Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a small village named kasoor, there lived a sparrow called choon

choon and a crow called kaan kaan. Choon choon lived in a sheesham tree and kaan kaan lived in a

mango tree. You can say that they were neighbors. One day when the sun was out and shining bright

and the air was nice and cool and the bees were humming and collecting nectar to make honey and the

butterflies were flitting from flower to flower, choon choon called kaan kaan.

“ hi neighbor, are you at home?

Kaan kaan called from his mango tree.

“yes choon choon, I am here, sitting on a branch and enjoying this beautiful day.

“yes kaan kaan, isn’t it a lovely day; a lovely day fit for fun. Why don’t we have a picnic. Just sitting in

the trees is nothing but waste of a beautiful day. Yes why don’t we have a picnic.

“I think it’s a good idea choon choon. Lets have a picnic.

Okay kaan kaan, I’ll bring rice and you bring some lentils. We will mix rice and lentils and cook

khichri. Then we will go out to the river bank where there are beautiful trees growing and their

branches are almost touching the water. We will have our picnic there, high up in the branches and

maybe later on we will fly around in the sun or swing on the branches or take a bath in the river.

“sounds good to me. He said. “ then lets go to the market and get the stuff for our khichri. Choon choon replied.

They both flew away to the market. Choon choon went to the rice shop and kaan kaan to the shop

where all kinds of dry beans were sold. He bought some lentils from the shopkeeper.

When they were back, they decided to go to the backyard where there was a fire pit called chulah to

cook the food on. Choon choon brought a little pot from her house and started cooking the khichri in it

while kaan kaan sat nearby watching her and telling her about his neighbors – a tota family – living in

the oak tree next to his mango tree and how they always try to come to his mango tree when it is the

mango season – how noisy they are, always flying around, talking loudly.

“ and you know choon choon, they start flocking to my tree the moment tiny little mangoes start

peeking out of the mango ‘boor’ flowers. Of course being a kaan kaan myself, I do not eat mangoes but

it is my mango tree for crying out loud. Oh they are such free loaders.

Choon choon listened to his complains and at times laughed at the funny parts of his stories about the

tota family. They were actually parrots with beautiful green feathers and red beaks

“maybe you should make friends with them. They are your neighbors after all. Like you are my

neighbor and we are friends too.
“ we are different” he said.

“ of course we all are different but this does not mean that we cannot be friends.

“ Okay, okay is khichri ready yet?”

Choon choon laughed. “Yes it is ready. And now we can go to the river bank to enjoy it. But before

that I have to go to my house to wash my hands and comb my hair and maybe put on a little lipstick.

Then we shall take our pot of khichri and picnic basket to the river bank to enjoy our good food and

have fun in the sun.

“All right choon choon, go and tidy up yourself and maybe it’s a good idea to change your clothes as

well because you smell like khichri yourself. I have a very sensitive nose, you know.

“Okay, I think you are right. Anyways just wait here. I’ll be right back.

But when she came back, there was no kaan kaan and the pot was empty — all the khichri gone.

Choon choon was surprised to see the empty khichri pot. ‘What happened while I was gone? She

wondered. Maybe the shaheen eagle from across the road, living high up in the sweet gum tree ate our

khichri. I hope he didn’t eat kaan kaan as well. But then she remembered kaan kaan once telling her

that he was friends with Shaheen eagle. Can someone eat a friend? She thought. ‘No no, how can that

be? Friends don’t hurt each other. Then what happened? She sat beside the empty pot and kept


Finally she said that it was kaan kaan himself who ate the whole khichri and ran away.

She went to the mango tree and called him a couple of times but no one answered.

The next day she went to the market again to buy a few things for herself and saw kaan kaan sitting in a

shop talking to the owner. She went right up to him and stood in front of him.

“now there you are kaan kaan. Why did you eat all of our khichri and ran away? That was not nice you

know. You spoiled our picnic.

“I didn’t eat any khichri, he said and looked away.

Now please don’t tell lies. If you had told me that you were hungry, I would have told you to take a

little bit. There was plenty for both of us. Why didn’t you?

“I don’t know. Kaan kaan said.

‘I think I should teach him a lesson so that he never cheats anyone again. Choon choon thought to

herself then talked to kaan kaan.

“you are my neighbor and neighbors are like family. I want to stay friends with you. So kaan kaan, I am

inviting you to my house one more time to come and have dinner with me. lets forget what happened

and renew our friendship

“Really? Oh you are so nice. Okay so when do I come? Kaan kaan was really excited that choon choon

was not mad at him any more. “Come to my oak tree at 6’oclock and we shall eat together.”

“what would you cook?” he asked.

“That is a surprise, but I am sure you would like it. She said and smiled at him.

Then she said goodbye and did some grocery shopping and went home.

So the next day she made khichri again but this time she put a whole lot of red chili powder in it. Right

at 6 o clock there was a knock at choon choon’s door. She opened the door and welcomed her neighbor.

“Oh welcome, welcome. Please come in my good friend. I have been waiting for you. you came right

on time.”

“Thank you for inviting me choon choon.”

“You are welcome kaan kaan. Now have a seat and I will bring out the food”.

Kaan kaan sat down waiting for the food. He was – as always – really hungry. choon choon brought out

the food and they both sat down to eat. But one mouthful and kaan kaan cried out.

“Oh my God, oh my god. What have you put in the food, my tongue is burning. Oh my god. He grabed

a glass of water and drank it in one big gulp. “Oh my mouth oh my tongue. He was jumping all over

and his eyes were watering. Oh choon choon why did you do that to me.

“To teach you a lesson kaan kaan. You not only stole my food but told a lie too. Of course you ate all

the khichri and disappeared. I was worried. But then I called you and you didn’t answer I knew it was

you and not the shaheen eagle. And when I saw you in the market and asked you, you denied every

thing that makes you a liar as well.

Now you know what happens if you steal from other people or you tell lies. Your mouth will burn and

you drink lots and lots of water to make the burning go away. But drinking lots and lots of water will

make your stomach a water bag — see, this is what is happening to you.”

“Oh choon choon I am sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I promise I will never lie again.”

“And never steal the food again?” … choon choon said.

“Yes never.” he said.

“Okay kaan kaan I am sorry I put chili powder in the food but now I will give you something that will

make the chilies go away and you will feel good.

Then she went in again and came back with two bowls full of ice cream and gave one to kaan kaan and

took one herself. She sat down beside kaan kaan. They ate ice cream and talked and laughed and told

jokes and laughed some more. They were friends again.

They had many picnics after that and they invited each other over to their homes all the time. Kaan

kaan even allowed the noisy tota family to visit his mango tree to eat the mangoes, though he still

didn’t like their spoiling the tiny little mangoes coming out of the mango-boor flowers.

So the story ends with every body living happily ever after.

Riffat Murtaza

Copyright © July 2006

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