Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Indian experience!

Being an Indian and living in the US, you discover that your child does not have the slightest idea of so many little things that is so commonplace in India, like autorickshaws on roads or vendors pulling their carts bringing fruits and vegetables to your doorstep, local dhobi who delivers your clothes neatly ironed. Well, all this “happens only in India” and believe me when I say that these are the small comforts you miss when you live abroad!

Keen on introducing some key aspects of our culture, I went looking for picture books by Indian authors or authors of Indian origin for my son. I must say that I wasn’t disappointed at all. The local library boasted a sizable collection of books authored by Indians or people of Indian origin, probably because of a large Indian settlement in this part of Northwest US.

One of the first books that caught Abhay’s attention was “To market! To market!" by Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated by Emanuele Scanziani. Excited to find an Indian market setting as a cover of a book in an American library, I grabbed it. As I got home, I immediately did what everyone does when wanting to get more info - googled the name of Anushka Ravishankar in an attempt to find out if there is any connection with Pandit Ravishankar’s daughter!! Turns out that there was none and this Anushka started out like any of us, looking for some good Indian books for her six year old daughter. Not finding any, she did what not many of us would do; she decided to write them herself!! She is now the author of many children’s books like “Tiger on a Tree”, “Catch that Crocodile” and “Elephants never forget”. Her books reveal an innate understanding of children’s mind and her so called ‘nonsense verses’ catch their attention in an instant.

As I turned the pages of “To Market To market”, I knew it would be a hit with my son. Not only are the illustrations stimulating for a child’s mind but its rhyming verses are sure to bring a smile on his face and in turn take you on nostalgic tour of a typical Indian market. With a few coins in her pocket, the girl in the book is all set to buy something for herself while accompanying her mother to the market. She then discovers that this noisy, crowded and colorful market has so much to offer without having to spend her money at all. You watch your little one follow the little girl as she hops from bangle bazaar to the fruit vendor, to the sari shop and then to the spice market. A trip to the grocery here in the US pales in comparison!! :-)


  1. Divya,
    Ifeel once in awhile you can show the cover page of the book. So when Achhu grows big he will connect easily.

  2. I want to take Abhay to Devaraja Urs market in Mysore once we get back. That is so much like the market in this book.

  3. good to know Divya, will get that book soon :-)

  4. Thanks Ramya! Do let me know if Rishi likes it!