5

Googly, Frudolf & Secret Santa

Googly, Frudolf & Secret Santa
Googly wanted a pet, really, really badly.

Most of his friends in class had pets at home; they told so many pet stories at school.

Sunny would say, “My parrot said ‘I love you’ to me”

Vikky would always boast that Max his dog wagged his tail when Vikrant returned from school.

And Pixie, Poppy’s cat slept next to her in her bed!

Poor Googly had no pet and so he had no pet stories to tell.

So one morning at the breakfast table Googly asked his mother, “Maa, can I have a pet too?”

Maa looked at Googly and said, “And what would you want? A dog, a cat, some fishes perhaps?”

Googly sat thinking, chewing his toast silently.

“I want a Reindeer…just like Santa!” he said.

“Oh! We must ask Grandpa Santa for it? After all he has the best Reindeers in the world!” said his mother.

So with Christmas still far away, Googly decided to write a letter to Grandpa Santa!

Dear Grandpa Santa,

Thank you for the all the lovely books and toys that you leave me every year. The car that you gave me last year is my favourite toy! This year, do you think you can gift me a Reindeer? One…just like Rudolf?

Now Christmas was a few months away, would Santa then grant him his wish?

Frudolf the Reindeer!

Frudolf the Reindeer!

One night as Googly was sleeping in his bed, he heard a soft scratch on the glass window. He woke up rubbing his eyes and went to the balcony. He pushed it open and there out on the ledge was a sack…that was moving!!

Google touched the sack. It stopped moving and out popped a tiny head with sticks on it! There were two twinkling eyes, blinking and looking back at Googly.

Googly rubbed his eyes. And then his eyes grew big, big and bigger!

“Santa has sent me a Reindeer!!!”

Googly touched the reindeer gingerly…scared and anxious at the same time. He touched its nose and the reindeer let out a soft cooo!

The reindeer poked Googly in the rib with his horns and Googly burst out laughing!

Maa found Googly and the reindeer in bed the next morning!

At the breakfast table, Baba asked Googly, “So have you thought of a name for him?”

“Frudolf!!” said Googly, “You know like Rudolf, Santa’s Reindeer! He has a red nose too!” he said touching Frudolf’s nose.

Frudolf twitched his nose and poked Googly in the ribs…making Googly burst out into peals of laughter!

From that day…Googly and Frudolf became best friends!

They’d eat together…Googly would eat his cereal while Frudolf would munch leaves from Maa’s favourite  flower pot!

They’d play together…hide and seek where Frudolf would never find a place to hide! His horns gave away his hiding place every single time!

They’d race together…doing the Reinder Trot. But Frudolf would win it always! And every time Googly made a loser face, Frudolf would poke him to get him to start laughing.

Frudolf and Googly had a special Reinder Tap dance. And every time they were happy they go Tip, Tap, Toe, Toe, Tap, Tip Hop Skip

Summer turned to autumn, autumn to winter. Googly by now had a new Frudolf story to tell his friends every day! He told them about the time when Frudolf and Googly went to visit Santa and meet the other Elves, and how Googly had the entire Disney land to himself…and how they met some of Googly’s favourite characters from books!

Googly and Frudoolf were a team.

Googly & Frudolf!

Googly & Frudolf!

Now it was nearly time for Christmas and suddenly Frudolf was sad. He was missing home.

“I am a big reindeer now! I want to go back home. I want to ride with Santa this Christmas,” he told Googly.

“But doesn’t he have his eight 8 reindeers already? Why would he pick you?” asked the boy! Googly was confused. Why did Frudolf want to go back to Santaland suddenly! Wasn’t this his home?

“Why do you want to go back anyway?” he asked. “You live here, with me,” he whispered, biting his lip.

Frudolf went and poked Googly in the tummy. The boy turned and smiled.

“It’s every reindeer’s dream Googly!” said Frudolf. “We all want to ride with Santa, go all around the world, give gifts to little children. Make them happy.”

“Yes, all the good children,” said Googly, “The one’s in the “good children’ list, I know, I have always been on the list,” he added with a big smile now.

“Yes, Googly. But there are many children who are good but are not Santa’s list!” said Frudolf.

“How can that be? Santa gives gifts to all the good children, doesn’t he?” asked Googly.

“Santa is only but an old man, Googly. He has only one night before Christmas to give gifts away, how can he reach everyone? In fact, there are many children who don’t know Santa exists!” said the reindeer.

Googly had never heard of any child who didn’t know of Santa! “How can that be, everyone knows Santa! And Santa doesn’t leave gifts for all children?” Googly was surprised!

“No, he doesn’t. And that makes him very sad. Every year the reindeers fly quicker, taking Santa to as many homes as we can, leaving behind gifts for little children. But even then there are so many they can’t visit,” said Frudolf.

Frudolf and Googly looked out of the window. “Wish we could do something about it,” said Frudolf.

And suddenly Googly had a brilliant idea!!

“If Santa can’t reach children’s home, why can’t we?” he said.

“What do you mean” asked Frudolf.

“I will be a little Santa, and you my reindeer,” said Googly, clapping and jumping at the same time.

“I have so many toys that I don’t play with anymore. There are so many clothes that I have grown out of. And there so many books that I don’t read anymore. I will give them away to children who need them now!” said Googly smiling.

“Oh! That’s a wonderful idea Googly! Children will call you the secret Santa!” said Frudolf.

Frudolf and Googly were so happy that they did their Reindeer Tap Dance!!

That night, Googly put on his Santa suit and flew with Frudolf on his sleigh, flying to homes of little children in homes that Santa didn’t know of.

And as little children slept, the Secret Santa left behind little gifts for them. His favourite bike, his baby rocking chair, his lovely summer hat that doesn’t fit anymore and the brown shoes Baba bought him, a size too small for his feet.

That night Googly, the Secret Santa slept with a smile on his face.

**********************************************************************************************************************

This is my first story written for Googly. Those of you who have read my blog since its inception know a lot about Googly 🙂 Would love to know what you think of it!

A special thanks to Chitra Soundar! Your practised hand at children’s writing helped me polish this.

This post is part of #ChristmasBonanza where a bunch of bloggers are posting awesome blogs on Christmas all this month!

Come join a set of fabulous bloggers sharing their Christmas moments – Easy Holiday Crafts, DIY ideas, Recipes , Decor ideas and book recommendations with you .

Starting from today till Christmas and beyond, each one of us will be writing a post related to Christmas.

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Participating blogs

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So sit back, relax and check out all the fabulous Christmas Bonanza posts from our participating blogs in the linky. Support us by sharing our posts using the hash tag #ChristmasBonanza

This Linky is for participating blogs only, but We would love to see your Christmas Crafts too. Come & link up your Christmas post at ArtsyCraftsyMom.com

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3

In Search Of A Good Story

“Mum-um Golpo bolo”

(Mother, tell me a story)

Storytelling is a parenting hazard! Oh yes, it is…especially if you have a kid like mine who asks for a ‘golpo’ (story) all round the day. At meal times, play times, ‘me’ times, bedtimes, in between a story, after a story, before a story. Stories about his car, bike and toys. And stories about Spiderman, Poo, Momkey and Hamba (cow) Stories about his father, uncles and aunt. His own stories and stories of Thakur (we happened to watch a bit of Sholay together)…Phew!! Oh yes! He has a voracious appetite for a story.

😀 *touchwood*

Nothing gives me more joy than to read a book with V. Like Baby Bing in ‘Baby’s Day Out’ V gets stuck to a favourite book. While it is sometimes a struggle to break away from his favourites, it is also a delight to lure him towards a new read. We snuggle together, read together, make funny faces together, emote together and enact the book together.  We pick the characters in the book and mix them with characters from another book. We make new stories and experience our stories in a new way every day. How else can I explain that V gets up in the morning asking for Simba’s hug?  😀

Reading Collage

Over the past several months I have come to experience the power of books and storytelling as a parenting tool; one that EVERY parent must have in her / his armour. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to be a reader, really. All you need is to want to spend time with your child when he / she has your complete attention. I don’t want to get into the benefits of reading to your child, chances are that you already know it. If you don’t, I will leave that for another post. But before that, here are the top 5 reasons why I read to my 28 month old.

1)     Connect

 There is no better way to connect with my child than read a book together. Our reading sessions are short and crisp…lasting about 15-20 minutes. Sometimes I have been able to stretch it to 30 minutes! We almost always read more than 1 book at a time. Mostly it is 2 books, sometimes it is 3. But that’s because he wants to read more than one. In those precious moments we are one, connected by a single tale that draws us in. When I bring a book out, we take time to explore the book. We look at the cover, the illustrations, the clothes and mannerisms of the characters, the tiny small details that do not play a role in the story but form an essential part of the image that the child sees (for example, the image of a lizard on a wall). We try and judge the emotions the characters go through mostly their expressions tell us that.  Even if the book is a re-read, we do the same drill. It is only after this that we really read the book. And through it all, we cuddle and have a great time.

2)     Vocabulary

In a Bengali household I make sure I talk to V in Bangla. But that’s because I know as he grows up, this language will become his third preference, lest it slips further down in his choice of languages. So a lot of times I have read stories to him in English and translated them to him in Bangla. As he grows up and nears his play-schooling phase I have ensured his basic English vocabulary is built up. Thanks to some stellar Indian publishers, there are some great bilingual books available today. So no matter what is the age of your child, you always have a choice and resource to teach your child more than one language.

3)     Imagination

 If you are a parent I am sure you have been washed away by your child’s imagination. To look at a picture and interpret possibilities without considering its real meaning is truly a child’s genius. Give me an image and I will only look at it for it is worth and not what it can become. But that’s not what it is to V. And I am sure it is the same for your child too. So when we read I leave the book to his imagination and interpretation. “What is this?” we often ask each other. While he tries to eke out answers to questions in his head, I love to hear his babble of possibilities.

4)     Lessons

Do all books come with a lesson? And when is the right time to talk to a child about morals in a story? Yes…all stories come with morals.  It is up to us to pick them. It is never too late to begin talking about lessons and morals in a story. I dislike The Ugly Duckling for instance, and for V I have a different version of the story. Emotions, feelings and behaviour are very delicate issues that must be shared with children at an early age. As adults we often underestimate the understanding of our little ones. Concepts like sharing, kindness, gratitude, empathy and are not too tough for them. They are waiting for experiences, and it is up to us to give them the perfect examples; through books and stories and otherwise.

5)     Children’s Literature

Did I tell you I am smitten by Children’s Literature? Oh yes, I am! So much so, that my own reading list is lagging behind. And it stands at a dismal level! Everywhere I go, I walk into a book shop losing myself in the children’s section. I am constantly browsing through online libraries, making notes, pinning posts on Pinterest and all I can think of is the next kiddie book that I want in our library. Yes, I am so loves truck that I can’t bear to call it his library! So I dig into his liberally. Today we have more than 200 titles that stand on V’s bookshelf. *Yikes*

So in between of all this reading, where did story telling come in?

I have told stories all along. Professionally as a television producer, story tilling and telling is what I have done always. From political documentaries, to lifestyle shows, travelogues, to human interest. Sometimes we’ve dug up the archives to bring to life stories of the past, at others we have scraped the truth of what is being hidden. For 9 years I have done just that and I have loved every moment of it.

To be fair to my source of inspiration, V was the reason I took to storytelling. I wanted to be a better storyteller to him, to entertain him and play with him. With my heart in its place I trained under Simi Srivastava at Kathashala. And it took me away like a leaf in a storm!

To write about my experience as a story teller will be tough and I am not sure I have the words to truly describe it. But I will give it a try…

ð  To decide to be a story teller as a hobbyist or a professional is a HUGE risk that I take. At 32, it has taken me great courage to push myself towards a creative field once again. And to enjoy it thoroughly, as much as I do has taken me by complete surprise. I didn’t realise I would have so much FUN!!

ð  There are clear divisions here when it comes to experiencing a story. There is a difference between ‘reading’ a story, ‘telling’ a story, ‘performing’ a story and ‘watching’ a story. As a story teller, I get to experience one story in so many ways.

ð  To watch a wide-eyed audience, almost stupefied by your performance is surreal. I have addressed mixed crowds of children and adults and I have never seen so many happy faces. “In all my 60 years no one has told me a better story!”this is the one compliment that will remain with me forever.

ð  Everyone enjoys a story, well told. And that has been my objective behind being a story teller all along; in television and now. To tell a story like no one else can. Whether I am able to do this in the future will be a test for me.

ð  I am the Chief Entertainment Officer for my kiddo. So why not do that for some others do. It is best to make people smile than to make them cry, right?

ð  I’ve always wanted to have a bookstore. Yes, as long as I can remember that is the one thing that has driven me. Now I may not have a book store really, but I have a ready excuse to be around books and stories.

ð  Oxytocin and Serotonin – are at their best! These are two very powerful ‘feel good hormones’ that the body releases after a feel-good, successful act. So why not make it a daily affair? Say goodbye to negativity and pessimism.

IMG_20140127_231719[1]

If this has interested you and you want to know more about my adventures with reading and storytelling hop over to the GOLPO **page. It has listings of all my forthcoming events. Feel free to connect through the Contact Page or mail me at rituparnaghosh (at) outlook (dot) com.

I’ll be delighted to tell you a story!

 **’Golpo’ is the Bangla word for Story**