Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mumbai magic!


With most schools closed for Dassera vacations and the ensuing long weekend has had many Bangaloreans catch the travel bug last week…..and how could we be left behind? But unlike our previous travels, we decided on a long pending visit to Mumbai that we’ve been putting off for a decade now. So it was a combination of sorts – visiting/calling on extended family and friends and exploring the commercial capital of India! While we drove in air conditioned cars trudging through the vast expanse of the city’s landscape, we also jostled with the crowd in its local trains; While we were roamed around some of the affluent neighborhoods of Bandra and Juhu and were star struck by simply being shown the houses of famous film stars,  we also enjoyed sauntering around the inner gullies of old town Mumbai and haggling with vendors and shop keepers; While we dined at an upscale restaurant in one of Mumbai’s numerous malls, we also relished the lip smacking authentic Maharashtrian cuisine – so in all savoured every slice the Mumbai magic!

While on a customised sight-seeing tour of the city, we stopped by a couple of exclusive children’s bookstores, leaving our tour guide quite perplexed!  He didn’t know what to make of us as we were done with some of the usual tourist attractions within minutes but took an hour or two at places like Kahani Tree! We first visited Spellbound which is “the place to go” for foreign authors and publications.

After having picked quite a few books, we then chanced upon Kahani Tree, housed in the office of Mumbai based publisher Vakils, Feffer and Simons, it was a like a dream come true to look up a little bookstore dedicated to children’s books brought out by independent publishers in India such as Tulika, Tara and Katha publications. It was indeed a pleasure to meet and interact with Ms. Sangeeta Bhansali, the center’s  Director, Duckbill author Parinita Shetty along with another picture book enthusiast, a mommy like me! A big thanks to Kahani tree for enriching our travel experience like never before ......  truly the most memorable Mumbai moment for us!

As I was looking for children’s books based out of Mumbai, Devaki Bhujang-Gajare from Little Reader's Nook in Mumbai had suggested a couple of books, and sure enough I found them both at Kahani tree.

 Miss Muglee goes to Mumbai” by Saker Mistri and Shaheen Mistri and illustrated by Sirajul Khan and Sheetal Shah brought out by Vakils Feffer and Simons is a part of the series of adventure stories about Muglee, a lonely crocodile and her friends. Muglee feels down and low over her lack of friends and envies other animals for she feels nobody loves the reptile race as a pet, when the friendly frog, Faisal suggests that they travel to Mumbai city. Faisal seeks to introduce Muglee to a charming kitty who has friends who are great fun and will play with everyone! So Muglee excitedly packs her belongings which include her facial cream, toothpaste and ghagras that may just impress a Bollywood movie star! As they reach Mumbai city, Muglee and Faisal find themselves overwhelmed with its skyscrapers and crowded streets and sluggish traffic, while managing to squeeze into a local bus, when they finally meet the charming Kitty at Kitty chowk! So does Muglee manage to make friends under the auspices of Kitty and her associates …read on to find out and go Yezookee jimpee jumpee joh with Muglee and her escapades! With playful collage/cut paper illustrations, Miss Muglee’s stories are sure to appeal to younger children and are ideal for read aloud story times too!

Another book Abhay seemed to devour is “366 words in Mumbai” by Mirabelle D’Cunha and illustrated and designed by Suhita Mitra, brought out by Fun OK publications, as a part of knowledge based series on India’s cities, like our own Bengaluru, Kolkata and Delhi. This book takes the young reader through the history, culture, festivals, dominant seasons and various landmarks of Mumbai in a “look and find” format that adds to up learning 366 words on the city! This book doubles up as a comprehensive tour guide for kids presented and narrated by little Mumbaikars Neel and Sivana. Since we had this book  on our sight-seeing expedition, Abhay was able to live through some of the Mumbai experiences as and when he read about them – live and in action! Aided with colouful illustrations, this book also features a child friendly map and fun facts and statistics about the city that never sleeps! A must have if you are planning a trip to Mumbai!


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