! Then we went back to the car and put her crate and all of the things that came with her. We took her out of the crate and my friend and I took some towels in the back and put her in our laps. I put Savoy in the middle and she was about to go to sleep. When we got home we took her to the backyard so she could go to the bathroom. Then we took her inside to play. She was so quiet I forgot she was there. At night when it was time to go to sleep we brought her crate upstairs so that we could hear her if she was whimpering to go to the bathroom. Everyday when I went to school, I always thought about her and I felt sad. When I came home my mom would always bring her to me so I could hold her. As the days went on she started barking and being more like a playful dog. When she was about to leave I went to the car and said good-bye and she was whimpering as we parted ways.
It was the 4th of July weekend. I was watching TV and I checked the email and there was a foster mail and it said they needed a foster home for two Lhasa Apso Labrador mix puppies. I went to my dad to go and tell him about it and convinced him that we can bring them home, so he sent an email to them. When the Humane Society called and I answered it and said that we could pick them up the following day. I called my mom and she said my dad and I could go and pick them up. Next day we went to the Humane Society to get them. When we arrived I went to the front desk and said that we were picking up two foster puppies, the lady said that she will be right back and then she went in through the backdoor. She came out holding two big puppies. One of them was solid black and the other was white with tan spots and markings. She said the black one was Tinker and the white one was Tango. They were so cute!!!!!!!
She put them in the crate and gave them to us. We put them in the car and all the way home I just kept on staring at them. I looked at the papers they gave us for them and it said they were both 2-months-old boys.
When we got home my dad unloaded them and I took them to the backyard. They were running with joy. I called my friends over and when they came we played with them for the rest of the day until my friends had to go home. Then I took Tinker and Tango inside to put them in their crate. T2 (Tango and Tinker) didn’t bark much and were very easy to train. They loved to play with each other in the backyard. If another dog was barking they would jump up, run to you and hide. We had broken our trend of the big scary guard dog puppies we had so far. They were big and muscular puppies, but very cute and friendly. My brother has been very helpful in taking care of them. He told me that T2 were his favorite puppies. I loved them very much and I missed them a lot when they left.
I hope that all little puppies would find a safe and loving home. When we picked up T2, they told us Savoy was getting adopted that day! I wonder where all my little (not so little anymore) puppies are now and if they would recognize me if they saw me. I love fostering because I know I’m helping little puppies that need us.
If you are interested and want to get more information please contact: www.humanesocietyofcharlotte.org
The Ekal Vidyalaya chapter of Charlotte held an art and essay competition in March 2010. The two essays below are first place winners in each age group.
If you could improve one thing in this world...
By Deepthi Tulasi (age 12)
If I could improve one thing in this world I would get more people or the whole world to be green. I would encourage people around the world to recycle, to not waste water, and to use re-usable items instead of disposable. This can make a great difference in the world.
Recycling is an important part or step when turning the world “green.” Let’s say the whole world threw away all their garbage (in the trash) and recycled all their paper, plastic, and some aluminum. All that recycled material can be made into new things like new cans or new newspaper. The cycle can go on. The world has limited recourses they won’t be there forever.
So, instead of throwing everything in the trash and all the trash going to harmful landfills, try recycling so the resources in the world can be there for generations from now.
Another important part in making this world green is to not waste water. Did you know 3 percent of the whole Earth’s water is fresh or drinking water? Wow! That can easily run out. People can do the simplest things to save water. I would encourage people to take shorter showers. Let’s say the whole world took a shower for 30 min. which uses six gallons of water. That would mean people or everyone in the world used over 6,000,000,000,000 gallons a day! Now let’s say everybody cut that shower in half, that would save 3,000,000,000,000 gallons of water. That may not seem much as first but I bet it could give at least 10 cups of water to everybody in Charlotte. Water is a scarce resource so people shouldn’t waste it.
Another thing I would make the world do is to buy reusable items instead of disposable. Have you ever drunk out of a plastic water bottle? Or a can of coke? Even though these items are recyclable they can’t be recycled forever. So what I would do is get rid of all cans and bottles and replace with metal or water bottle you can use forever. This bottle can handle wear and tear damage and you only need one. This will fill fewer landfills and not cause over pollution.
All these steps are important in making the world green. I would spread this message around the world and encourage them to “be green.” This can make a serious impact on the world. Generations from now people can still be able to live a happy life if we take care of the world. So, if I could get the chance to improve one thing in the world, I would make everyone be green to help the world prosper.
My Best Friend
By Sanjit Tatvarthy (age 8)
My Best friend is Suvir. Let me describe him. He’s silly, fun, loco and sometimes annoying. What he thinks is funny I sometimes don’t. But our main similarity is that we both hate our moms sometimes. We have differences to though. He’s way better in art than I am. Too bad he wasn’t here. I’m too better at writing than him though. So here I am! He’s my friend because we knew each other since wore diapers. Also because he and I make a good fit. Put our brains together and we are a giant plus a huge, gigantic monster full of smartness and made up of smartness. But sometimes we don’t get along well. For example when we are playing football he complains that I’m hogging the ball. We both go to shloka class (that’s not a reason why we don’t get along well). We don’t like to argue over simple things but sometimes it just never hit our head. But I guess we get along pretty well. He has a Wii, which I regularly play at least two times when I go to his house. I have a PS2, which he is kind of interested in. Going back, I feel bad for him that he couldn’t come. I was looking forward for him coming to my house or me going to his house. Boo hoo! The only reason he’s good at art is because of the way he observes things better than me. That’s what I like about him. I may have glasses, but how he observes things amazes me! Our common favorite sports are football and basketball. I like soccer and cricket. I don’t know if he does. I’m slower than him. He’s too fast for me. Since I weigh 84 pounds though, I’m too hard for him to bring down! If I can catch him, I can bring him down. He can bring me down sometimes. We’re both also very big readers too. You can threaten to hurt us bad, but we won’t stop reading. We both think very, very hard. And now I’m thinking very hard on how to write 500 words! I’m sure he would’ve been thinking hard on how to draw a really good picture. Another thing about us is that we both think in the future, past, and present. But the thing is his jokes are so lame. Only very few make me laugh my head out or even make me laugh. That I’m surprised at because most of my friends can make me laugh. Wonder why his jokes are so lame. So I’m here thinking I’ve got 500 words, so I’m going to end my piece of writing.
First Person- Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Bansili Desai (Grade 9)
Martin Luther King Jr. stops by at oval office to check on Obama. He describes his visit...
“Welcome. Take a seat my dear friend,” said President Obama as he greeted me. It was a pleasure to be in the White House. I took a seat staring at the bodyguards who stood close to Obama. “So what brings you here today?”
“I’m here in your presence today because I would like to congratulate you on your achievement, but I’m also here to warn you,” I mentioned. “Warn you that there are people in the world who loathe you because of your color and you can’t let those people put you down no matter what they say. Always keep your head up.”
“Yes sir, I have learned from the best. Standing in front of 1.8 million people on the day I officially became the President of USA was a dream come true. All those people who had supported me, made me realize that I was capable of making a change. It made me forgive all the others who showed a dislike towards me.”
I chuckled, “I also see that you have won a Nobel Peace Prize just like me. It brings great excitement in me to see an African American President sitting in front of me today. Almost 50 years back it seemed like something impossible.”
“I didn’t know that being a president was in my fortune. I didn’t know this is where I’d be today. It took courage and hard work just like how you stood up for the African Americans,” he pointed out. He shuffled in his chair still sitting straight and tall.
“Yes it took courage, but I knew I had to stand up, otherwise this country wouldn’t have changed.
“I’m here because of you, Dr. King, because you are my mentor,” explained Obama.
“No you’re here in the White House because of Gandhi. John Lewis a close friend of mine had said the same. ‘Without Gandhi, there would be no Obama as president’. The words of Gandhi had inspired me and spoke to me only because they were true. There was no need for violence. And I want you to promise me that you will never use violence, Obama.”
“I can’t make that promise to you because sometimes you have to use violence. Tell me, do you think nonviolence would work against Hitler in your time? Today would nonviolence work against Osama Bin Laden?”
“Well you do have a point there, but only use force as your last resort. Make sure that you always try to resolve issues peacefully first,” I said
“I sure will try my best. I think though that an important issue is education for the children. All children should get an education and no teens should drop out of high school. Speaking of children, my daughters should be back home from school. Let me bring them in, they would love to meet you.” Obama asked the guard to go get his daughters.
Meanwhile Obama and I discussed some of America’s crises. Obama thought it was a bad time in America and that he was trying hard to make a change. I could see the keenness in his eyes. Suddenly two little heads popped in.
“Hello Dr. King, it’s very nice to met you,” both Malia and Sasha said.
“Very nice to met you too,” I replied as I stuck my hand out for them to shake.
“May I ask you a question?” Malia asked eagerly.
“Well go right ahead.”
“I wanted to know how you felt when you were up on the podium reading your ‘I Have A Dream’ speech? And if you want relive that moment again?”
“I had felt a little shaky but I had also felt confident. Shaky because there were many people out there waiting for me to speak. Confident though because what I had to say was important. Reliving the moment would not be something I would really look forward to because I know that the experience I had on August 23, 1963 was my dream come true. I wouldn’t want to change that moment in any way,” I responded.
“Thank you,” replied Malia.
Sasha finally spoke, “Daddy we have to go to my sports practice.”
“Yes we have to get going. It was nice talking to you, Dr. King. Thank you and I hope to see you again.” President Obama got up to shake my hand, and the guards were ready to lead me outside.
“Thank you too. Bye for now,” I waved to President Obama and his children.
(By Aadithya Nair - 5th grade)
Kerala, is the state where I come –
Malayalam is the language I speak…
It’s like Dravidian culture;
Flourished civilization 5000 years ago,
Similarities it strikes with—
Mediterranean and Mesopotamian.
“God’s own country”, is what they say—
From they land I came away!
The Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas,
Adisankara, Ayurveda, Advaita—
Are parts of my heritage…
Onam and Vishu are celebrations,
Welcoming harvest and New Year—
With lanterns, flowers, prayers;
Matrilineal system, geographical features—
Isolated Kerala – from rest of India...
“God’s own country”, is what they say—
From the land I came away!
Its heritage packed with—
Art, rock cut temples, monuments.
Bekal fort, Kochi fort, palakkad fort—
Dutch palace, Francis church—
Stands pride heritage of Kerala.
“God’s own country”, is what they say –
From the land I came away!
Kerala, a melting pot—
Several religious, ethnic groups.
Inhabitants of my state – Kerala,
Arrived by sea and land.
Rulers practiced never—
Three hundred A.D or present!
Any religious discrimination.
“God’s own country”, is what they say—
The land I came away from.
By Ananya Mallavarapu (age 17)
After walking through a tunnel
I stopped up at a door
With a ragged looking gatekeeper
Asking me what was I there for?
“To go into the future,
That awaits me, you see,
To see myself within the light,
I’m waiting to be free.”
“Halt! Go back!
Step no further!” he said
“You’re not ready to go
onto that path ahead.”
I walked up to defy him but
I was barred from going
I was pulled away
Banned from ever knowing.
“Why can’t I cross?”
I shouted with anger
“Why must I stay
Inside this closed chamber?”
“You are not ready to go
Onto the path ahead.
If I were you
I would watch where I tread.”
I recoiled but stood
Quite determined was I
I shook off his chains
And held my head high.
“You cannot stop me,
You will let me go on.
Now move aside
And let me walk on!”
“You cannot pass
The chains still bind you.
I won’t let you by
You will not go through!”
“Stop! You are me!”
I yelled to him at last
“Let me go! Let me be!
Leave my sight fast!”
The gatekeeper shook his head,
But as I watched he sighed,
“It seems I have lost,
Your will I have not denied.”
The man then disappeared
And the gate opened on its own.
I walked into the light
His chains seeming to have flown.
The Very Hungry Bear
By Anita (Age 9)
One afternoon, a bear roamed the woods looking for food. All he wanted was a bit of honey, and that would make him happy. As he kept on walking, he found a marvelous beehive, and growled. A bee inside the hive flew out. “Hello, Mr. Bear,” said the bee. “What may I do for you?” “I want honey, now!” growled the bear. Now, that bee was a very smart bee. As the bear came walking towards the hive, the bee shouted, “Stop! If you do not know, Mr. Bear, all our sweetest and finest honey is produced in the back of the hive.” And with that, the bear slowly walked toward the back of the hive. While the bear was doing that, the bee zoomed inside the hive and told all the bees, “Bees! There is a hungry bear outside that wants honey! He will open the back of our hive. Everyone to the back!” Right after all bees had gone to the back, a sharp claw came sticking out of the hive. Then another, and another! Suddenly the bear ripped off the whole entire back of the hive. Right at that moment, all the bees swarmed out and stung the bear. The bear ran away like a bullet and never went back to that hive again.
Music is My Shield
By Ananya Mallavarapu (age 16)
Music, it’s not an abstract thought or concept but it is like one to us. People relate to it, enjoy the immortality of it, and live off it, as a source of inspiration. I love music, whether it is classical (Indian or Western) or rock (generally classic, Alternative, or Indie). I love music, and I would like to share its importance to me. Whether it’s an experience or just me hearing my favorite CD’s, music continually shapes my life.
About a year ago, I went to my best friend’s UNCC Youth Orchestra Concert. Nothing can describe the awe and beauty that I experienced. I’ve always loved live concerts, but listening to live orchestras really does take your breath away. This same best friend, while driving me home the other day played the Classical station on her car’s radio. We were both swept away by an amazing Arabic Orchestral piece. The intonations, the blend, and the entire combination of all the music: I won’t forget that experience. She told me that she loved classical music because no matter what happens, people playing the same classical pieces 20, 30, maybe 50 years down the road, love it and experience the same feelings as people now. I can’t agree with her more. Classical music is “classic” for a reason.
I’m studying Carnatic music. It’s beautiful with its broad structure, and though I don’t completely know all of it, the idea behind it astounds me. Even today, the pieces and songs created such a long time ago constantly weave their way into lives with or without the person’s permission. The amount of hard work and practice give Carnatic music not only recognition, but awe as well. In addition, just like Western classical music, the stories told from the songs, or the stories in the songs, still incorporate themselves vividly into our lives. I’ve never completely heard Hindustani music, but I want to hear a Hindustani concert one day and hear the music and vocals weave their way underneath my skin.
Music also plays a big factor in my writing. I can honestly say that without indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay I’d have no real inspiration. However, they’re not the only sources. I listen frequently to Motion City Soundtrack and adore the Beatles. Their lyrics speak out to me. Sometimes, as in the case of the Beatles and Motion City Soundtrack, there are songs (“I wanna’ hold you hand” and “Antonia” respectively) that stay straightforward, evoke a sudden sensation of joy, and a burst of writing energy. With bands like Coldplay and my favorite: Death Cab for Cutie, I can relate or even quote the lyrics to describe my life.
“Cause in my head, there’s a greyhound station, where I send my thoughts to far-off destinations” is a lyric from my favorite Death Cab song “Soul meets Body.” I love the metaphor and merge other metaphors (by Death Cab) into my stories: drawing a metaphor or a quote and expanding on it. It’s amazing to picture the station shipping out the thoughts right now as I write this.
Music is such a big part of my life and I’m sure that it’s a big part of many other people’s lives. People listen to sad songs when they’re sad, happy songs when they’re feeling “bubbly,” and dance beats when they just feel like getting up. Hasn’t that shown us what a big impact it’s had on our lives? I can’t live a day without my music, yes my music, music that I relate to, know the words to, and try to use as a little “Today’s a sunny day” weather forecast.
Music’s immortality never fails to shine at an opportunistic moment. To me, music is a shield. I can live without it, but when in my presence, it awakens feelings of security and protection. If music is this important to me, I just want to know, how important music is to others.