Monday, March 18, 2013

The story of the pleasant rakshasa!

Last weekend saw the celebration of World Storytelling day that falls on  March 20th, and for once we had more than one event revolving around children’s books on the same day! I mean…how often does that happen? On Saturday, Hippocampus (a children’s library and activity centre based in Bangalore and Chennai) had organized a story hour on “The Pleasant Rakshasa” that coincided with Bookalore’s ( Bangalore’s first book-club for children) March meet-up hosted by Hema Vaidyanathan of “Amma’s tales” fame! So in an attempt to have the cake and eat it too, I made inquiries for both and pre-registered for the event that mandated registration (just in case!) leaving the last minute logistics and decision-making to Abhay’s daddy, since I work on most Saturdays and last Saturday was no exception! So where did they go, finally? Faced with a prospect of driving across the city on a lazy Saturday morning for Bookalore versus taking the usual route to Koramangala where Hippocampus is located, it was given that the “Rakshasa” would take precedence over “Amma”…..sigh! J

To be fair, my husband was under the impression, thanks to me, that the event at  Hippocampus was a book reading session by the author Sowmya Rajendran herself. I had even sent a copy of the book with him hoping to get the author to sign on it. It was only when the story teller (whom we mistook to be the author) signed as “Aparna aunty”, did we realize that we were mistaken!:-) Anyway, “The Pleasant Rakshasa” by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Niveditha Subramaniam is a Tulika publication for children aged 3 and above. Beautifully illustrated, this book questions the conventional ideas of beauty and happiness in a subtle manner that is most likely to appeal even to  older kids. This is a story about an adorable creature named Karimuga, a pleasant and ever smiling rakshasa. Karimuga is purple in colour with bright pink cheeks, yellow teeth that glowed when he smiles at night. Other Rakshasas were jealous of his purple skin, red eyes, huge belly, hairy legs and wished they could be like him. Karimuga felt a sense of pride in himself but also worried as he didn’t want his friends to feel bad about themselves because of him. So he goes to the Tree of Wisdom, the old tree in the jungle, a tree that can grant anything except immortality, invincibility and …….idlies! Anyway, Karimuga who liked dosas better came straight to the point and asked the Tree to take away his beauty and give it to other rakshasas as he claimed to have gotten bored of his beauty! As the Tree of Wisdom grants Karimuga his wish, Karimuga watches his purple skin, hairy legs and red eyes distributed amongst other Rakshasa who can’t believe their luck. But does that make Karimuga happy? Read on about this unusual creature with an unusual request, as I decide to keep the suspense, against my usual practice! :-)


  1. Happened to chance upon this post :) Left me smiling! I'm glad you enjoyed reading The Pleasant Rakshasa. Here's to dosas! - Sowmya Rajendran

  2. Wow! From the author herself! Thank you so much for stopping by. We love all your books!:-)