A gift for kids – Short Bedtime Story of Nidra Devi

Here is what happens when the Goddess of Sleep, falls asleep herself! How will she wake up? Who will save the world? Read this free 5-minutes tale in this blog to know more.

‘Nidra Devi Goes to Sleep’ is a present for your little ones from my side for being good at home and bravely coping with the ‘new normal’ like a superhero.

    Nidra Devi Goes to Sleep

As a child, everyone must have known Nidra Devi. But as grownups, we have all forgotten about her and her stories.

She is the goddess of sleep! Just thinking about her makes us YAWN and yearn for sweet slumber in a cozy bed.

She arrives in the moment juuust before we sleep, carrying a bucket full of dreams that she pours on our eyelids. And our eyes close, voice slurs, bodies relax, and we begin to breathe rhythmically zzz… She is very tiny, soft, light, and feathery. Her presence is as soothing as cold breeze during hot summertime.

She is somewhat like tooth fairy but very, very shy. No one has seen her; some kids have tried but they could not. She does not like being seen, I believe.

This is the story of the night when Nidra Devi fell asleep, herself.  Wait, what, how??? Well, that night was different. Something strange had happened. It was not normal. People were tossing and turning in their beds. Even animals and birds were awake. And magical creatures like fairies, hobbits, elves wondered – Where was Nidra Devi?

Well, our dear Nidra Devi had an accident. That evening, when she was flying down from the sky, her tiny wings flapped in the strong wind and she accidentally toppled the dream bucket over herself.

Some of the dreams went into her eyes, and in her drowsy state she landed on Earth. Nearby, there was a dark underground cave and she was so sleepy that she went inside to sleep.

Meanwhile, every being on the Earth was awake. Animals howled, birds chirped, babies wailed, kids cried, and grownups were cranky without sleep. It was a terrible night. But the second night was even worst because Nidra Devi kept sleeping.

Life became terrible after that.  There were no lullabies for babies, no sweet dreams for children and no relaxation for anyone. Tired people began to walk like zombies.  Everyone was worried but no sleep came. Unaware of the chaos in the world, Nidra Devi slept on for six days in that underground cave.

She saw scary dreams of hollow-eyed people and kids crying for comfort but just could not wake up. It seemed like too much dream liquid had gone into her eyes.

All the demi-gods were worried. How to wake up Nidra Devi? Who could reach that dark, underground cave quickly? Who would save the world?

On the seventh day, one Tiny Ray of Light, offered to wake up Nidra Devi and save the world. “You are small and insignificant, how will you wake her up,” the demi-gods laughed at him. “Oh, I can! I travel faster than anything else. And a ray of light can reach the darkest place and make a difference,” he said.

The demi-gods did not believe him but gave him a chance because really no one could travel as quickly as light.

So, the Tiny Ray of Light wore his brightest costume and emerged from the Sun. Piercing the darkest corners of the earth, and getting reflected from shiny surfaces, he found a crevice in the cave, where Nidra Devi slept.

He entered through the crevice like a little superhero, and at once, the dark cave lit up. Finally, Nidra Devi woke up with a start.

“Oh, I have been sleeping and the world is in chaos. Thank you for waking me up or else horrible things would have happened. You are a little super-hero! I will call you – Superhero Ray. You saved the world!” Nidra Devi said gratefully and flew out of the cave to do her duty. The demi-gods applauded, and everyone thanked the Tiny Ray of Light.

That night, tired and gloomy people of the Earth became hopeful again. Nidra Devi worked extra hard to pour sweet dreams on everyone. With big yawns, slurring voices and heavy bodies, people went to bed early. Everyone slept very peacefully after seven days of chaos. And Nidra Devi created funny dream-videos of Superhero Ray, especially for kids.

And the Tiny Ray of Light felt proud of himself. He never knew he could make that BIG a difference! He became famous as Superhero Ray because he had illuminated the world!

(Images based on drawings by Adiraj Singh.)

Whom should the fair lady marry?

A beautiful maiden had three equally good-looking and worthy admirers to choose from, whom would she marry? Betaal, the celestial spirit, asked the legendary king Vikramaditya in the famous Sanskrit story book – Baital Pachisi.

The question seemed baffling but the answer given by the wise king at the end of the story was exceptionally wise. Read the story (in my words) and decide for yourself – If you were the fair girl, whom would you choose and why?

Once there was a beautiful and intelligent Brahmin maiden, who was sought by many young men of the time. But her father wanted to choose the best of all her admirers.

Three handsome Brahmin young men of Kanauj, who were great scholars arrived, and each one claimed that they were in love with the lady. Her father was perplexed as each one was great in every sense. The girl couldn’t choose because she did not want to hurt sentiments.

The three men’s ardent love for the girl did not lessen with time. They stayed on for months and months, showing their commitment towards the lady. But tragedy struck one day, the maiden fell ill and died. Her father and the devoted men were heart broken.

After the lady’s funeral, the first man, built a hut there, slept on a bed made of her ashes, and got his food by begging.

The second took her bones and went far to dip them in the sacred Ganges river.

And the third became a wandering monk and travelled around.

One day, the wandering monk, stopped at a Brahmin’s house to spend the night. The Brahmin thought he was a great ascetic and welcomed him. Dinner was served and the Brahmin’s wife and son joined them. But the son was quite mischievous and he began to trouble his mother by throwing tantrums. The mother got very angry and threw him into blazing fire. The boy turned into ashes.

The third man was shaken and began to scream. He thought the Brahmin’s family was that of vampires and demons. The merchant calmed him down, brought a book, murmured a magic spell and threw water on the ashes. The boy got up, alive as before. The third man was joyous. Here was the way to revive the maiden!

That night, he stole the magic book and returned to the cremation ground. The first man was already there and the second man had returned after immersing her bones. The third man told them about the magic book and asked the first man to bring the ashes of the girl.

The lady came back to life, prettier and more radiant than before. And the three men began to claim her recounting their respective, trials and tribulations.

The first man said – I kept her ashes. That is why she came to life. She is my dear wife.

The second man said – She came to life because of my journey to the sacred river. She is my wife.

The third man said – I brought her to life by my magic spell. She is my wife.

Here Betaal stopped and asked the good king – Whom should the fair lady marry?

(At this point, while reading the story, I considered the monk as the worthiest one because he found the way to revive the girl. But after understanding the king’s answer, I agreed with him.)

King Vikramaditya said – The third man painfully found the magic spell and brought her back to life, but he did what a father ought to do. He is not her husband. And the second man who went to dip her bones in the sacred river, he did only what a son ought to do. He is not her husband.

But the first man who slept with her ashes and lived a hard life in the cemetery did what a lover ought to do. The first man deserves to be her husband.

Betaal agreed but flew back to the tree to test the king’s constancy. And the loop of stories continued with questions and wise answers in the book.

But, If you were the fair girl, whom would you choose?

(Image courtesy Google)

Three Men and God

So, one day, three men, who were friends, began their search for God in the magic jungle. They reached the jungle and looked around. The first friend, saw a cave, and unwittingly entered it thus losing his way entirely. But his search for God was so intense, he did not care about darkness or dangers and walked on. It was a very tough, long, long journey, with no companion, no food and absolutely nothing for support. He became skeletal and hardships troubled him at every turn. There were beasts around, and scary thoughts as well as physical handicaps but he continued walking just because he knew nothing else to do. Eventually, he found the exit of the cave and concluded God is ‘Nothing’. And instantly got enlightenment.

Soon after this, his second friend called him from a nearby stream. He was rowing a boat, looked drenched and tired . On reaching the shore, he got down, tied his boat and came to sit by his first friend. The first friend enquired about his journey. The second friend said -“When I lost sight of you two, I found the river and the boat. The journey was exhausting, with severe ups and downs, and there were agitating storms and heavy rains. At one point of time I was sure to drown. But I found a certain balance, somewhere in the middle. So, this understanding helped me to find the perfect balance in the boat. The whole time, I stayed on the middle path, and I survived.” The moment, he uttered – Middle Path, the second friend got enlightenment! Now, they waited for the arrival of the third friend.

The third friend soon joined them. He came running down a hill, and looked healthy, happy and upbeat. His two friends asked in chorus – “How was your journey, friend?” The third friend said – “Divine and blissful!!! You see, when I lost my way, I was terribly sad and scared. I climbed a mountain top, looking for both of you, but couldn’t see you anywhere. But then, I found a very interesting rock. I began to sculpt the rock and created a fascinating companion.” He showed a rock statue of a little, naughty looking boy to his friends. “I was missing your company, my friends, so I would talk to this statue, the playful guy. This guy answered all my questions. And you know, He became my guiding light. He made mockery of the dangers and I learnt to laugh with him. We enjoyed exploring the jungle – the cave, the river, waterfalls and mountains….all was fun, because I had Him. I was free of fear, sadness, stress and attachment because He was with me and I was devoted to Him.” The moment, he said – Devoted, the third friend got enlightenment.

Then, the statue suddenly laughed and said – “Journey matters friends, as much as the destination. And if you find devotion, you attain the highest form of intelligence and life becomes a breeze.” The three enlightened men smiled together.

(This story alighted in my mind out of nowhere and I thought of capturing it in this blog.)

Small Things#11 – Magic in our neighborhood!

This Summer not only flowers but magic blossomed in our neighborhood.

Driveways got filled with chalk art and innocent secrets were shared. Every beetle was observed and ants ran for cover as little scientists scaled the grounds. Stories happened and games got invented! There were nasty fights, cuts and falls but all was forgotten.

There were songs sung in chorus and amazing dance moves! There were dirty hands, feet as well, and soaked muddy shoes. Round eyes laughed and ruddy cheeks sparkled as they got engaged in charming chatter.

I saw stars in their wild hair and music in the shrieks. Imaginary characters came to life and so much was make belief.

Yes, I saw it all from my brown chair…experiencing it all like lines of an old prayer.

Many many years back, I was a part of the magic… now, sadly, just an observer!

The Wrong Ferry

He looked at the beautiful lady standing next to him on deck of the departing ferry and wondered – Has she won a trip to Duluth, too? She wore a period costume, similar to Kate Winslet’s in ‘The Titanic’.

He cleared his throat and casually remarked about the weather but she seemed lost in thoughts. Her pale blue dress matched with her eyes while the turquoise waters of Lake Superior provided a befitting background.

Aha, photo time, he remembered! His wife, Mrs Sharma would kill him if he didn’t keep her updated with photos and messages. She had reluctantly let him go on this trip, alone.

He took out his iPhone.

“Do you mind taking my picture, pleeeeease…..”

The lady turned to him angrily. Her face changed, got distorted and eyes emanated fumes of red. Blood froze in his veins as he realized he had boarded one of the famous ghost ferries that haunted Lake Superior!

(This my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the amazing Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Thank you Ted Strutz for the image. Please CLICK HERE for more.)