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Sudha Murty Shows Us What’s Inside Nalini’s lunchbox!

In the heartwarming world of Common yet Uncommon by Sudha Murty, we encounter the extraordinary story of Nalini Kulkarni, affectionately known as ‘Lunchbox Nalini.’ Meet the lady whose love for food and friendship created extraordinary connections through her cherished lunchbox. Get ready for a heartwarming journey where the ordinary becomes extraordinary!


Common yet Uncommon
Common Yet Uncommon | Sudha Murty


I am Nalini Kulkarni. As a child, elders called me Nali – a typical shortening of the name in North Karnataka, where Anand becomes Andya. And Mandakini becomes Mandi. No wonder Nalini to Nali was so easy. 


Until now, I have peeped in at everyone’s life and written about their characters. Now let me talk about myself–the best way to joke is not on someone else’s expense but on your own.  


As I go about observing everyone’s habits and characteristics, I don’t get time to cook. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat. I am very fond of eating. If someone calls me for lunch, I not only attend but also carry my lunch box to carry some food back for my dinner. Whenever I go to any function, all my relatives, without greeting me, say, ‘Nalini, fill up  your lunchbox first. Then you will be at peace and we can talk at  leisure.’ That’s why I am known as Lunchbox Nalini. 


A few days ago, my cousin, Venkat, had his child’s naming ceremony. Venkat’s wife Veena formally invited me, saying, ‘We will be very happy if you come for the naming ceremony. If you don’t have time for lunch, at least visit us for  half an hour.’ 


I laughed and said, ‘Don’t you remember what they call me? I always come for the meal more than the event. I’ll be honest with you. If you tell me to come for the event without a lunch, then I’m sure that only three people will be there for the naming ceremony – you, your husband, and your little bundle of joy.’ 


Everyone laughed at my comment. Bundle Bindu, who was sitting there commented about hospitality about different regions. 


“I know.. Some people’s hospitality is bare minimum unlike north Karnatka. Because, historically…’ 


I told Bindu, stop it.  


He ignored me and continued. 


“Recently I had been to someone’s house. He said, “Wait a minute. I wWill have tea and come..I said I will also come and join you for tea.” 


“Bindu, you are shameless”, I said. 


But by and large, when you invite people, you should do it whole heartedly. The person should feel welcomed. 


I turned to Venkat and said, ‘I will come for the function in the morning as I have recently joined as a college lecturer. I will leave my lunchbox there and pick it up on the way back after my classes are over. I won’t be able to make it for lunch but I can eat it at home, at least.’ 


‘There can be no one like you,’ said Jayant. 


I take my lunchbox along with me to a function if I know the family hosting the event very well. I have many varieties of lunch boxes—unbreakable, Tupperware, hot cases, transparent ones. Because they are useful for various dishes—and depending on the circumstance, I change the boxes. For gravies. Tupperware is better. For roti and poli, hot case is better. For pickles, unbreakable is better and transparent because it is easier to identify what is inside. 


I am very fond of lunchboxes. In fact, I am an expert. My refrigerator is filled with different kinds of boxes with food given to me from different homes. I can recognize different boxes from different places even when am asleep. Mulla’s wife Peerambi’s box is yellow in color, though it is green inside. Virurupaksha’s Gowda’s wife Basavaa’s dabba is made of german steel. It is round and is currently sitting in my fridge with some brinjal. Bhagirati’s plastic green box has yellow laddoos inside. Jayant’s transparent box has golgappas.  


The other day, I was eating dinner. I told my daughter, ‘There is a gulab jamoon from Janaki’s home. Though her tongue is bitter, her gulab jamuns are excellent.’ 


My daughter was confused. ‘How do I know which is her box of gulab jamun? There are so many lunch boxes in the refrigerator.’ 


‘Oh, bring the one with the dome-like structure,’ I responded easily. ‘I didn’t have a box with me that day, so she had given in hers.’ 


While having the gulab jamun, , I remembered the dry vegetable. ‘Will you open the fridge and get the plastic box with flat red cover? That is from Ganga’s home. Some marriage proposal had come and the boy had visited Ganga’s home so she had specially made a vegetable for the boy that she also sent to me.’ 


The other day, Bundle Bindu came with a huge box. His wife saraswati was out of station. I opened it and to my surprise, there was a steamed sweet dish inside. It is complicated to make, though grandmother was particularly good at it. I asked, ‘Bindu, when Saraswati is not there, how could you cook this special dish?’ 


Bindu laughed and said, ‘Who said that I have made this? There is a famous saying – When two people are fighting, it is the third one that enjoys.’ 


‘What do you mean?’ 


Bindu said, ‘Suman has sent rice kheer and her mother-in-law has sent bottle guard kheer. They felt that you are the best judge to decide who is the better cook because you are known for tasting dishes They called me separately and gave me these two boxes. You eat and enjoy. Both want you to take their side.’ 


‘Bindu, in that case, I will taste neither of them’ I said immediately. 


‘Nali, please be diplomatic. You can say both are very good, but separately. Then you will have an advantage,’ said Jayant who always thinks of profit and loss. 


‘No, Jayant. I don’t want to do that. Profit and loss are okay in business but not in human interaction. All these people are dear to me. Whenever they make something special, they send some to my home even if I don’t visit their house. I carry my lunchbox only to places where I have liberty and affection If I really want to eat, there are many restaurants in this townFor me, a lunch box is not a mere lunchbox. It is a bridge between two people. I go to their home, or they send me some food. I go to return the box.  Thus, we share feelings and give company to each other. In case any of us are in difficulty, we reduce our tensions. The lunchboxes are nothing but a sign of affection, and it is through them that I have been able to meet people and form a close bond with them over the years. It has been my educational journey into the nature of humanity. 


 I don’t want to get into the competition between a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law or create more distance between them. If somebody wants to start a fight, I don’t want to be a party to that.’ 


Bindu laughed and said, ‘And I know how you love food too! 


I smiled back. 


 ‘O Nali, you are a typical north Karnataka girl’ said Bindu. 


‘What do you mean by that?’ I was surprised by his comment. 


‘Straightforward, transparent, loving, sharing, impractical, talkative, – that is the essence that the land blesses us with.’ 



Intrigued to know more about Nali and her lunchbox?
Get your copy of Common Yet Uncommon by Sudha Murty wherever books are sold.

Timeless classics from your favourite storyteller

Sudha Murty’s stories are eternal. We finish the books, we keep them back in the shelves, but we can never forget the wonder inspired by her stories and the fascinating characters she crafts. Here are some of her timeless classics that we keep returning to:


front cover How The Onion Got Its Layers
How The Onion Got Its Layers||Sudha Murty



How the Onion Got Its Layers


Have you noticed how the onion has so many layers? And have you seen your mother’s eyes water when she cuts an onion? Here is a remarkable story to tell you why.

India’s favourite storyteller brings alive this timeless tale with her inimitable wit and simplicity. Dotted with charming illustrations, this gorgeous chapter book is the ideal introduction for beginners to the world of Sudha Murty.




front cover Grandma's Bag of Stories
Grandma’s Bag of Stories||Sudha Murty


Grandma’s Bag Of Stories


Who can resist a good story, especially when it’s being told by Grandma? From her bag emerges tales of kings and cheats, monkeys and mice, bears and gods. Here comes the bear who ate some really bad dessert and got very angry; a lazy man who would not put out a fire till it reached his beard; a princess who got turned into an onion; a queen who discovered silk, and many more weird and wonderful people and animals.

Grandma tells the stories over long summer days and nights, as seven children enjoy life in her little town. The stories entertain, educate and provide hours of enjoyment to them. So come, why don’t you too join in the fun?


front cover The Daughter From A Wishing Tree
The Daughter From A Wishing Tree||Sudha Murty


The Daughter from a Wishing Tree


Did you know that the Trinity often turned to goddesses to defeat the asuras?

Did you know that the first clone in the world was created by a woman?

The women in Indian mythology might be fewer in number, but their stories of strength and mystery in the pages of ancient texts and epics are many. They slayed demons and protected their devotees fiercely. From Parvati to Ashokasundari and from Bhamati to Mandodari, this collection features enchanting and fearless women who frequently led wars on behalf of the gods, were the backbone of their families and makers of their own destinies.

India’s much-loved and bestselling author Sudha Murty takes you on an empowering journey -through the yarns forgotten in time-abounding with remarkable women who will remind you of the strong female influences in your life.


front cover The Magic of the Lost Temple
The Magic of the Lost Temple||Sudha Murty


The Magic Of The Lost Temple


City girl Nooni is surprised at the pace of life in her grandparents’ village in Karnataka. But she quickly gets used to the gentle routine there and involves herself in a flurry of activities, including papad making, organizing picnics and learning to ride a cycle, with her new-found friends.

Things get exciting when Nooni stumbles upon an ancient fabled stepwell right in the middle of a forest.

Join the intrepid Nooni on an adventure of a lifetime in this much-awaited book by Sudha Murty that is heart-warming, charming and absolutely unputdownable.



front cover Grandparents' Bag of Stories
Grandparents’ Bag of Stories||Sudha Murty

Grandparents’ Bag of Stories


It’s 2020 and children are stuck indoors as the novel coronavirus finds its way into India. A nationwide lockdown is announced and amidst the growing crisis, Ajja and Ajji welcome their grandchildren and Kamlu Ajji into their house in Shiggaon.

From stitching masks, sharing household chores, preparing food for workers to losing themselves in timeless tales, the lockdown turns into a memorable time for the children as they enter the enchanting world of goddesses, kings, princesses, serpents, magical beanstalks, thieves, kingdoms and palaces, among others. The myriad stories told by their grandparents become the biggest source of joy, making the children compassionate, worldly-wise and more resilient than ever.

Following the trail of the best-selling Grandma’s Bag of Stories, India’s favourite author Sudha Murty brings to you this collection of immortal tales that she fondly created during the lockdown period for readers to seek comfort and find the magic in sharing and caring for others. Wonderfully woven in her inimitable style, this book is unputdownable and perfect for every child’s bookshelf!


Our bookshelves have an entire section dedicated to Sudha Murty. That’s just how our young readers like it! What about you?

Exciting November reads to kindle young minds and spirits

It’s a new month, and we all know what that means. A whole new reading list with brand new books!! These fun new reads are a ride through friendship, inclusivity and even entrepreneurship. Fasten your seatbelts!


When Adil Speaks, Words Dance

Front cover of When adil speaks
When Adil Speaks, Words Dance||Lavanya Karthik

by Lavanya Karthik


Everyone wants to be friends with Adil. But how do you make friends with someone when you can’t hear the music their words dance to?

‘When Adil Speaks’ is a heart-warming tale of friendship and inclusivity, and of how sometimes, it takes more than words to start a conversation. Written and illustrated by award-winning author Lavanya Karthik, this is a sweet yet an evocative story of two friends, and their willingness to understand each other better.



Bim And The Town Of Falling Fruit

by Arjun Talwar

front cover bim and the town of falling fruit
Bim and the Town of Falling Fruit||Arjun Talwar


In Poondy, fruits are always falling on people’s heads-from the jackfruit, coconut and toddy trees-causing many injuries. So all the Poondizens wear fruit-helmets invented by the legendary Falwala. Bim loves Poondy, but one day, Miss Chitty, Bim’s mother, who drives a coffee-coloured taxi, decides to move away from Poondy. Bim’s last two weeks in his home town are full of strange and exciting adventures-from a bat attack to a bike theft- that can only happen here!








Become A Junior Entrepreneur

front cover of become a junior entrepreneur
Become a Junior Entrepreneur||Vrunda Bansode

Vrunda Bansode



What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor, an engineer, a chef, a musician, an IAS officer?

That’s a question adults never tire of asking kids.

It’s time to recognize a profession where people invent, innovate, sell, barter and build: entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are bringing education online, connecting families at the touch of a button and changing the way we live. ‘Become a Junior Entrepreneur’ accompanies the reader through every stage of turning a nascent dream into a commercially viable start-up.





Rasil Ahuja

Front cover of Unfair
Unfair||Rasil Ahuja


Auditions are on for the seventh-grade annual play. Lina sets her heart and

sights on the lead role, but the drama teacher seems to think Lina isn’t the

right shade for the part. Will Miss Deepa derail Lina’s dream?

Meher finds math far more interesting than Macbeth. When her BFF Lina suddenly becomes distraught and withdrawn, Meher wonders why Lina would shut her out.

Something’s just not adding up. Will this friendship fade or will Meher find a solution to this problem and score #friendshipgoals?






Grandparents’ Bag Of Stories

front cover of Grandparents' Bag of Stories
Grandparents’ Bag of Stories||Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty


From stitching masks, sharing household chores, preparing food for workers to losing themselves in timeless tales, the lockdown turns into a memorable time for the children as they enter the enchanting world of goddesses, kings, princesses, serpents, magical beanstalks, thieves, kingdoms and palaces, among others. Following the trail of the best-selling ‘Grandma’s Bag of Stories’, Sudha Murty brings to you this collection of immortal tales that she fondly created during the lockdown period for readers to seek comfort and find the magic in sharing and caring for others. Wonderfully woven in her inimitable style, this book is unputdownable and perfect for every child’s bookshelf!





It’s time to add these wonderful reads to your young readers’ bookshelves!


A Kingdom Destroyed Over a Magical Stepwell: ‘The Magic of the Lost Temple’ — An Excerpt

Whether it’s the concrete jungles in cities or the fresh, clean air in villages, a world of fantasy opens up if we look for one. Sudha Murty’s magical collection of stories, where little Nooni from the city goes exploring the village where her grandparents stay, opens up a pandora’s box of wonderful memories of our childhoods!
Read this excerpt of a story from ‘The Magic of the Lost Temple’, about a king, women from the moon, a stepwell and the unfortunate downfall of his kingdom.
‘Ajji, tell me a story,’ Nooni insisted once the lights were off.
‘Nooni, aren’t you tired? I’ll tell you a story tomorrow.’
‘No, Ajji, I want to hear a story now. Ever since I have come to the village, you haven’t told me even one story,’ Nooni persisted.
Ajji got up and pulled the curtains aside. It was a full moon night and the moonlight came through the window into the room. ‘It’s as if a magic lamp has been switched on,’ thought Nooni.
‘I don’t see such bright moonlight in the city or in our house, Ajji. How has the moon lit the entire bedroom?’
‘You live in an apartment. Your bedroom faces another apartment complex and all the streetlights are on in the night. Then how will you see the effect of natural light in the city? Here, we have very few streetlights and there aren’t any highrise buildings. My room faces the garden where there’s open space and windows for the light to come in easily.’
‘Ah, now I understand, Ajji! Tell me a nice story about the moonlight then. I know you have a story for every occasion,’ grinned Nooni. Ajji smiled and said, ‘Of course. What I’m about to tell you happened a thousand years ago in this very village.
‘Long, long ago, there lived a handsome king named Somanayaka. He was brave, kind, courageous and very generous. His kingdom lay in the delta between the rivers Varada and Tungabhadra. There was a thick forest around the area and many wild animals lived there. Sometimes, they would enter villages and scare the people, destroy the crops and eat the cattle. After a number of such complaints and no improvement in the situation, the king decided to hunt these wild beasts himself. Two days later, he went hunting on his horse with his soldiers by his side. Soon, he had left his soldiers far behind and lost his way.
‘The day passed and turned into late evening. The king’s horse became tired and Somanayaka
tied him to a tree and went in search of food. He collected some fruits, ate them and brought some grass back for his horse. Suddenly, he felt very sleepy. It was a full moon night and the breeze was cool and pleasant. Somanayaka noticed a flat rock behind some bushes and decided to rest. Within minutes, he was asleep. Suddenly, he was awakened by the sound of girls chatting. He opened his eyes and glanced at the sky. To his surprise, there was a ladder coming down from the moon which joined some stairs that went all the way from the moon to the Earth. A group of beautiful women were coming down the steps. They all wore white saris and pearl ornaments and carried golden pots at their waists. He squatted near the bushes and counted them—they were seven in all. He wondered what they would do next.
‘As soon as they reached the Earth, the oldest woman touched the ground with a stick and he saw the ground give way and open up. All of them slowly disappeared inside the ground. Somanayaka was not scared but he was desperate to know where they had gone. Carefully, he came out of the bushes and peeped. Then he felt a little bolder and walked towards the big hole in the ground. He was surprised to find himself looking into an enchanting stepwell!’
‘Ajji, what is a stepwell?’ Nooni asked.
‘It is a well that has steps inside so that it is easy to get to the bottom. There are many stepwells in our country. In fact, some of them are very famous. Remember that picture of the well you sent me from your trip last year to Abhaneri near Jaipur?’
‘Oh, that’s true. There was a huge well there with almost three thousand steps. Are you talking about something similar?’
‘Yes, I haven’t seen Abhaneri myself and the one that Somanayaka saw was a small stepwell. It had only twenty-one steps. But there were seven small exquisitely carved Shiva temples inside the well. Somanayaka looked down and observed the stunning carvings and pillars and the beautiful angelic women. He enjoyed seeing them play hideand-seek for some time. Then they filled their pots with water, poured it on an idol of Lord Shiva and performed a puja. The whole process took several hours. By then, the sky started getting lighter as it was daybreak and the moon started fading. Somanayaka hid behind the bushes again. Soon, the women climbed the steps and went back to the moon. The steps disappeared and the ground closed up.
‘Somanayaka sat in the bushes for a long time. Suddenly, he felt confused. Had it been real or had it all been a figment of his imagination? Did he really see the ground open up and a well underneath? He stood up and came out of the bushes. He searched everywhere for a sign of the well but with no luck. There was not a single remnant of the incident he thought he saw. “I must have been so tired that I slept off . . . and had such an elaborate dream that I thought that it was real,” he said to himself. He turned and started walking back to his horse. Suddenly he saw something sparkling on the ground—it was a broken pearl necklace. Somanayaka collected all the pearls and realized that it hadn’t been a dream after all.
‘He tried to recall if he had ever heard about a stepwell in his kingdom but nothing came to mind. By then one of his followers had traced him and come to his rescue. But Somanayaka told him, “Go back and inform everybody that I am safe. I will stay here for a few days. Give me your food ration before you leave. I know the route and I will come back on my own.”
‘The next day, he waited near the bushes again, but nothing happened. He waited for one more day and still, the women did not appear. After another uneventful day, he thought of other possibilities, “Maybe these beautiful maidens come only on full moon days.”
‘Keeping that in mind, he got on his horse and went back to the capital. He met the royal astrologer and found out the date of the next full moon night.
‘When the night came, he waited behind the bushes and this time, he was not surprised when the ladder came down from the moon. He knew the whole process by now and looked forward to the puja of Lord Shiva. Somanayaka was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. After the puja, he decided to take a chance and meet the maidens. Boldly, he came forward and stood near the stepwell. “Beautiful maidens, please don’t be alarmed. Here’s my pranaam  to all of you.” He folded his hands together and continued, “You have chosen our land for your worship of Lord Shiva and I am really grateful to you. I have noticed that when you go back, the ground closes on its own. May I earnestly request you not to make the well disappear? Please keep it open so that everyone can worship Lord Shiva in this beautiful ambience.”
‘The women looked up at him in fright. It was a rude shock for them to see Somanayaka there and they gathered closely together. Then the eldest maiden took the lead and said, “Who are you? Why have you been observing us without our knowledge? This stepwell was built by a great architect of the celestial heavens. It can’t be used by the selfish people of Earth.”
‘Somanayaka bowed his head and said, “My sisters, I am Somanayaka, the ruler of this land. I know that this holy stepwell couldn’t have been made by human beings. But Lord Shiva is fond of all his devotees, isn’t he? Please grant me my wish. If you have any conditions, please tell me and I will fulfill them.”
‘The maidens spoke to each other in hushed whispers. Then the eldest one said, “We are impressed by your humility and your prayer. The water here tastes like nectar. That is Earth’s specialty. Even though we live in the celestial world, the water there isn’t as tasty as what we get here. So, we come every full moon night not to take a bath or spoil the well but to just drink and enjoy ourselves.
As long as you promise me that you will not dirty the premises and that this water will be used only for drinking, we will leave it as it is. People of  your land can come and worship and take the water but before entering the stepwell they must take a bath and wash their feet. If your people do not follow the rules, the well will disappear along with your kingdom. Think about it. It is a big price to pay. Are you ready to take the risk of losing your kingdom?”
‘Somanayaka thought for a minute and said confidently, “A source of water is a source of life. I will ensure that all your conditions are taken care of.”
‘The maiden continued, “We have one more condition. On full moon nights, the temple must remain closed so that we can continue our visits here. Nobody must be allowed inside to observe us or talk to us. We want our privacy to be protected.”
‘Somanayaka agreed. He stepped forward and gave back the necklace to the maiden. He said gently, “I think this belongs to one of you.”
‘The women were very happy with his honesty. They drank the water, climbed the steps and vanished. The stepwell remained where it was.
‘Somanayaka went to the nearest water body to have a bath and then he entered the stepwell for the first time. It was much more beautiful from up close. When he reached the bottom, he cupped his hands and drank a sip of water. It was very tasty. He felt that it was better than nectar, which he had never drunk before anyway.
‘The next day, he came back to the kingdom and proclaimed, “There exists a beautiful stepwell of Lord Shiva in our kingdom. People who would like to go there and perform puja can do so but on one condition—they have to bathe and cleanse themselves before entering the stepwell. The water there will be used for no other purpose except for drinking. Everyone can carry away one pot of water and no more. These rules are to be strictly followed and there will be no exceptions. The temple will remain closed on full moon nights and nobody will be allowed inside.”
‘Somanayaka wanted to make his people comfortable so he ensured that there was another water body for them near the stepwell. There, people could bathe, change their clothes and then enter the stepwell. The news spread like wildfire. People came from all over the kingdom to see the architectural masterpiece and pay their respects to Lord Shiva. The well remained open on all days except on full moon nights.
‘Days passed and word spread. People started coming from far and wide and from different lands. A small tourist spot was set up near the stepwell and named Somanahalli.
‘Despite the increase in the number of visitors, the well was kept clean and guards monitored the premises around the clock.
‘After some years, Somanayaka married a lovely lady—Queen Ratnavati. She was beautiful and courageous but headstrong. Somanayaka told her about the way the well had been discovered and how the celestial maidens had agreed to his request. Ratnavati wanted to know whether the maidens were more beautiful than her or not but she knew that she would never get a chance to meet them because they came only on full moon nights when no one was allowed inside the temple.
‘One day, the king had to go to an important event in the neighbouring kingdom. Ratnavati told her husband, “I am not feeling very well. I think that I will stay back in the palace.”
‘The naive king believed her and departed for the event. As soon as he left, Ratnavati called for her chariot and headed towards the stepwell. She thought to herself, “I am the queen of this land. Every inch of it belongs to me. So what if the well is a gift of the maidens? The well exists on my land and I am the legal owner. My husband doesn’t want to take a risk and obeys those maidens’ words without question. I want to show him that nothing will happen if we break their rules.”
‘When the charioteers reached Somanahalli, the officers stopped her and requested, “O Queen. Please don’t visit the temple today. It is a full moon night and as per the government rules, no one is allowed to go inside. Why don’t you stay in the guest house tonight? You can visit the well tomorrow.”
‘Ratnavati did not listen to them. “How dare you stop me? I am the queen. Everything is under my control.” ‘Without another word, she barged into the stepwell. Since it was a full moon night, the entire complex was shining like silver. The water was shimmering and looked irresistible. She went into the water to bathe. Suddenly, she heard a noise. When she turned, she saw seven women standing on the steps. Though her heart told her that they were more beautiful than her, her ego did not allow her to accept the truth. When the maidens saw Queen Ratnavati in the water, they became upset. “Who are you? How dare you  come here today? Has King Somanayaka forgotten  our conditions?”
‘Arrogantly, Ratnavati replied, “I am his queen. This land belongs to us and I make the rules—you can come the day I want you to visit. You can’t tell me when I can and can’t come here. The water here is the way it is because of the Earth and not because of anything you did.”
‘“Who are you to talk to us like this? You have not only disobeyed our rules but you have also dirtied the water. Once someone has bathed in this water, no one can drink it again.”
‘The women turned to leave. While going up the steps back to the moon, the eldest maiden said, “Rani Ratnavati, you are going to regret this.”
‘They climbed the ladder and vanished. Queen Ratnavati tried to get out of the water to go behind them and talk to them but all her efforts were in vain.
‘Suddenly, there was thunder and lightning, followed by a huge gust of wind and rain. Ratnavati quickly climbed up the steps of the well. The earth quaked and within a few seconds, the well closed.
‘The queen was scared. She had been warned of the consequences—she was going to lose her kingdom! She cried to herself and said, “I should not have done this. I have polluted the water and disobeyed my husband. I have destroyed my kingdom because of my arrogance.”
‘Somanayaka never came back from his travel and Ratnavati went mad crying in the streets. After a few days, nobody heard from her again. The kingdom was eventually abandoned. It was sad that the queen, who should have been the protector of her kingdom, had destroyed a precious water source, disobeyed royal orders, broke a promise and caused such a catastrophe.
‘People say that our village, Somanahalli, is near the location of the stepwell. This story has been passed down from generation to generation but no one has actually seen the well.’
Ajji finished the story. Nooni looked at the moon with sleepy eyes, waiting for the maidens to appear.
More such enchanting stories await you and your little one with Sudha Murty’s ‘The Magic of the Lost Temple’.
And don’t forget to pre-order our favourite storyteller’s newest collection of magical stories!


‘I will tell the king there are no supermen in this village’: ‘The Magic Drum and Other Favourite Stories’ — An Excerpt

‘I will tell the king there are no supermen in this village’: ‘The Magic Drum and Other Favourite Stories’ — An Excerpt
We learned our first stories much before we learned to read. Our parents and grandparents sat us on their laps and took us to wondrous lands of kind kinds and clever, talking animals who taught a valuable lesson silently.
A brilliant collection of such beautiful, heartwarming stories by Sudha Murty that she grew up on as a child, ‘The Magic Drum and Other Favourite Stories’ is sure to take you down nostalgia lane and fascinate your child on a warm, lazy afternoon.

Here’s a snippet from the book about men from a small village who thought they could outsmart everyone else!

The Supermen
The men of Suvarnanagari were very lazy. They only liked to gossip and tell each other tall tales. As soon as the sun rose, the men would tuck into a hearty breakfast and start gathering in groups. Then they would spend the rest of the day telling each other impossible stories. They came back home only at lunch and dinner time.
Suvarnanagari had fertile land all around it, and if the men had spent even a little time in the fields, they would have reaped wonderful crops. But as they did nothing, all responsibilities ended up on the shoulders of the women, who had to slave the whole day. They cooked, cleaned, sent the children to school, worked in the fields, took the crops to the market—in short, they did everything. One day, the tired women got together and decided the men needed to be taught a lesson. Someone suggested writing to the king, who was known to be just and kind, about their problem. So a letter was written and sent off. The women went back to their work, but kept a sharp lookout to see if the king would send any help. But many days passed, and slowly the women began to lose hope. After all, why would the king of such a vast empire be concerned about the plight of a few women in a tiny village like theirs?
A month passed by and soon it was a full-moon night. The men ate their dinners and, because it was so beautiful and well-lit outside, they gathered again to chat and boast. That night, they were trying to prove to one another that they were capable of performing the most impossible tasks. As they sat talking, and the stories flew around, a tall and handsome stranger joined them. Seeing his noble features and intelligent eyes, each man wanted to prove himself better than the others and impress him.
One said, ‘I knew the map of our kingdom even before I left my mother’s womb. As soon as I was born, I ran to the capital and met the king. My mother had such trouble bringing me back home!’
Everyone was impressed with this story. But not to be outdone, a second man said, ‘So what is so great about that? When I was just a day old, I could ride a horse. I sat on a big horse and rode all the way to the king’s palace. He received me with a lot of love and we had the most delicious breakfast together.’ At the thought of food, everyone got dreamy-eyed and the story was greeted with a round of applause.
Now a third man said, ‘Huh! That’s nothing. I sat on an elephant when I was a week old and had lunch with the king in his palace.’
Before the admiring murmurs could die down, a fourth one said, ‘I was a month old when I flew like a bird and landed in the king’s garden. He picked me up lovingly and even let me sit with him on his throne.’
While everyone seemed to be awed by these stories, the stranger spoke up. ‘Do you four men know the king very well?’
‘Of course we do!’ they replied together. ‘Our king knows and loves us. In fact, he is proud to have supernatural beings like us in his kingdom.’
The stranger looked thoughtful. ‘That makes my task so much easier . . . You see, I work in the king’s court. Some time back, the king had called four supermen to the city in order to repair a large hole in the city walls. As you know, we use the largest, toughest stones for building these walls, and they could be lifted and put in place only by these supermen. The four asked to be paid in gold bars and the king gave them the money. But that night itself they disappeared from the palace. I have been wandering the kingdom ever since, looking for them. The king has ordered me to find the four men and bring them back to the capital to finish the work. They will also have to return the gold they ran away with. It looks like my search has finally ended. I will take you four to the king, along with the gold you stole from him . . . And I shall be the rich one now.’
By the time the stranger finished telling this amazing story, the men’s faces had turned ashen. What trouble had their lies landed them in? Together they dived at the stranger’s feet.
‘Save us!’ they wailed. ‘Those were all lies. We are just a bunch of lazy men. If you forget our stories, we promise to stop telling lies and do some honest work.’
The stranger smiled. ‘So be it. I will tell the king there are no supermen in this village. Only hardworking, ordinary men and women.’
That night itself he left the village, and the women were sure they saw a happy twinkle in his eyes as he rode away on a handsome, white horse, fit to belong to the king’s stables!
While you keep digging up more from your childhood’s collection, grab a copy of this fascinating book!
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of the master storyteller’s newest book soon to hit bookstores!

Things You Did Not Know About Author and Philanthropist, Sudha Murty

With an ordinary upbringing like most of us, Sudha Murty’s life took extraordinary turns against all odds due to her courage and, determination and will to succeed in life.
Here are a few facts about Sudha Murty that you may have not known before.
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Sudha Murty leads with example and shows us that absolutely nothing in life is unachievable, as long as one has the heart to do it.
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