Reading

The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here

Feature
“Here comes the horse and the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo.”
[Source – Pixabay]

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Nature’s furious, the clouds are anger-dancing, the trees are trembling, surrendering, oh trees you say, oh here the mighty mountains are kneeling, falling flat, many many streams erupting singing jingling hymns, begging for mercy, but the nature god has turned its back on us.

Charu, eight, hears the elders saying such things, quite animatedly, and she thinks of a solution immediately, “they should simply walk to the side where the nature god is looking… and talk.”

But now, here she rushes past them all, there she climbs the mud wall, then the tree, and then gets scolded by her mother. Ya-hoy! She lands splashing a puddle and there she runs away.

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When the rain stopped, all the children in the village came out to play, seeing this, all the frogs high jumped away, leaving the centre stage for them.

Not lamenting over the loss of time – most still couldn’t tell time, it didn’t exist from them – the kids were happy with this break; they didn’t miss the school walls, exercises, question-answers, fill in the blanks, class-tests or the teachers.

Books were all packed nicely, kept safely in the trunk, kept under the bed, in that room which the children rarely entered.

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But lo, what is that sound, oh, who is’t cometh this way? Charu stares at the turn, the fog lands quickly to add to this mystery.

Through the cracked, broken, muddy trail that was once a kacha road, that now rejected vehicular traffic bluntly, who dares to come to their village?

And then sauntered the Knight or so did Charu thought, but the Knight was missing, rather a humble yet dashing horse emerged when the fog folded itself up like opening curtains; treading carefully, neighing, the horse moved, making sure the trail didn’t deceive him.

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Charu, amazed, rushed-then-slowed-down, towards the horse, the village kids followed her.

“Look, the horse is carrying something”, said someone and Charu shouted, “oh, it is coming our way, it is coming our way.”

The horse neighed and the kids thought it smiled; they clapped but then became quiet.

Stopping right in front of the group, the horse said, “Kids, are you doing well?”, and then immediately shouted in excitement, “Yes-yes, for I welcome you to the horse library.”

Charu and her friends went round and round the horse, “these books”, “are they for us”, “picture books”, “oh, yes-yes kids”, “this one is about animals”, “hey, look the seven wonders of the world”, “see, told you Octopus has eight arms”, “and legs?”

The children sat around the horse, who asked them to read leisurely as he stood grazing the fresh green grass. And the children sat reading different books, some together, some by themselves, quietly travelling forward, backward in time and space, cherishing the moment.

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Some pack-full of hours later, the horse left, promising them to return in some days, hoping they would finish reading the books by then, colouring the black-white drawings, sharing each with the other.

He had also said, “and when I come back next, I will bring a fresh lot of readables… because kids, vegetables and readables are very good for health.”

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Charu, since then, has lived many lives, visited the world in eighty days, went on an expedition to the south pole, and also fought for reading and colouring the underwater world with her village friends.

Aunties with toddlers and cows, goats and dogs, and some oldies have also now joined their semi-circle party, offering them to gather in this or that courtyard if it is raining or is too cold or too windy outside.

They all remain, to this day, good members of the horse library.

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When the horse returned (Charu not missing the knight) with the new books (the readables), each book appeared to be shinning, announcing the arrival of the saviour, the hero, the magician, the joker, the pied piper and many others from all over the world.

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It is a beautiful bright day, at some good distance a sheet of clouds is slowly covering the sky, the semi-circle party has gathered again to read and narrate, the horse, happy and calm, stands nearby grazing and some folks, passing by, are talking about the nature.


This post is inspired by a real life fantastic story (that is still unfolding), read about it here –

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Uttarakhand: How The Horse Library Started To Promote Reading In Remote Villages

‘Ghoda library’ trots up to remote Uttarakhand villages with books for kids, parents to join in


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Pierrot Le Fou

Review-Cum-Commentary
So after I watched Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou I went for an evening walk with a question in my mind.
 
Why did Marianne call him Pierrot? I left without an answer.
 
 

The Poster of Pierrot Le Fou, a film by Jean-Luc Godard

 
It was getting dark as slowly the fog from the mountains was covering the valley from all the sides. The clouds made a thundering noise at some distance. It was surely going to rain and I still didn’t take any umbrella.
 
The two dogs with me were extremely excited, they rarely worry. Rain or not, they are always up for a walk.
 
I have a habit of calling them not by their names. Funny, they always wag their tails. I guess I call them so because of what their personalities reflect as a dog.
 
So happy!
 
So excited!
 
Anyway, Pierrot Le Fou…what a ride! From eccentricity to understanding it, from the society to clashing with it, from love to killing it, from life to getting killed. It was about Pierrot…a single individual and the incidents that occur one after the other in his life.
 
Criss-cross, criss-cross we climbed down the mountain. My mind was quietly dealing with the same question – why Pierrot?
 
Was it because of his personality, did Marianne know him more than he knew himself?
 
It seems so, in fact, he was aware about it but was reluctant to accept this fact and that’s why he reminded her each time she called him Pierrot that his name is Ferdinand not Pierrot.
 
Suddenly, as I was busy thinking and talking at the same time, it started drizzling. We decided to go back. The dogs were as happy to return as they were when we left the house.
 
I started running and so did the dogs, it was raining heavily now. Climbing a mountain is tough. I was short of air soon and I stopped to get some.
 
The dogs also stopped, we were getting wet. Breathe, breathe, I told myself and started walking briskly. And then when the cool fog was all around and my nose felt very icy, the question in my mind escaped.
 
Panting heavily, trying to catch up with the two dogs, I felt truly in the moment…I was in the present.
 
As if someone was behind me with a gun, I ran so fast. The dogs were running next to me. It was downhill now and we increased our speed. ‘Thundering typhoons, run, run, run!’
 
I am sure about one thing, Marianne didn’t lie when she called him Pierrot. She was being honest with him.
 
But I don’t blame Pierrot either. After all, he was busy reading and contemplating all the time. Someone’s philosophy ruled him.
 
Pierrot, busy reading.
 
This is what he was reading.
 
We reached home, wet. I was smiling. I sat on the chair and looked at the view. The young tree in front, with green leaves, was playing ‘raindrops’ tune. I listened.
 
Then I felt that I know the answer to the question, finally, but couldn’t put it in words.
 
Oh! I remember one word though – emotions.