Read for fun and wisdom

Dear Students 

Let us  celebrate World Literacy Day, today by being thankful that we are literate and can read and write.  Stories are what we think of, next. First, we listen to stories (at bedtime or any other time) recounted by parents, grandparents and sometimes, even teachers.

Next, after learning to read, we read stories for ourselves.

Then, we are hooked – or at least, I was. How about you? Do you love to read?

Do you like prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, illustrated or plain text? A reader’s world is full of Nowadays, you have even more choices – printed books from the library or epub on Kindle and other iPad software?

Read on your iPad

Read on your iPad

Before I entered the iPad era, I used to have five-six books on my bedside table, as I would read them all together (at different times). But I faced great problems packing when I travelled. Clothes, I could cut down on, but I needed books to read. Now, I carry innumerable books on Kindle, Goodreader, iBooks and numerous other Apps on my iPad!

I really never understood the hot debate between print books and digital ones. I would be willing to read books even if they were written on floors, ceilings, buses, teacups, towels – you name it!

Love to read!

Love to read!

In fact, I’m so addicted to reading, I cannot go to sleep without reading. Sometimes, however – often, actually – reading also keeps me from sleeping, as I read until 2.00 am or 3.00 am in the morning!

Sleep or read?

Sleep or read?

Today, I would like to share some reading links with you. You can read yourself, or ask someone (mom/dad/sister/brother/grandparent) to read aloud to you.

Each link has a selection of many kinds of stories. So, this should keep you busy for a long, long, time.

Short Fables for Kids

Bedtime Reads

Choice Stories

More Stories for Kids

Katha Free Library (CBSE)

Plus Some Poems

Happy Bookworm

Happy Bookworm

So, children, read, read, read and become happy bookworms!

Sanjukta Sivakumar


I love poems

Dear Students 

Today, I’m in a ‘poetic’ mood, and I have a lovely poem to share with you. Do read this one:

My Sister My Friend

by Zhai Dueñas

My beautiful sister

My beautiful sister

To me you are an angel in disguise.
Full of intuition, intelligent and wise.
Always giving and helping through good times and bad times.
You are the best friend I’ve ever had.

If I had one wish it would surely be
to give you as much you’ve given me

Though I’ve put our relationship through some cloudy days,
you’ve been my sunshine in so many ways.
Though trials and tests, right by me you stood,
and gave me your hand whenever you could.

Thank you so much my sister, my friend
My gratitude for you has no end….

Source: Family Friend Poems

Did you like it? Did you understand the meaning? Would you like to write a poem about someone who is your true friend?

Do send me your poem after you’ve written it. I’ll post it in Comments. It need not be very long, even 4-5 lines will do. The end-words need not rhyme, either.

Sanjukta Sivakumar

Reader’s Corner

Dear Students

This post is for fellow Readers and book-worms. It’s always great to discover persons who share the same hobby.

Reading Companions

Reading Companions

Let me share some online Book Club Links with you, where you can find out the best books to buy online for children.

You can share these sites with parents, grandparents and others who buy you gifts!

  1. Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club
  2. Early Moments
  3. Red House Children’s Books
  4. Scholastic Book Club
  5. Mindworth

Have you ever tried to make your own book? It can be great fun to try and write your first book!

Here is someone quite small who reads aloud how to write your own picture book. The reading is very fluent, even if some letters like ‘r’ and ‘t’ are slurred. Watch and learn how to write your own picture book:

Now, here’s the challenge. Write an autobiography (story of your own life, up to now) with picture illustrations.

Don’t forget to email me your book. Looking forward to reading your life-story!

Sanjukta Sivakumar

Favourite Reads

Dear Students

At my age, it is difficult to have a “favourite book” because there are so many books I have read, enjoyed in different ways, and would like to read again, some day. Some of my “favourite reads” are tragic and some comic, and include novels, poems, travelogues, essays and plays. I also read a lot of non-fiction in various subjects, because it helps me learn more about the various branches of human knowledge.

Today, I would like to share two classics by Jack London and one by Rudyard Kipling that I read in my school library when I was your age, and would still enjoy re-reading today.

You can download these free e-books by clicking on the links below and selecting a version compatible with your iPad/tablet/computer:

White Fang

white fang

The Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild


The Jungle Book



I would love to know what books and authors you enjoy reading. Do mention the titles and authors of your favourite books in your Comments.

Happy reading!

Sanjukta Sivakumar 

(DPST Inky Finga)

Making history flow into the present

Dear Students

History is useful knowledge of the past, especially it it is applied to the present, for the benefit of a large number of people.

So, contrary to common student belief, history is not just mugging up useless dates and dead facts from the remote past to pass exams!

This post is about one such useful application of historical knowledge. Click on Traditional water harvesting systems in the Thar desert to see in operation, a scientific system of water conservation that is over 700 years old!

If you watch this video, you will understand how ancient systems of water harvesting have helped to provide water in the barren Thar Desert by the ingenuity and perseverance of Shri Anupam Mishra:

Isn’t it amazing how history can be brought back to the present and made to come alive?

Now, you have read a lot of history in your textbooks. Is there anything you have learnt, that you can apply in your own family or society, to improve present conditions or solve an existing problem? 

Let me have answers to this Historical Challenge in your Comments!


National Aquatic Animal

Dear Students

Today’s post is about the Ganges river dolphin (P. g. gangetica), seen in the India-Phillipines postage stamp below, along with the Butanding, or whale shark (Rhincodon typus).


Ganges river dolphin (P. g. gangetica)

The Ganges river dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The Ganges river dolphin has been recognized by the government of India as its National Aquatic Animal. Ancient Hindu texts like Valimiki’s Ramayan mention the dolphin or Shishumaar along with many species of animals and fish, as emerging in the Ganges from Lord Shiva’s locks!

gangetic-dolphin by riverpreserve

This species has been categorized as being in danger of extinction. The immediate danger for the P. gangeticus is the decrease in river depth and width due to sand bars. Ministry of Environment and Forest declared 50 km of the Ganges river between Sultanganj and Kahlgaon in Bihar a dolphin sanctuary and named it the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS).  This is the world’s first dolphin sanctuary for the conservation of the Gangetic Dolphin or P. Gangeticus. The locals refer to the dolphins as sons. Here is a video filmed in the sanctuary, for you to view:

Dolphins are friendly mammals. They are also a highly intelligent and evolved species. Don’t you think, we ought to protect their habitat by preventing water pollution? Cleaning the river Ganga will do a lot to preserve the habitat of our national aquatic animal.

Be a conservationist. Save the Ganga and the Gangetic dolphin!


Musical Portals

Dear Students 

Here is a post to take you far away from the mundane tensions and simplistic joys of assessments, grades and marks into an experience of existential learning!

Thumrī (ठुमरी, ٹھمری) is a genre of semi-classical Indian music and the basis of most Indian folk music.

Thumrī became well-known in Lucknow in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in the 19th century. At that time, it was a song . It was called bandish ki thumri or bol bant ki thumri, sung by courtesans, accompanied by dancers.

At the turn of the 20th century, a new style of Thumri sung in Varanasi, known as bol banal, became very popular. Since Varanasi is to the east of Lucknow, the new style became known as Poorab ang or the eastern style thumrī. The text is romantic or devotional love for Krishna. The lyrics are usually in the Awadhi and Brij Bhasha dialects of Hindi. Here is one of my favourites, rendered by Kalpana Zokarkar (audio):

Thumri is characterized by its greater flexibility with the raga. Some common ragas in Thumri are Pilu, Kafi, Khamaj, Gara, Tilak Kamod and Bhairavi. The compositions are usually set to kaherava taal of 8 beats, addha tal of 16 beats, dipchandi of 14 beats or jat of 16 beats and in dadra tal of 6 beats.

Here is one more thumri (audio) by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. I hope you can identify the raga and tala:

Thumrī is also used as a generic name for some other, even lighter, forms such as Dadra, Hori, Kajari, Saavan, Jhoola, and Chaiti, even though each of them has its own lyrical or musical structure and content and so the exposition of these forms vary. Like Indian classical music itself, some of these forms have their origin in folk literature and music. Begum Akhtar is my own favourite singer of Thumri and Gazal. Here is a famous Thumri in Rag Bhairavi, Dadra Tal sung by her (audio):

This was a quiet, musical post. Did you enjoy sitting still and just listening? Developing the patience to appreciate fine music is also an art.

Be connoisseurs of good music!