The Book Detectives
Read any books recently that you liked a lot? Or found any strictly so-so? Or simply hated? Do you have any favourite writers? If you were a writer, what would your book be about? Have you ever formed, or been part of, a book club? If you have anything to say about the world of books, or would like to be a J-Ink Book Detective, write to firstname.lastname@example.org – with ‘Book Detectives’ in the subject line, and details like your age, name, the place you live and what you would like to write on.
Your Brain On Books
Any book lover can tell you: diving into a great novel is an immersive experience that can make your brain come alive with imagery and emotions and even turn on your senses. It sounds romantic, but there’s real, hard evidence that supports these things happening to your brain when you read books. In reading, we can actually physically change our brain structure, become more empathetic, and even trick our brains into thinking we’ve experienced what we’ve only read in novels.
We make photos in our minds, even without being prompted:
Reading books and other materials with vivid imagery is not only fun, it also allows us to create worlds in our own minds. But did you know that this happens even if you don’t mean it to? Researchers have found that visual imagery is simply automatic. Participants were able to identify photos of objects faster if they’d just read a sentence that described the object visually, suggesting that when we read a sentence, we automatically bring up pictures of objects in our minds.
Spoken word can put your brain to work:
Critics are quick to dismiss audiobooks as a sub-par reading experience, but research has shown that the act of listening to a story can light up your brain. When we’re told a story, not only are language processing parts of our brain activated, experiential parts of our brain come alive, too. Hear about food? Your sensory cortex lights up, while motion activates the motor cortex. And while you may think that this is limited only to audiobooks or reading, experts insist that our brains are exposed to narratives all day long. In fact, researcher Jeremy Hsu shares, “Personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” So go ahead, listen to your coworker’s long and drawn out story about their vacation, tune in to talk radio, or listen to an audiobook in the car: it’s good exercise for your brain.
Reading about experiences is almost the same as living it:
Have your ever felt so connected to a story that it’s as if you experienced it in real life? There’s a good reason why: your brain actually believes that you have experienced it. When we read, the brain does not make a real distinction between reading about an experience and actually living it. Whether reading or experiencing it, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Novels are able to enter into our thoughts and feelings. While you can certainly hop into a VR game at the mall and have a great time, it seems that reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for your brain.
Different styles of reading create different patterns in the brain:
Any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits. Stanford University researchers have found that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions, while pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. They concluded that reading a novel closely for literary study and thinking about its value is an effective brain exercise, more effective than simple pleasure reading alone.
New languages can grow your brain:
Want to really give your brain a workout? Pick up a foreign language novel. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden tested students from the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, where intensive language learning is the norm, and medicine and cognitive science students at Umea University. Both groups underwent brain scans just prior to and right after a three-month period of intensive study. Amazingly, the language students experienced brain growth in both the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, with different levels of brain growth according to the amount of effort and learning students experienced in that period of time.
Your brain adapts to reading e-books in seven days:
If you’re used to reading paper books, picking up an e-reader can feel very awkward at first. But experts insist that your brain can adopt the new technology quickly, no matter your age or how long you’ve been reading on paper. In fact, the human brain adapts to new technology, including e-reading, within seven days.
E-books lack in spatial navigability:
Although your brain can adapt to e-books quickly, that doesn’t mean they offer the same benefits as a paperback. Specifically, they lack what’s called “spatial navigability,” physical cues like the heft of pages left to read that give us a sense of location. Evolution has shaped our minds to rely on location cues to find our way around, and without them, we can be left feeling a little lost. Some e-books offer little in the way of spatial landmarks, giving a sense of an infinite page. However, with page numbers, percentage read, and other physical cues, e-books can come close to the same physical experience as a paper book.
Story structure encourages our brains to think in sequence, expanding our attention spans:
Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and that’s a good thing for your brain. With this structure, our brains are encouraged to think in sequence, linking cause and effect. The more you read, the more your brain is able to adapt to this line of thinking. Neuroscientists encourage parents to take this knowledge and use it for children, reading to kids as much as possible. In doing so, you’ll be instilling story structure in young minds while the brain has more plasticity, and the capacity to expand their attention span.
Reading changes your brain structure (in a good way):
Not everyone is a natural reader. Poor readers may not truly understand the joy of literature, but they can be trained to become better readers. And in this training, their brains actually change. In a six-month daily reading program from Carnegie Mellon, scientists discovered that the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain actually increased. Further, they showed that brain structure can be improved with this training, making it more important than ever to adopt a healthy love of reading.
Deep reading makes us more empathetic:
It feels great to lose yourself in a book, and doing so can even physically change your brain. As we let go of the emotional and mental chatter found in the real world, we enjoy deep reading that allows us to feel what the characters in a story feel. And this in turn makes us more empathetic to people in real life, becoming more aware and alert to the lives of others.
Tara Books Make It To The USSBY Honors List
Two books featuring and folk art from India and published by one of our fave publishing firms, South India-based Tara Books, have made it to the prestigious USBBY (United States Board on Books for Young People) Honor list, 2013. The list, announced at an award ceremony in Seattle on Friday 25th January, includes both The Great Race, and I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail.
All books on the list have been deemed outstanding by a jury charged with selecting books that promote cross-cultural understanding. In The Great Race artist Jagdish Chitara illustrates an Indonesian trickster tale narrated by US-based author Nathan Kumar Scott, in which a mouse-deer challenges the ther forest animals to a race. Jagdish, hailing from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, belongs to a traditional group of artisans known as Waghari. The Waghari usually paint onto fabric, creating special ritual cloth using a process of block printing and hand dyeing. In The Great Race this distinctive style has been adapted for use in a children’s book for the first time.
I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail takes a well-known English ‘trick’ poem, and adds an extra layer of meaning through art by Gond artist Ramsingh Urveti, and innovative design from Japanese-Brazilian graphic designer Jonathan Yamakami. Ramsingh Urveti is based in Madhya Pradesh, and belongs to the Gond tribe of artists from central India, while Jonathan is currently studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Scroll down to read our review of The Great Race.
Take a look at this video that shows how I Saw A Peacock… works as a book.
Stories of kindness inspired by a little blue card
By Kabeer Khurana, 15
Your Turn Now. Concept: Rushabh Turakhia. Written by: Lubaina Bandukwala. Illustrated and designed by: Shraddha Pimputkar. Published by: Preeti Vyas (for FunOK Please)
The human race is referred to as ‘mankind’ but somehow the words ‘man’ and ‘kind’ have got separated. People today are dealing with modern-day stresses and lack of compassion and kindness. We have bigger homes but smaller hearts, larger families but lesser time. Realising this, entrepreneur Rushabh Turakhia started the Your Turn Now Movement in 2009, the hero of which is a little blue card that fits snugly into your wallets. This movement aims at helping people multiply kindness.
So, how does this little blue card work? You help a friend, an acquaintance, a social worker or even your parents and when they express their gratitude for the good deed you had done for them, you give them the card and tell them to multiply this feeling and make others happy just the way you had been kind to them.
The book ‘Your Turn Now’ is based on the same concept that started way back in 2009 by Rushabh. The first part is filled with inspiring stories that make you feel all warm, fuzzy and motivated to spread kindness. However, the second bit makes the book different from the Chicken Soup books — it is your very own Kindness Kit that actually tells you how to use the card, how to make our society happier and in turn, how to make yourself happy too!
The book is filled with interesting back-and-white illustrations that make it a fun read along with dramatic yet fun stories written and compiled by Lubaina Bandukwala. The layout, design and illustrations by Shraddha Pimputkar really add an extra charm to the text. The book is simple to understand and really motivates the readers to get up from their couches, spread kindness, and multiply happiness. All in all, this book is a perfect inspiration for kids aged 8 to 80!
I was there at the launch of YTN and talked to the team about the book.
How will this book make a difference or help the YTN movement?
Rushabh: For this movement to touch 7 billion, two things are required – one is money and the other is awareness. So all royalties from the book will go to the YTN trust which will help spread the movement and achieve the vision of touching 7 billion lives across the world.
Why did you use black & white?
Shraddha: This book is targeted at kids who are eight and above, hence we wanted to do illustrations which looked mature and are also fun to look at. We decided to use the black-and-white style which are a blend of toons as well as pocket cartoons seen in newspapers.
The book does not seem to follow a standard structure but is quite non-linear. What was your approach to the writing?
Lubaina: Ever since I was a kid I could not walk from one place to another in a straight line. I just found it more fun to cover a distance in a rather zigzag manner and I think children like that too so I decided to emulate that in a fun style and compile some of the wonderfully exciting stories that already existed into the book.
Kindness is a quality for all ages. Then why is this book only for children?
Preeti: We did think about it and yes, kindness is not only for children. So why is this book only for children? We thought a lot about it and came to a conclusion that one, we as adults are very cynical and tend to question a lot of things but children, on the other hand, are very open-minded, innocent and the take things on with an enthusiasm that we adults just don’t have. So, all of us thought that if we really wanted this movement to grow, children would be the most appropriate flagbearers. Moreover, FunOKPlease is a children’s publishing house!
How did you select the stories?
Lubaina: The selection of stories was a team effort. We basically chose the stories for their simplicity, for how easily you could connect to them. We also chose some because they had a dramatic appeal.
Can you tell us something about the design/layout aspect?
Shraddha: Illustrations were quite easy for me do as I had the written matter that I had to read and follow and visualise. But bringing the whole book together was more challenging as it did not have a linear format and bringing in text and illustrations together to compile is quite a difficult task. We also needed to make the book interesting so that every page that you go through is a surprise and is fun to look at.
There are many books in the market which have feel-good, real stories like the ‘Chicken Soup’ series. So, how is this book different?
Preeti: When we were brainstorming on the book the very first thought we had was that oh, this is Chicken Soup! But the fact is that the first half of the book makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, however, the second part is your very own do-it-yourself kit wherein you have to actually get up from your easy chairs and get going – spreading kindness. So in the first part, we needed to have stories that inspired the reader to jump out of their chairs and use the cards, otherwise there was no point in doing the book in the first place. It is not about creating awareness but actually creating the movement. That was why we decided to have a Bollywood-style pre-interval and post-interval, the pre-interval being the entertaining part giving you all the warm and fuzzy feelings and the post-interval telling you how to go out, actually use the cards and spread kindness all around.
Why do you need a card? Why not just encourage kindness?
Rushabh: Actually, you don’t need a card. It’s in here, in your heart. The problem is we are kind when we are young and in school but as we grow up we get involved in work, and are too busy and forget how to be nice. I feel 20 years down the line we will not need the card and will eventually go out. It should be in your DNA and till it’s not a part of your DNA, use your card.
Future plans for YTN?
Preeti: Well, this first book was made with the stories that Rushabh had already received on his website in the past few years but for the future books we hope we get stories not only from adults but from kids as well. We have already started talking about what the second book is going to be like and what style we are going to use. So YTN 2, 3 and 4 are all in the pipeline.
Which was the most challenging chapter to illustrate?
Shraddha: All of you who have the book can open page 90. It is a double-spread illustration of 16 instances when the card can be used. I think this was the trickiest and the most interesting illustration I had to draw in the book.
The Awesome Duckbill Platy-Party
By Khadija Khan, 16
On the breezy evening of 30th October, the coolest publishing house on the block, Duckbill organised a book launch of two of their books: Moin and the Monster by Anushka Ravishankar and Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar
It was not just a book-launch. It was ……..*drumroll* A PLATY-PARTY!!
That’s right! A platy-party where people of all ages were invited to have a gala time.It was held at a beautiful restaurant in Delhi called The Lodi and Jalebi Ink was invited too.
Duckbill is run by Sayoni Basu and Anushka Ravishankar. It is a publishing house for young adults.
Anushka has written over 25 books for children. She is the former publishing director for Scholastic India. She is also known as India’s very own Dr Seuss. Sayoni has worked in publishing for over thirteen years, including at Oxford University Press and Penguin India. She was in charge of the children’s division at Puffin India before she joined Scholastic India as publishing director, a position she held for several years. She’s worked with several authors like Anushka Ravishankar, Ruskin Bond and APJ Abdul Kalam!
We were fortunate enough to have a quick chat with the leading ladies of Duckbill.
Jalebi Ink: So tell us, what’s with the name?
Duckbill: Well, lots of publishing houses, especially for children, have either bird or animal names .We decided the name in about three minutes during a car ride. We both like platypuses and think of them as interesting and intriguing creatures. Duckbill was just because it sounded fun and a sort of genuflection to the bird tradition.
Jalebi Ink: When and how did Duckbill begin?
Duckbill: Duckbill began towards the middle of 2012, though it was something we had been discussing for years, but in a vague, oh, it would be so much fun to do manner. Then we found that we were actually free of work commitments at about the same time in the first half of the year, and decided to start.
We both love children’s and YA books, and unfortunately we were not being able to do as much hands-on commissioning and editing as we wanted to. Also, we thought that there was scope to do more unusual and fun books within this space. And so we started.
Jalebi Ink: Who all are in the Duckbill team currently?
Duckbill: The team is currently the two of us (Anushka and Sayoni), though we will have another editor joining soon. And the lovely people at Westland help us out in many, many ways, especially production, design, sales and some part of marketing.
Jalebi Ink: What have you guys bought out so far?
Duckbill: We have so far published five books. These are: Zombiestan (young adult horror fiction) by Mainak Dhar, Moin and the Monster and Moin the Monster Songster by Anushka Ravishankar, which are for younger readers, Oops the Mighty Gurgle by Ram G Vallath, about a gurgle (pumpkin shaped alien) who saves the universe from the groinks, The Deadly Royal Recipe by Ranjit Lal, for older readers.
We have four more books coming out in January 2013. These are Alice in Deadland by Mainak Dhar and The Wordkeepers by Jash Sen both of which are young adult fantasy novels. There’s also Jobless Clueless Reckless by Revathi Suresh (a coming–of-age novel for young adults) and The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog by Himanjali Sankar for younger readers.
Jalebi Ink: What can young readers expect from Duckbill in the following years?
Duckbill: Well, hopefully a lot of fun books! Books in different genres, like fantasy, zombie novels, school stories, coming of age stories, humour .
You can see our website to get an idea. We are not doing picture books currently, but we hope to start doing them late in the next year.
Every new project is something new, something fresh
Jalebi Ink reporter Kabeer Khurana talks to Preeti Vyas, Founder of the children’s publishing house Fun OK Please
The whiff of hot smoke travelled into my nose. As I browsed through the book 366 Words In Delhi, I felt like I was in the magnificent city of Delhi, actually tasting the various food products at Khaugalli, visiting the National Museum and trying out kurtas at Dilli Haat. As a part of the latest release from publishing house Fun OK Please, 366 Words In Delhi gave me deep insights into the life of Delhi-ites and broadened my knowledge about our neighbours.
This series, conceptualised by the founder of Fun OK Please Preeti Vyas, aims at helping children understand the world around them, learn various educational concepts, travel the world (sitting on their couches!) and build their vocabulary. With insights into Indian landmarks, food, culture and festivals, this series is wholly successful in keeping children busy for hours together! I fondly remember “Preeti didi” as a kid and used to attend book reading sessions every Sunday at her bookstore Kidstown in Mumbai. When I was told by the people at Jalebi Ink that I was to interview her, I was curious about how she would turn out to be. But when she got out of the autorickshaw outside Bandra’s Costa Coffee, I saw a familiar, charming face coming to greet me. She didn’t even seem 20!
Now let’s see what creator and conceptualiser Preeti Vyas has to say.
Q: I’ve known you as a child and used to visit your bookstore Kidstown really often. Why and how did you make this transition from owning a bookstore to becoming a writer?
Preeti Vyas: I have always been a very voracious reader. I grew up in a family of book lovers and in a house full of books. My parents and my two sisters were great readers. I had been reading all the great classics since I was ten. Once I finished my graduation, I went to Australia to study and there I began working in a store called Toys R Us which was, you know, a large toy store and which had a book section as well. There, I got my first exposure of selling things to children and understanding what children like. I realised it was something I really enjoyed doing.
When I came back to India, I first worked for Sony Music. Later, I worked with Crosswords book store at their Mahalaxmi store in Mumbai. At Crosswords, we started a Children’s Hour wherein every Sunday we would read stories to children. I really used to enjoy being with children, spending quality time with their mothers and also observing how children reacted to stories. I have always been passionate about children, books and children products so opening my own store had always been my dream in life.
When I was 26, I finally quit my job and whatever money I had saved up over the last 4 years, I put it into opening the store. Of course, doing business in India is a difficult task and a very different proposition especially for a young girl of 26. The Kidstown store, as you might remember, was quite successful. I enjoyed selecting the books for my store myself. But obviously, one has to face the realities of doing business – I was paying a very high rent, I was having trouble with the landlord and had to experience all the day-to-day hassles and problems of running a store in India. I began to realise that I couldn’t see myself doing that business for the rest of my life. But I really enjoyed the experience.
I am actually a creative person, and for me the kick is in creating something. The whole dream of opening the store ended with the store was launched because after it had opened, running it and maintaining it became very routine and repetitive. I was also having a lot of financial problems and it was not making a lot of money. So I took a call – look, this is not what I want for my life. Yes, I am very glad I did it because it gave me a some great experiences and beautiful memories but I did not want to continue any longer. So I shut it down. Then I worked with a company called the Future Group which was a large retailer – my experience had always been in retail and there again, I was involved in setting up the books division which was called Depot. We set it up in all Big Bazaar stores across the country. So we had about a 100 stores of ours selling our own books! We had our own publishing house as well where we used to publish our books under the brand name of Depot Inclusives – mostly children’s books. That was my first taste of publishing and I realised that this was something I really enjoyed doing.
Then, my son Neel was born, I left the job. After working continuously for 13-14 years, I wanted to enjoy being with my own child. I began to look for books for him and at the same time, my husband’s twin brother (whose wife is an Australian), moved back to India from Australia. Being fond of books, he was looking around for Indian books for kids. He began to question – where are the Indian books? This is when I got the idea of Fun OK Please.
Publishing, I feel, is something I can do for the rest of my life because it is something which is pure creativity. Every new project is something new, something fresh. It’s like a new born baby. Every 3-4 months a book is released and it’s a new project on its own. Publishing keeps me really excited.
Q: What was the book you loved most as a child?
PV: I’ve read everything. Like most of the kids of our generation, I used to love reading Enid Blyton. I was more into Secret Seven than Famous Five. I read all her books…the adventures of Mr Pinkwhistle, The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree, I remember being 7 years old and hearing my heart beat really loudly when I was reading Secret Seven and didn’t know how it would end. I also loved the climax of The Enchanted Wood, I don’t know whether you’ve read the book, but it has these guys stuck inside the tree and they don’t know how to get out. I loved all Enid Blytons, and Tintin and Asterix comics.
As my family was heavily into reading, I read George Orwells’ Animal Farm when I was 10. In those days, we used to get these books from the Soviet Union about all these Czars etc and the Bolsheviks and yeah, it was good fun.
In the classics genre, I remember reading Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott when I was quite young. For some reason, my school library also had books like The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck which was a book set in China and Japan and had very dark stuff in it. I really enjoyed reading all that as well. I used to read possibly whatever I could lay my hands on and it’s still that way.
Q: Did you have any aspirations of becoming a writer in your young days?
PV: Absolutely. But I think, like most children, I went through the process of deciding what to do … I wanted to be a doctor at first, then, I wanted to be an astronaut and for the longest time, I wanted to join the army. I was very patriotic. Yeah, so my decisions changed. I think every child wants to be a doctor at some point of time or be an astronaut at another point of time. So, yeah, I went through all those stages, but never thought I would land up being a publisher.
Q: What was your daily routine while running the bookstore Kidstown?
PV: It was a very gruelling routine. The store was open seven days a week, including Sundays. So it was very hectic and bookstores tend to really draw you in. You become, um, very obsessive about it. So I would be there from 9:30-10. It would be open between 10:30am to around 9 in the evening. I had a great team of course, but I was present there pretty much all the time. My presence would involve interacting with customers and suppliers, choosing products and going out to warehouses to source good books. In my absence, I had a good team who would run my store for me. I used to love the job and couldn’t stay away from my store. When you love something, you don’t feel like it is work because that’s what you really want to do. That’s how it is even now with my publishing house. I work up till 3 in the morning and it doesn’t feel like work, it’s something I would want to do.
Q: What would you say is the most fulfilling part about being a children’s publisher?
PV: I think, for me, the most fulfilling part is being able to touch the lives of Indian children. I have created a whole series of books on Indian cities and I really feel very proud about it because I know that there is no book like mine in the market. The other day, I was reading a book that asked what if you were to die tomorrow, and I was just thinking to myself that if I were to die tomorrow I wouldn’t be sad. Instead, I would be satisfied with myself as I knew that I had created a body of work which kids can use, get some value from and can enjoy. Knowing that I am making a difference to the lives of children is the most fulfilling part. I am giving them something that is a part of their childhood, something they can remember.
Q: Why Fun OK Please? When did you set it up and what’s the idea behind it?
PV: I’ll answer the second part first-why I set it up. As I said, my brother in-law’s wife was very passionate about Indian children as well as Indian books and was looking out for Indian books. At the same time, I became a mother myself and began looking for books for my son. That is when I realised that there is a lot of mythology that is available in the market. You can buy every possible story about Krishna and Ganesh for kids. There are also lots of books that come from abroad like the Thomas series, Barbies and Winnie the Poohs. In all this, the modern Indian context is missing. Back in the days when I used to read Enid Blytons, they used to be about toasting marshmallows on a fire, eating ham sandwiches and savouring tongue sandwiches. Now, we don’t do all that. Maybe in those days there wasn’t that much available here and India was also not so advanced and developed. But today, in 2012, our system is very different and we need to have books that children of India can relate to. We are a confident and modern country now. That was the whole purpose of Fun OK Please.
You can buy a book about London or Paris in a bookstore but there’s no book about Mumbai city when there is so much in Mumbai for children. Indian food, sports and places are very modern today and the whole idea was to give children something contemporary that they could relate to. So I wanted an Indian name, but I wanted a funny, quirky one not something that is very serious like Saraswand Publications or Katha as these books, I knew, were not meant for the school syllabus. They were meant for children to acquire a genuine love for books, have fun and also learn something new. On the lookout for a funny name, I just thought of Horn OK Please because that’s so Indian, isn’t it, and only Indians would understand the joke behind it. So I thought about replacing ‘Horn’ with ‘Fun’ and the name came up. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn’t think more about the name but it just came to me and I liked it. So, yeah, that’s about it.
Q: What next for FunOKPlease?
PV: We have lots of new books in the pipeline. The challenge for me is that I am a self-funded entrepreneur – a lot of my own money has gone into the business. Only when the money from the first set of books came in was I able to invest in the next set of books. So that’s how the cycle is going on and I like it that way because it keeps me on my toes. I cannot create a hundred books a year, it is not possible. Five to six books a year is what I am able to do. I have already published 12 books in the span of two years and I hope that our company makes more money so that we can publish more books for kids to enjoy. Twenty-five percent of the money we earn by sales of our books goes to orphanages. The first set of books were released in January 2011 but I had started work a year before that. It took a year to build the whole platform. The Toto books came first.
Q: Each book in the 366 Words series has a different illustrator and hence the styles are different – would that affect the uniformity in terms of quality?
PV: Actually, I did want different illustrators. My idea is to create a portfolio and have as much variety and freshness as possible. But you have uniformity within the same series; so of course, we had the same illustrator for all the Toto books.
But for the city books – take Mumbai for instance – I was very clear that I wanted an illustrator who lived in Mumbai as he or she would actually understand the flavour of the city. Similarly for Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi. Only an illustrator who has lived in a particular city can capture the freshness and culture of the city. We also have different illustration styles for different age groups. For younger children we have simpler and brighter illustrations and for older kids (8-12 years) we have a very quirky style with black and white lines. That is one aspect. The other is that illustration is a very slow process – each page takes about 2 to 3 days to illustrate. Then the illustration would be sent back to me, I would give my feedback and then corrections were made. At least 300 to 400 illustrations like these have to be made and hence, to publish five books a year with the same illustrator is not possible.
THE GREAT RACE
Text: Nathan Kumar Scott. Illustrations: Jagdish Chitara. Tara Books Rs375.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a great picture book is worth more than its weight in gold; literary gold, that is. The main character of this book is Kanchil the mouse deer, a popular trickster from Indonesian and Malaysian folklore. Kanchil dwells in the jungle, a dangerous place where he must watch his every step. And so Kanchil lives by his wits, tricking animals high and mighty for survival as well as for a lark and, occasionally, being taken for a ride by those lower in the forest’s pecking order. The book features an interesting cast of forest residents: Gajah the elephant, Babi the wild boar, Harimau the tiger, Kerbau the buffalo, Kakatua the scarlet macaw, and so on.
This is what transpires: one day the restless Kanchil challenges the animals to a race in the forest. And who should take up the gauntlet but Pelan the snail, the quintessential slowcoach. This is a tale as old as time. If you know how the old fable of the hare and the tortoise ended, you’ll know that Pelan beats Kanchil hollow in ‘The Great Race’. Not once, but twice. As to how, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
This evocative book, both in its words and visuals, is one that kids and grown-ups will equally enjoy. The illustrations are by Jagdish Chitara, who belongs to a clan of traditional artisans called the wagharis. The book itself is a part of Tara’s attempts to engage with local crafts traditions. A poor and marginalised community, the wagharis were originally nomadic, roaming the banks of the Sabarmati in Gujarat, creating a special ritual cloth of the mother goddess, called mata ni pachedi (or ‘cloth of the mother’). Although many wagharis have given up their itinerant existence and settled down in towns and villages, they continue to create these sacred cloths, which are dyed only with natural pigments and are always in blood red, black and white. The illustrations in the book, too, use only these colours.
Certain panels are absolutely mesmerising, like the one which Buwaya the crocodile sprawls over. Or when all the animals are gathered at the river. The depictions of the race itself are stunning. This is one book to savour, so read it like Pelan the snail would—slow and steady (it’s not such a bad thing to slow down every now and then, you know). And once you’re done, there are other books in the Kanchil series to look forward to.
Reviewed by Amit Dixit
Text: Anushka Ravishankar. Illustrations: Gabrielle Manglou. Tara Books, Rs375
Late again! What is it now?Chased by a lion? Kicked by a cow?I had an early dinnerI went to bed at eightI set the clock for five becauseI didn’t want to be late—I’d wake up earlyBrush my teeth,Wash my faceRinse my feetHave my breakfastNice and slowPack my bagAnd off I’d go!!BUT-At night my clock began to tickIn an anti-clockwise wayAnd by the time I woke upIt was noon, of yesterday.
Reviewed by Amit Dixit
DO YOU NOW WHY THE SKY IS BLUE?
Why The Sky Is Blue. Dr CV Raman Talks About Science. Rs150. Published by Tulika.
Review by Aarushi Majumder, 9 yrs
This book, written by Chandralekha with photographs by Dashrath Patel, is about Dr. C. V. Raman’s thoughts on science. Dr. C. V. Raman, a scientist and a Noble Prize winner for Physics, loved the universe and children.
In this book, Dr. Raman says that science is not restricted only to laboratories – science to him comes from nature. It is about questioning deeper and about being in the state of wondering; not expecting short answers. One does not need advanced equipment to experience science. All that is required is a thirst for knowledge. One does not need textbooks to question about science. All that is required is to keep one’s eyes open and experience science. Science never stops – it is an endless quest and the more one discovers the more one has left to discover.
I like the book because it makes science look easy and interesting. I liked the last part of the book that includes snapshots and Dr. Raman’s life at a glance. I also liked his photographs and hand gestures and because of this, the book comes across as a picture book.
A charming story of an elemental elephant
Reviewed by Nita Deb
Kids are going to like the sound of “Gajapati Kulapati” and will repeat that name often with delight. This is the story of a temple elephant who presumably lived without any shelter, and without any shackles either. So, this gentle elephant who’d been braving the elements (should we call him an elemental elephant?) caught a cold one day. Big nose, therefore big cold. Big cold, therefore big – and loud – sneeze. And oh boy, did the elephant sneeze! Hoosh, he went, and Pachak, went the banana-sellers bananas, flying out and landing on the postman’s head.
The postman then fell on a poor cow. The sneeze had disastrous consequences on the village people (and animals). Poor GK was so traumatised by what he had done (even though it really wasn’t his fault), he hid behind the temple wall. In the middle of the night he let out another loud sneeze, which somehow cured his cold. Finally, it took a wise old grandmother to declare that they should build him a house so he wouldn’t have to stay out in the rain again. And that made him the happiest elephant in the world. Ummmm.
Shouldn’t they have just tried releasing him into the wild? Or not captured him in the first place…..? Oh well. As long as he did not sneeze again!!
MOVE OVER HARRY POTTER
By Vishrut Kumar
Many fantasy characters have come and gone, from Harry Potter to Percy Jackson, and each one has left a void that cannot be filled easily. For another book to be on the same level as them means the author would have to be brilliant, and the Artemis Fowl series written by Eoin Colfer (pronounced ‘Owen’) is just what young readers crave.
How would you like to be Public Enemy No.1 just a few months ago before becoming Public Hero No.1? That is how 13-year-old Artemis is after his extensive research on the internet leads to the discovery of a co-existing race of biological species known as the People (make it simpler: Fairies) who lead a comfortable life underneath the Earth’s surface, hidden away from the rest of the human race. Until there comes a young Irish boy Artemis Fowl, and the fairies find their world turned upside down.
The series is about how the fairies and Artemis Fowl, accompanied by his huge bodyguard Butler (a legend among every bodyguard in the world for their superior combat and endurance skills), join forces to solve each other’s and the world’s problems, on one condition: Artemis gets fairy gold in return for keeping the fairies secret from the rest of the world.
Many of the readers just glance at the book synopsis and say ‘Goblins, dwarfs and fairies? We are way past that!’, but if they care to give this book a glance, they will find themselves quickly absorbed in Artemis’s genius and before they know it they will be saying, ‘Now that’s way too cool!’.
What captures the reader’s imagination, is the matter-of -fact way in which Artemis speaks and manages to irk his faithful fairy companion Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police (simpler terms: Police force for the fairies) and his constant battle with the centaur Foaly the technical mastermind of Haven City (You’re surely itching to know what ‘Haven City’ is; it is the fairy city where fairies live. Must be really stifling living underground), which always leads to the creation of plans that probably even Albert Einstein wouldn’t have thought of (that is, if he was a war mastermind).
My advice to all those who are still hooked on to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson is that there is a new book in town. Artemis Fowl is a must-read for all those folks who are looking for a magical adventure. Happy reading!
Great illustrations, but could have been more meaningful
Same & Different. By Manjula Padmanabhan. Rs150. Published by Tulika
I haven’t seen “I am Different”, but S&D at first glance is a fresh and welcome delight. A bright and cheerful cover full of colourful animals, nice typography and a lovely horizontal format that young kids love, it’s the kind of book any kid would want to reach out for. Add to that an author we know and like. Even my 11-year old stopped in his busy tracks to peruse intently this fresh book on his mom’s table. Top marks for the cover! Throughout the book the cheerful illustrations delight and captivate. They’re sure to keep a toddler captivated for some time (the age recommendation is 3+; one presumes that is 3 years + though nowadays one never knows).
However one’s not really sure whether the “picture puzzle book” has anything else to say. Ok, so there are nice rhymes to read, and there are some different animals in the crowd that you have to spot. But having done that once, would a child revisit that page with eagerness, again and again? I’m not too sure also, if the “differences” are obvious enough to a young child; some of them are simply too subtle. Again, maybe it is my old eyes, but I had to look at the answers in the back (yes, thank the publishers they have provided the answers – imagine trying to find a difference that a tantrumy kid can’t find, and not having the answers on hand!). It’s good as a test to check if your child can see and recognise different colours – ie he/she isn’t colour blind. And then I wondered, could the book have had something more? Pointing out differences is one thing. But is that important? My philosophical self would have added a line, a small rhyme, on how being different is ok, and just because someone or something is not build to the mould, doesn’t mean he or she or it is bad or deficient in any way.
Reviewed by Nita Deb
A very special, and very wise book
The Churki-Burki Book of Rhyme. Text by Gita Wolf. Art by Durga Bai. Rs325. Published by TARA Books
Reviewed by Taran Khan
Right from the very first page, this book enchants you with its drawings and colours. Durga Bai, the illustrator who has drawn the art work for this book, is an artist from the Gond tribe, and the story is one that she used to hear as a kid in her village of Patangahr, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. She has done a great job of capturing the spirit of fun and games that these kinds of ‘rambling in the candlelight’ stories have. Churki and Burki are two sisters living in a red roofed house in a village, that is near a forest with plenty of trees and a deep blue river full of fish and other life. They have a dog named Dinki, and a rooster who wakes them up each day with a cry of “kikiree kee”. Both the sisters love rhymes and silly songs, perhaps because their mother, who also loves rhymes, gave them the rhyming names of Churki and Burki.
The book follows the two girls through their day, as they go into the forest, collect firewood, play with their friend, go to the river, collect corn from the field and eat their evening meal. Each of their activities is accompanied by a silly rhyme that the girls make up as they do their work. Like the one they recite while chasing away the jackals that come for the corn:
The corn is thick
But all you’ll taste
is my stick
Run to your shelter
Quick quick quick
Run to your shelter
Now, if that sounds familiar, that’s probably because it is. Most of us have heard rhymes like this in traditional stories that (maybe) our parents or grandparents tell us. Sometimes it feels like the rhymes are not sounding right in English–it’s hard to catch the tempo and rhythm of the original nonsense verse in translation. But despite this problem, there are plenty of whimsical, funny lines to enjoy here. Like all Tara Books, the very best part of ‘Churki-Burki’ are the drawings, which show how beautiful the world looks to the eyes of Gond artists. The trees, river, fields and huts are all full of life. Nothing is dull or inanimate in these pages, and the colours make everything vivid, though they are not very bright. My favourite pages show the deep blue river flowing, full of fish and crabs, with clothes being washed, a fisherman casting a net, and girls walking on the bank besides it.
The quiet message the artist is giving us through these pictures is to see the earth as a shared place, where all kinds of life–animal, plant and human–can live together in harmony. That is the vision at the heart of this story, and makes it a very special, and very wise book. Buy it for the lovely art, and enjoy reciting the rhymes as you play.
“A one and a two
Two and one
Make twenty one
Twenty one up
And twenty one down
Forty two stones
Are on the ground!”
Artful and unputdownable
City Of Ghosts. By Bali Rai. Published by Random House. Rs245
Are tales of vampires leaving you drained? Is mindless romance not your ideal bedtime read? Well now you can bid farewell to wasted moments and an empty mind with Bali Rai’s latest venture which is bound to take you in its spell. City Of Ghosts arrives with a bang just when teen fiction was drowning into insipid plots and unimaginative story lines; historical, fictitious and fantastical, it is a whirlwind of genres spun around by a wand of marvelous storytelling. The best part of the book is that it is not pretentious, nestled comfortably at a stage of mediocre language and doesn’t strive to be a Jane Austen or Arthur Conon Doyle.
Told in third person, the story transports us to 20th century Amritsar, a city on the brink of revolution. India is living in repression under the diktats of the British Raj. The disunity of fellow Indians as well as misdirected anger has masses seething with rage, apathy or a general mixture of both. We, the readers, are there, in the heart of it all, normal bystanders watching the drama of suppression as it is released. The conflict is omnipresent in all spheres and like sunshine it is palpable to one and all. Yet, quintessentially, life goes on and the writer has implied that time and again. In accordance to this there are flashbacks of times immemorial and intermittent episodes of epic love stories, and the afterlife. The transcendent justice strikes here too, but doesn’t leave people unscarred. A bittersweet ending gives this tale a shake of reality, and hints a new beginning, as well as the continuity of life after a tragic disaster.
This book has been longlisted for the 2010 Carnegie Award.
“City of Ghosts is the longest novel that I have written to date. It came about because I discovered that one third of all the soldiers who fought for Britain during World War One were non-white. I was shocked by this fact and determined to write an account of what those soldiers, most of whom were Indians, went through.” http://www.balirai.co.uk
Reviewed by Prahniika Uday Borkar
A Lion in Paris
By Beatrice Alemagna. Published by Katha for Children. Rs150
“He was a big lion, young, curious and lonely. He was so bored in his savannah that one day he set out in search of work,love, a future.” Beatrice Alemagna’s book show the journey of the lion from his dull savannah home to the big, bustling city of Paris. When he lands at the train station (without any luggage) he is worried about how people will react to seeing a large lion in their city. But to his surprise, they don’t even notice him, not even when he walks down the road or sits in cafes with them. He even goes down to the Metro and roars on the platform, but the crowds just walk around him. Upset and scared, the lion prowls unhappily around the rainy city, missing his sunny savannah. Until he climbs the Eiffel Tower and sees the people scurrying below him, like ants. Finally, he makes friends with Paris and decides to stay there forever.
This simple story is told through lovely pictures, which combine drawings with pop art figures and faces. It’s a lot of fun spotting all the famous locations in Paris the lion wanders through–my favourite panel is the one that shows the lion sipping coffee pensively at the Cafe de Flore, which used to be the hang-out spot for French intellectuals Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. There is also a cheeky page showing the Mona Lisa looking at the lion as he walks through the Louvre Museum.
The drawings are all beautiful and the story whimsical and entertaining. Each reading will give you something new to notice–a pattern, or a building, or an interesting expression on one of the background figures. In an end note, the author writes that the book is inspired by the lion of Denfert-Rochereau Square in Paris, a beloved spot for Parisians, since he seems really happy to be where he is. You can see pictures of the actual lion, who is called the Lion de Belfort, here:
Denfert-Rochereau Square is a favourite spot for public demonstrations, so maybe that’s one reason the attention loving lion is so happy to be there, in the middle of a lot of noisy, yelling, slogan shouting humans! At the end, the book leaves you wanting to do what the lion did — take a train to Paris, arrive with no luggage, and smile at your reflection in the river.
Reviewed by Taran Khan
Nothing much to bite into
Girls in Love. By Jaqueline Wilson. Published by Random House.
The first book of Jaqueline Wilson’s Girls’ Omnibus is a heartening tale of meaning relationships in a teenage girl’s world. The rather nebulous concept of ‘love’ is predominant here as Ellie and her best friends stumble on a winding, bumpy, mirage-filled path to find true love. It will appeal to you if you are a girl (crucial, unless you are reading for insight) and between 10 and 14. The story is in-your-face with no underlying message or intelligence and has stock characters which make for a lighthearted read. If you are older, depth might be a question. People can’t be categorized as simply as paper can, but the book seems to portray it that way.
Ellie Magda and Nadine represent three widely different yet characteristically conventional girls. Nadine is the typical Goth girl — black-crazy, pale and thin. Magda is the outrageous flirt — confident, extremely good-looking and boy-mad. During their holidays, Nadine has bagged herself a boyfriend (which, in terms of the ladder of cool, is the highest rung a girl can climb). Along with the obvious attention from ‘your guy’ comes the envy of fellow classmates and something to think and dream about during spare time. Magda gets a boyfriend in no time, with a wink and her charm-oozing talk. Ellie however is left all alone, feeling uglier than ever. Determined not to be the single old maid, she makes up a boyfriend, inwardly hating the fact that she is not attractive enough for anyone. Nadine’s boyfriend isn’t what she thought he was and neither is Magda’s, but in Ellie’s case something happens…
Personally I loved Wilson’s stories when I was twelve, but now they don’t seem substantial. Read it if you want a sweet (older teens read ‘soppy’) romance that ends happily ever after. A modern day fairytale, for those who like a story sugar-coated.
Reviewed by Prahniika Uday Borkar
Some simple soul searching
Just a Train Ride Away by Mini Shrinivasan. Published by Tulika. Rs80.
This is 53 pages of pure soul searching. This book really touches the heart. Written in effortless English, it is an inspiring read. It is the tale of a young adolescent boy searching for his father, stumbling upon unexpected wisdom on the way. Santosh never knew his father, and except for the fading memories of childhood, of a tall lanky man standing in front of him, he does not remember him at all. His mother refuses to discuss him, and has made sure that any indication of his father having been with her has been thrown away. His mother sends him off to Kolkata for the summer, giving him the freedom of going and returning all by himself. He was grown up by now of course. Santosh grabs the opportunity to go to the city where he might find his father, the city where he and his parents had shared a life quite some time ago.
Just A Train Ride…. is an interesting take on some of the most common situations in everyday Indian life. It tells us of the life of some of the young village boys who came to Mumbai in search for a new life. It tells of the pain and suffering they go through in the reform homes, the cruelty dealt out by the policemen and the scorn they face from the well off.
The book had so many innocent moments that it is hard to name them all. It is an interesting and layered read for all ages. It really gives one something to think about. And guess what? We just learnt that this book has won the Bal Sahitya Puraskar for 2010!
Reviewed by Anna Abraham, 14
We are surrounded by too many toxins
Our Toxic World. Author: Aniruddha Sengupta. Illustrations: Priya Kuriyan. Published by SAGE. Rs395
Environment friendly? Activist? Looking for major harms to our health? Need a guide? But don’t love those long novelish-books? Well, this book is right for you then. This book centers on how we live, and what are the harmful substances we deal with everyday. The best part about this book is that it is in comic strip, so it is more fun. It is a huge idea explained in few pages.
The Sachdeva family and others involved in their circle of life are the characters of the book. Mr. Sachdeva works in a government job, Rajeshwari Sachdeva is a housewife, Prasad Sachdeva is an architect and Anamika Sachdeva is in school. The author has carefully narrated incidents that relate to the major environmental problems faced by humans on the earth. At the end of each chapter they have a precise detailed page telling us more about the topic. And there is a glossary too at the end of the book.
I really liked the book because it is telling us a lot about all the harmful chemicals around us. The book is eye-catching, and I love the cover page design. Very informative, it is all that you need to know to keep safe. I love the character of Madhavi, the activist the best because she tries to raise campaigns, and do all she can to save the environment. The book examines the hazardous substances that affect us in our everyday lives, outlines the effect these materials can have on us, and suggests alternative routes that we can adopt. This book is a must read because it signifies the importance of the three ‘R’s’ (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle) and tells us how we, as an individual can save ourselves from The TOXIC world.
Read more about it here.
Reviewed by Parina Muchhala
These books have a sense of reality that other books lack
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Reader beware! These series of books come with a warning issued by their mysterious author who goes by the name of Lemony Snicket (which is not his real name by the way). If you are looking for books with happy endings and sweet reunions, I strongly advise you to pursue some other author for not only do these books not have happy endings, they do not have happy beginnings and scarcely any happy moments in between.
The story revolves around the three Baudelaire children. Violet, Sunny and Klaus, who are faced with the calamity of a terrible fire which leaves them orphans and their house in ashes. Together they are shepherded to distant relatives who take on the role of their new guardians.
It is in this way that they make the unfortunate acquaintance of the terrifying and extremely cunning Count Olaf who is intent upon getting his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. Having escaped the clutches of the Count once, the Baudelaire’s troubles do not end here. Count Olaf, whom I can only describe as pure evil, pursues the children relentlessly wherever they go, preventing them from leading a happy and content life .
These brilliant children manage to evade capture mainly due to their intelligence, their ability to keep a straight head in a crisis and to never lose hope.
Lemony Snicket’s clever portrayal of characters and his strong belief and assuredness that the story of the Baudelaire children is the absolute truth does not cease to amaze. You too will find yourself hurtling through the Baudelaire’s chaotic lives hoping in a fit of philanthropy that you could help them in some way.
You will feel a new kind of hatred towards the greedy and repulsive villain that is played by Count Olaf.
Mr Snicket has told the Baudelaire’s unfortunate tale in an intriguing way that will leave you wanting more. You will surely find yourself tracking the children’s whereabouts from book 1 through 13. Here your journey must end but no doubt these children will have touched your hearts and souls. Bear in mind that even though a particular book may not have a happy ending it doesn’t mean that the book isn’t well written or boring. These books come with a sense of reality that the books of today somehow lack.
However charming or intelligent these children may have been, that did not stop them from encountering more than their fair share of misfortune and misery. Snicket expertly spins a web of intricately woven events all leading up to the unexpected climax.
Although these books have not received as much recognition as the Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga they nevertheless make for an interesting read. Hats off to Mr Snicket for penning an instant masterpiece.
Reviewed by Iram Khan, 14
Why the girls are going crazy over Twilight
By Khadija Khan, 14
It was in the last few months of 2008 that I heard of Twilight. All of a sudden everyone seemed to be talking about the Twilight Saga. I was very curious to find out what the Twilight Saga was all about. So I bought a copy of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer for myself. It took me a week to finish the book. But it wasn’t really up to my expectations. Neither was it gripping and interesting.
It was about a vampire with heavenly good looks who fell in love with the clumsiest girl just because her blood was delicious. I didn’t find that very interesting. The character of Bella, the protagonist was beyond clumsy. The author never gave many details about her. This enabled the millions of female twilight fans to easily mould themselves into her character. Stephanie Meyer has spent 70 percent of the pages of this book describing how perfect, handsome and strong Edward Cullen, the vampire is. She has put into him all the divine qualities that any teenage girl can ever desire in her prince charming. Edward Cullen was the reason the book sold millions of copies.
Twilight is also very lengthy and contains a lot of non essential information which has made it boring. It’s not at all fast -paced. And the author has put in too many chapters about the Bella-Edward romance. After reading Twilight, I didn’t want to read New moon, Eclipse or Breaking dawn which are successors of the same book
Till date I have not heard of a single male twilight fan. Because this book only contains everything a girl wants.
But it was only in the mid 2009 that everybody started reading Twilight. Girls, who used to run from the sight of books had Twilight and its sequels hidden in their school bags. This was because by then the Twilight movie had also come out. The movie was worse than the book and yet it earned so much money. Why? Because the male leads were exceptionally handsome new boys.
By 2010, the Twilight saga was not just a series of books, it was major business. Television serials about vampires, Twilight movies, Twilight based music bands, Twilight bags,bottles,tiffins,pencil boxes, Coloring books, Scrapbooks had become a daily sight .
In terms of popularity the Twilight Saga has left behind Harry Potter. This is evident by the fact that, the Twilight movies sweep all the awards at the teenage award shows.
But judging by the current scenario of entertainment, I’m very certain of the fact that in a year or two some other series of books will come out which will make people forget that Twilight ever existed.
I am not crazy about fantasy
By Malaika Mathew Chawla, 13
I love horror books. I don’t like fantasy books. I loved this book called Faith and the Electric Dogs. It’s a book written from a dog’s point of view, about the difficulties of living on the streets. It’s also a travel book about Mexico and North America. “Electric” in Spanish means stray dogs. There’s a whole glossary of Spanish words used in the book.
I Love Geronimo
By Soumya Kawa, 8
I like to read mystery books. My most favourite are Geronimo Silton and Nancy Drew. I recently read Four Mice Deep in the Jungle. Geronimo the mouse felt scared of many things so he had to go to the jungle to fight off his fears. I loved the way the story was told.
Making A Mango Whistle
You may not know but our country was once green, very green. Whichever you looked at, a vast stretch of greenery would lie in front. You could see the green till the end the land, till the land became forest and the forest became mountains, only halting for the clean, unspoilt river that flowed in between. People were very poor but they had wonder in their eyes.
Apu and Durga were born into such a world in a small village in Bengal called Nishchindipur (literally meaning a place of certainty). Their father Harihar earned little money from his profession as a priest. Their mother Sorbojoya was busy with the house and there was the old Indir thakuron, their father’s distant relative, whose old age mistakes amused them. There were no Hogwarts school, no Hagrid or Dumbledore to help them or guide them through the days and nights in their village.
But there were other, little elements that kept them busy — a tin box where pennies were secretly hoarded, a bioscope man who would show pictures in a box, the mithaiwallah who would jingle jangle near their house, the seasonal rains that would make the little insects and the leaves and flowers come to life. You know what brought the greatest joy to Apu and Durga? When they ran a few miles and saw a train whistle past by bellowing white fumes, as if singing to itself. Life was entertaining in a basic simple way.
But one day their poverty would catch up with their wondrous life and Durga would succumb to a deadly disease. Indir thakuron would also die and Apu would leave the village with his parents.
If you have the time after school and homework do pick up the Making a Mango Whistle, the shorter version of a very famous Bengali novel called Panther Panchali (Song of the Road) by a very famous Bengali novelist called Bibhutibhusan Bandopadhyay. Later the great filmmaker Satyajit Ray filmed this novel as part of his Apu Trilogy. While drawing the cover for Making a Mango Whistle (Aam Anthir Bhenpu) Ray decided that he wanted to make a film on the story. The rest, as they have always said, was history.