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Shanthi Sivaram / December 08, 2020 Posted by : editor

It was 25th March 2020. I have etched this day in my heart for it has created history in the world of tissue rolls! It all started on the morning of 25th March, in the Dunzo mart. At first, it was a normal day and when I say normal, I mean the same boring day as always. 

I was sitting on the shelf in the health and hygiene section with my other friends, waiting for someone to come to me with a warm smile and say: “Hello!” instead of ignoring my presence and dumping me into the cart. I still do not understand how such tall, chubby, plumpy human beings can turn out to be such impatient ones, buzzing like bees and darting in the streets!

It was 10 AM and I was doing my daily work, sulking at one corner with no rush of excitement at all! However, by 12 PM, I saw there was a sudden rush in the mart. People were pouring in like zombies. Literally a scene of a stampede!  To my surprise, all of them were rushing towards the health and hygiene section. I heard someone asking the storekeeper for tissue rolls. Holy Moley! They were all running towards me! I was clueless as to what was happening. However, I really wanted to go to someone’s house. I dressed nicely; neat as a pin. I tried to hug and embrace the fresh air to appear clean and fresh. I sat in a very fashionable way of attracting everyone. However, one thing I still did not understand as to why there was a sudden change in human behaviour. I just wondered whether they all developed a new genetic disorder that altered their likes and dislikes!

 I saw old, young, man, woman, police officer, student everyone sprinting towards me. Oh jeez! The look on their faces was just so entertaining to watch! 

They were anxious, stressed, and were giving importance to me. I was seriously getting all emotional. I was just a commodity; not an important one in anyone’s life until today! Now I have become a VIP! I know I clean their waste, but still, they treat me as a waste! However, suddenly I became the center of their attraction. Oh my God! I just felt like a celebrity, standing on a high pedestal with all the spectators taking my photo. Oh, the flash in my eyes was just like a beam of light from heaven. It was like a dream come true! My heart started singing. 



People were fighting for me. I was a hero, a saviour for them and they would cease to exist without me! I started to catch everyone’s attention and I actually was on news channels, social media, Tik Tok, Instagram, everywhere! I was in the limelight! There were tears in my eyes but I could not cry at any cost and hurt myself, ultimately being a disgust to the others. You know, “wet and weird”! I met this woman, who was so generous that she not only took me with her but my entire family of seven. We were all lucky that she took the whole family and we did not have to worry about suffering from separation anxiety and homesickness.  I sat in her car, listening to the radio that was playing in the background. There was a radio announcement that the entire nation was going to lockdown due to a pandemic, COVID-19, caused by a coronavirus. This virus was a deadly one. Maintaining hygiene was keen to keep the disease at bay, as good hygiene means being strong and healthy. People were advised to use me to clean their hands and nose frequently. They had to wear masks if they had to go out to buy essential commodities. Now I realized why there was a commotion at the mart.

Mom, who was sitting next to me in the car, told me that once her grandmother had told her a story where people in the West had experienced a similar situation .yeah, it was the Spanish flu!

Well, after listening to everything, I had a mixed feeling in me. First, I was proud of myself for being a hero! It was just awesome. I felt I received the most precious, sacrosanct gift of honour, the golden sun-kissed olive branch! However, at the same time, I felt stressed after listening to the deeds of the murderer, Corona.

I just felt sorry for the others who might be crying at home looking at the photo of their loved ones, killed by corona. All my feelings were popping like popcorn! Within a week, this world declared my entire species as the hero! We were the frontline warriors, ready to sacrifice our lives for keeping the human species hale and healthy.

I heard similar stories from my cousin in the US. The woman, who took me with her, placed me on the kitchen shelf and every day I used to see her watching Instagram, chitchat on WhatsApp and video call her friends who shared similar stories. I could see the videos where my mates had become heroes! This COVID-19 may have been a slash on my human friends but for me, it was a game-changer. I knew I was losing my life bit by bit every day, but I was happy sacrificing my life and saving the world! I was going to be a martyr!

I know I have created history as a tissue roll for not cleaning peoples’ waste but keeping them safe from COVID-19! I am a saviour, a hero, an unsung hero of the world! I am T007, signing off from the kitchen!

By Shraavya P Hande

Grade 8A, Ekya School, JP Nagar

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Shanthi Sivaram / May 08, 2024

15 English Language Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Although English is a funny language, it has become a global language. It is one of the highest-speaking languages in the world. And to effectively communicate in English is crucial in today’s time. For students, parents, and professionals alike, speaking English confidently and correctly is a necessary skill.  However, speaking in English can be tough, especially for beginners. It takes confidence and knowledge to put sentences together and express your ideas in a language that might not feel comfortable yet. Even as you get better, there are still some common errors in the English language that can sneak into your speech. Most of them aren't a big deal, but sometimes they can cause misunderstandings.  As one of the best CBSE Schools in Bangalore, we’ve identified fifteen common English language mistakes and give you tips on how to fix them, so your next conversation can go more smoothly. 

Not Speaking Enough

One common mistake is not speaking English enough. Many students feel shy to speak English at first, but speaking is one of the best ways to improve your command over the language. Imagine a cricket player who only watches others play but never picks up a bat themselves. They would never get better. The same goes for English. So, don't be afraid to use your voice. Talk with friends, ask questions to teachers in English, or even practice speaking to yourself. The more you speak, the better you'll get. 

Translating from Your Native Language

A common error in the English language many students make is trying to directly translate their thoughts from their native language into English. This is a problem because translations are rarely exact and it takes longer for your brain to do the work. Even if your English is basic, don't worry. Use the expressions and phrases you have learned. Practice using new expressions so they become a part of your regular vocabulary.. 

Emphasizing The Wrong Syllable

Another tricky English language error is emphasizing the wrong syllable. It's like singing a song out of tune. For example, "import" is pronounced as "im-PORT" not "IM-port." Another one is "address" which is pronounced as "a-DRESS" not "AD-dress." These little changes in emphasis can change the meaning of words and make it hard for others to understand.  To improve this, listen carefully to your teachers and make note of how they say the word. The best ICSE schools in Bangalore prioritize proper syllable emphasis in spoken and written English, incorporating it into the grammar lessons. Additionally, you can watch English movies, sitcoms, or cartoons to mimic how they emphasize the syllable. 

Pronouncing Sounds That Aren’t There

Pronouncing sounds that aren't there is a common mistake in English. It happens when we add extra sounds to words. For example, saying "aks" instead of "ask". To avoid this, we need to pronounce words correctly and not add any extra or unnecessary sounds.

Overuse of “Will” for Future

This is one of the most common English grammar mistakes. A lot of students rely too much on the word “will” when composing future sentences. While it may seem like the easiest option, using the more versatile structure of "going to + base form" is actually more appropriate in many situations.  "Will" is best suited for promises, spontaneous decisions, predictions, and future actions beyond the speaker's control. However, when discussing plans for the future, it is more accurate to use "going to". For instance, instead of saying "Tomorrow I will go to the bank," it is correct to say "Tomorrow I am going to the bank."

Adding Unnecessary Words and Missing Necessary Words

Another common English Grammar mistakes that students often make are adding unnecessary words or leaving out necessary ones. These errors can make sentences sound confusing or change their meaning completely. For example, saying "I am agree with you" is incorrect because the verb "agree" doesn't need the helping verb "am" before it.  On the other hand, forgetting a necessary word can also lead to problems. For instance, saying "I looking for a bus to the city center" is incorrect because the word "am" is missing. When talking about something happening right now, we use the Present Continuous tense by adding "am," "is," or "are" before the verb, along with the suffix "-ing." So, a correct version of the sentence would be "I am looking for a bus to the city center." Remember, it's important to use the correct words and structure so that your meaning is clear. 

Saying Incorrect Negative Sentences

Students often make mistakes when forming negative sentences. For instance, saying “I no like pizza" instead of "I don't like pizza." In the Present Simple, to create a negative sentence, we need to use "don't" or "doesn't" before the verb.  It's also important to remember that after "he," "she," or "it," we should use "doesn't" and remove the "-s" ending from the verb. For example, instead of saying "He's not wanting to go," the correct phrasing is "He doesn't want to go." 
  • Using the Wrong Word Order in Questions 
Using the incorrect word order in questions is another common English language mistake. For instance, asking "What you are doing now?" instead of the correct form, "What are you doing now?".  Remember word order is crucial in the English language. In questions, following this pattern is necessary: question word (what) + auxiliary verb (are) + subject (you) + verb (doing) + complement, time, place (now).  Top schools in Bangalore, like Ekya Schools, emphasize the importance of students asking questions in English and providing corrections when necessary. 

Not Using Adverbs

Many beginners don’t use adverbs in their speech. Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. They add more details to a sentence and make it more interesting. For example, instead of saying "he ran fast," we can say "he ran quickly." Adverbs help us paint a clearer picture of what is happening. So don't forget to use adverbs in your speech to make it livelier and more descriptive.

 Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence

Not using commas or pauses in a sentence while talking or writing can lead to confusion. It becomes difficult to distinguish between different thoughts or ideas, making the overall communication less clear. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction like "and" or "but."  For example, instead of saying "I went to the store and I bought some apples," we should say "I went to the store, and bought some apples." By using a comma, we can indicate the pause between the two independent clauses. This helps our listeners understand our thoughts and ideas more effectively. So, don't forget to include commas in compound sentences when you're speaking or even writing. 

Faulty sentence structure

Faulty sentence structure is a common English language error that arises when a sentence is not properly constructed. This can make the sentence difficult to read and understand. An example of this error is using too many commas, which can make a sentence disjointed and confusing. Another example is failing to use proper subject-verb agreement, which can make a sentence grammatically incorrect. To avoid this error, it's important to practice constructing sentences with clarity and precision. 

Lack of pronoun

A common error in English is forgetting to use pronouns. Pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition. For example, instead of saying "John went to the store," just say "He went to the store." Remember to use pronouns like he, she, it, they, we, etc. 

Unnecessary Shift in Verb Tense

It occurs when there is an inconsistent change in verb tense within a sentence, paragraph, or passage. This can confuse the reader and disrupt the flow of the writing. To avoid this error, you should ensure that you maintain a consistent verb tense, making sure that all verbs match in past, present, or future tense. 

nnecessary or Missing Apostrophe 

An unnecessary or Missing Apostrophe is another common error. For example, "it's" is a contraction of "it is" and should not be used to show possession. Instead, "its" without an apostrophe indicates possession. Missing apostrophes result in incorrect pluralization, such as "apple's" instead of "apples".  

Poorly Integrated Quotation

Lastly, poorly Integrated Quotation is a common English grammar mistake. It happens when a quote is not smoothly integrated into a sentence.  For example, "She said, 'I like pizza.' instead of 'She said that she likes pizza.' To fix it, we need to integrate the quote correctly into the sentence. 

It is okay to make mistakes while learning. However, the key is to learn from those mistakes and continuously improve. Learning English may be challenging, but the rewards it brings are immeasurable. By being mindful of grammar mistakes and actively working to avoid them, you can enhance your fluency and communication skills.  So, embrace the learning journey, avoid common English language mistakes, and watch yourself grow more confident and fluent in English.  For exceptional mastery over English , consider Ekya Schools, one the best CBSE schools in Bangalore. Call 080-49609096 for more information about admissions.     

Shanthi Sivaram / May 07, 2024

What Is IGCSE And Is It the Right Choice for My Child?

Every parent wants their child to have the best education, you are no different. However, when finding the right school for your child, you are often presented with a plethora of options. One such option that has grown in popularity in recent years is the IGCSE Schools in Bangalore. It is a globally recognized board and its curriculum is designed to foster holistic growth among students.  As one of the top IGCSE schools in Bangalore, we will explain what IGCSE is and help you decide if IGCSE schools are suitable for your child.

What is IGCSE?

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an internationally recognized board created by the University of Cambridge in England. It caters to 14–16 year olds (usually grades 9-10) and prepares them for further university studies worldwide. IGCSE courses offer a rich curriculum that tailors to individual strengths and nurtures the skills and competencies of students. Here are some of the benefits of IGCSE schools for your child.

Student-Centric Approach

The IGCSE curriculum is student-centric and fosters creativity. Teachers and students contribute equally to the class, making it an enriching experience. Learning is practical, allowing students to understand concepts better through real-life applications. IGCSE schools encourage students to ask questions, share ideas, and learn collaboratively with their peers. This approach nurtures logical and creative thinking skills in students. 

Preparing for the Universities

One of the major advantages of joining IGCSE schools is that the students here are well-prepared for further studies. This is made possible by the extensive knowledge and benefits that come from a globally standardized education. The students are encouraged to become independent thinkers and learners which is crucial for university studies. IGCSE schools focus on understanding and grasping the concepts rather than just memorizing. These are the traits most universities look for in a student. 

A Community Worldwide

The IGCSE program brings together students from all over the world in a global community. Children learn how to be inclusive and empathetic towards different people and cultures. This helps them develop a broad perspective. The program also allows each child to become a part of a diverse and comprehensive global community.

Inquiry-Based Learning

IGCSE courses foster curiosity in students by emphasizing real-life experiences, exploration, and expression. This encourages children to ask questions and research answers, helping them gain a better understanding of their communities and the world around them.

Rigorous Assessments

Top IGCSE schools in Bangalore such as Ekya Schools offer a rich experience for students with thought-provoking assessments. These include a variety of modes such as oral, written, coursework, and practical assessments. These assessments offer questions of different difficulty levels, enabling students to challenge themselves and discover their strengths and weaknesses. By instilling confidence and boosting morale, the IGCSE curriculum empowers students to plan their future educational journeys. 

Choice of Subjects that Cater to Different Abilities

The IGCSE subjects are designed to meet the needs of different students. With over 70 subjects to choose from, including 30 languages, schools can offer a combination that suits each student. Students must select at least 5 subjects, which include: 
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Humanities and Social Science
  • Languages
  • Creative, Technical, and Vocational Subjects Students also have a wide range of 30 languages to choose from, including their mother tongue.

Recognized by Universities Across the World

The IGCSE is the most recognized examination qualification across the world. Students with these qualifications are accepted into several countries like the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Many universities acknowledge and accept the IGCSE curriculum as part of their entrance criteria. The IGCSE opens up opportunities for further vocational education and serves as a strong foundation for employment. Students with IGCSE backgrounds have the necessary abilities that employers value in potential employees.

In conclusion, choosing the best school for your child can be a daunting task considering the number of options today. However, if you think a strong syllabus and robust curriculum are best for your child, IGCSE schools are the way to go. To find the best IGCSE schools near Bannerghatta Road, look no further than Ekya Schools in JP Nagar. Our goal is to give students a well-rounded education that nurtures critical thinking, and creativity along with academic excellence.Join us and allow your child to delve into the stimulating realm of IGCSE subjects, nurturing their personal growth and development along the way.. We're here to shape future leaders with an inclusive and inspiring learning environment.      

Shanthi Sivaram / May 06, 2024

Common Mistakes When Making A Class Presentation

A successful school presentation demands a lot more than just good content. Presentations are more about expressing and explaining things in a creative manner which involves two important parts- the content in an understandable form and its way of presenting it. The second involves speaking skills, presentation skills, voice modulation, and more. Many aspects of class presentation should be taken into consideration. However, there are a few common mistakes that are often committed during its preparation: 

Not Doing Your Research

Whatever topic you choose to present, you need to have a good knowledge about it. Well, that will only come with good research skills. You can do that by getting help from your teacher, the school library, or the Internet. Research not only helps you with better presentation but will also prepare you to answer the questions asked during the question hour.  

Not Making a Proper Introduction

 Whether the presentation is in front of a small group or you are representing your school, a small introduction about yourself along with the topic’s introduction is a must. This not only gives you a great start but also gives the audience an idea of what the presentation is about. To make your introduction a bit more interesting, you can start the presentation with a quote or some statistics to grab attention. 

Lack of preparation for the presentation

Not preparing well before the presentation day may put you in a difficult spot. It is possible that you will present well but you are internally not satisfied with your performance. Well, one of the best ways to prepare is to at least go through the content twice. Practice in front of the mirror or ask your parents to be the audience during the preparations. This way, you will get to know your weak areas and work more on them. You will be fully prepared to capture the attention of the audience with your confidence and speaking skills. 

Confident Body Language

Confidence is the key to a good presentation. It is not something that will develop overnight, we need to work on it. As per a study, poor body language affects your confidence. You need to understand that your language speaks a lot about your personality. With good content and strong body language, confidence reflects automatically. For class presentations, you can practise hand movements and voice modulation. Another important point that should not be ignored is maintaining eye contact with the audience. Before the final presentation day, it is advisable to practice in front of a mirror.

Not Being Engaging

 If you want your audience to understand the presentation well, then keep it engaging. A presentation full of text will make it boring so, to keep a balance between the infographics and text to make it more interesting and engaging. If possible, minutes of video related to your topic. This will keep your audience entertained. Remember whenever on stage  it is your responsibility to keep your audience engaged sensibly without going off-track. 

Inconsistent Slides

 Presenting slides in a good way demands a perfect framework that involves a lot of things and often focusing on one aspect might lead to ignoring others. Here are a few common slide mistakes made during the presentation. 
  1. Overcrowding the slides: It is one of the most common presentation mistakes often committed by students. You need to understand that for presentation “less is more” fits perfectly. Instead of too much text, visuals should be used. Instead of paragraphs, pointers should be used. Using different colours also makes the presentation interesting.
  2. Reading directly from the slides: Reading directly from the slides only projects you as underconfident and unprepared. Although it might seem a little tempting and an easier option, the best is to make small pointers of important topics on which you want to talk.
  3. Complicated data: Data should be presented in a way that the written content becomes more understandable. For this Pie charts or bar graphs in different colours can be used. 
  4. Not maintaining the hierarchy: Arranging the slides haphazardly
  5.  only confuses the students. It will distract them as there will be less clarity regarding the points. 

Going Off-Topic

Many times you might go off-topic to make your point more clear during the presentation. But as a presenter, you need to understand that class presentations and question sessions should be done within a time limit. For this students need to maintain the flow as per the hierarchy and should have an idea about which points need more explanation than the others. This will only come with a few practice sessions before your final day. 

Not being prepared for feedback and questions

 Once you finish your presentation, allow your audience to put their doubts in front of you. This way not only will your audience get a chance to clarify their doubts but you will also learn to tackle difficult questions. Sometimes, if you have no answer or are in doubt about the question, it is ok to accept and consider returning with better research next time.  As a presenter, you need to keep the flow of your presentation in a positive direction and end it on a positive note. It leaves a good impression on the audience. Keeping a way forward slide at the end is a good way to end. You can also present an idea about a drive you want to start in your school related to some global concern. But make sure everything is related to your topic of presentation. Nothing should go off-track.

If you are searching the internet with terms like- the best schools in Bengaluru or ICSE schools in Bangalore, CBSE syllabus schools consider Ekya Schools. We are among the leading schools in Bangalore, offering the best quality education. Our Understanding by Design (UbD) framework curriculum is designed in a way that caters not just to the academic requirements of a student but simultaneously builds the overall personality of the student.  We encourage students to actively participate in co-curricular and other group activities like presentations. This helps in building confidence and developing skills like speaking skills, presentation skills, tackling questions, and more. We have expert faculty that prepares our students for holistic development. At Ekya, different school clubs also help students develop different skills such as music, dance, coding, debating, and more.  Hopefully, the above information will be helpful.      
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#StudentBlogger: Swords in the Moonlight – A short story

Swords in the Moonlight

Jade lay on her cool, silky bed, eyes squeezed shut. She tossed and turned endlessly, trying in vain to fall asleep. One tanned leg kicked up as she turned on her side, mumbling softly to herself. Her blanket twisted around her ankle, unbeknownst to her. She turned yet again, and this time, she tumbled to the ground with a startled yelp. Her eyes flew open as she propped herself up on her arms. She knew that she would be facing another sleepless night, one of the many she had experienced in the past month. 

A shaft of moonlight peeked through the slight gap in the thick, blood-red curtains. She got to her feet, moving to close it. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw what lay beyond it, as it always did.

The training fields. A wave of nostalgia hit her with a strong force. 

Whirling blades of bronze and steel. The soil beneath bare feet. Gusts of wind pushing through soft brown hair. The harsh clang of metal. 

She sighed as she raised her hand to the cloth, moving to cover the painfully tantalizing sight. Once, she had been free to train with her twin swords to her heart’s content, from dawn to the late hours of the night. She had been far younger than, perhaps nine or ten summers old, yet her memories of the place were as sharp and clear in her mind as if the events had occurred the previous day, rather than nearly five years past. As she had gotten older, her duties had piled up, suffocating her until she could barely breathe under the heavy burden that had been placed on her young shoulders. 

There was no longer time for fun and games, no picnics in the courtyard, nor sword fighting in the field. Of course, it had not normally been this bad, but the situation with Shadowdale had worsened. Its relations with Zodiia were… unstable at best. Her father had, albeit regretfully, started training her to rule the kingdom earlier than he had planned to do, in hopes that his daughter could perhaps even out the workload, which was proving to be far more than he alone could handle.

While Jade was not averse to helping her father, the small, selfish part of her greatly resented giving up her childhood and freedom. Oh, how she longed to hold those weapons in her hands, to run amuck outside, rather than sit in some stuffy council room.

And yet...why couldn’t she? There was nothing stopping her now, and it would certainly be better than uselessly sitting around, waiting for sleep that would never come.

The idea, fantastical as it was, steadily began to take root in her mind, and before she could weigh the logic of such a thing, she had already made her decision. 

She padded soundlessly towards her door, creaking it open to take a quick peep into the hallway. She took special care to ensure that she was not seen by the guard who took the night watch, patrolling up and down the corridor at an even pace. The good thing - or bad thing, depending on how one looked at it - about patrols, was that they were perfectly timed and coordinated, right down to the second. One only had to watch for the gaps in order to sneak out, and it would not differ any other night.

Jade took a quick glance at the old grandfather clock down from across the hallway. The hands showed half-past-eleven. She silently withdrew her head, grateful. There truly could not have been a better time to go about her business without disturbing anyone, and without being disturbed by anyone.

She slipped on one of her spare riding breeches, grimacing at the rough material. It was one of the few pants she owned, so she would have to make do. Jade still failed to understand how everyone- or at least, a fair amount of people -expected princesses to wear gowns and not much else. She did not particularly mind the gowns, but she did find it constricting to wear them every minute of the day. After all, she could only take so much inconvenience, and if there was one thing those gowns were made for, it was not functionality.

Forgetting her discomfort, Jade felt a rush of thrill engulf her as she carefully opened her window. It creaked as she slid the protective mesh to the side. She winced. One would have thought a king would keep the doors and windows of his home more well-oiled.

 With mounting trepidation and excitement, Jade climbed out and inched towards the end of the sill, before dropping down to the balcony below it with practiced ease. It had been a while since she had last done this, but it was nice to see that she had not lost her touch. She had used the window for many purposes over the years- whether it was sneaking into the kitchen for a late-night snack, pretending to be a spy, or simply for the thrill of it. It was harder of course; she was taller and heavier. She misjudged the height of the jump several times, often losing her footing. But Jade did not let that deter her.

She kept going. Inching, sliding, jumping. She worked slowly and rhythmically, soon finding her form. It was not long before she reached the bottom, setting one foot down, then the other, onto the soil of the gardens. She exhaled softly at the soothing feel of the rich, loamy earth beneath her bare feet. The pleasant aroma of flowers was in the air, instantly calming her racing heart. There was something about the outdoors that always made Jade feel peaceful, comfortable, and right at home.

Snapping herself out of her reverie, she walked down the paved path, making her way towards the field where she had trained as a little girl. 

That was when she heard it. A soft, almost imperceptible thud. Jade Stopped dead in her tracks, looking around warily. Her heartbeat wildly in her chest as she searched for the source of the noise. 

Perhaps this was not the best idea.

Panicking now, she turned to hurry away from the gardens, out of the shade and into the moonlight, somewhere where she could see better. It made her feel somewhat safer, but not much.

” Going somewhere, Princess?” came a deep, rumbling voice. Jade jumped ten feet in the air. She whirled around, terrified, as she came face to face with her pursuer. She could have cried with relief when she realized who it was. 

“Don’t scare me like that, Aiden!”  she whisper-yelled at her personal guard. Aiden. Not a kidnapper, not a Shade, not some malevolent spirit. Aiden. Her protector, her friend. Slowly, breathing evened out.

 Aiden raised an eyebrow. “Like when you just scared me to death when I realized that the very person that I was supposed to be guarding wasn’t in her bed, where she should be?” he retorted evenly. He was beyond furious. How could his charge have been so careless with her own safety?

“What if it was not just me, your guard who only has your well-being in mind? What if it was someone who meant you harm? You could have been killed!” he seethed. 

“Or do you not remember that Dark Pixies can infiltrate the palace?”

“I do remember,” she said quietly. How could she not? Her brother had been taken by those monsters inside the palace. Nearly four years later, the event still rankled in her. Ashamed, she stared down at her feet. The palace may have grown better fortified since then, but it was not without its risks. 

It was only then that Jade realized the magnitude of his anger. Even when he was annoyed with her, he stayed calm, cool, and collected. For as long as she had known him, he had only ever lost control once. Which meant that he was positively enraged.

“I am sorry.” She whispered. Aiden only nodded curtly. “I will be escorting you back to your room now.” He said firmly, holding her arm and pulling her in the direction of the castle, gentle yet strict.

Jade bit her lip as she was dragged along like a misbehaving toddler.

“I am barely two years younger than you are. You don’t have to treat me like a child,” she muttered.

Aiden stared back at her; bright eyes boring into hers. “Then stop acting like one.”
“I just wanted to be free… just for one night. Free to walk the earth and feel the wind. Is that so much to ask?”

Aiden pursed his lips. He wanted to reprimand her for her lack of judgment. But then, as he looked into her wide, wistful honey-colored eyes, he had to remind himself that she was only fourteen, a girl who had been forced to grow up too fast. He relented.

“Well, next time you feel like going on a midnight stroll, at least take me with you. I do not mind being woken up in the middle of the night if it keeps you out of trouble,” he said, crossing his arms over his broad chest.

Jade nodded and fingered her riding shirt, still feeling considerably guilty. Aiden’s sharp eyes caught the movement, before glancing down and noticing her breeches. He narrowed his eyes into slits. 

“You’re not just going on a midnight stroll, are you?” he asked suspiciously, his analytical and skeptical mind going through the various possible reasons a princess would want to wear roughly made riding clothes.

Jade rolled her eyes at his typical adult-like behaviour, sniffing out and putting a stop to mischief instead of joining in. But then, acting older than he was might have had a role in securing him the position of a guard in the first place. Indeed, she was glad for it, for Aiden was one of the most hardworking, faithful, loyal, yet dangerous guards that she had ever known. He was better than men twice or thrice his age, and there was no one else Jade would rather trust him with her life. Or her secrets.

“I was planning to get some sword practice in,” she admitted. “It’s been years.”

Aiden’s eyes widened. “You know how to fight?” he asked, slightly shocked. He had pegged the younger girl as many things, but a sword fighter had, admittedly, not been one of them.

Jade nodded shyly. 

“But I’ve never seen you train,” Aiden said. It was not a question, but Jade knew that he expected an answer all the same.

“Yes, I haven’t been training. Not since…” her voice broke. Aiden nodded in understanding.

“The Dark Pixie infiltration. You were otherwise occupied.” Jade nodded once more.

Aiden’s brow furrowed as he did the calculation. “You were only ten.”

“Yes.”

They stood in uncomfortable silence, before Jade broke it hesitantly. 

“Would you like to join me? I could use a sparring partner.” She said softly, fervently hoping that the stoic guard would concede to her request.

“I have no objections,” Aiden replied flatly, his voice betraying no emotion at all. But before he could mask it, Jade saw the spark of excitement in his eyes. While many things about her guard were still a mystery to her, Jade was sure that she could get a basic read on his emotions. A slow grin spread across her face.

” Last one to the field is a pile of dragon dung!” She yelled, aware that she was being quite loud, but could not really bring herself to care if anyone had heard her. She took off, knowing full well that Aiden, a trained combatant who ran frequently, would have far more stamina, therefore surpassing her, but she enjoyed it all the same.

Upon arriving at the courtyard -Aiden first, Jade panting behind him- they took up their favorite blades. Aiden looked on in pleasant surprise as she chose a familiar pair of twin short swords from the rack, while he himself unsheathed his broadsword from the scabbard at his waist.

They dropped into basic fighting stances and began to spar. It was slow, hesitant at first. Aiden aimed his blows carefully in order to avoid harming his opponent. Jade fought haltingly as she tried to remember the familiar swings and steps she had not performed for a long time. Soon, however, the awkwardness fell away, as did the hesitance. The moves became fluid, strong. A graceful, deadly dance. Jade’s body hummed in contentment with every step she took among the grass and mud. Her veins buzzed with energy, brimming with power. Elation spread through her, temporarily lifting away the burden she bore. She was floating. Their blades clashed time and again, two pairs of feet dancing to a song of rhythm and steel.

By Nivedita Kasi,

Grade 9A, Ekya School, JP Nagar

#StudentBlogger: Promises A short story

“Yo, Ms.Clemintine thinks that the Cunfra is under the bleachers.”

“The what?”

“The Cunfra. Don’t tell me tyou don’t know what it is!”

“I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no clue what the Cunfra is. It sounds like something straight out of a movie.”

“Well today in history, Ms.Clemintine told us about this precious book that lies hidden inside this school. She said that kids long ago wrote about it, and hid it. She also said that it holds some kind of legend or curse or something. But, who believes that.

“Oh..”

Hi, I’m Noah. I used to live in Philadelphia for 12 years, but I recently shifted to Maine due to dad’s work. I am 15 years old and I go to Falmouth High School. This is the kind of school where kids act like actors from movies. Some are over-dramatic, some exaggerate a bit too much, and some just chill. I personally just chill.

I wanted to share with you this incident that happened to me a few days ago. It has kind of shaken me up a bit. It involves the grumpy school janitor, and myself, and a bathroom. So get yourself comfortable and a bag of popcorn if you wish, and sit back. I’ll take questions at the end.

It was just my second day here, and I was having a bad tummy-ache. I asked my teacher to excuse me out of class and went to the boy’s washroom. The janitor, Mr.Bram was kind of in a bad mood. But he is always, so nevermind that. I saw him holding a book. I assumed that it was some kid's book. It was only us two in the washroom and something with being alone with someone else just creeps me out. Anyway, I finished my business and I came out to find Mr.Bram gone. He had left a book on the counter, so I opened it. Here is what it said:

       Today was the third day after Charlie’s demise and  I am really missing him. I didn’t mean for him to go up, but I honestly had no other choice. If I hadn’t passed the promise onto him, I would not have been here right now. This was the sorry, not sorry kind of situation. Anyway, I don’t want to say much as if I do, it will get confusing for you. But just one thing, to the person who is reading this, the curse is going to be soon onto you.

I really wanted the last 3 minutes of my life to be erased. What curse, who’s Charlie, and why does Mr.Bram have this book?

“You!” Mr.Brams grumpy voice sounded the room. “I knew you were going to cause trouble when you walked in.”

“I-I-I can explain”. I stuttered. “It was a book, I thought it was my math book. It’s been lost”

“Hmph. You have the curse don’t you. Ughh, kids these days always have their pointy nose in everything. Fine, let me explain.

“This curse was put on a boy named Dixin 55 years ago. You say a promise in front of the book, then you die within the next 2 days. The only way to break it is to pass the promise on to another person in front of the book.”

“Oh dear, I better tell my enemy to promise me something,” I said getting up.

“Oh! And one more thing, can you promise me not to tell anyone about this book. People think it is hidden, let it be this way”

“I promise,” I said without thinking. In a flash, I looked up and saw Mr.Bram’s sly yet creepy grin. I have the curse now!! 

By Kriti Madan,

Grade 8A, Ekya School, JP Nagar

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