Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dancing on the walls!

As we approach the end of the year, we also approach the end of our vacation!:(  Like every year,  we spent our Christmas vacations at my parents' farm "Shristi" at Dharmasthala. Unlike every year though, we drove by car to Dharmasthala this year which not only allowed us to visit our extended family residing in different pockets of South Kanara, but also enabled us to carry a whole lot of luggage which wouldn't have been possible had we travelled by bus.  For instance, Abhay was thrilled to have his bicycle and cricket set loaded into the trunk!:-) Similarly, I felt relieved at not having to schedule our travel according to time-table of the KSRTC! (the inter-city public transit system at Karnataka) Anyway, as we drove up the driveway, we were delighted to be welcomed by the Warli painted wall by the entrance.  
Originally a folk art of the Warli tribe of Maharashtra, the Warli style of painting has become quite popular today and is seen fashioned onto paper, cloth and even mounted as mural paintings. This striking form of traditional art is prepared on a sober mud base with just one color, i.e. white though occasionally accompanied by yellow and red dots. Replete with geometric designs, Warli art is known for its monochromatic depictions of the folk life of its people and their socio-religious customs, traditions and beliefs. Warli art found its way onto “Shristi”, courtesy my mother’s idea that was beautifully executed by a team of award winning artists from Mangalore. The essence of a Warli painting lies in its vibrant depiction of the surrounding life and sure enough the Warli art at Shristi portrays an eclectic mix of the nature,  environment and the lives and passion of the people in and around Shristi –  be it the sun shining from the East in the mornings, or the surrounding coconut and areca plantation or the day-long activities revolving around the same, or the workforce at the farm whose well being is my parents’ uppermost concern, or the maths equation that my mother has loved and taught for over three decades – the Warli wall at Shristi has it all! J
To celebrate the alluring art of Warli at Shristi, I picked out a Tulika publication at “Dancing on the walls” by Shamim Padamsee and art by Uma Krishnaswamy. The author scrawls a fictional tale on the Warli wall of fame on how the art may have originated. A little girl living in the Sahyadri hills of Maharashtra named Shivri is all set to celebrate the harvest festival the next day. While her family goes to the market to buy a few things for the next day’s festival, Shivri stays back to surprise her parents by completing all the household chores. But soon Shivri is overwhelmed with all the tasks that lay ahead of her, including sweeping the courtyard, powdering the rice and plastering the walls with fresh cowdung! She wishes that she could do all her chores with a wave of hand! Suddenly Shivri sees tiny silvery creatures sliding down the big yellow moon and running up and down the river bank waving their stick-like limbs. As one of those creatures falls into the river, Shivri helps him out and strikes a conversation with him. She learns that these silvery white creatures (that are  ubiquitous characters in any Warli painting) are from the moon who sometimes come down to the earth to smell the flowers and listen to the birds sing. Since Shivri rescued one of them, they offer to help her finish her household chores. Within no time, they clean and powder the rice, sweep the courtyard and plaster the walls with a fresh coat of cowdung! Having completed all the task, they begin to dance merrily in a circle with some of them playing flute, clapping their hands and clicking their fingers, thus moving faster and faster. Just then someone came in and shouted to find out what was happening. This in turn startled the dancers who leapt up into the freshly plastered wall, one after another and were thus stuck on the wall with their spiral designs. When Shivri’s parents came home, they saw the beautiful pictures on the wall and assumed that it was Shivri who had drawn them and agreed that it was beautiful and something that they had never seen before! From that day on, the Warli people began to decorate their walls with shining white figures, dancing, singing, taking the cows to graze and other allied activities depicting their folk life. But only Shivri knew the secret of the dancing on the wall. This book is an interesting read and definitely makes a great introduction to one of the most animated and lively forms of traditional art in India. Truly, the buoyancy in the Warli art makes the canvas come alive with all the dancing not just on the wall but also reflected in the eyes and the mind of the beholder! On this note...here's wishing the dancing on everyone's walls and lives as well! :-)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Arts Tales- Down memory lane

I won an early reader version of Sleeping Beauty in my first standard for recitation. That and a Krishna Sudama story from CBT or NBT are the earliest recollection I have of books.

ACKs were for lolling on the sofa post homework ( those were pre TV days) and Champak's Chacha Chaudary helped me overcome my fear of Hindi.

Frankly , I grew up on an unbalanced diet -  an overdose of Enid Blyton peppered occasionally with some classics ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Coral Island, from Little Women to Children of the New Forest. I would read Black Beauty and imagine I owned a horse. I would read the Dairy of Anne Frank and wish I could have helped in some way. Along the line I also read some Nehru and a lot of RK Narayan.

But mostly I read Enid Blytons and would dream of lacrosse and hostels,  scones and ginger ale and sea sides and cliffs and being a clever tomboy.

The monthly copy of Target was devoured with gusto. It was the only contemporary Indian fiction that I had access to then. I frowned at Tinkle and was proud to be a Target and Children's World consumer.

My uncle was kind enough to get his only niece a National Geographic Subscription and Sportstar from my father kept the reading bug alive and my room decor transformed as well.

But looking back, if I had to pick a childhood favourite- they would be The Little Prince,  Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and Robin Cook's Fever - yes I read them all before I was twelve !!

I did not have access to as many picture books as my daughters do. And now I am making up for lost time. I love the simple tutorials offered by Eric Carle and Karadi rhymes, the lovely lilt of Julia Donaldson's stories and the Tulika stories in verse. I am moved by the multi cultural stories I read- from Biblioburro to Handa, from Babushkas in snowy lands and story blankets in African villages. I enjoy the Indianness of Tulika and Tara, Karadi and Katha. We read old picture books from the west- Mike Mulligan and Dr Seuss, which are more easily available here. We read new ones too. And may I add, I still have my first Sleeping Beauty book for my girls!

As for our current favourite-  tell me can you choose between carrot halwa and tiramisu?
Or a lovely biryani and a lovingly made pasta ?
Well, I cannot.

But does one need to choose? Just let the stories flow...enjoy the ride.

Arthi Anand is the author of the two Tulika titles- Have you seen this? and Ranganna. She created Mister Muthu for Chandamam, is  a reviewer at Saffron Tree and dabbles in story telling on weekends with Art's Tales, Catch her on Facebook or at the  blog .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

" We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year"! 


This Christmas carol normally sung at the end of a recital, rings in my mind every year during Christmas.  Having studied in a convent school, Christmas has always been more than just a holiday. Christmas always takes me back to school - whether it is carol singing, or crib making competition  or playing secret Santa or singing jingle bells during Santa's appearance at the end of the Christmas program, Christmas was always special. When we were in the US, the spirit of Christmas was so infectious that it had us decorate a small little Christmas tree at home. Last two years have been rather quiet except for the mandatory appearance of our in-house Santa!  
This time around however, I found several reminders of the Christmas that used to be - non-stop caroling at a church  near my place of work ( a déjà vu of school days) or the Christmas party hosted by my boss in her house ( got me nostalgic about our party for friends in Portland) or "star" mounted houses along our drive  around Mangalore area where we normally spend our winter vacation(reminding me of the Xmas decorations on Peacock lane in Portland) - all this has me enveloped in the Christmas spirit once again! Merry Christmas everyone!!   

Ever since 2011, Christmas has always meant gifts from our in-house Santa and Abhay was glad that Santa didnt disappoint him this year!:-) This year for Christmas, I read a story that was featured in this month's Highlights Champs titled "A Motel Christmas" by Marilyn Christmas and art by Phyllis Pollema Cahill. Naresh is excited to drive to his grandparents' house for Christmas Eve along with his parents but are standed mid-route due to a blizzard forcing them to make a stopover. Naresh doesn't like to spend his Christmas Eve without his grandparents but they have no choice but to check into a motel along the way. As the motel owner Mr D'souza checks them into the last available room, Naresh  notices a nice little Christmas tree put up in the lobby. He compliments Mr. D'souza on the Christmas tree, he learns that Mr. D'souza had put up the tree with the hope of celebrating Christmas with his son and his family, whose flights were cancelled due to the snow storm thus making Mr. D'souza sad. Just as Naresh and his father brought their packed food from their car, Naresh hits upon an idea - to eat in with Mr. D'souza. Soon it was not just Naresh and his family, but other guests too join in making it a special Christmas Eve not only for Mr . D'souza but also Naresh that in a way made up for not being around at his Grandparents'. Christmas is not only about meeting family and friends but also spreading cheer and making new friends along the way! Hope u enjoy the Christmas vacation with your friends and family! Happy holidays everyone! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Abhay at Samhitotsava!

Over the weekend, Abhay's school celebrated it's annual day called the Samhitotsava. Being Abhay's second annual day, he was quite excited to be a part of it. The preparations for Samhitotsava had begun months before with Abhay all geared up to act out a role in " Alice in Wonderland", a play put up by their class for the annual day, but alas his teachers had different plans for him!:( Since Abhay has been known more for his singing than his acting skills, by default, he was a part of the music troupe, and he couldn't be more disappointed! Abhay was miffed that he was being "typecast" and was capable of much more! While this brought back memories of a similar situation at my school when I had asked my mom to influence my class teacher into involving me more in class performances, I certainly wasn't going to do the same! Sorry Abhay...... you have to fight your own casting battles!  Anyway, whether he is acting or singing, I quite enjoyed watching my baby on performing on stage….with full make-up and costume!  Never mind the last minute confusion over forgetting our camera at home for which my husband tried to make up with this “consolation photo” with his phone camera! :-)


Anyway, on the occasion of Abhay’s annual day which was a talent show of sorts, I read “ The Talent Show” by Jo Hodgkinson. Four friends, lion, bear, snake and an iguana were sauntering around town, when they came across a sign “The Talent Show”  and a small red bird who’d seen it too announced that he’d like to go and win the talent show. The four friends made fun of the bird’s audacity and went about practising for the special day. They practiced day and night when they felt everything was going just about right, except that their band was missing a lead singer. So they put up another sign “Singer wanted” and auditions began. It wasn’t a surprise that the first one to audition was the little red bird whom they had ridiculed! But the bear growled that he was much too small to be a part of it all! "Singers came in from all around and yet they couldn't find the  missing sound"! Just then a tall stranger with a long coat knocked at their door who proved to be their saviour when he sang with his melodious voice, thereby making him a natural choice. When the stranger's coat fell to the ground, it turned out to be the red bird whom they had made fun of! Apologetic as they were, the bird advised that it was wrong to judge him  by his size! As they took the center stage at the show, the bird experienced stage fright when his voice would not come out right. As he wished he could fly away, the band began to play and the rhythm made him forget his fear and the little bird began to sing like never before! Finally, their band won the prize as "the judges judged on talent and not on size"! :-)  So it doesn't matter whether you sing, dance or act, you are a part of Annual day and that's that!:-) So kudos to the faculty and staff of “The Samhita Academy’ who put up such a spectacular show at Samhitotsava, though may have been a tad  too long. But that is given when putting up a show incorporating each every kid from each and every class and each and every section……as each and every kid’s got talent! Isn’t it?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A ‘stand-up’ book and a ‘stand-out’ book

Guest post by Pika Nani (author of  'Little Indians' a Tulika publication)

Congratulations to One story a day on turning three. Thanks Divya for inviting me to contribute to your wonderful blog.

As a little child, every night at bedtime I would ask my father to tell the same story – the ‘Topi story’ as I called it, better known as ‘The Cap seller and the Monkeys’ (A quick recap: A cap seller with a bundle of caps is sleeping under a tree. The tree is home to many monkeys and one by one they take away all the caps. The cap seller wakes up to find the monkeys wearing his caps. He is furious when they start imitating his actions, but it gives him an idea. He throws down his own cap and the monkeys throw their caps too. The cap seller quickly collects them all and is on his way.)
Many years later, when my father told the same story to my daughter Ananya, the first question she asked was, “What were the colours of the caps?” not surprising, considering she has been growing up surrounded by books with colourful and beautiful illustrations, that are as much a part of the story as the words (if not more).  

One such book is a ‘stand-up’ book called ‘Home’ by Nina Sabnani. This interactive book is shaped like a house with a ‘window’ and open-able panels. Each fold opens to pictures of an eclectic mix of people and animals and the many different places and ways in which they live. Ananya loves to play with the book, opening and closing the panels, reading the sentences, observing the pictures, asking questions, sometimes making up her own answers and exercising her imagination.

Going back to my own childhood, a book that ‘stands-out’ in my memory is ‘Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was the pictures of this book that had captured my imagination.
At the beginning of the book the narrator shows his drawing to grown-ups and they all think it is of a hat.

The narrator says “My drawing was not a picture of a hat.  It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My drawing number two looked like this:”

Once we learn to see beyond the obvious - unlimited possibilities open up..... with imagination.  As a children’s author, it’s an invaluable learning for me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tenali Rama at KathaVana!

It has become increasingly difficult to plan weekend outings for kids in Bangalore as Bangaloreans are faced with too many choices and too little time. For instance, amongst other events, this weekend saw a host of children-specific events ranging from interactive story-telling at Kutoohala to the staging of the play “The Selfish giant” at Jagriti for children aged five years and above and the three-days children’s literature festival "KathaVana" organized by the Azim Premji University at Makkala Koota. With a line up like this, it is a wonder if the parents ever get a quiet weekend for themselves!  Ideally I would have liked to go for everything,  but since we were far from such a situation, I had to prioritize, and my choice was driven by logistics and timing! Well, the drive to Jagriti seemed daunting from Bangalore South, I thought I’d rather wait for the play to be staged nearer home (at Rangashankara!.......hopefully this would serve as pointers to the people associated with the play!:-) and the story-telling event at Kutoohala scheduled for Saturday morning being personally inconvenient for me, my obvious choice was to catch the fag end of “KathaVana” at Makkala Koota! Despite the detour in route owing to the Metro construction and  parking problems at the venue, we managed to watch the performance of “Court Jester- Tales of Tenali Rama” by Bangalore Little Theatre. With innovative use of props, foot-tapping jingles in between the narrative and actors taking turns to play the role of Tenali Rama, this play was a delight to watch!  Being a regular at events like this, Abhay has begun to recognize familiar faces and approaches them with ease – be it the play’s director whom he identified as having played “"Sringeri Srinivas"” at BLF 2012 last year or Shashank Purushottam who plays our favourite character in the Kannada serial  on ETV Kannada called “Mahaparva” - the villain Vishnumurthy Chintadri! J

(With due apologies to Shashank Purushottam ...I just couldn't help                          putting up this on Onestoryaday!)

A Children’s literature festival must mean books, books and more books….so amongst the many books I picked up, I had Abhay read the bilingual Appu series on Tenali Rama titled  "Tenali Rama outwits the thieves" ....…a variation of one of the stories performed at the play. Once there was a gang of cunning thieves in Vijaynagar who decided to rob Tenali Rama’s house hoping to find some royal gifts therein. Little did they know that they were being watched by Tenali Rama who hatched a plan to outsmart the thieves. He shouted out to his wife within the hearing range of the hiding thieves asking her to put all their valuables in a big trunk and hide in the well. They are shown dropping a heavy trunk it into the well, with the thieves looking on. At midnight, when everyone appeared fast asleep, the thieves started drawing water from the well bucket by bucket until they finally pulled out the trunk only to find that the trunk full of stones. Meanwhile, Tenali Rama sent for the king's soldiers  who came in just in time to arrest the thieves. So Tenali Rama helped the police nab the notorious thieves who unknowingly helped him water his entire garden! Being a bilingual book in English and Kannada, I was hoping that Abhay reads the story in Kannada (since he is a little behind in his second language)….but I should have known better! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shrinking Sam - Review of a Gorgeous Picture Book from Barefoot Books

Guest Post by Devaki Bhujang Gajare, Founder of Little Readers' Nook
A Big Thank You to Divya for this wonderful opportunity!

I have two very specific criteria in mind when I pick children's books, be it for our Read Aloud kits, for use in our storytelling sessions or simply to read with my son - attractive pictures to capture the little ones' imagination, and an open-ended story that encourages kids to think for themselves. I loved Shrinking Sam at first sight since it fulfilled both these conditions perfectly.

Little Sam feels lost as part of a large family - mum's busy with the new baby, dad's asleep and big brother just wants to be left alone to read. Even Kimba, the dog doesn't pay him much attention. Each time he feels ignored, Sam finds himself shrinking, until he's so small, he falls right down the sink! There he meets a little girl in a similar situation and as they share stories, Sam finds himself becoming big again. 

Reading Shrinking Sam reminded me how all of us, big or small, need love and attention. I made sure I gave my son an extra long hug and kiss right after we read the story. What does it mean to be ignored? How do we feel when no one talks to us? Can people really change in size? What part of the story was real and what was fantasy? It was interesting to see my almost 4 year old grapple with such questions as we read the book. 

Often kids are unable to articulate their true feelings and end up throwing tantrums instead. I found our discussion post this story opened up a whole new way for me to explore and understand my son's feelings. A couple of days after we first read the book, I was busy with my work and not listening to what my son was saying. He came up to me and said, "Aai, I am small like Sam!" Talk about a reality check!

The icing on the cake are the illustrations by Miriam Latimer, truly a treat for the eyes, as is the case with most Barefoot Books. Go for it! Highly recommended for the 3+ age group, especially if you are dealing with tantrums or sibling issues.

Available on Flipkart, this book was chosen as part of our November Read Aloud kit.

Scarier than the ghost!

Dear Divya,

Hearty congratulations on completing 3 years of One story a day. Thought, I will write about a story which I have told Abhay few times now and he still demands for it :-) I think I have read this long back in Dinakkondu Kathe series from Dr. Anupama Niranjana or some place else and keep spicing it up for Abhay.

 There was a village adjacent to a forest. There was a city on the other side of the forest. The main source of livelihood for the villagers was to take what they grew to the city and sell it. However there were two problems. One, they had to cross the forest and it was believed that there were scary ghosts in the forest. Second, they had to pass through a check post at the city entrance where a notorious tax collector would torment them with harsh questions and demand for heavy taxes for their goods. He would pierce their sack with a sharp big needle, called "Dabbana" in Kannada. So villagers have named him "Dabbanadindorda"! (I somehow remember to have read it sounding like this). In this village there was a chap called Ranga who was poor and had nothing but a tamarind tree in front of his house. He thought he will pluck all the Tamarind from the tree and sell it in the city. Now he also has to face the two problems.

As Ranga walked through the forest and was passing through a big banyan tree, he starts hearing a whistling sound and someone tickling him. Ranga got scared and started asking "Who is it" and yes, you guessed it right. It was a scary Ghost. Now this is where the story stretches a bit  with me enacting a bit of this encounter and Abhay keeps laughing and asking it to be continued for more :-). Now Ranga knew one thing. The Ghosts scare you more if you show that you are scared. So he started laughing to the annoyance of the Ghost! The Ghost wanted to know why he was laughing to which Ranga said there is a bigger and scarier ghost in the city and he is more fearsome. The ghost wanted to meet this bigger and scarier ghost to find out. Ranga asks the ghost to get inside his sack for he doesn't want the bigger ghost to seem him with another ghost and get angry. The ghost agreed and they proceeded.

As Ranga entered the city check post, the "Dabbanadindorda" commanded Ranga in a booming voice to tell him what he was carrying. Ranga in a trembling voice said, it was Tamarind. As was his routine, the tax collector pierced the sack with his needle and the ghost inside was in great pain but could not scream out. This is the second stretch of the story where I find Abhay to be enjoying with me having to enact the pain of the ghost. Finally the ordeal is over with the tax collector demanding ten rupees as tax and Ranga requests that he will pay it on the way back after selling the tamarind. Once they pass the check post Ranga opens the sack near a tree and out jumps the ghost with a great relief. Smart Ranga extracts a promise from the ghost that it will never trouble him again.

So who is the scarier ghost? Of course we all are scared of the Income Tax department :-)

Happy Birthday One story a day!

How many sleeps till my Birthday ? - By Mark Sperring and Sebastian Braun

Guest Post by Vani

Somewhere around September, I had registered for real aloud kits from Little readers nook, a theme based read aloud program based out of Mumbai . Here I was , a picture book enthusiast and was curious to know what other parents were choosing and reading for their 4 year olds. The first kit was based on birthdays. 3 wonderful books arrived early October. I could not have asked for a better theme because my little munchkin had just completed his 4th year

The highlight of this kit was a book named How many sleeps till my Birthday. A little bear  named Pip wakes up every morning wondering if it was his birthday. He wakes up daddy Grizzle who is still in snooze land  A little annoyed and a lot patient is how you describe daddy Grizzle. Little does Pip know that daddy is infact secretly planning a fabulous party - what with him baking a cake at night when Pip is sleeping, to cutting logs from the forest  and secretly sending out invites to friends and blowing balloons.

On the day of the birthday, little Pip realizes that daddy has left many clues , all that lead to his party. Pip is immensely delighted seeing his friends and lots of cake and gifts

At the end of the party, daddy wonders  out aloud if he would get to sleep a little longer the next day

But what do you think happened the next morning .

Pip sneaks out of bed, lands of daddy's bed and asks : Daddy Grizzle Daddy Grizzle. How many sleeps till Christmas ???

What I loved about the book. For once here was a daddy doing the preparations and not a mommy. But the sentimental me also wondered why the mommy was missing in the story.

Repetitive words such as Daddy Grizzle Daddy Grizzle , wake up  in every 3rd page - would make a great  accomplishment for read alouds and enacting

..and the illustrations - from the annoyed daddy to the enthu cutlet little Pip early in the morning. the illustrations are so so endearing

It is December. We have put up a Xmas tree, the chill is in the air and last evening we had a shining red star put up at the balcony.

At home, our 4 year old believes Santa would fly from the sky and drop a present at our door

Just like Little Pip who is now waiting for Christmas, my little one is looking forward to presents from Santa

Families are about bonding, caring and celebrating. This book has it all.

So you know what to read for your child's  next birthday , don't you ???

**** Oh my ! in being a enthu cutlet myself in doing my first ever blog post on children's books, I have forgotten to add a line or two ****

Divya ! Its a honour to be asked to write on your blog. Many congratulations on being featured in the Hindu.

While we usually exchange gifts, here is something unique . Here's wishing you many more happy reading hours for you and your family and many hours of bonding over books.

Thank you for being an inspiration for other parents.

Thanks to Devaki  from Little Readers Nook for sending us such a wonderful read.

Monday, December 9, 2013

We turn three!


I still remember that chilly December afternoon, after having put my then four year old to nap with a picture book,  the idea of a blog on picture books struck me and Boy! did I get to work immediately! Though I had meant to mull over it for some time and bounce it off my husband who was to return home that evening after a week long tour on work, I simply couldn't contain it any longer! So I sat on the couch hunched over my laptop, signed up with blogger and voila! "Onestoryaday" was up within the next one hour, with a surprise email waiting in my husband's inbox as he landed home and in my parents' inbox as they woke up the next morning! It's been three years now.......and thanks to my readers,  Onestoryaday is still going strong! :-) While it is still literally one story a day at bedtime for Abhay,  it has turned from one blog post every day on the first year to one blog post every other day the second and one blog post every week days on its third year! :-) Well, with life getting busier day by day, it is one thing to be reading to your little one every day, but it is quite another to be blogging about it! What started as way to preserve our shared experiences of reading together has now turned into a hobby…..a passion…..a getaway from the daily humdrum of life!   Though it’s been only three years, I feel as if Onestoryaday has been a part of my life all along. What’s more…..if it’s been four or five days since my previous post…..I experience something that can probably be likened to withdrawal symptoms….making me irritable and restless until I key in a post on-the-go! So be it juggling between the due dates of three different libraries, or accessing the blogger mobile app while waiting in court or asking my husband to wait for just five minutes until I finish my post and end up making him wait for almost an hour… all this seems worthwhile with the appreciation received from my readers so far…..and hopefully may receive from Abhay in the future!:-) Thanks to all my readers for all their encouragement!

This year, Onestoryaday received a birthday gift in advance ...a special mention in the Hindu's Metroplus on the occasion of National Library Week! As it's been the tradition on Onestoryaday for the last two years, this year too I invite all my readers to be a part of Onestoryaday and share your favorite books you read as a kid or favorite books you love to read to your little one as a parent! Share them on Onestoryaday!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Creating your own wonderland!

 Over the weekend, we took Abhay to an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s  “Alice in Wonderland” that was playing at Rangashankara. Performed by the Mumbai based theatre group Tram theatre with the aid of objects, puppetry and shadow play, this is a play not be missed and mind it,  not just for kids! Not only did the play stay true to the original elements of the classic, but in a way took the story to a whole new level with its adaptation into a modern setting that had us introspect into the way we look at our own lives! Should we surrender to the daily hum-drum of life without taking time off to enjoy the moment? Should we go about our routine totally devoid of any sense of wonder or fascination? Should we see the world with a black and white lens as opposed to a coloured one? Growing up doesn’t have to mean that we stop being imaginative or grow out of our little wonderlands that we once cherished as kids! Actually, it’s not the kids, but we adults have a lot to learn from Alice and her wonderland! :-)

Alice in wonderland was also of special interest to Abhay as his class has been rehearsing the same play for a performance in their upcoming annual school day!  So on the eve of watching the play at Rangashankara, I  picked up “Alice in the Wonderland”, an illustrated graphic novel from Om publications. Of course there are numerous publications of timeless tales such as this, but frankly this was the only one I could lay my hands on just when I needed one! Narrated in a graphic book format with vibrant and vivid illustrations, this one is sure to engross your early reader into the wondrous world of Alice following the hurrying hare into a tunnel only to land in a hall full of doors of various sizes until she is of a perfect size for the door leading up the garden full of rapid races and mad tea parties that gives her courage to challenge the queen of hearts and just as she is about to have her way, she wakes up all envigorated to find that it was one adventurous dream after all! So don’t underestimate the power of imagination and the wonders it can do to your once boring world!