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The lazy monk — a tale from the Panchatantra

The lazy monk — a tale from the Panchatantra

Note: This folktale has been adapted from the Panchatantra story originally titled “The lazy brahmin”.Panchatantra is an ancient Indian collection of interrelated animal fables in Sanskrit.

Deepavali: Festival of Lights

Deepavali – or Diwali – as is commonly uttered – literally means rows of lamps. These lamps light up houses all over the country, but for different reasons. In West Bengal, it is time to worship Kali, the goddess with the fearsome strength, and in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh it is time to remember Dhanvantari, the divine physician. To some, the lights are a reminder of the return of Rama to his home after 16 years of exile....

Where’s the Catch?

Where’s the Catch?

Imagine this scene: In a village hut, dimly lit by a diya, members of the household sit in a frightened circle, watching a tantrik muttering mantras and performing strange rituals with a skull perhaps, the thighbone of a sheep, and other items. Sitting among the women is one who has wild staring eyes, untidy hair and a strange expression. She speaks in a voice that doesn’t seem to be her own. Everyone present is convinced she has been possessed by an evil spirit which the tantrik must now get out of her....

The Prasad

The Prasad

In a small village in South India lived a poor farmer. He had two children, Uma, an eight-year-old girl, and Gopal, a baby boy. When his wife died, his daughter Uma took over the responsibility of looking after her brother. A few years later the farmer also died, and the two children became orphans. Uma was very mature for her age. She knew that she would have to be both father and mother to Gopal. She also had to make ends meet....

Why Monkeys Mean Trouble

In the village of Sholingur in Tamil Nadu, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. The temple is on top of a small hill. In and around the hill in the thick forest live a group of monkeys. All they do is scare people and create trouble — even when people worship them as symbols of Hanuman. And there’s a story behind why they create trouble.… The story goes back a long time....

The Master of  'Mithaai'

The Master of 'Mithaai'

It was the summer of 1997. I was travelling through the villages of West Bengal in search of the famed folk musicians of Bengal. They were simple people who journeyed from village to village, singing and performing. But something happened along the way… The afternoon sun was at its height when I reached Kankalitala, in the northwestern part of West Bengal. The temple in Kankalitala is very popular among the worshippers of Goddess Kali. The temple is located right next to a river called Kopai, a beautiful...

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

Decorations for a Christmas tree can all be made at home, with simple, inexpensive, and easy-to-find things like threads and ribbons, sweets, old bulbs, empty matchboxes and lots of popcorn. Here are some of the things you should collect to get your tree going. Christmas tree Coloured paper (preferably one that shines) Popcorn Christmas Decorations [Illustrations by Shinod AP] Paints and paint brush...

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