Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Tryst with Children's Writing

(Ramendra Kumar is the author of our upcoming book 'Paplu the Giant' . Ramendra agreed to write a guest post for our blog about how he started writing for children. You can read more about him at www.ramendra.com)

I started my avocation by dabbling in satire, poems and short stories when I was in college. This continued with a modest degree of success for quite a few years.

When my daughter Ankita, was five, I was invited to her school to address the students. I thought instead of giving a speech let me tell a story. I didn’t want to tell a tale, borrowed from somewhere, just for the heck of it. I wanted to tell a tale with a value. I thought about it quite a bit and wrote a story called ‘Just A Second’. It was about seven brothers, the youngest named Second and the eldest Year. It stressed upon the value of time.

I told the story in the school assembly. The response from the kids was just fantastic. They simply loved it. In fact when my wife and I went to Ankita’s teacher’s house, six months later, she told us something which left a deep impression on me.

“Mr. Kumar, the story you told in the school assembly had a great impact on the kids. Just the other day I was telling my students how important hygiene was. ‘Is it as important as the second, ma’am?’ asked one of my students? I looked at him with a puzzled expression on my face, not comprehending.

‘That day an Uncle had come and talked about the importance of Second’, he explained and only then I understood. I had forgotten, but your story seems to have left an indelible impression on the young minds.”

Needless to say, I was thrilled.

Part of my responsibility, as a parent, was to put my daughter to sleep by telling her stories. I used to tell her fairy tales, Aesop’s fables and stories from the Panchantantra. Then I thought, why don’t I tell her stories of my own. And so I started creating little tales for her. I found she lapped them all up. I started writing them down and sending them to children’s magazines. The stories started getting published and thus began my journey into the idyllic world of children.

Now I find writing for children far more satisfying. Their response is straight from the heart and far, far more honest and encouraging.

I have tried not to get straight jacketed into a specific genre or style. I have written stories for the children from six to fifteen years. I have written animal stories, fairy tales, fables, mysteries, adventure stories, fantasies. I have written stories about the ‘long, long ago’ as well as the ‘here and now’. In every story of mine I have made an attempt to tell a tale which is simple, yet racy and yet does not offer mindless entertainment. I feel if through my stories I can introduce the children to the right kind of values, I would be doing justice to my role as a writer.

My attempt has been to achieve a blend of fun and values. Whether I have succeeded or not only the readers can tell.

Image Source : TMAB2003

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