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It was well known in the town of Vijaynagar that anyone unfortunate enough to look at a man called Ramaya first thing in the
morning, would not be able to have food that day. That was why no one in Vijaynagar liked encountering Ramaya in the morning,
if they could help it.
King Krishnadeva Rai, too, came to know of this and wanted to try it out on himself.
He called Ramaya to the palace and made him stay the night in a room adjacent to his bedchamber.
The next morning, the first thing he did after waking up, was to take a look at Ramaya.
After finishing a few important duties in the durbar or court, the king went to the dining hall to
eat. The food arrived piping hot. The king had hardly picked up the first morsel when he
caught sight of a fly in the food. He left the table in disgust. And when the food was prepared
for him the second time, he found that he had lost his appetite.
King Krishnadeva Rai could not eat anything at all that day, as a result.
The king was convinced that Ramaya was really jinxed. An angry king ordered that Ramaya be hanged.
In those days the king's word was law. The soldiers had no option but to take Ramaya to the gallows. While on their way to the
gallows, they met Tenali Rama. He heard the story from the condemned man and then whispered something in Ramaya's ears.
Ramaya nodded before being whisked away.
When the soldiers asked Ramaya about his last wish, he told them he wanted to convey a message to the king. He also requested
that he be hanged only after hearing of the king's response.
"Tell the king while it may be true that anyone who sees my face first thing in the morning does not get anything to eat that day, it's
also true that if anyone sees the king's face first thing in the morning, as I did, he has to lose his life. So who's the greater jinx - the
king or I?" said Ramaya.
On hearing the message, the king was stunned. Then he felt ashamed. He ordered the execution to be stopped, called Ramaya over
and offered him gifts. He also asked Ramaya not to say anything about the incident to the public. He was sure that the people of
Vijaynagar wouldn't take well to the idea of having a jinxed person for a ruler.
|Tenali Raman and the Jinx
The Rich Man's Vessels
Once upon a time there lived a rich man in a village in Kerala. His house was full of
vessels of all sizes - some as small as a bird, others big enough to seat a child.
Whenever there was a ceremony in any household, the villagers would borrow his
utensils. After the function, they would return the whole lot of vessels to the rich
Then one day, a strange thing happened. A villager who had borrowed some
utensils, returned a couple more than he had borrowed. The rich man was
perplexed. He scratched his head.
"How have the number of utensils increased," he asked the villager.
"Well, some of the vessels you gave me were pregnant," answered the villager.
"They gave birth to little vessels in my house. I am merely sending them with their
parents, to you," he said.
The rich man knew it was not possible, but the thought of getting some extra
vessels made him keep quiet. So he accepted the villager's explanation and kept
The same villager came to his house after some time. The rich man gladly gave his utensils to him. He tried to guess how many more
vessels the villager would return to him. He even dreamt that the villagers had honored him with the title of 'Lord of the Vessels'.
A week passed but the villager did not return the utensils. The rich man kept silent, for in his mind he was counting the number of
vessels he would get back. Two or three weeks later he still did not open his mouth.
When a month passed by, the greedy man could stand it no longer.
"Why have you not returned my vessels?" he asked the villager. There was a note of anger in his voice.
"What can I do," replied the villager. "The vessels are dead," he said shrugging his shoulders in a helpless manner.
"Dead? What do you mean dead?" shouted the rich man. "How can vessels die?"
"Why not," replied the smart villager. "If vessels can give birth, they can die too!"
The rich man fell silent. There was nothing he could say.
There was once a famous temple, high up in the hills of Assam. The priest of this temple was widely respected and known to be a
great scholar. When he grew very old, he started searching for a younger priest who could take charge of the temple after his death.
But, much to his dismay, he could not find any suitable person. As the priest lay on his deathbed, he called the trustee of the temple
and told him, "After my death, make sure that only a "human being" replaces me as priest of this temple." Saying that the priest died.
Information traveled far and wide that the head priest of the famous temple had died and now there was an urgent need for a
replacement. A day was set for all candidates to reach the temple when the successor would be chosen. That day, starting at dawn,
aspirants started trekking the steep and torturous climb to the temple. The route to the temple was indeed difficult; it was full of
thorns, and stones. By the time most people managed to reach the temple, they had received cuts and bruises on their feet.
After breakfast, the selection procedure started. The trustee asked all the
aspirants to recite difficult shlokas, or verses from the sacred texts, and explain
various procedures of priesthood. By afternoon, as the selection procedure was
about to end, one young man walked slowly into the temple. The trustee said to
him, "Young man, you are very late. What took you so long? And what happened
to your clothes, why are they torn? And your feet, oh! My god, they are bleeding
The man replied, "I know sir, I am late, so I will not participate in the competition. If I
have your permission, I’ll just get my wounds treated, rest for a while and go my
way." But the trustee was curious to know about this man. He asked again, "But
how did you manage to hurt your self so badly, did you not follow the same route
as the others?"
"Indeed, I did, sir," replied the man. "But I thought I would remove the thorns, and
other sharp stones from the path so that when people come to pray in this temple
they should not get hurt. That is why I got late and that is how I hurt myself. I
apologize for the delay, but as I said, I know I am late and hence I don’t wish to
participate in the competition. Anyway, I am not very well educated so how can I
compete with these learned people present here?".
Hearing this, the trustee smiled. He said, "Congratulations, sir, you are the chosen one. I am sure that our earlier priest meant you,
when he said he wanted a "human being" to be his successor. On hearing this, the others present were furious. "What do you
mean?" they demanded. "Are we not humans? And why do you choose this young man who confesses to having little knowledge and
The trustee replied, "Our old priest used to say that even animals know how to watch for their self interest; they know how to avoid
danger, search food and so on. Only a ‘human being’ knows how to watch for other people’s interest. All of you climbed the same
torturous path, and managed to avoid the thorns and sharp rocks. But only this man thought of the good of others and took upon
himself the task of clearing the path. By the definition of our old priest only he qualifies as a ‘human being’ and hence only he should
be the successor of the great old man.
|There once was a girl named Lola,
She always liked to drink Coca-Cola,
She got a cup,
Drank it up,
Then she left in her Corolla.
|Once in the rain I saw a man,
Strolling with an umbrella in hand.
When I said it was insane
To walk in the rain,
He said "Well then, I'll just stand".
|There was a young man named Aadil
Who rode an alligator for a thrill.
When they came back from the ride
Aadill cried and cried.
All this time, his handycam battery was nil.
( I bet this has happened to all of us sometimes.)
|There once was a boy named Banto
Who dropped a big brick on his toe
He asked, with a frown,
"Will the swelling go down?"
And the doctor said, "Yes. I think so."
You can't please everybody
Strength in Unity
There were two things in the world that Ghagra Geeta Bali hated. The first was the way Rani, the domestic help, combed her hair.
Rani said she combed hard to make sure that there was no lice or dandruff in her hair. But she did it with such force that Ghagra
Geeta Bali feared it would remove bits of her scalp, as well.
The second was, you guessed it, her name. She hated her name so much that she prayed to god every night: Dear god, let me die
and be born again. So I too can have a name like Rita or Preeti or Mina or Koel. A short, smart one-word name.
By the way, Ghagra Geeta Bali was her first name. In addition to this, she had a sirname as well. That was Mitra. She could have
lived with Geeta Bali had it been all. After all, her parents had been fans of the late Hindi film actress of the 1950s whose name she
shared. But they had gone right ahead and attached the horrible Ghagra to it as a prefix.
That's why Ghagra Geeta Bali was one unhappy girl. And it did not help matters that her parents absolutely refused to see her point
of view. "Wait until you are an adult. You can change your name legally," they told her, peering over their respective newspapers.
"We will not object then. Right now, there's nothing we can do about your name. Learn to live with it, Ghagra Geeta Bali. Think how
much character there is in it."
"Ugh," thought Ghagra Geeta Bali privately, for she was basically a well-mannered girl who had been taught
not to answer back to adults. But the matter of her name caused her much anguish.
On Tuesday, Ghagra Geeta Bali and her mother went for their customary shopping. There was a long queue of
children just outside the record store in the market. They went closer to look. It was yet another scheme to sell a
few audio cassettes. Everyone who bought a cassette qualified for the scheme.
But what was the scheme?
In this case, the artiste whose songs featured in the cassette, was a young sensation called Malik Faridabadi, a
great favourite with kids and teenagers. Ghagra Geeta Bali was no exception.
A friendly young girl was writing down the names of the people who wanted to participate in the scheme. Out of this
long list Malik would pick one name, any one, and the chosen one would get to meet him. Plus of course, win many
But when her mother asked her to participate, Ghagra Geeta Bali said no. She had no intention of blurting out her
name in front of so many people, and making herself the butt of amusement. But mothers being mothers, hers just
went up to the girl and told her in firm tones: "Please enter my daughter's name. It is Ghagra Geeta Bali."
"It is what?" the girl asked, naturally a little taken aback.
"G..h..a..g..r..a G..e..e..t..a..B..a..l..i..(and here mother spelt every letter out). "There she is...," and she pointed
to her daughter. The crowd standing around, too, turned to stare. All Ghagra Geeta Bali wanted then was for the
earth to open up and swallow her that instant.
That did not happen. But the following week she recived a call. It was from the recording company that had announced
the scheme. And they told her that she was the chosen one.
"It is all because of your name," boomed the public relations man who had called. "Mr Faridabadi took one look at it in
the list and said that he couldn't wait to meet the brave girl bearing it.
So, get ready Ghagra Geeta Bali, for the time of your life."
|There was a young lady from Raigarh,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
After the ride
She was inside,
And the smile was on the face of the tiger.
|There was a young lady from Jalandhar,
Whose parents thought they had lost her.
From the fridge came a sound,
And at last she was found,
The trouble was how to defrost her.
|There was a young lady of Flint
Who had a remarkable squint;
She could scan the whole sky
With her uppermost eye
While the other was reading fine print.
|There was an old man from Cochin
Whose eyeballs were made out of tin.
Whenever he cried
They went rusty inside
And brown teardrops ran down his chin.