“Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have,” claims a saying of Lloyd Alexander. Indeed, leafing through the pages of a poem, prose or passage, while being huddled in a cozy corner, forms one of the most cherished recreations of every avid book lover. And if that happens to be a favorite book, then the joy turns manifold.
I have always derived immense pleasure reading the animal fables of Panchatantra. These ancient Indian tales, composed by Pandit Vishnu Sharma, in the 3rd century BC, uphold the Hindu principle of wise living, majorly through the activity of animals. It is this ingenious narrative technique that makes these stories unique. Animals behave and talk as humans do and resolve their problems through reasonable means. For instance, the story, “The Monkey and The Crocodile”, revolving around the clever way by which a monkey outwits a crocodile, highlights the need to be alert mentally so as to prevent unpleasant events from occurring. It holds great significance in day to day life, since many times, we come across persons, who, wearing a mask of friendliness to hide their vindictive hearts, outsmarts us. The monkey befriends a crocodile but the latter, to keep his wife’s desperate desire of devouring its heart, manages to entwine him into a cunning plan, using which he resolves to kill him. The monkey, by using his wits, finally emerges safe. So too, we need to employ our common sense in dealing with complicated people. Then, there’s another story called “The Four Friends and The Hunter” that beautifully highlights the dictum that a friend in need is a friend indeed. The four characters, deer, crow, tortoise and mouse live together peacefully in a forest, but when a hunter traps the tortoise, all four graciously help each other so that the turtle may triumph over the difficult situation. It teaches the lesson that we must be loyal to our friends and accordingly, should never shirk from helping them out in their problematic situations.
With an abundance of new gadgets, kids nowadays do not invest much time in reading story books and consequently are deprived of a great boon. Besides being a tremendous source of delight, the simple tales of Panchatantra taught me some important values that are needed at every phase of life. Thus it has remained my favorite book till date.