Story – 1
Snake Bite Survival of A Middle School Girl…
Once a girl of 7th grade came home after her school, had her tea and snacks then ran to the paddy fields of her father, without even changing her school uniform. She loved playing in the water and catching little fishes from the small streams near the fields. On that particular day there were about 5 women and 2 men doing weeding and putting manure for the paddy which had grown to about 30 inch height.
As the workers got busy with their work, the little girl engaged herself in catching tiny fishes from the field. When she tried to catch the fishes from the gushing water they escaped with the force of the water. So she thought of stopping the water flowing from one field to the next. She wanted to close the small passage of the field through which water was gushing and went in search of stones on the foot path of the fields. She began picking up stones and filling the passage.
Then she noticed a bigger stone on the huge foot path of the field which was a raised dry place. That stone was big enough to close the passage. So she went to the stone and saw a part of it was buried in the ground; with a lot of force she managed to pull the stone out and suddenly a snake which was under the stone bit her finger, though she pulled the hand, the snake was hanging on her finger, she shook the hand very hard and the snake was thrown to the field and fell right in the middle of the ladies who were working and they yelled, screamed and ran. Her neighbor and her father’s friend, who saw it, ran to the field with a stick and killed the snake. In the meantime the women went to the girl and tied the string of her uniform skirt on top of the snake bite and send her home. The girl walked down to her house which was half a kilometer away, she was not at all frightened.
She reached home and told her mother what happened and showed the snake bitten finger to her. Her mother was a very courageous woman. Long before this girl’s birth, she was bitten by a cobra but she thought that was an ant bite and walked to her uncle’s house. The poison passed through the whole body and was almost at death bed. Since her uncle was a traditional medicine practitioner who was famous for treating snake bitten patients, came to her help and rescued her. Her uncle died before this girl was born.
Her mother took a sharp blade and cut the girls finger where the snake bit. Already that portion was dark blue in color; she pressed it and removed all the blood and poison of the snake and washed it thoroughly. Meantime her mother told the maid to bring some medicinal leaves and fresh turmeric root from the garden, she brought them and got it grounded to a smooth paste and gave to the girl’s mother. She applied that paste on the girl’s finger and tied it with a cloth. The girl bore up all the pain without any fear or crying. After 2 or 3 days the wound got healed and she was very happy running to the field to play again.
Story – 2
A Bed Bug and a Centipede
A long awaited happy Saturday arrived for Reenu. Her Uncles son’s wedding would be on Sunday. She with her older sister and mother reached her mother’s brother’s house on Saturday morning. It was a very happy occasion for Reenu and all the children of the family, who met only once in a while for celebrations like this. Their enjoyments were climbing trees, running and playing in paddy fields in the heavy rain, swimming in ponds and rivers etc., since it was the non-digital age.
Reenu enjoyed the Saturday to the maximum with her cousins and their neighbor’s, while older people were busy preparing meals; some men got busy with killing and dressing bulls, pigs, chicken and goats for the next day’s wedding party. By the way in those days there were no catering services or fridge and freezers, so everything was made fresh at home. A wedding in any house in the village would be a feat for all in the village. Lots of people to do various works; all cooperated and made the marriage function very grand. Reenu liked to see the wedding hall being prepared at the courtyard with betel nut tree barks and bamboos. Roofing was done with coconut leaves. Inside sealing and around were covered with white clothes and beautiful saris. On the whole the wedding hall (Panthal) was really grand and unique. Reenu loved to help in hanging decorations made of tender coconut leaves.
On Sunday morning Reenu got up early and wore her brand new dress which her father bought for her. After the wedding ceremony everyone came to the wedding hall and had a grand feast of variety foods served on banana leaves (Sadya). Reenu loved to eat payasam and pani (sweet made from sweet toddy) as well as boiled beetroot bits in coconut milk and honey.
After the sadya people began to leave. Reenu and other children again got busy playing while older people were putting back things in order and chatting. Some uncles were drinking some toddy too.
The next day was a Monday and a day which Reenu didn’t want to come soon, because she had to go to school. She was a student of 4th grade. After dinner her mother told her to go to sleep early and get up in the morning so that they could catch the earliest bus to leave for home. Reenu knew that her mother wouldn’t spare her from going to school.
Next morning her mother woke up Reenu and her sister, they brushed their teeth, had a bath in the small stream near Uncles house and picked up the new dress which was put on the palm leaf railings of the wedding hall. Reenu wore the dress and got ready.
Now her uncle and some others were in the sitting room talking and discussing various things. Reenu went and sat on the arm rest of the settee (huge arm chair)on which her mother was sitting and after few minutes something bit her on the thigh, so she told her mother something bit her and her mother said, “ it must be some bed bug, don’t carry it home”. Reenu was not a fussy child, so she didn’t say anything. While they were having breakfast, again something bit her under the arms and she told her mother, “Amma, something bit me”; again her mother scolded her and said, “Don’t simply fuss over and try to remain here, you don’t want to go to school, that’s why you are trying from long back to find excuses”. Again Reenu kept silent and had her breakfast.
After the breakfast they wished everyone and left for the bus stop. While they were waiting for the bus, again something bit her stomach and this time the bite was more painful and Reenu said, “Ah! Something bit me here”. Then her mother felt that there was something wrong and she just lifted her skirt and saw on the white petticoat just below the skirt, at the center of the stomach an 8 inch long, huge red and black colored centipede sitting in a circled position. Her mother took a small stick from a plant and pushed the centipede down and killed it. Reenu was really amazed to see that and said, “Amma, the bed bug grew so fast and became such a big centipede?!” By the time the bus came and they went home.
On reaching home her mother removed Reenus dress, saw dark blue swellings in 3 or 4 places of her body. She ran to their property took a hand full of the tender leaves of
panchakam (Hibiscus surattensis a wild plant common in Kerala), got some fresh milk from the cow and ground it with milk and applied it on the bitten parts every now and then.
Though there was lots of pain and itching, Reenu was very happy because she did not have to go to school that day. After few days the swelling and the pain all disappeared.
Moral: Never take anything for granted, even if it comes from a small kid, otherwise you may have to regret for it later.
Story – 3
Sharon’s Night Journey with a Killer
The background of the story is a small village filled with paddy fields, streams, rubber estates, coconut groves and huge rocks on top of which lots of families are dwelling in small huts made of mud bricks and coconut leaves. Other houses, including Sharon’s house are far since each family owned acres of lands and built the houses in the middle of their properties.
Sharon was the youngest of 7 children from a middle class family. Her house was situated at the center of 7 acres of land filled with rubber plantations, coconut palms, Jack fruit, mango and other trees and vegetable plantations. They had bulls, cows, goats, chickens, pigs, rabbits and dogs. There was a huge paddy field too. So their closest neighbors’ lived half a kilometers away.
This incident took place when Sharon was studying in 9th grade. One day the usual bus in which she used to travel broke down and the next 2 buses didn’t allow the students to enter in due to overcrowding, so she had to take a later bus to return home from school which is 10 kilometers away. By the time the bus reached her home village, it was 7.30 pm and was dark everywhere except in few shops which had gaslights. By the way this was long back in 1979 when there was no electricity or telephone in the village.
She was really scared to go home which was 2 kilometers walk from the bus stop. The paths were not visible in darkness and Sharon knew there were poisonous snakes, scorpions and centipedes everywhere; but somehow she gathered all her courage and went to her father’s friends shop to fetch a candle. The shop keeper wrapped a paper around the candle, lit it and put a coconut shell as cover to protect it from breeze and gave it to her.
Suddenly a young hefty, rough looking man who was standing near and watching everything, Sharon had never seen him before asked her, “Shall I come with you to reach you home?” She looked at him and looked at the shop keeper again and again because the man looked very serious and frightening; any way after few moments of hesitation she said, “yes”. The man took the candle and Sharon’s school bag and asked her to follow him. He walked in front of her with the candle light and Sharon walked behind him silently trembling with fear. They climbed over a huge rock to take a short cut, crossed over small streams and fields; found some water snakes passing by and huge frogs jumping off their way, Sharon wanted to scream with fear but pretended to be brave.
After the fields came their coconut and rubber plantation; in pitch darkness everywhere, they walked in the faded little light of the candle without uttering a word. The sounds of crickets and owls were terrifying, the light of the candle was as tiny as the light of a fire fly and she could not see anything except the man’s shadow. Somehow they reached home and her mother and siblings were surprised to see her coming home with that man and asked, “Did you not see your father and brother?” she said, “No”. They had gone to the bus stop to fetch her. They thought since she was alone she wouldn’t take the short cut which was dangerous so they went through the straight road which is a longer way.
Her mother asked the man to have dinner before leaving as a formality, but he refused and she gave him a bigger candle, thanked and sent him away. The moment he left their courtyard, she went to Sharon and said, “Why did you come with that man in this darkness? Couldn’t you wait at the bus stop or in the shop, where everyone know us? Anyway your father or brother would come to fetch you. Thank God you reached home unhurt, do you know who he is? He is a criminal who stabbed and killed Mr. Chacko and put his small intestine around his neck like a garland, he was behind the bars for all these years and now is on parole”. Sharon said, “I didn’t know all his past, I only saw that he is a man who is ready to help me reach home, there were so many other people but no one was ready to help me”.
By the time her father and brother came running home all panicky, hearing from his friends that Sharon left the shop with that man; they feared that he must have done something to her on the dark lonely way. Only when they saw her safe and alive their breath became normal. And her father said, “Even a criminal can be kind and good at times”.
Now when Sharon has grown up and when she thinks back, tears roll down her eyes thinking how each one of us judge people. Once a criminal always a criminal, even if he changes his life and try to live as better human beings, our society would put a black seal on him and prevent his peaceful living. Sharon too might have done the same if she knew his past before the incident. Since she was unaware of that she blindly trusted him and he was her savior on that particular day.
Sharon always remembers him and prays for his soul since she came to know that he hanged himself after some months because of the treatment of his society. No one was ready to see him and accept him as a normal human being who in his weakest moment committed some crime for which he had already undergone punishments and changed his life.
Moral: Never judge people looking at their past life, past is in history and are far gone. No one is the same every day, every human being is changing moment by moment. Don’t think every one is thinking the way you think. Even the worst criminals can have some ray of goodness in them.
Story – 4
Drink Turpentine for Deworming?!!
Sweety a very happy little girl lived in a small village of Kerala. She had her father, mother and siblings whom she loved very much. At the age of 3, one day sweety’s mother called her and her older sister in the night before going to bed to give them deworming medicine. Sweety and her sister loved the medicine because it was sweet and tasty. The medicine was kept in one of the bed room cupboards. In the dim light of a kerosene lamp her mother took a bottle from the cupboard, poured the liquid into a tea spoon and gave to Sweety the youngest girl. She drank it and said it had some bad taste, her mother told her not to make a fuss and gave her the 2nd spoon but Sweety refused to drink it saying her tongue was burning, so her mother forced and put it in her mouth and the little girl spat it out saying it had some bad smell and taste. “What bad taste for ante-par syrup? just drink it and go to sleep”, said her mother. At the same time she just smelled the bottle; then got a start of her life knowing that she had taken the wrong bottle, instead of ante-par the little girl drank turpentine which was kept in the same shelf. Her mother got frightened and put her finger in the little girls mouth and made her vomit out the turpentine, then she made her drink coconut oil after which warm water and honey were given to drink. When her father came to know about what had happened he scolded the mother for being so careless and asked her if she was trying to kill the girl. Sweety was so happy to hear that for she was her father’s pet. The next day Sweety got up as usual and went to play as usual. There was no symptoms of any burn or poison in her body. And her mother and father were very happy to see her unharmed.
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