The recently launched children’s story book on the shelves, ‘Sashu’, ‘Pashu’, ‘Kashu’, caught our attention for 2 reasons. It is in Hindi, which gives us something to connect with our children in our national language. It’s beautiful illustrations, rich in colors, steal the show in the first glance! They have been contributed by school children, some even from the underprivileged sections of our society.
We connected with the author, Tulika Maheshwari and discovered that she is a lovely grand mom of a little girl, Sashna. Here are some excerpts of a candid chat with her about the book.
Q1: Tell us a bit about your relationship with your granddaughter. How would you describe your connect with her?
The very first moment when I saw Sashna, the years rolled back and it felt like I was holding my little daughter. She is my little doll who can melt me with her toothy smile!
Q2: What inspired you to write this book, especially envision these characters - Sashu, Pashu, Kashu?
The inspiration came from my daughter's comment that I had to speak to Sashna in Hindi so that she could have some connect with the language. It started me thinking about how we encourage our children to learn Spanish, Chinese, French, German but are losing touch with our own language - Hindi. Thus, stemmed the idea of writing short stories in Hindi.
The title actually flowed quite naturally from Sashna's nickname - Sashu-Pashu.
Q3: What was the reaction of your grand daughter when you showed her the first copy/ draft of the book? Which character from your book would you like to come alive and play with her?
She loves the colors and illustrations. If I was to choose one character to come alive to play with her it would be Brownie - the teddy bear from the story Socho to Jadu.
Q4: Share a WOW moment for you, which you experienced with one of your child readers.
I experienced a wow moment in a recent book reading of the Chocolate Ki Baarish story at Walsingham school for the third graders - the absolute awe and gasps of joy as they imagined chocolates raining on them. (As can be seen in the video on the Sashu Pashu Kashu page on Facebook)
Q5: Share some tips for raising children as readers.
I have always felt that it is important to read to young children, not just read but read with passion and feeling to make the stories come alive in their minds. After all, a good book is all about being able to make the story come alive in a person's mind...
A word about the Book in the author’s own words
At the outset, this was not a book but an attempt to create some Hindi stories that I could tell my grand daughter. As I wrote, however, I felt the stories were just there, around me, waiting to be plucked and told. I narrated the stories to children of the Chimbai School and was very happy to see their enthusiastic response. The school art teachers and I chose different artists for each story and got the children to paint scenes from the stories. The result was amazing illustrations by the children in the styles of Chagall, Rousseau, Picasso, Senaka, Van Gogh, Sakti Burman and Madhubani folk art. By then, I was truly on my way to publishing my book - a compilation of six short stories in Hindi that create a fantastical world full of inspiration and positivity. The colorful paintings by children make the book vibrant and really magical.
Stay tuned for a book review on ‘Sashu’, ‘Pashu’, ‘Kashu’ this week!
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