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Cover art by Sanchana Srikanth

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Contents 1. From the Editors’ desk 3 2. A story feature... 4 3. Limerick’s Lyrics 6 4. Petter’s diary 7 5. Travelogue 10 6. Grandpa Tidbit’s Blog 12 7. Crafty’s Corner 14 8. Giggles and his Rainforest friends 15 9. Introduction to the supernatural.... 16 10. Grandma’s book review 18 11. Passpartout’s Page 20 12. Nature Journal 22

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Hi all, Time for another issue of Raindrops! Same challenges and time deadlines and at the end of it all, another issue that makes us forget that just a few days ago we really quit in despair! When we have a dream in our hearts, guess it is very difficult to get rid of it :) Talking of which, we came across this interesting web-site www.onemilliongiraffes.com. As the owner of the site - Ola Helland says... “To my good friend Jørgen I said a sentence that changed my life. We were discussing the internet and how amazing it is, when I said: “There really are no limits anymore. Anything is possible! I could easily collect one million giraffes if I wanted to.” I wasn’t really thinking about what I was saying and Jørgen wouldn’t let that sentence go. He refused to believe it was possible to collect that many giraffes, so we made a bet. “ So that is what the site is about? A response to a bet! But wait...you cannot send in just about any giraffe. It cannot be store-bought or made on a computer. Guess what? He is pretty close to realising his target! Take a look at the web-site to see the amazing collection of giraffes that people from all over the world have sent in. Highly inspirational! With that thought we leave you to explore the rest of this issue... Warmly, The Raindrops Team

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A story feature... The Adventures of the Zamar Family by Rithana Srikanth

Introduction: Before we start this story, you’ll need to know a bit of astronomy to understand it properly. Here we go: You know that we live in the Milky Way galaxy. Out there in space is another galaxy called ‘Andromeda’. You can travel to it, but it would take humans about a million years, so it is basically impossible. However, Andromeda is heading straight for the Milky Way and in about 5 billion years (when the sun and the Earth have exploded) they will crash together. Now, this fictional story is in the future, when humans are extinct and Andromeda has come together with the Milky Way. You shall learn more as you read. Have fun! Far into the future, the new galaxy called ‘Milkmeda’ has formed. The Elinix race have evolved and taken over the planet Oceano, on which lived the Zamar family: Mammix, Pappix, and the twins Zapow and Zeggy. Their purple bodies are shaped like eggs and they have yellow antennae and spots. Right now it was dinnertime for the family.”I’m hungry,” said Zeggy. “I’m almost finished cooking,” Pappix told her.

Soon, they all began to slurp their rock soup down and finished up with mud pie for dessert.

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“I’m tired of eating the same thing every day,” Zapow groaned. “This life is boring!” “I also want something different,” said Mammix. “Well, let’s go for a fly,” Pappix said. Everyone agreed and so they flew. On the way, Zapow spotted something shiny on the ground. He flew down to see what it was. “What have you found?” called Pappix. “I don’t know,” said Zapow. The whole family crowded around him. It looked like a metal box with some round buttons on it. There was even a door to go in. The Zamars all went through the door. Little did they know that this box was actually a time machine that can go billions of years back in time! Zapow started pressing some buttons and suddenly all of them were pulled away by some unknown force!

“What’s happening?” cried Zeggy as they felt sucked into a black hole. It was so scary that Zapow started howling loudly. Suddenly, the metal box landed with a thud on the ground. Slowly, Pappix opened the door cautiously and peeked outside. It was so bright with light that he couldn’t even open his eyes! Oceano was always dark and so he didn’t even know about sun light. He rubbed his eyes many times and finally, saw the world around them. It was a beautiful grassy garden, with rose flowers, white lilies and sunflowers. Butterflies floated above the plants and the bees were humming noisily around them. The Zamar family gazed wonderingly around trying to make sense of what kind of a place this would be. They had never seen such a sight before.

To be continued...

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Limerick’s Lyrics MINARET MEMORIES OF A SUNSET By Abu Bakr Jamal The birds are lazily cheeping Into burrows animals are creeping As day merges into night I watch the last rays of light, And I think Will the Sun rise tomorrow? Bringing joy to sorrow Or will we be dead by then, You can never tell with us men. As coolness takes over warmth’ Darkness takes over light. For with every good there will be harm Impending our sight. But far from the rat-race In a lonely minaret of a mosque I see the sunsets glimmering face, And as night comes, I descend the stairs, Feeling satisfied.

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Petter’s diary My Gallopific pet !

By Devanshika Bajpai

My pet is a horse called Dollar. Most people would say that a horse is a very unusual pet and would not make a good pet at all .But, they are wrong. Well , not fully wrong, but partly wrong and partly correct. Because, a horse is an unusual pet, but it is an unusual pet for someone who doesn’t ride horses. But, for a rider, it is a very common pet, as most accomplished polo and dressage riders have their own horses, as they use them quite a lot. Polo horses are ridden quite often. It is true that a round in a polo match called a “chakka” lasts only seven and a half minutes, but in those seven and a half minutes, the horses do as much work as they would have done for seven and a half hours [ Okay not seven and a half hours, I was just kidding. But they sure do work hard!] . Dressage is another type of equinine sport where the horse has to be ridden in a very precise manner. Training your horse for dressage makes the horse work hard too! Therefore horses which compete in sports have to be very well fed and kept with great care. And if they have a slight injury such as a slight limp in the front leg, they will no lon7


ger be fit for competitions. So, they are bought by riding schools and they are then used to teach people riding. Okay, it’s not sad. But don’t go straight to the animal rights officer and complain that they are not kept as properly as they were at the polo stables ! They are much more well kept and fed by the children who come there!! They always give the horses carrots and are good with them. This is what happened to Dollar. Anyway enough about polo and its horses, we must talk about Dollar, whom this is about. Dollar is a bay [ bay is a dark brown, almost black color], and has a white star on his forehead and one white sock. He was a polo horse until he came to “Red Earth,” - the place where he lives now. I was very excited when I heard that he was arriving from Bangalore, as he had come from Jaipur to Mumbai, from Mumbai to Bangalore, and then he came here. His transportation took almost a month. He is now being trained , as the rules of polo are different from the dressage rules. Dollar is a very tall horse, in fact he is one of the tallest horses in Red Earth. He is a very gentle and quiet horse, and he loves eating carrots. I always give him carrots when I visit him. Sometimes he turns his head and stands in 8


his stall, trying to poke his nose into the next horses’ stall. When he does this and I want to feed him carrots, I call his name and tap on the stall door. He always turns around and pokes his head out and looks at me as if he is saying: “ Hey! I thought you got carrots for me! ” and sniffs me to see if I have his carrots. When he smells them, he lowers his head to my height,[ I can’t reach and give him carrots if he doesn’t lower his head, he’s too tall] and I make my hand flat and balance the carrot on my hand [ balancing is necessary or else it will fall on the sandy ground below, and horses don’t like eating sandy carrots and if I hold it with my fingers he might mistake my finger for the carrot and chomp them up], and he eats it. He also has a long tail which he swishes to keep away flies, but when someone is grooming him [me, for instance ], he thinks the brush is a fly and swishes his tail, and it hits the person’s face [and his tail can hurt!]. That is why we must always wear a helmet, even while brushing a horse. Some horses kick too, but luckily Dollar doesn’t. That’s why I never go behind a horse so he can’t kick you as horses mostly kick only with back legs, because they can’t see who’s behind them. Dollar is too high for me to reach all the way up and groom him on his back, so the stable hands do that. He is ridden everyday by the stable hands, and is fed well, too.[ he gets a lot of hay, and I give him a lot of carrots, all the horses around him look into his stall jealously while I give Dollar carrots, as they are not given carrots very often.] I also give some carrots to the pony I ride, but luckily Dollar is too far away from the pony too see, because he might be angry with me for giving carrots to another horse!, I also give carrots to the baby horse next to dollar and also to a horse called Magic but they are Dollar’s friends, so Dollar doesn’t mind. Dollar is a wonderful horse and he is the best pet I could have.

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Travelogue Snapshots of Sikkim

Text and photographs by Aditi Elassery

We just returned from a 3 week long trip in Sikkim. We went by train from Bangalore to Chennai, Chennai to Calcutta and from there to New Jalpaigudi. From there we went by car to a place called Pelling in West Sikkim.We stayed there for one day. our big trek was a few days later from a place called Yuksom. it took six days to go and come back. we trekked to the base camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga. it is a place called Dzongri and is at 14,000 ft. the trek was not too difficult though some parts were really steep. we had some yaks and ponies to carry our stuff. it is quite a popular trek so we passed a lot of other people and we had to keep making way for the other yaks and ponies. But we had great views of the mountains and it even snowed! the whole trip was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed myself. 10


On our way On the way to Pelling from the railway station There were a lot of other trekkers so with so many people and their yaks and all there was quite a traffic jam sometimes!

Sacred lakes have a Prayer flags all around them

At home in the mountains We crossed many rivers while trekking. This is one of them... Mt. khagchendzonga

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Grandpa Tidbit’s Blog Reach out to the beach

Last Sunday my grand-daughter (Eesha) and I were looking at some pictures of our coastal town taken about fifty odd years ago. “What broad streets! What strange costumes! Grandpa look - Hand-carts! How cute! And what a beatuiful beach!” Eesha kept exclaiming as she looked at each of the photographs in turn. Suddenly she stopped and asked me, “Grandpa, when did we ever have such a wide beach?”. I looked at the photgraph that she was holding up. With sparkling waters, waves lapping onto a clean beach and a lighthouse in the background, it looked like it was straight out of an artist’s canvas! A far cry from the “beach” that is there now. There is no sand left on what we still call the beach. Rocks have been brought in and piled high to barricade the town in the event of another tsunami, causing severe erosion of beaches further out on the coastline. The “adventerous” still clamber over the rocks to get to the water and splash and... litter! S ­ uddenly I felt very sad! Within a matter of about 50 years, a beautiful coastline has become a ravaged landscape! What Eesha’s mother and I enjoyed for years is now not available to Eesha. Who is to blame? The sea is supposed to be the mother of all living creatures. Most theories of evolution claim that “life particles” first appeared in the sea, going on to develop into marine and land creatures witth an intermediate phase - amphibians. The seas have been around for ages, shaping our landscape and our destinies. Beaches are the connecting links between our “evolutionary past” and our “emotional present”. It is a place of t­ ranquility where people of different ages feel “at home”. It has been a source of creative expression for many a poet and artist. As for children, the beach is a place they can complete identify with for it is here that all the elements of nature come forth to play with them. There is no doubt that we need to do something urgent to save our beaches. Where do we start? While adults talk about global warming and soil erosion and rise in sea-levels, one thing you can do, as children, is to increase awareness to keep our remaining beaches clean. Littering is one of the major causes of pollution of our seas. 12


NAMEPA (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) is a ­“voluntary, non-profit and non-governmental organization committed to ­preserving the marine environment through educating seafarers, port communities and children about the need, and strategies, for protecting this important global resource”. On the right, you see a poster that NAMEPA has kindly allowed us to share with our Raindrops’ friends. A picture that speaks more loudly than words.So go ahead, plan and organize with your friends and get down to some action to “Save our seas and our beaches!” And while you are doing it, you can practice this tonguetwister “She sells sea shells on the sea-shore at Seychelles. The shells that she sells at Seychelles are sea-shore shells”. Oops, just typing this is getting my brain tangled. Good luck kids! Affly, Grandpa Srinivasan Pondicherry, India. 13


Crafty's Corner I was looking for a nice project to feature in this issue of Raindrops and came across this one. This is different from the other craft-projects that we have featured in the past because we are not going to give you instructions for this one. Look at the pictures and you will see why. We felt so inspired by Srikant’s creations that we will let the pictures do the talking! We hope this inspires you to take a look at “ordinary” things around you in a different light. Thank you so much Srikant, Aditi and Dinkar for sharing your creations with Raindrops. Creatively, Crafty Srikant says... One day I found a pod from the tulip tree that looked like a row boat. It looked interesting, so I picked it up and took it home. When I showed it to everybody, my brother Dinkar had a bright idea, “Let’s make ships out of these things!” I was doubtful, but nevertheless I tried it out. First I went out to get some sticks for the masts.Then I cut out some pieces of paper for the sails and stuck it to the masts.After this I stuck the masts to the boat, then left it to dry. It looked very good, but I didn’t think it would float. Dinkar and I went to try it out in the swimming pool in our campus( Dinkar had also made one ). When we put it on the water and pushed it, it floated beautifully. We pushed it further and started playing with it. 14


Giggles and his Rainforest friends

By Eesha Srinivas

The Rainforest spread out below them as Albert flew on, and after a while they left it. Now Albert began to follow the road. Farms and fields sped by, and finally, they spotted the truck. Albert reduced his speed and began to dive gracefully downward. “Hold on tight!” he said. Swooping downward, Albert steadied himself and they landed shakily on top of the speeding truck. “Now what are we supposed to do?”, grunted Nobert. “Give you a peck first”, replied Albert. Ginger wasn’t listening though. She was staring at the houses and buildings flashing past, a woman who had a cat in her arms, a dog barking loudly...Rats sped around and a few street cats eyed them greedily. And still the truck kept going, until finally it came to a stop at a dusty-looking building. Albert (with Ginger and Nobert) quickly took flight again and landed on a nearby pole. But suddenly The journey continues...

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Introduction to the amazing, supernatural cloud species of RainBoogle Island - Part II

The Nimbus cloud

In this issue, we are looking at the Nimbus clouds. If you want to catch a glimpse of these “cute” but “hot-tempered” clouds, just look up during a thunder storm. (Please take safety precautions, these clouds may just send a lightning bolt at you!). The most (in)famous of all the Nimbus clouds in RainBoogle island is the “terrible Nimby”. Nimby is Foody’s cloud. Unfortunately he is not very well-trained because Foody kept saying he was a cuddly little cloud (which he was when he was a baby) who just needed some time to grow up into a well-mannered cloud. RainBoogle Island citizens are still waiting for that day to come! Foody has got into many a scrap with the other Raindrops because of Nimby but somehow he manages to set things right in the end - which is all that matters!

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Grandma’s book review

Hi readers, I love to spend my time at the RainBoogle Island library, along with the other Raindrops, reading my favorite books. Starting this issue, we would like to introduce books to you that we or our friends have enjoyed reading. Do write in to tell us what books you are reading and we will share them with the our readers. Let’s spread the “Joy of reading!” Love, Grandma. This time Anjana Iyer writes about “Smudge’s day out”... James Herriot, the world’s most famous vet, wrote a series of stories for children. “Smudge’s Day Out” is one such heartwarming story set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside in England. The illustrations are so beautiful and realistic that they immediately transport you to the hills and dales of Yorkshire. Smudge is a lamb belonging to Harry Cobb, son of Farrmer Cobb. Both he and his sister Smartie were looked after by young Harry. Along with their mother, Smudge and Smartie grazed for weeks in the spring sunshine in a large, fenced meadow with hundreds of other sheep and lambs. Soon Smudge was bored and wanted to explore the world outside. 18


He finds a gap in the fence and escapes outside. After a pleasant tour, he is tired but finds that he cannot find his mother and sister. Scared, Smudge goes farther and farther away encountering all sorts of frightening experiences along the way. Finally, cold and tired, he collapses outside Penny Robinson’s home, in a village far away from his farm. Read this story to learn how Smudge was rescued from the depths of his icy sleep by a caring little girl and her mother, and how he finds his way back to Harry. Smudge vows never to leave his mother and sister’s side ever again !

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Passpartout’s Page This time, I’ve found a site called “The toymaker”. Visit the site www.thetoymaker.com and you will find printable paper toys. Print, put together and play! The paper toy shop even has a miniature toyshop, a tooth fairy gazebo, a chocolate truck and much more. Printing the templates on card paper makes them extra strong. If you do not have a color printer, you could take ideas and make your own designs. Like I did. I made a tooth fairy gazebo and “rest stop” for the tooth fairy when I lost my tooth and the tooth fairy was so pleased, she left me a “dragon tooth”. Cool huh? Click on the link to “Free toys” for a range of goodies. There are even some “math toys”!!. Explore around a bit because there are fun and interesting things to be found.

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Today we found a link to “firelight stories� which we thought was interesting. We will see you soon with our next find. Until then... Aurevoir, Passpartout

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Nature Journal :

“Trees”...

make us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to get attention like we do, except walk? - Alice Walker I (Aditi Elassery) am fascinated by the number and variety of trees around me and their colorful personalities that I decided to pay more attention to each of them - with my senses and through my camera lens. Starting this issue, join me as I share pages of my nature journal with you, one tree at a time. Raindrops and I would love to hear your impressions on the tree that we are featuring or any other tree that you would like to talk about. Come join the “tree huggers” club.

The Sausage tree Scientific name- kigelia pinnata

It is a native of tropical West Africa. The tree is evergreen, spreading, with a rounded head and dense branching system. The trees give very good shade. The flowers are large, cup shaped, waxy to touch and grow on long stems that look like chandeliers. Some birds are attracted to the flowers and the stems make ideal footholds. The fruits are large, heavy and sausage or gourd-like in appearance and hang from long cordlike stems. The trees flower in April-May and are fertilized by bats. My younger brother once brought two-three of the sausages home. We tried cutting one open but it was very hard and difficult to cut. One other sausage we painted. The others were just lying around in our house till our mother told us to throw them away. :) My brothers like climbing the sausage trees in our colony, as they are easy to climb. 22


Here are a few more interesting facts about the Sausage Tree:

* Sausage Tree fruits are hung in African homes to ward off whirlwinds and to make crops grow well. * Medicine healers paint Sausage Tree fruits and use them to diagnose the causes of diseases. * Zulu warriors polish the handles of their spears with Sausage Tree leaves and drink a Sausage Tree fruit mix ture to give them strength and courage in battle. * Squirrels can become tipsy from chewing on the husk of a Sausage Tree fruit. * You can replace the stones in your fire hearth with Sausage Tree fruits because they are fire-proof. * You can use hollow Sausage Tree fruits to make dish es, cups, mousetraps and dolls.

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“What a beautiful, sunny morning. It makes you happy to be alive, doesn’t it? We can’t let the sun outshine us! We have to beam, too!” - Takayuki Ikkaku

The Pink House

By Andrea Vincent


Raindrops Aug 2010