The Adventures of Minu and Bo: The Rainbow Umbrella

Minu and Bo are two brown squirrels who live in a big tree with purple leaves. The purple tree as it was called, was at the center of a big garden, opposite of an even bigger palace. Visitors often came to see the palace and the two squirrels marveled at them.

“Big camera!” Bo screamed pointing at the girl from the tree. There were a few more people behind who were clicking photographs of the palace. Bo ran as fast as he could, Minu followed.

The girl could see Bo’s nose up close, his messy fur and sharp claws. Bo had jumped in front of her camera and started waving his hand while Minu was pulling him away. Bo wouldn’t budge. The girl clicked a few pictures, Bo kept on waving as Minu looked at everyone nervously.

“Lets go Bo,” she kept on saying.

Minu eventually dragged Bo towards the purple tree. Bo kept waving till they disappeared inside the tree trunk.

That was the usual Bo, always happy to meet the humans. Minu was a little skeptic, but the humans often left them a few nuts, which made them very happy.

“Ohooooo….,” Bo said shivering as they reached inside the trunk.

Minu peeked out of the hole. The sky had suddenly turned dark and the visitors were slowing moving away. She could see a colored umbrella lying on the grass nearby. Bo peeked out.

“Someone must have left it, Bo,” Minu said looking at the umbrella. Bo nodded.

They could feel the drops of rain falling over their heads. Minu moved closer towards the umbrella. She pulled it, but it was too big. She signaled Bo for help. They slowly dragged the umbrella towards the tree. The sky turned darker as the clouds moved closer. They stopped just outside the tree.

“What are we going to do of it?” Bo asked. He paused for a while, and exclaimed with sudden excitement, “Its rainbow colored!”

Bo liked watching the rainbows. Minu always told him about the rainbows that would shine after the dark days filled with rain.

“Help me open it,” Minu said pointing towards the umbrella.

The two little squirrels tried their best. Bo had given up many times, but Minu wouldn’t call it quits. Finally, it opened. They kept the umbrella beside the trunk and arranged for it to stand on its own. Minu went inside and bought two nuts. She gave one to Bo.

“Lets sit under the umbrella and watch the rainfall,” she said. Bo finally understood.

They chewed on their nuts as the rain fell on the ground. The smell of wet earth filled the air. The rain stopped after a while and they decided to close the umbrella and dragged it inside the trunk. A rainbow shone across the sky. Bo was delighted, so was Minu.

“Lets thank the owner if they ever return,” Minu said. Bo agreed.

Minu drew two squirrels over a card and attached it with the umbrella. Bo wrapped some nuts to give its owner. They kept the umbrella back over the place they had found it.

The owner hasn’t returned yet, but they keep the rainbow umbrella over the same place everyday. Bo changes the old nuts and adds fresh ones. He usually eats the old ones before they get bad. Minu keeps drawing over new cards, as they continue to watch the rainfall under the rainbow umbrella waiting for its owner.

(Also published in Kindness Times on August 10, 2017.)

The Journey South

Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay
Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

‘Mama,’ said the Baby Bear as they dug the pile of garbage for food. ‘Why does it smell so different?’ she asked again.

Mama Bear frowned, she had no answer.

A group of 12 polar bears had left their home in search for food. The older ones were starving, the younger ones were afraid. They had just come across the pile of garbage, where humans, the most superior of beings as marked by God, had left a humongous mountain of waste.

Baby Bear dug dipper, she had found something. It gave off a pungent smell. She realized it was not food. It was a cellphone. She could not eat it.

‘They are coming!’ said one of the elderly bears. The entire group rose up and started moving backwards. The humans had arrived with loud noises. They had crackers along, and a pack of dogs with them. The dogs had already begun barking.

‘Mama, what do they have?’ questioned the Baby Bear.

‘We must move,’ said Mama Bear.

‘But I’m still hungry.’

Mama Bear frowned. Some of the bears continued digging for food. Their pearl white fur had turned brown and black. The smell was unbearable.

A loud noise scared the bears even more. Nearby, the humans had just lit their crackers. The dogs were barking loudly.

‘It’d be better to move,’ said one of the bears. But the pack was very hungry. The bears had not eaten for three days. They had to pick one, fear or hunger. And hunger won the battle. A few moved back, while some continued digging, chewing on whatever their senses allowed them to pass as edible.

Baby Bear found a can of food. It gave off a pungent smell, but she realized she could eat it. She swallowed it in one breath.

A few more crackers went off and the bears retaliated, their hearts stopping for a micro second. The barking had become louder and louder. The dogs were nearing in.

The pack finally decided to backdown and moved further back. They slowly started to disperse. The food hunt had been paused.


A group of polar bears is called ‘Celebration’. But the pack that entered human settlement in the Russian village recently, was not about celebration of any sort. Humans are on top of the food chain so we’ll receive the blow at the end, but the blow is also likely to be final. My heart capsized when I saw the picture of the bears searching for food in the trash. What have we done to bring such magnificent beasts of nature to this point? 

Listen

There are days
when I listen to the words
coming out of my mouth
as closely as I can,
after the words
have left me,
materializing into sounds.

What do the words mean,
where do they lead me?

Sometimes guilt takes over,
a little ounce of arrogance speaking;
but time is so that it shall
not turn for anyone.
And all I am left to do
is to listen to them
materialize into sounds.

Snow on the Fourteenth

If you’re a 90s kid that grew up in Kathmandu Valley, chances are we share a vivid memory of St. Valentine’s Day.

‘Ah, hai…hami sano huda valentines day ma snow pareko thiyo!’ (Yeah, when we were little, there was snow fall on valentine’s day!).

Each year as February approaches, so does this little memory hidden at the back of our minds. It’s unusual for Kathmandu to witness snowfall. But about a decade earlier, on a cold cloudy day of February the 14th, as it poured hard, bits of snow touched the ground. For many of us, just early teenagers back then, it was the very first time we saw snow, even if it melted just as quickly as it fell.

Everyone who remembers has a different narrative to share. Some of them were in grade 6, some in 9. I don’t particularly remember (just lazy to calculate, more particularly) which grade I was in, but it was that year when we shifted to a class from where we could see the Langoor’s cage as our school was close to the central zoo. Drawing a parallel analogy of the animals in the cage and the students inside the classroom was very common. But on that particular day, apart from the Langoors, someone who was by the window shouted in the middle of an on going class that it was snowing.

S-N-O-W-I-N-G.

The class was halted, even the teacher could not do anything for minutes. Perhaps, snow did the trick. Some moved towards the window to have a glimpse. It was indeed, snow; a light layer that was already melting as it was falling.

The teacher settled us back, but the class was still buzzing. From that day onwards it would be That Valentine’s Day when the snow fell.

We were quick to assume that anyone who dated that day, must be very lucky, after all it was snowing. But little did we know that just like the falling snow that changed from water to a white magical substance, change, in all aspects of our lives had been marked ahead.

It will always be that Valentine’s Day when the snow fell.