Episode 14 – the kids meet their match

Shirke and Minok had been having super fun by teasing their social circle no end by behaving like the other. Their mothers had tried to come up with a solution to this rather unique issue, so as to teach their children a lesson. However, they didn’t succeed and while they laughed about it, they did not stop thinking about how they could come up with a suitable method to make their kids stop this prank. It would have been funny once but now was more of a constant irritation – something similar to that really irritating noise when a chalk squeaks across the blackboard or a dislodged wheel screeches on a luggage trolley.

One night when Shirke and Minok had gone to bed, Lekni and Mekala were discussing their children when they discovered how totally different they were in some aspects. They knew the obvious ones like their food habits – how Shirke was finicky and picky about his food and did not even want to explore different tastes and how Minok loved trying out various foods and loved variety. They found some new ones – how Minok attacked any task given – be it homework or any chore – and got it done completed within a matter of minutes and then whiled away the rest of the time doing stuff he liked and how Shirke procrastinated and pushed the jobs till the very next minute, not being able to enjoy the time but still waiting till the last minute to complete the assigned tasks. The next significant one was how they responded to music – Minok started swaying on his own as soon as any music was heard. It was almost as if his body had a mind of its own and responded before he even realised what was happening. Shirke meanwhile internalised the pleasure – his body remained stiff without any head nods or foot taps but his face would show how much he enjoyed the music.

It hit them both at the same time – the thought about how they could use this particular difference about the response to music to handle the school problem. They had a quick session with the principal, to introduce small snippets of music between lessons and during the breaks. The principal agreed to introduce music as he was aware about the various benefits of music.

Well, then that was it. When school started, the public address system announced that there would be a new system introduced from that day. It was received with great enthusiasm by almost all the students. Then the fun started – when the music started, Minok started his own dance and Shirke was static. Since his classmates had never seen Shirke dance, they could identify that it was Minok. That day, because of the anticipation of the music, Shirke and Minok forgot their original game of behaving like the other.

However the next day, when they started their game, the music gave it away. It was obvious that they could think of this during the breaks and it was hard to play when they were really enjoying the music. The best part was they never got to know the parts their mothers had played in the whole episode.

Peace reigned in their classroom for a few days – not the troubled sort but the serene kind with some really good music and warm tones of feeling. Actually, I guess music in any environment can help calm down the atmosphere and instil calm and peace, don’t you? Music can help reduce the chaos in many work environments, hospitals, schools or even the streets. Thoughts?


Episode 13 – the strange triad

We met Megha of the mega-eye quite some time ago. Shirke was now quite comfortable with Minok – so much so that he actually thought he could share his innermost secret about having a human friend. Of course, the fact that Minok had told him about being friends with the native Zeklum species and having a special friend in particular did give him the confidence that he would not be ridiculed.

So one night, when they were both silent with their thoughts, Shirke started the conversation about how he had a friend who was totally different from them. Minok misunderstood and said “Well, of course you have. Nobody is like us – we are one of the unique Grajons around.” Shirke replied – “Well – this friend is not a Grajon and you would never able to guess.” Minok then started coming up with all sorts of wild guesses but he was nowhere near the truth. Shirke drew out the suspense as much as he could and said that he would introduce Minok to his friend post school the next day.

Minok was in a high state of anticipation and still was guessing – the guesses ranged from the vultures to the catfish and from goblins to the unicorn. He was so wrapped up in this that he did not even participate in their usual round of fun at school. Finally school was over and they were free to go. Shirke detoured and landed softly on Megha’s terrace and as was their agreed signal – gently tapped on her ceiling three times with his knuckles. They heard an answering single knock which meant that she would be along shortly.

She was there in a couple of minutes and was quite surprised to see two nearly identical Grajons when she was expecting one. However she didn’t seem to have any difficulty in identifying Shirke. “Hi ! So who is your friend?” she asked. Shirke introduced Minok and Megha to each other. It was not surprising that they got along so well. Megha was very interested in Zeklum – she had seen the planet using her telescope but didn’t know that it was inhabited.

Megha suddenly became silent and that is when Shirke realised that there was something different about her. Her eyes seemed puffed up and her face was swollen.  When questioned, she confessed that she was being bullied terribly at school because she was so nerdy. She tried to ignore but today, one of her classmates had actually pulled off her glasses and tossed them about, which had resulted in scratches on the lens and a round of sound scolding from her mother for the same. She had been weeping.

Shirke and Minok couldn’t understand how some humans could be so cruel. Their pranks were harmless as were the other Grajonic kids’ pranks. Minok came up with the idea of giving Megha’s tormentor some trouble. They took the address from Megha and told her that they wanted to pay her a visit.

Once they reached the house, they squeezed into the room and simply danced to their own music. That was enough to completely realign or misalign most of the objects in the room, including the occupant. Not having a mega-eye, they couldn’t be seen by anyone and the room occupant couldn’t even shout out. After just one song, they left as silently as they had come.

It looks like although they scared her, she didn’t make the connection between her bullying and the retribution. Maybe a couple of visits more were required before her slightly dim-witted mind connected the dots. They had a quick stopover at Megha’s house where they showed her the before and after holograms of the room before they said goodbye and left.

While Megha was secretly thrilled to have some friends who stood up for her, she was also a trifle bit sad that she had been the cause of trauma to somebody else. She was not sure if this was the right way to teach a lesson but she hugged one single thought to her while she smiled sleepily “What does it matter if I don’t have human friends? I have a couple of super-awesome Grajonic ones.”.

Episode 12 – When the shoe is on the other foot

Remember the days that Shirke and Minok were making their friends weep by claiming to be the other? Well, we did mention that their mothers found this ingenious and hilarious. However, they did want them to stop but try as they did, they couldn’t come up with a suitable solution.

A week had passed and Shirke and Minok didn’t seem to be tiring of their prank. There were some murmurs that were rising in volume and intensity and a whole lot of frustration and irritation. It was then that Lekni (Minok’s mom) came up with a really simple idea which she was sure would work. She told Shirke’s mom, Mekala about it and was met with approval.

They decided to put their plan in action immediately. When the kids got back from school, Lekni started talking to Minok assuming he was Shirke and Mekala did the same with Minok. The kids were surprised and corrected their mothers. However, when the mothers persisted, it didn’t make sense to them at all.

Shirke was being yelled at by Lekni because Minok had not updated the documents that had to be sent back to his school at Zeklum, so that they were aware of what he was upto. Minok was given a verbal bashing by Mekala because he had missed a simple task of carrying out some chores for her. The wrong things landed on their plates when they sat down for dinner – Shirke’s favourites were served to Minok and vice versa. Second helpings were given to Shirke when it was known that he was a picky eater. Minok was served tiny helpings and he felt ravenous. On clarifying their identities, there was some improvement but this persistent confusion made the childrens’ heads swim.

Shirke and Minok discussed this on the way back from school the next day. It puzzled them no end that this confusion should have started a week later. They were so sure that mothers should be able to identify their kids. All of a sudden, Shirke stopped mid stride. It had suddenly struck him why the mothers were behaving this way. He told Minok – “I think they heard about our prank and want us to taste our own medicine. I am sure that is why they are behaving like this so that we understand how the others feel.” Minok agreed and said “Oh ! I had heard about this in Zeklum – they called it reverse psychology or something like it.”

Having arrived at the reason for the weird behaviour, they needed to work out how they could normalise it. Their plan again was simplicity itself. They agreed not to correct their mothers and just go along with whatever they were saying. Lekni and Mekala were surprised to see no resistance during the evening and night – their kids were meek and submissive. Quietly putting up with different activities, talks and answering as the other, eating as per the other’s likes and wants and generally behaving like the other. They even kissed the other’s mothers goodnight and walked with straight faces to Shirke’s room to sleep.

Of course, Lekni and Mekala worked it out and they could visualise the howls of suppressed laughter and the the glee in Shirke’s room. They termed it a stalemate but I think the game is 1 – 0 in favour of Shirke and Minok. Minok and Shirke are ready to serve again – how would the mothers react? Will the volley continue or would they lose this round too? We need to wait and watch.




Episode 11 – The need for space

Shirke had his distant cousin, Minok visiting him and they were having loads of fun tricking their classmates since they looked identical. It had been about four days now and the fun was wearing off a little. There was also something else bothering Shirke now that the novelty of having an identical cousin was wearing off.

Shirke, being an only child was used to lots of alone-time. Having working parents meant that he spent the time after school and before they got back, all by himself. There were a slew of activities that they had set up for him but he still had loads of free time – for unstructured play and plain fun or deep contemplation or simple blankness.  He treasured this time as he really loved his own company and in fact, got offended if one or both of his parents were home some days when he got back from school.

With Minok in the picture, he never got that time for himself. Minok was not only there in his room, he was also all over the place – moving from one place to another, jumping from one topic to another and whizzing mentally around everywhere. After four days of this, Shirke was actually exhausted just looking at the energy Minok had.

He desperately needed that pocket of time and space where he could do nothing, speak nothing and think of nothing but it looked as if he was not likely to get it in the near future. In order to identify how much longer, he casually asked Lekni aunty details about the epidemic and what was the current status of its control and eradication. Aunt Lekni reported that it looked to be more formidable than expected and that they were really struggling there at Zeklum to tame it. Shirke’s heart sank just a little bit more on hearing this news as it looked as if Minok’s stay would be extended.

To be fair to Shirke, he didn’t mind sharing his room and toys with Minok – he was quite generous that way. But he did mind always having to converse with Minok. He started to think about possible solutions and all involved him acting rude towards Minok. That wasn’t an option at all since he knew that his mother would rip him if he behaved rudely. What was a child to do under these circumstances?

He applied what he had learnt in science that year and designed and built a 3-dimensional model of the planet Jupiter with its 59 natural moons and cyclonic storms and three rings. He spent a considerable amount of thought, time and energy building this contraption and then created a holograph and disassembled the structure after showing it to Minok.

The next day after school, he casually remarked to Minok if he thought he was capable to reproducing what Shirke had produced by looking at the holograph. He added in some conditions saying that Minok would need to time it and not ask for any help at all – any talk would be considered as breach of the help clause, whether it was relevant or not. Minok, loving any challenge, accepted gleefully and started his work. Minok took about an hour to get it up and going. You would have thought that Shirke was in heaven if you had seen him during this time. Shirke had his story book for company and his EarPods tuned in to his playlist with a look of complete bliss on his face.

Wonder what he would come up the next time he needs some peaceful, quiet me-time?


Facts and fiction

via Daily Prompt: Fact

Something that can be repeated time and again.

Something that isn’t fancy but actually bare and plain.

Something where the imagination is completely reigned.

Those somethings are facts, my friend., hard, solid facts.


Science teaches us about logic and creation.

About things that can be proved by experimentation.

Stuff that remains the same with multiple iterations.

The basis of all this are the solid facts.


A feeling, whether it is of the gut or brain.

Intuitions, thoughts that churn, heave and strain.

Ideas that connect like beads in a chain.

No – they are figments of imagination, not facts.


A small whisper of dissension that goes beyond temperature and pressure.

What about stuff that cannot be measured with scoops and measures.

So many of life’s other gifts and treasures.

Which are true, no doubt, but not considered facts.


What about true emotions, positive or negative alike?

What about feeling and intuitions that makes us realise?

Things we know are true, correct and right.

But are not considered scientific facts.


If not facts, what is it called then?

Feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas of women, children and men.

Obviously they are not fiction, they are not inked by pens.

What is the correct term if they are not be called facts?





Episode 10 – Shirke and Minok

Shirke was supremely excited that Minok was in the same class and school as him. Although they were the same age and colouring, they were totally different characters. Shirke was subdued and calm, Minok was animated and excitable. Shirke preferred staying in one place and lounging about, Minok wanted to be in three places at the same time. Shirke preferred intellectual pursuits, Minok preferred physical games. However the surprising part was that they got along like a house on fire.

Each adapted very well to the other – taking a little bit of the others’ personality while retaining the essence of their own. Guess that is the advantage of kids all over – right? Shirke and Minok made elaborate plans on how they would trick their classmates. The plans were actually not required since all they decided was that they would always behave as if they were not the person addressed. For example, if Shirke was called Shirke, he would say that he was Minok. Alternately, if he was called Minok, he would say he was Shirke. The same applied to Minok.

It, being Minok’s first day, Lekni had accompanied him because she was supposed to introduce him to the teachers and the principal. Shirke hung around the office waiting for Minok to emerge after meeting the principal and the teachers, instead of going to his class. They made a grand entrance together to class along with their teacher, who announced that a new student, Minok (Shirke’s cousin) had joined their class and they were all supposed to make him feel welcome. Both Shirke and Minok stood up then and the teacher was embarrassed that she couldn’t tell them apart and let it go.

The day started like that and throughout the day, Shirke and Minok howled with laughter at the confusion that they created. They would swap seats after every period or during the breaks and act completely innocent. When Strewp spoke to Shirke asking him for help in understanding a concept, Shirke said he was Minok. When Minok was approached, he said that he was Minok. When one of the classmates giggled to Minok, letting him into an inside joke, Minok stared at him and asked him, why he felt the need to say something about which he was aware for the past three months, thoroughly embarrassing the poor kid. The fun continued during the snack recess and the lunch break when the adults serving were confused as to why Shirke, who was an extremely picky eater, was now loading his tray with double the portion size, When they reached the playground, they were separated into different teams. However they had worked on this aspect too and when they were in the field, there was confusion among their team mates as to who they had to pass on the baton to. Chaos reigned supreme the whole day and Shirke and Minok were the only ones who were sad to see the day end. Their other classmates were quite relieved though and they couldn’t wait to get away from these identical Grajons.

Shirke and Minok reached home leisurely and were careful to contain their excitement and glee. However mothers being what they are, Lekni and Shirke’s mom, Mikala could read between the lines and knew that their kids had been up to something. A quick chat with the class teacher confirmed their suspicions. Both of them had a quiet laugh at what their kids had done post the kids bedtime. They then discussed on the best approach that they could take to ensure that the kids didn’t make this a regular practice. They however couldn’t come up with an immediate solution and decided to think some more.

In the meantime, Shirke and Minok, were re-living their day and bursting into fits of giggles until finally they heard a stern voice telling them to pipe down and sleep. They finally slept and had wonderful dreams of the fun they had and the fun they would be having the next day too……


Episode 9 – Shirke meets a distant cousin

We know that Shirke was unique because of his colouring – both skin (pale lilac) and eyes  (maroon) and so stood out from the other Grajon kids with their purple or blue skins and black, brown or golden eyes. One distinct disadvantage (according to Shirke, of course) was that he could be easily identified. People would always remember him since he stood out in the crowd – there would be remarks of “Oh! You mean the lilac kid! He went by that play area 10 minutes ago.” or “The different kid? Yes, we saw him walk into the neighbours house now.” His parents didn’t have to really set up search parties when he would wander off as a toddler because other Grajon adults would ensure to get him back. In fact, they became sort of semi-famous because of him.

It was about a fortnight after the swimming outing that Shirke’s mom told him that they were expecting guests. She mentioned that this was her second cousin, Lekni whom she had met many years ago since she had married and settled down in a distant planet, Zeklum. Shirke’s mom also told him that her cousin had a son, Minok almost equal to Shirke’s age. Lekni had her career and was rather busy to visit. So they would have conversations only. The last of such conversations had taken place a couple of days ago when Lekni mentioned that her planet Zeklum had an outbreak of an epidemic and she was worried about Minok catching it. That was when Shirke’s mom graciously offered her home to the family to stay in till the epidemic was under control. Lekni accepted and said that she would travel with Minok but her husband, Siral would stay behind because he was one of the main physicians fighting the epidemic and so was needed at Zeklum.

Shirke loved people and was looking forward to the fun and conversations which would follow the visit. Lekni and Minok. He heard some voices in the dark and crept out to see if they had come. His mother saw him and sent him off to bed as it was school night. Shirke couldn’t sleep for a long time due to excitement, with the result that he was late getting up. He jumped up and got ready and rushed to the breakfast table. Lekni and Minok were there already and Shirke felt just a little bit shy. Lekni called out to him and started talking to him gently and soon his shyness slipped away and he looked over at her and smiled and then turned towards Minok. That was when he got the shock of his life. It was like looking into a mirror. Minok had the exact same colouring and physique that Shirke had.

After the first phase of resentment that he was no longer unique, Shirke started thinking of all the possibilities of having a doppelgänger. He got to talking with Minok and realised that they even spoke alike. Apparently Minok was not a minority in Zeklum – there were a few lilac Grajons there but still a minority. Shirke asked his mother how long they would stay and was given the answer that they would be there for at least a fortnight, if not more. His mother mentioned that it was sad that Minok would miss so many days of school and that they would be visiting Shirke’s school to see if he could be temporarily accommodated there. Fortunately for Minok, he was given temporary admission and allotted to Shirke’s class.

Shirke was thrilled to hear this and he started thinking about all that they could do – right from fooling the teachers and friends to standing in for each other to other tons of naughty acts. The next fortnight suddenly seemed very promising to Shirke and he was anticipating a huge amount of fun. Keep tuned in here to see how it panned out for Shirke and Minok!