Category: story telling

In outer space with Colgate

In outer space with Colgate

The twins love stories. They always have. I’ve spoken about it in many of my earlier posts. And they’re master story-tellers too, specially when they are the protagonists of their tales. In our weekly book club, story-spinning used to be one of the most loved games.
When Colgate came up with this idea of packs with readymade characters that could be cut out to form a story the children were absolutely delighted.

We received three packs from Blogadda with the theme – Magical Space Adventure (Space Launch, Space Walk and Alien Planet). This was such a wonderful coincidence because our current read-aloud book was Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is also set in space, at least some part of it is.

The children went to work. Once they opened the pack and cut out the pictures they lined them all up and then came the best bit – the telling of the story. You should have seen how every little detail was meticulously discussed and debated. You would have thought they were planning a Sanjay Bhansali style magnum opus.

They began with arguing about the name of the characters (how they settled onto those has a back story too but I’ll spare you the details). Mercifully one character was a girl and another was a boy so that tied in pretty neatly with the two of them. They then proceeded to completely get into the skin of their characters. They argued about who should play what role, who should be manning the controls and who should have the gun, who should alight on the ‘alien’ planet first and who should fight the alien. H wanted to hog all the action but N pointed out that the cutout showed the girl holding the gun so she had to have her bit too. Finally after two whole days they arrived at the story. 
And if you think it is a bit too long, spare a thought for me because when they first narrated it, it was a full length novel.
Here goes: 

Ra and Ri and the Crazy Comet

The cosmos was in grave danger. An angry comet was approaching earth. Scientists called it the Crazy Comet. They had had their eye on it for a year now. Each minute, each day it seemed to be coming closer to earth on a sure collision path.

Something had to be done.
Seasoned astronauts had been sent to explore. Not one had returned – all swallowed by the strong gravitational pull of the comet. Scientists needed someone smaller and lighter. A child. 
They needed a brave child, or maybe two. The moment the news flashed on the media channels aspirants flocked to ISRO headquarters. Parents with their wards, moms pushing reluctant children and eager youngsters dragging apprehensive parents  – there were all kinds.
Among them were the twins Ra and Ri. They stood waiting their turn, for each child had to go through many tests before they could qualify.
First they tried on space suits. 
‘Gosh’, said Ra, ‘these are heavy!’ 
‘That’s 127 kgs, my delicate darling’, teased Ri. Ra swiped her on her arm and they burst into giggles. Along with other children, they learnt satellite control and space walking and familiarised themselves with the Rover.
After days of training and testing and trials the results were announced. 
Ri and Ra were the only chosen ones. 
They couldn’t believed it even as they high-fived each other. They would get their dream of going into space and finding out information about the Crazy Comet which threatened the very existence of their dear planet.
The day dawned. Dressed in their space suits they boarded the satellite and off they went as hundreds of scientists watched their ascent. They waved by Venus and the jewel planet Saturn. Finally they spotted it – the Crazy Comet.

‘I’ll stay here’, offered Ri, ‘close to the satellite. You go and explore’. She knew they would need a cool head guiding the satellite should they need to make a quick getaway.

Ra, swam off weightlessly in space. He checked for the rope that tied him to Ri and felt reassured. No longer afraid, he circled the Comet looking for a weak spot – a place to attack. And then he saw it – that flame of fire. If only they could blow it backwards, it would burn it’s own Comet up. Yes thought he – that’s it!
Suddenly he felt it – the pull of the Crazy Comet. He was being dragged into its strong gravitational field. Ri felt it too. The pull was taking away her twin. Ra tried to scramble back. ‘Save me Ri,’ said he desperately. Quick as lightening she dashed into the satellite manoeuvring it as far from the Comet as fast as possible. She reeled her twin in. He fell into the satellite hugging his sister.
‘Thank God you’re safe’, said she. 
‘That was close,’ breathed Ra trying to make light of the situation. He told Ri of his plan. ‘You’re the expert. tell me, can our rockets blow the flame onto the Comet?
‘Yes we can, you’re brilliant Ra’, said a delighted Ri, her eyes shining.
‘Well some people just are!’
‘Shut up and help me you conceited bighead’, said Ri, still smiling.
‘Take the levers to your right and pull hard when I tell you’. She positioned the rockets carefully and began the count down 3… 2… 1 and PUUULLLLLL. 
With a mighty roar the rockets shot out making straight for the Comet. The fire from its tail turned round and in a few seconds the Comet was one huge red ball more magnificent than the Sun. For a moment it blazed and then with an explosion that shook the entire universe it was gone – Just like that – gone. Finished.
The Satellite was thrown up in space due to the explosions and then all was dark.
‘Are you okay, Ra’, said Ri.
‘Yeah I’m fine, but I can’t see anything’.
‘Is your oxygen mask in place?’
‘Obviously it is. Or I would’ve been dead, Ms Smarts.’
‘Alright alright, that was a silly question’, conceded Ri, grateful that Ra could still try to laugh.
They felt for each other’s hands, then prised the door open. They climbed down Ra propping himself with their satellite’s flag. They found themselves on a strange planet. A strange creature with a head as big a a watermelon was watching them.

Ri tightened her hold on Ra’s hand while her other hand was around her safety gun. She looked at Ra. “Don’t try anything silly,’ she seemed to say with her eyes.

The creature approached them. 
‘Who are you?’ Ra and Ri heard the question even though they didn’t actually hear any sound. 
‘We’re from earth,’ Ri tried to say. No sound came out yet the creature seemed to understand. Reading her puzzlement it said, ‘We communicate through our minds. I can see what you think’.
‘Holy Cow,’ thought Ra.
‘Holy Cow?’ asked the creature. ‘What’s that?’
This is awkward, thought Ra not liking his thoughts being read.
‘We’re from earth,’ repeated Ri, ‘We mean no harm. We came to destroy the Crazy Planet’.
‘We were watching you’, said the creature. ‘You are incredibly brave. The entire universe owes you a great debt. You saved us all.
But now you must leave.’
‘But how? Our satellite is destroyed’.
‘You earthlings and your toys!’ laughed the creature, ‘We don’t need satellites. We’ll teleport you. But you must promise not to tell those meddling scientists anything about us. We don’t want hordes of earthlings coming and making ugly buildings here.’ 
‘We won’t,’ promised Ra and Ri.
‘If you don’t mind may I keep your flag as a reminder of your bravery?’ asked the creature.
Sure said Ra as he stuck it in the ground.
‘Now stand on the small mounds there,’ said the creature. 
In the blink of an eye they were back right in the ISRO control room, scientists crowding around them.
‘That was brilliant. We saw it’, said they, ‘we saw the explosion but then you disappeared. We thought you were dead. How did you get here? What happened?’
The twins looked at each other. Amazingly, they could still hear each other think. ‘It is a miracle. A melon-headed God saved us,’ they chorused together.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.
On story telling

On story telling

Doctors say one should start reading to the kids from the time they are born.. or even when they are still fetuses. By those standards we were late starters.

Initially of course the days were a haze of formula mixing and nappy changing. The only story that appealed to me was that of Sleeping Beauty.. sleeping for a hundred years.. bliss, I thought.

Which one to tell?

Then there was the issue of which one to tell. What with fairy tales peppered with evil step mothers and sisters, the choice was limited. (Take Cinderella, Snow White or for my mythology crazy kids – the Ramayan). There were fathers who abandoned their children in the jungle (Hansel and Gretel), and scary endings galore. The Pied Piper who walked away with the kids gives even me goose bumps or Red Riding Hood who was eaten up by the wolf along with her grandma.. positively a no no.

So what’s a mama to do?

Well tired of trying to pick and choose I simply proceeded to sanitize the stories. First to go were all stepmothers replaced neatly by ‘naughty aunty/queen’. Kaikeyi was just a ‘naughty queen’ in Dashrath’s palace.

Then went the scary endings.. Pied Piper was given his money and made to bring back the children, a hunter heard Red Riding Hood and scared the wolf away (the grandma also runs away instead of being eaten up).

Lastly I did away with the death sequences… the evil queen in Snow White falls off the hill ‘never to be seen again’, The troll in the Three Billy Goats is ‘carried away by the river’, the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk simply ‘breaks his head’.

Yet there are questions..
From Naisha: In Jack and the Beanstalk the giant falls so, “His mama must have been sad.. she was nice, she helped Jack and still Jack hurt her son.” 
This one from Hrit: “When Ravan died was Vibhishan sad?”
And another one from him: “Bad logon ko mar dena chahiye mama?”

The best bet…
… I found were our good old Panchatantra stories. Then there are the Pooh and Dora series which were just perfect.

The doctor says…
The counselor advised me to make up animal stories for the kids. So there are stories about…

A rabbit who used to push other animal kids (for Hrit when he’s naughty in the playground)
A calf who laughed at someone who fell down (for both of them)
A lion cub who learnt to make new friends (for when we moved to Pune)
A teddy bear who is naughty at the doctor’s (to while away time at the clinic)
A pup who wouldn’t come home from play in time (to get them home after playtime)
A Jack story about a boy who is naughty at a birthday party (for when I have to send the kids alone to parties)

However what I’m most proud of is my Cocktail Story.. that’s for the time when Hrit and Naisha both want a story of their choice and there’s time for just one so I give them a cocktail and wonder of wonders — They love it.