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The Fossil Tree

December 27: Which are the oldest living trees in the world? You might think it's those huge redwood trees, called giant sequoias, dating 4000 years. Not true. How about the Wollemi Pine? Yes, you're getting there. But the answer is the Nightcap Oak, which was discovered recently. This oldest tree is 90 million years old. The Nightcap Oak has been...

This Bird Paradise Stinks!

March 19: Are you a bird lover? If you live in Delhi, then the river Yamuna is the place to go to. Yes, that same river that was once Delhi's pride but has got reduced to a polluted dump with mounds of plastic islands floating on its surface and toxic effluents flowing in from fields. And yet, birds flock to...

Seeing the City

I have a friend with whom I argue a lot. No, that seems as if I am the one who does the arguing all the time. Half the time it is he who says something ridiculous, and then we start arguing! There is one topic that we keep coming back to argue upon. I have stayed in one city all...

The Good Turn

Every time Gina walked down the lane where she lived, some neighbour or the other would remark that 'The Brat' was off to some place. The six-year-old was the only child of her parents and they spoilt her totally. Even when she was a small child, her parents had never refused her anything. And she, in turn, always made sure...

Go For It, Bablu!

It happened on the day school started after a heavenly two months of summer holidays. Shankar refused to wake up at 6 am. He wanted to dream more about his visit to his grandparents' home. They lived in the picturesque city of Mysore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. He particularly wanted to remember his two trips to...

Was Christmas Celebrated Thousands of Years before Christ’s Birth?

Did you know that the celebrations at Christmas might have nothing to do with the birth of Christ? In fact they may well lie in a feast called Sacaea that was celebrated thousands of years before Christ's birth. Over 4000 years ago, in the region that is now Iraq, a five-day festival with the exchanges of gifts, the staging...

The Eagle’s Tale

Did you hear the wind sigh As it brushed past the neem tree high? The wind met an eagle ready to cry What’s the matter? Smile - at least try. Said the wind to the eagle I’ve hurt my wings, I can’t fly That’s why I’m ready to cry Said the eagle to the wind Is that all? What are we here for Said the neem and the wind with a smile The neem gave its healing...

Limits of the Mind

Ekalavya was a little boy, born in a poor family, many many years ago. His people lived a little away from Hastinapura, the capital of the Kuru kings. They used to clean other people's dirt for a profession. And for this reason they were shunned by society. Ekalavya and other kids of his group knew they too had to follow...

Monu Makes his Mark

Monu the mongoose crawled out of the ditch in the back garden. His mother was already out with his three little brothers. They had long bodies with short legs. They had bushy tails and tiny ears. And they had bright eyes, which shone like beads. They did things fast. They were already good hunters like their mother. But Monu was...

Babolito

Mohanty ma'am was teaching the class five students of Arya Wonderland about similes. "As beautiful as?" she asked, looking at the students. "The rose, the Taj Mahal, Aishwarya Rai...." There were several shouts. "And now, as ugly as?" Mohanty ma'am questioned. There was a pause then a girl said in a loud and clear voice: "As ugly as Sarita." There were a few giggles,...

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Summer music of the trees

I always used to think that the drive across a four kilometre stretch from my house to the main road was a pain. Actually,...

The Great Escape

On the outskirts of a bustling city near the sea coast was a zoo named Kananvan. It was famous all over the world for...

How Does Ice float?

A cool glass of water topped with huge chunks of ice is sure to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. But, before...

Himalayas Have a Deep Impact on the Climate of the World

Tibet is known as the roof of the world. That is because it is on a region which has the highest altitude in the...

Sadako’s Cranes

The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima ten years ago. I lived a mile away from the city so nothing much happened to me,...