|Image Source : Henu, Pratham Books|
The Indian Express “asked artists as well as ordinary people to write to their children — about their hopes for their sons and daughters, and their dream for the country.”
As we dive into the world of Children’s literature with Subhadra Sen Gupta and Madhuri Purandare (this year’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar winners), we will also be taking time out to read and savour this list of heart warming letters written by parents, poets, cartoonists and others.
But then, one day, something happened. I remember the exact moment, the exact feeling even now, years and years later.
I had picked up a book called Born Free by Joy Adams. I was drawn into the book, much like Alice down the rabbit hole. It was a book that I wanted to be in, to be part of. This was the life I wanted to live, these were the people I wanted to be. The book is the first part of a trilogy about a family who adopt a lion cub and then set her free. I laughed and wept and fantasised. After I’d read the trilogy, I wanted — no — needed to read more. And so I did. And I haven’t stopped ever since.
What is it about reading that hooks people so much? You know the answer to that, you’ve read it in a hundred posters in the library. But to me, it is the ability to achieve every single dream and do every single thing, go to every single place that I want to, from the comfort of my own home. But not in a hit-the-pause-button-on-life kind of way. More in a get-into-the-skin-of-the-character, live-the-world-of-words kind of way.
That’s what got me into writing, too. I wanted to be an actress, a big movie star with a paparazzi tail. I also wanted to work with wild animals — it could be crocodiles and snakes. Just something, anything, more interesting than the life I was leading. I tried everything — did an acting course, spoke to the zoo director and wildlife rescue people. But no one was giving me a job. I decided to try to write about the life I wanted. It turned out to be quite a good story. While I was writing it, I realised that I was living it. And it was a really thrilling experience. I believed myself, and when others read it, they believed it, too. So I wrote some more. And more. I knew that this was what I was born to do.