Under the Table and Dreaming

I was there, right there. I remember the value of being little. On the 26th and 27th of November, I was there again. My first Bookaroo was pretty. I felt like I was at home, and welcome as a child more than an adult. Sanskriti Kendra is a very beautiful place and the perfect spot for an event like this – enough space to let loose and run around with yellow balloons and books or just empty handed. What? Yes, I am 6 foot tall and I ran around too!
I had never attended a children’s literature festival. So many authors, illustrators, and animated storytellers, all in one open space. Needless to say, the bachha party took over the venue for two full days and that was that.
For those who had attended this festival before, the dilemma was always the same – Which session should I attend next? Oh no, but Satoshi’s session coincides with Jeeva’s session. Lovleen is here. But Steve and Steve are at the amphitheatre. What do I do? Oh no!
I could empathize with them after a few hours – so many wonderful storytelling sessions happening at the same time. Oh no! What do I do? 🙂
On day one, the first session that I attended was that of Subhadra’s – a short play inspired from one of her books ‘Kallu’s World – Monkey Business on stage’, enacted skillfully by a bunch of kids. I hung around with Manisha, Mala, Sandhya and Kabi for most part of the day, as Maya played peek-a-boo and ran away. She was carrying a schedule sheet in which she had neatly circled out the sessions that she had wanted to attend.

Ramendra Kumar aka Ramen, author of ‘Paplu the Giant’, is hilarious. I’d buy his sense of humor if it was up for sale. In one of his sessions, he suddenly broke out into the song ‘Dhinka Chika’ rewritten for a vegetarian cheetah apparently. We all sang, danced and rubbed our bottoms too!
Jeeva Raghunath is Superwoman. I stood there like a little boy with my mouth wide open, watching her deliver story after story with such ease to a packed audience at the Kahani tree. Her theatrics are not over the top, but simply unpolished fun. Keep your ears and eyes open, and do not miss her sessions if she comes to your town!

Many little things happened too – I made a new friend, her name is Swara and she is six months old; Subhadra gave me a signed copy of her latest book ‘The Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Cook’; doodled away on the doodle wall with a few kids, and so on. As we said our goodbyes, Ramen says, “It was nice meeting you Suraj. Also, I think you should get into modelling.” Uh… pahahahaha…

Come and attend this festival the next time and see what I mean. That little part inside you that refuses to grow up deserves this treat!

Peas please 🙂

Suraj J Menon

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