Story: The Best New Year Ever!

Tara glanced down at her to-do list and frowned. It said:

TO-DO List:

Finish holiday homework

Go to the store to bring food for Rocket

Wash the dishes

Make a batch of cookies

Go to art classes

She couldn’t believe it was the day before New Year! It was the second last day of her winter vacation. She had thought that her vacations would go so merrily and she’d have so much fun. But now, she felt grouchy and grumpy. All her friends were outside, playing football, she wanted to play with them too, but mom shook her head and told her she had to finish all the tasks on her to-do list. Ugh. She decided not to dally further and complete all her tasks before the day got over. She wouldn’t be able to play then.

She re-read the list. Her family was having a new year party in the evening and she was making a batch of cookies for it. She decided to make the cookies now. No, chocolate chip cookies would be great. Cookies were fun and she knew how to make cookies like any pro. She put on her apron, took a big bowl and started putting all the ingredients together while humming a chirpy tune. She took the flour, baking soda and sugar and mixed them all together. In another bowl, she took butter, eggs, vanilla extract and mixed them as well. Then she mixed the ingredients of two bowls. Finally, she added the most important ingredient, chocolate chips! Yum. She put them in generously and kneaded the dough. She sniffed it. “Smells delicious!” she said to herself and laid the cookies on a baking sheet and put the tray into the oven.

Then, she pondered over what to do. The next most fun activity was to go to art classes but the art classes were scheduled at two o’ clock. It was only 10:30 right now. She looked over at the fridge where she had stuck her to-do list. It’s my turn to wash the dishes today; oh no! Only two days left for the holidays and I’ve still got to finish math and history homework; oh no! Her dog Rocket’s food has got finished; oh no! Tara’s mind boggled. She didn’t know what to do!

She decided that she’d better sit and complete her homework. She took off her apron and took out her books and sat down on the kitchen table to finish her homework. For the next five minutes, she chewed the end of her pencil and tried to figure out a hard math problem. Her big brother Jai smelled the cookies and was attracted to the kitchen like a magnet. He peeked into the kitchen and saw the cookies baking in the oven. “Hey, when are those cookies going to bake?” he asked. “Those are not for you, okay, those are for the new year’s party. Don’t touch them!” cried Tara. She ran and caught hold of him. “Please don’t eat them,” she said, looking at her brother with pleading eyes. “Okay, okay,” he said shaking her off. “But I’ll eat ten of them.” He walked off and started playing some heavy metal music at a high volume. Tara put her hands over her ears and groaned. “Ten cookies! I should have known. I only made three per person!” she sat down and tried to concentrate. Her younger brother Laksh strolled into the kitchen. Rocket followed him, yapping at his heels “Rocket is hungry,” he said. “And I am hungry too. Can I eat those cookies? Rocket likes cookies too,” he said. “No!” Tara practically screamed. “Don’t eat them, Laksh. And don’t even try giving one to rocket. He’ll get sick! Chocolate is not good for dogs.” “Why are you shouting? I was just asking,” said Laksh and went away with Rocket.

Tara started to complain. “Not only I have to complete all my tasks, but I also have these two pesky, annoying brothers to deal with.” She kicked at a chair in frustration. “Maybe I should just go and do something else. My homework will have to wait.” She took a deep breath and tried to get calm. “I’ll just go and get some food for Rocket.” She went and told mom and got the money, put on her shoes and made her way to the door. She decided to take Rocket along with her, so he could have his walk. Laksh trudged behind her and asked, “can I come too? I’m getting bored at home.” “Okay, but please don’t get me into any trouble,” said Tara. She put Rocket on his leash and went outside. As they passed the playground, Tara saw her friends Naina and Eshan playing badminton. “Come on, join us,” they shouted when they saw Tara. Tara waved at them and said, “Nah, got some work to do,” and jogged on.

They reached the store and made their way to pet food aisle. Tara grabbed the blue and white striped dog food packet from the shelf and as soon as she did this, she heard a CLANK CRASH THUD! She spun around and saw Rocket trying to climb on the shelves and all the tin cans of pet food scattered on the ground, some of them rolling away. “Aah!” screamed Laksh, as a can dropped on his foot. A clerk came running and freaked out and started shouting. Tara got some nasty stares from people around her. “Rocket! Behave yourself.” She held up her hands like a traffic policeman. “Don’t worry, I’ll clean this up. And please be quiet,” she told the clerk who was still shouting. She thrust Rocket’s leash into Laksh’s hand and picked up all the cans and put them into their places. After she was done, she gave a scornful look to Rocket and quickly paid the money for his food and got out of the store.

They went home, Tara muttering and fuming under her breath while Laksh and Rocket were running ahead of her. Tara’s mum opened the door and Tara slammed it behind her. Then she gasped in horror. She smelt something burning! Laksh and Rocket were sniffing the air too. They all ran to the kitchen and saw Jai leaning over the oven with his hand on his hips. “What happened Jai? Did the cookies burn? “Yeah. I saved them in time or they may have turned to black ash. I don’t mind eating burnt cookies though, they are all right,” Jai took a bite from one cookie. “Hmmm not bad,” he announced. Tara’s mom came to her and said, “It’s okay Tara, we’ll make another batch.” Tara was too stunned to answer.

She retreated to her room and plugged in her earphones and put on her favourite song. Then she sat on her bed with her history book in her hand and started flipping through it. But soon, she lost concentration and started moving her head to the tune of the music and started singing along, and then she jumped up from her bed and started dancing and twirling around the room. “Tara, lunch’s ready!” her mom called her. But she was too busy shimmying to the music to hear her. Her dad popped his head into her room. “Come on pop star, lunch is ready,” he said. Tara took off her earphones, “Huh?” “Don’t you want to eat?” asked dad, “come quick,” he said. She and her dad rushed to the kitchen. Jai and Laksh were already sitting there. Tara apologised and sat down to eat her rice and curry. Throughout the meal, Laksh talked with his mouth full and Tara constantly reminded him to not talk while eating. Rocket quickly gulped down his food and when nobody was looking, Tara gave him the rest of her curry. That’s when she looked at the clock and remembered her tasks.

She had only ten minutes before her drawing classes would start.  She quickly took the dishes, put them in the sink and washed them. “Eat quickly, or I’ll get late!” she told her brothers. “I’ve to reach my drawing class at 2 pm!” She placed the dishes on their racks without caring to rinse the soapy water off them. She flew around the house looking for her colour pencils and drawing book. “I’m sure I kept them here somewhere,” she said as she rummaged around her room. “Ease down, Tara,” said her mom. She found her art supplies for her and packed her art class bag.  “Thank you, mommy,” she gave her mom a quick hug and hurried down the street.

Tara ran as fast as she could. The classes were only two blocks away, but she still got ten minutes late. The class had already started. “Sorry ma’am, I’m late,” she apologised to the old Mrs. Smith, her teacher. Some girls at the back of the class looked at her and smirked. Tara realised that she looked like a joker. Her hair was really messy and standing upright on her head. And there was also some curry smeared on her face. “Come in, don’t stand there. We’re doing still life today,” said Mrs. Smith. Tara quickly wiped her face with the back of her hand and sat down at her desk. Everyone was drawing the fruit basket that Mrs. Smith had placed on a table. She took out her pouch and started sketching. The rest of her class went awful. No matter what she did, her shapes came out wrong and finally after finishing the drawing, and taking out her paints, she realised that she had forgotten her brushes at home and had to borrow them. After she finished the painting, (which turned out okay) she accidentally spilled the water in her bowl onto her painting, ruining it.

She felt really bad as she walked back to her house after class. Her day had gone so badly. She had been in a bitter mood the whole day and hadn’t had any fun. She was really sad when she reached home. “What happened, Tara?” asked mom. “Why the glum face?” Tara broke down and started sobbing, “mom, this has been such a bad day, no matter what I do, some disaster happens! First, that disaster at the store, then my cookies gets burnt and now my art piece got ruined. Now I have to make another batch of cookies and finish my homework. And I really wanted to play today.” “I know Tara, sometimes our day goes perfectly, and sometimes it is full of mishaps. The best thing to do is learn from it and make the best out of it,” Tara’s mom hugged her and said, “come on get up, we have a lot of work to do.” Tara smiled and wiped her tears away. While mom decorated the house with streamers, dad helped Tara make the cookies. Soon a tasty smell wafted through the kitchen. “The cookies are ready!” Tara announced. Tara grabbed a plate to put the cookies on. “Uh, you might want to wash the plate before using it,” said dad. Tara gave him a puzzled look and then laughed remembering how she had left the half washed plates before rushing off to class. She washed them all and Laksh helped her by wiping them. Then they both set the table with the delicious hot cookies and lemonade. “Done-dana-done!” said Tara.

Then she remembered her homework. She sat on the kitchen table again, chewing her pencil. “Need any help?” asked Jai. “Sure, thanks,” answered Tara. With Jai’s help, Tara finished her homework in record time. As there were 2 more hours left before the party would start, so Tara’s mom let her go down to play. Tara and her friends, Naina and Eshan rode their bicycles, while Rocket ran along with them giving shrill barks of joy and of course, Tara had fun at her party eating cookies and lemonade and dancing along the music. “This has been the best new year ever,” said Naina. Tara smiled and comically rolled her eyes.

-Adhya Bhatnagar

 

 

 

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Poem: A walk on the beach

I love the feeling of sand between my toes,
As cool, fresh air glides over my face,
The ocean-y wind tickles my nose,
As I walk down the beach at a slow pace,

The foamy, bubbly waves wash down the shore,
The crystal clear water is pristine and pure,
It makes a soft sound as it flows on to the coast,
This soothing sound is what I like most,

The wind whispers in the palm leaves,
I take huge whiffs of the cool windy, breeze
The sun is setting in the horizon
As the sky turns red-purple-crimson

Seashells scattered here and there among the sand,
I stoop down and pick up an ornate conch in my hand,
I put it to my ear and listen carefully,
And hear the whooshing voices of the sea,

I love the feeling of sand between my toes,
As cool, fresh air glides over my face,
The ocean-y wind tickles my nose,
As I walk down the beach at a slow pace.

-Adhya Bhatnagar

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Poem: Stargazing

I gaze up at the sky,

And heave a soft sigh,

As I see the stars shining bright,

Flooding the sky with light,

Hundreds of them, up so high,

I can’t count them, even though I try,

These dazzling, shimmering lights,

Look so beautiful in the night,

As I lie on the grass, taking it all in,

Watching the stars twinkle and gleam.

-Adhya Bhatnagar

 

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TIGERS: The Majestic Creatures Of Earth

I LOVE tigers. Proud, beautiful, agile, I think they are wonderful.

The biggest species of the cat family, tigers can reach up to a length of 11 feet and weigh as much as 300 kgs.

Tigers are excellent swimmers and can swim up to 6 kilometers. They also like chilling in water on a hot day or just for fun.

A tiger’s roar can be heard more than 2 kilometers away

 

Tigers are expert hunters. A tiger stalks on its prey silently and then, at the right moment it pounces onto its unaware victim and kills it. A tiger can jump as high as 12  feet and leap 5 meters in length!

Just like a human’s finger print, a tiger’s body has a unique pattern of stripes that no other tiger has.

There are six existing subspecies of tigers on Earth. They are the Sumatran Tiger, Siberian Tiger, Bengal Tiger, South China Tiger, Malayan Tiger and Indochinese Tiger.

Sadly, subspecies of tigers like the Bali tiger, Caspian tiger, and the Javan tiger are extinct. 🙁

There were once 100,000 tigers in the world. Today there are only 3800 tigers in the world. The main reasons for these decreased numbers are poaching and habitat destruction. Poachers kill tigers and illegally smuggle their parts to other countries where the parts of a tiger fetch high prices at black markets. Due to habitat destruction, tiger’s don’t have a place to live and their prey also starts to dwindle. Due to these factors, the national animal of India, tigers, are now endangered. 😟

Let’s come together and stop them from getting extinct. SAVE TIGERS 🐯

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I try my hand at making rangolis!

Hi! This Diwali, I had a lot of fun making rangolis. Every day after lunch, I would sit outside my house with my tray of rangoli colors and make rangolis. This time they were a bit better than last year’s (I think). And even though they didn’t turn out perfect, I really enjoyed making them. I hope you like them. Oh, happy Diwali!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

A portrait of Ganesh Ji.

A butterfly near a flower.

A peacock in a lotus??? 😀

A simple design.

A design I made with a friend at her house.

DORA! I made this rangoli last year.

These were the rangolis I made. Hope you liked them!

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Happy Navratri!

Happy Navratri and Durga Puja!

The goddess is here!

I made this zentangle artwork of Maa Durga as an offering to her.

Do you want to know the story of Maa Durga? Well, here it is:

Long long ago, there was a mighty and arrogant demon named Mahishasura. He was half demon, half bull. He wanted to be immortal.  So he started doing penances so that he could ask for a boon. Appeased, Lord Bramha came to him and asked, “what is the boon you seek?”  “Lord give me the power so that no man or God can kill me.” “So be it,” Lord Bramha said in reply and vanished. With his new found power, Mahishasura became more arrogant and started fighting and taking over kingdoms. He soon got to Dev Lok and overpowered the gods and because of Brahma’s boon, no one could kill him. He harassed everyone and wreaked havoc in everyone’s life. The devas went to Lord Bramha, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. They all decided to make and send a goddess to kill Mahishasura. As per his boon, no man or god could kill him. But a goddess certainly could! They all combined their powers and from their power was born Devi Durga. She headed to the abode of Mahishasura. There was a fierce battle between the two. On the tenth day maa Durga slayed him. This day is celebrated as Vijay Dashmi.

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Story: The Future Gardens

The Future Gardens
: Adhya Bhatnagar

There was a beep, and I was sucked into a vacuum.

Everything went black. Darkness surrounded me. When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a small room made up of shining metal. It had no windows or doors; it was like a closed box. I looked around, thinking of ways to get out and then decided against it. This was a strange place, and I didn’t want to get lost. I went close to a wall and slouched against it. I started thinking rapidly and asked myself many questions. “Where am I? What is this place? What is going on? What was the time?” I looked at my watch; it said 3:27. I was so late; mom would be worrying about me.

I felt hungry. My school bag was still hanging on my shoulders. I took it off and opened it, reached out for my chocolate and was about to eat it when suddenly there was a flash of light that almost blinded me. I closed my eyes and opened them only after I was sure that the light was gone. I was alarmed to see three robots staring at me. They were gleaming, white, and had flexible bodies with wheels for their legs.

They wheeled towards me. “Who are you? Why are you here and what is that in your hand? Is that a weapon?” All the robots asked me in a mechanical voice at the same time. I was not going to answer these questions to some robots in a strange place. Instead, I ignored them. When I didn’t answer, the robots repeated the same questions. I got impatient. “Who are you?” I asked them, “and what is this place?” “We are robots,” they replied. “We can’t tell you the name of this place until you tell us where you are from. Security systems enabled.” All the robots replied at once.

None of the answers helped. “Who is your owner?” I asked yet another question hoping for a useful answer. Before the robots could answer, another light flashed. My eyes! I opened them and saw a boy standing in front of me with a remote in his hand. He pressed a red button, and the robots stopped talking. “I am Mike,” he said, “How did you come here?” “I don’t know; I was just coming back from school when I saw a shiny object on the ground. I picked it up, and there was a beep, and I fainted. When I opened my eyes, I found myself here,” I replied.

He asked, “School? What is school?” I was a little surprised he didn’t know. He didn’t wait for an answer, but pressed a button on his watch and said, “It’s all right Sania you can come.” Another flash and a girl came in. “This is Sania,” he told me. “What is school?” the boy repeated. “It is a place where kids go to study,” I replied. “Adults we call teachers teach us and give us assignments at the end of the day that we have to complete. It is called homework.” I explained to them as if explaining some alien from another planet. “Don’t you go to school?” I asked them. “No, in fact, we barely step out from our home. Our robots do all the work for us. The last time I remembered going out was three years back when Mike hid the remote control outside and forgot about it, and I had to go out to find it, it was so difficult with all the smoke around me,” said Sania.

“Tell us more about your school,” said Mike. “Science is my favorite subject,” I said, opened my bag and took out my science book. “What is this?” asked Sania. “A book; don’t you read?” I asked them. “No” came a blunt reply.

I showed them my school calendar. Mike flipped through it. He laughed. “2017! You mean 350 years ago! Is this a joke?” he asked me mockingly. I stared at him blankly. Something clicked in my mind. I asked them, “Are you from the future?” Sania said, “No, we are from the present, and you are from the past.” That’s when it dawned on me; the object lying on the ground was a portal that transported me here! I got quite giddy with excitement, quickly grabbed my science book, and started flipped through the pages. “What is this?” Mike pointed his finger at the picture of a tree. “This is a tree. It gives us oxygen, and we are alive because of this,” I said. “We don’t have trees. They are extinct. We breathe with the help of air giving machines,” said Sania.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Were trees extinct? Was the future of earth going to be like this? I asked them, “Do you know about animals?” “What are animals?” they asked me in surprise. Creatures, beasts, I did not know any other name to describe animals. So I showed them pictures of animals, “Look, this is a tiger, this is an elephant, and these are my favorite animals; dolphins!” “Wow!” They exclaimed, “There are no animals now, only humans!” “Actually, did you know that humans are animals?” I pointed out.

That’s when my stomach grumbled. It must have made a loud noise because Sania laughed loudly and said, “It seems you have been hungry all day.” To be honest, I was. I had not eaten anything since breakfast. I had skipped lunch to play during the school interval, and now I was hungry as a bear. Mike pressed a button on his remote, and a robot flew into the metal wall that opened up for it. The robot flew back in and put a tablet in my hand. “What am I going to do with it?” I laughed, “Do you always eat medicines before eating food?” “This is food!” Mike and Sania replied, “Just suck it, and you will feel better.”

I sucked on it, it had a sweet-sour taste. it made me feel better, but then I remembered mom. She was going to make my favorite pasta this afternoon for lunch. I told them, “I have to go; mom will be so worried. I was supposed to reach home at quarter to three.” All of a sudden, I missed her and her food.

I kept the books back in the bag and found my chocolate again. I tore open the chocolate bar, broke a piece and offered it to them. Then, I quickly wolfed down the rest. When I finished and licked my fingers clean, I saw them looking at me with a question in their eyes. “Oh!” I said as if I had figured out a hard math problem. “Just eat it, it is sweet. I know you will like it.” They hesitated, but then took a bite. I looked at them curiously. Various expressions changed on their face. Confused, surprised and then happy. This is always the case after you eat chocolate. “It…It tastes intriguing, it tastes different,” said Sania, “I never tasted something like this before, It is yum!” said Mike.

“Guys, I must go now,” I reminded them. “But how are you going to go back?” asked Mike. I scratched my head and looked around, spotted the object which took me here. I picked it up and shouted goodbye. They said goodbye. And then I closed my eyes.

When I heard familiar noises, I opened my eyes slowly. A crow was cawing loudly, and the wind was making sounds rustling through the tree leaves. Cars zoomed by, and some street vendors were shouting out their wares. I felt a tinge of happiness. I thought we are so lucky. I couldn’t believe that after a few hundred years Earth would have no trees or animals! I was happy to be back. And with a contented smile on my face, I ran all my way home.

That night I wrote in my diary:

Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown, and question papers are not set.
We create our own syllabus. If this is going to be the future, we should strive to change it, so that all the beings on the earth now and after will benefit.

I smiled. If we care for our planet, then Mike and Sania will be able to taste wonderful things like chocolates and pasta. They can play in the gardens.

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Happy Friendship Day! Friendship day crafts!

Friendship day is coming up soon on 5th August, Sunday; and this time, the crafty side of my mind started running, I make my own friendship bracelets every year, like the last time I made them out of quilling; This time, I wanted to do something more than usual. So, I made some cards, rings made with loom bands, personalized letters, and friendship bands. Here’s how I made all of them:

For the personalized cards, I browsed some images on the internet, using the tag: friends drawing. I scrolled down through the images and took screenshots of the ones I liked and then using those images as a base, and inserting my ideas, I made the drawings in my sketchbook and cut them out and then used my new Faber Castell color pencils that I had bought recently to make my cards. Here they are:

 

 

For the friendship bands, I used some foam strips shaped like ice-cream sticks (that’s the best way I could describe them) and stuck a bead on one side, and a loop of thread on the opposite side, so we can wear it. I wrote my friend’s name on top and HFD on the bottom with my name. here they are!

This is how they function:

I also made these rings with loom bands as a bonus:

Here I am sampling all of them:

I made individual personalized letters for all my friends: I wrote all the things I like about them and I added in small messages like, “you are perfectly imperfect!” and; “Roses are red, the sky is blue, sugar is sweet and so are you!”

Here they are:

So these were all my friendship day crafts, you can also make these for your friends and i hope you found these ideas useful. Happy friendship day!

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