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.)

Hope and Prepare | A Conversation

‘How does one hope for the best and prepare for the worst, Lord Vayu?’ princess Valli asked the Guardian of the Wind.

‘I am not sure, but it is quite an impossible feat I must say.’

‘To be hopeful of the great and still be ready to face the worst, a sting of irony,’ the princess added.

Vayu nodded his head.

‘To be hopeful would mean to let the heart float among the clouds,’ he said as the sky danced in shades of pink. The sun was setting. They were atop a high hill that overlooked the entire valley. ‘And to prepare for the worst would mean to fall straight unto the ground from the clouds.’

‘How can one imagine the two together. To hope for one and to prepare for another?’ Valli questioned as the wind blew her scarf. ‘Doesn’t one prepare for what one hopes?’

‘Indeed,’ replied Vayu. ‘The human life is bogged with the eternal ironies, to have day and night, shadow and light. To have the wind to breathe and to have the same win uproot homes as hurricanes.’

‘Wouldn’t it be better to be able to fly like the birds instead? To soar in the clouds and not have to worry of falling?’ Valli added.

‘But even the birds fear the fall.’

‘Perhaps, they do. And we do too.’

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Five

A quick recap: Chapter One, Two, Three & Four.

A few days after the Quidditch selection, Benny seemed better. Meera knew that she was a little mad at being rejected. But surprisingly enough, Benny still showed up at Quidditch practices to cheer her friends. Meera was a little worried if it helped Benny, but Benny did not seem bothered as she was the day the names were pasted on the door, so Meera let it go.

It was misty morning as the colder months approached. The Quidditch practices continued as a major tournament was ahead of them. Meera was running to reach the practice ground. The group had already gather and were warming up.

‘Hi!’ said Neal as Meera reached.

‘Hi!’ she said panting.

‘Benny’s not going to show up?’ Neal asked.

‘No, she got some extra homework to finish.’

‘Better get ready for practice.’

At a distance Li was waving. Meera waved back as Neal tried to smile. She wasn’t sure if he was really waving at them. Li was the team captain and the keeper of the team. It was his job to keep the opposite team from scoring. Neal was the seeker, which was rather unexpected. Nobody thought he could take up that role, even Neal himself was a little reluctant. But as the days progressed, he proved to be one of the best the team could ever have. Redna and Gia were the beaters while Meera, Yuki and Kate were the chasers.

A new professor named Plutus was overseeing the entire Quidditch game for the Hogwarts team. He was a serious looking person who did not speak much but made the team practice really hard. It seemed like he had made his life’s mission to win the league.

‘If we don’t do well, Plutus will keep us till nightfall,’ Gia said as the team gathered closer.

‘The league begins in one week’s time,’ added Li. ‘And we shall be playing against Durmstang.’

‘I hear the team at Durmstrang is really good,’ said Neal.

Neal always had some information to share with the team. No one knew exactly where did he get his bits of information from and no one really asked. Meera did try, but Neal did not seem to want to reveal his sources.

‘Plutus is coming!’ gasped Redna. She particularly did not like him.

‘Everyone back to work!’ said Li.

Meera nodded.

The next two hours were filled with broom sticks flying left and right, the team members zooming in from there and here. Sometimes it felt like a state of chaos to Meera. When Plutus nodded to let them leave, everyone was exhausted as they hurriedly left for the Great Hall to have dinner.

A separate table had been arranged for the team. Meera thought it made them feel special but she also felt like it was quite unnecessary as they attracted so much of attention. Benny often peaked out of the side of the Hufflepuff table to have a look at Meera and Neal. She had other friends too, but it was clear she missed them.

As everyone sat down in a rush, Meera was surprised to find Li sitting next to her. He smiled as she sat down.

‘You did well today,’ he said.

‘Thanks,’ Meera said, running out of anything particular to say. ‘You’re always great,’ she was quick to add.

‘Nah, I’m just trying,’ he added.

Meera felt like she was so inadequate at conversations. What should she say next? How about how classes are going? But what would she say? Classes with students much younger than herself? How was it like? Maybe she should just keep quiet, yes that would be best. Maybe he’d say something interesting.

‘So how did you get to come to Hogwarts?’ he asked.

Yes, something interesting, Meera thought.

‘I’m not sure myself. Zuck just appeared out of thin air,’ she said and instantly regretted. Perhaps there was a better explanation, something that was really truly hooking. Sadly, there wasn’t.

Read More »

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Four

Refresh your memory with Chapter One, Two and Three.

It had already been six months since the first time Meera came to realize that she was a witch. She missed home dearly, especially her sister. Hogwarts was sealed with magic so there was no way she could use muggle devises like smart phones. Thanks to her friends Neal and Benny, Meera seemed to be catching up with her classes. Professor Zuck and Rufus had also been giving extra lessons to help her.

An owl flew over to Meera’s table during breakfast.

‘It’s got a letter for you,’ Benny said casually.

‘I haven’t received a single letter since coming here,’ Meera exclaimed. Was it shock or happiness, no one could tell.

‘Then may be its time you do,’ added Neal, putting some tomatoes over his plate.

She detached the letter from the owl’s feet and opened it. It was from Mayna.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 1.00.44 PM

Signs, Meera thought. What kind of signs?

By the time Meera turned up, Benny was running.

‘Bye Meera, late for my extra class!’ she said waving.

Meera did not like how Mayna had behaved with her. She had not uttered a single word about magic, despite being a witch herself. Even when Zuck arrived to get Meera, Mayna refused to say anything that would clear her mind. And now she added the confusion by asking Meera to look out for signs.

Meera stood up and headed towards her dormitory. Mayna’s words troubled her. What was coming ahead? Could she avoid it? She was completely lost in her own world until, she knocked over someone.

‘Oh sorry!’ she said. Meera flushed. It was Li.

Meera had previously been able to thank Li for saving her from the rotten eggs, thanks to Benny’s constant encouragement. But this was not expected. Li’s bag was on the floor with his books spread out. Meera immediately picked them up and handed it over.

‘I’m really sorry,’ she said again.

‘Not a problem at all.’

Meera had already moved a few steps ahead when Li called out.

‘Eh, Meera!’ he said.

She did not know what to do. What did he want anyway?

‘Ah yes,’ she said turning back.

‘Ahh…school’s looking to form a Quidditch team. Professor Zuck told me that you’re quite good at flying. How about you give it a try?’

Meera stood there, frozen for a few seconds.

‘Ah…I’m…n-o-t sure if I can manage to fly.’

‘Really? Professor Zuck was really impressed.’

‘Really?’

Li nodded.

‘I’ll think about it then.’

‘If you’d like to try out, be there at the Quidditch ground tomorrow at 4.’

She nodded and walked out as quickly as she could. Why was Li asking her to play Quidditch, why? Is this a sign? She dissed the thought out of her head. She decided that Mayna was just playing games as always, even when she was not close by.

Meera put the letter under her pillow and carried her books. She could see the sky through one of the little windows beside her bed. The sky was clearer today. May be should could fly, she thought for a moment. After all she had managed to the very first time without much of a problem.

She hurried back to her class where she met Benny.

‘So, Li asked you to try out for the Quidditch team?’ she asked with a glare in her eyes.

How did she know, Meera thought.

‘Don’t be surprised,’ Benny added. ‘Anything that Li does is bound to become news, especially when it involves you. So are you going to go?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve never played Quidditch before.’

Read More »